2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Unsustainable Players

by Justin Cheng
2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Unsustainable Players

New year, same old story. Game postponements, COVID-related absences, and empty arenas are bringing the same challenges that Fantasy GMs have been struggling with for two years now. Remember - the season is long. By the time the playoffs roll around, hopefully, all of these postponements will be a distant memory. For now, you need to focus on clinching a playoff birth. Sit back and buckle up because we are diving headfirst into the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Unsustainable Players.

Every Thursday over the course of the season, we will be looking at different players each week who are front of mind for Fantasy GMs. Some players may be seeing their rostered percentage increase due to a recent hot streak. Others are being traded away or dropped across many leagues because of recent struggles.

Maybe the superstar player who was supposed to be the cornerstone of your team has been a bust. Or maybe there is a guy on the waiver wire who has strung together a few impressive performances.

Please excuse this second straight week of shortened coverage. On one hand, game postponements and the holiday break have limited some players to just a small handful of games over the past month, making it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions. On the other hand, I have been on the road, and finding a stable connection to do the requisite research has been a challenge and a half.

If you are looking for further add/drop guidance, make sure to check out Kyle's stock watch.

And as always, if you have any players that you want me to cover in future weeks, be sure to leave a comment down below or reach out to me via Twitter - @jchengWPG.

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Unsustainable Players

Unsustainably High

Barclay Goodrow, C/LW/RW, New York Rangers (16% rostered)

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One of the few teams that have been lucky enough to get more than one of two games over the past couple of weeks has been the New York Rangers. They lead the league with four games over the past two weeks. If you own any of the Rangers' big players, you have been laughing to the bank.

One of the more scantily owned players who has been on a hot streak over the past couple of weeks has been Barclay Goodrow. On the season, he is on a very modest 39-point pace. Over the past two weeks, however, Goodrow has scored three goals and added a couple of assists.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
432045417:3210.8%

The major red flag here is the fact of his four shots, Goodrow has found the back of the net on three of them. This translates to a 75% shooting percentage and has been part of the reason his oiSH% is sitting at an unsustainable 23.1%.

If you still aren't convinced, consider the fact that Goodrow has produced just 1.0 Expected Goals during this stretch. He currently has that mark beat by a factor of three. Given the fact that Goodrow has never been a particularly gifted "finisher" (he has never outpaced his xG mark in his career), his recent hot streak has been the result of incredible good fortune.

I will note that Goodrow remains a good streaming option while superstar left-winger Artemi Panarin remains in COVID-19 protocol. In the Russian's absence, Goodrow has been bumped up the lineup and has been skating on the second line with Ryan Strome and Alexis Lafreniere. He has seen his ice time jump and has been getting a small taste of the Rangers' powerplay. Once Panarin returns, I would expect Goodrow to see 1-2 minutes less on the ice, consistent with his ice time earlier in the season.

Anthony Duclair, LW/RW, Florida Panthers (56% rostered)

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Following Florida's 9-2 routing of the Tampa Bay Lightning last week, Duclair has been one of the most added players on Yahoo. During his absence, Duclair's ownership fell as low as 38%. Since his return, this has climbed by 18% to the 56% he sits at during the time of writing this article.

Over the past two weeks, Duclair has been one of the hottest players in the league. He has put up three goals and two assists through three games while adding just six shots and a couple of hits.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
332062015:3757.2%

I will preface my assessment by saying that I really like Duclair as a fantasy option. I think in shallower leagues, he makes a great streaming option when Florida plays a lot of games. In deeper leagues, Duclair is a good waiver wire pick-up to fill the bottom of your lineup.

With that being said, Duclair is not a point-per-game-plus player. He has never come close to the elusive 82-point pace. Last season was his closest attempt, where he managed just 32 points in 43 games on the Florida Panthers, putting the 26-year-old on a 61-point pace.

His recent hot streak has come on the coattails of impressively unsustainable advanced metrics. Over the past two weeks, Duclair's shooting percentage is sitting at 50.0%. This is due for some negative regression and should fall somewhere between the 9.6% he registered last year, and his 13.2% career average.

Additionally, Duclair's oiSH% is an overinflated 25.0% over the past two weeks. This should return closer to the 10-11% that he has registered over the past three seasons. Even if this were the only negative regression that was to occur, Duclair would see his point totals fall back down to the 60-point pace he registered last year.

Overall, I think Duclair is one of the best options on the waiver wire right now. If you are in a shallower league, I would not marry yourself to the winger. When he cools off, an optimized streamer spot may net you more points.

In any case, I might shop around a little bit. People like to touch nice things, and the Florida Panthers are one of the nicest things in the NHL right now. If you can sell someone on the fact that Duclair is playing alongside Aleksander Barkov or Jonathan Huberdeau, you may be able to net yourself a true point-per-game player.

Unsustainably Low

Seth Jones, D, Chicago Blackhawks (98% rostered)

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One team that has only played a couple of games over the past two weeks has been the Chicago Blackhawks. Both games they have played have been blowout losses to the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames. This has resulted in players having stat lines that are skewed heavily into "drop watch" territory.

One such player is defenseman Seth Jones. After signing his big-money contract extension last offseason, the blueliner has received a lot of flack. Early on, he silenced many vocal critics, putting up 22 points in his first 23 games. However, since then, Jones has gone ice cold. He has put up just one assist in his last eight.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
801117151224:1863.3%

The biggest thing hurting Jones right now is his criminally low IPP. Over this cold streak, his IPP is sitting at just 12.5%. Last year on Columbus, Jones put up an IPP of 50%.

On the season as a whole, Jones' IPP is sitting at 62.5%, even accounting for his past eight games. While this is slightly higher than last year, and on the higher end for a defenseman, I don't think this is unreasonable. This season, Jones has been racking up the majority of his points on the man advantage. This is good news for GMs with Jones stock, as Chicago's powerplay runs through the hands of the offensive defenseman.

I think this little blip was some negative regression that was a long time coming. Even with that being the case, I really like Jones as a fantasy option rest-of-season. I think he should safely hit the 60-point plateau, with the potential for even more if the stars line up. Add in the fact that he provides solid peripheral coverage, I might test that trade waters for the Blackhawks' all-star.

Sustainably High

Evan Rodrigues, C/RW, Pittsburgh Penguins (60% rostered)

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have an uncanny ability to turn fringe-NHL players into solid, serviceable top-six players. There have been many such examples during the Crosby era, from Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis to more recently Connor Sheary. Add in an elite 1-2 punch down the middle (when healthy), and there are a lot of Penguins with sneaky fantasy value.

The most recent beneficiary of the Penguins/Crosby effect has been Evan Rodrigues. Once a fringe NHLer on the middling Buffalo Sabres who went untendered as an RFA, has turned into a 70-point player. With eight points over his past six games including a hat trick last game, Rodrigues has forced himself into the conversation for a permanent spot in the lineup.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
6533233619:5942.9%

To be clear, I do not expect Rodrigues to be the 109-point player that he has been on pace for over his past six games. I also don't expect Rodrigues to be a point-per-game player going forward. But 65-70 points looks like a real possibility.

Once Evgeni Malkin makes his eventual return, I would expect Rodrigues to find a home stapled to one of Pittsburgh's top two centermen. Whether he ends up on line one or two, deployment will not be the thing holding Rodrigues back.

I also really like the fact that Rodrigues seems to have adopted a shoot-first mindset. On the season, Rodrigues is on pace for 280 shots. This is even higher over the past month, where Rodrigues has been on pace for 315 shots.

And these shots are not simply a result of more ice time. Rodrigues' shots/60 has climbed steadily from the 7.9 SOG/60 he finished last season with. This year, Rodrigues has put up 11.6 SOG/60. Over the past two weeks, this has doubled (into the unsustainable territory, mind you) to 20.2 SOG/60.

If Rodrigues can keep his shot pace up and stay on one of the Penguin's top two lines, I really like the winger's outlook rest-of-season. If Rodrigues matches the 11% shooting percentage he put up last year over 315 shots, Rodrigues should come pretty close to topping 30 goals.

Edit: Add another goal and assist for Rodrigues against the St. Louis Blues.

Sustainably Low

Bowen Byram, D, Colorado Avalanche (35% rostered)

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To say that this season has been disappointing for Bowen Byram would be an understatement.

When he has been in the lineup, he has actually played very well. Through 15 games, the young defenseman has more than quadrupled his point totals from last year. He has been dynamic, making plays at both ends of the ice look easy.

However, he has also had to deal with two separate head-related injuries which have severely limited his playing time. Before his two most recent games in the new year, Byram had not seen game action since Dec. 1.

Over the two games since his return, Byram has been a solid player but has yet to reward fantasy GMs. While he has managed to rack up five hits and a block, he has yet to appear on the scoresheet.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
200015119:290.0%

The biggest concern with Byram is the fact that he is not getting the same deployment as he was earlier in the season. During the stretch of games when Byram was hot, young star Cale Makar was out of the lineup with injury. As a result, the Avalanche looked to Byram to provide the offensive spark from the backend.

Byram was always destined to be pushed down the lineup when Makar returned. This is even more true given that Makar has not disappointed, putting up 28 points through 25 games.

The other concerning feature is the fact that Byram's hot start to the season was primarily due to extremely good puck luck. Through 15 games, Byram has generated just 1.4 xG, while he has found the back of the net four times. He has done this on just 29 shots, good for a 13.8% SH%, better than a lot of star forwards.

Overall, I would expect Byram to be a replacement-level defenseman for the rest of the season. On weeks that Colorado has favorable matchups, he is a good streaming option. With exposure to Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon, Byram's upside as a streamer is about as good as you will find.

Summary

And with that, we wrap up our coverage of the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Unsustainable Players.

Every Thursday throughout this series we will be looking at the hottest and coldest players in the league. If you have any players that you want me to cover after 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Unsustainable Players, be sure to leave a comment down below or reach out to me via Twitter @jchengWPG.

Advanced stats and analytics are taken from Natural Stat Trick.


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