2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 14 Unsustainable Players

by Justin Cheng
2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 14 Unsustainable Players

Are you feeling the grind yet? At this stage in the season, the name of the game is stamina. Remain vigilant and set your line up weekly, and you will find yourself with an edge over most competitors. You are doing something right if you are still reading our Fantasy Hockey coverage at this point in the season. For now, sit back and buckle up because we are diving headfirst into the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 14 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.

With just the third 5-goal game by a player in the past decade, I could have titled the Week 14 Unsustainable Players article the "Timo Meier Feature". With five goals on six shots resulting in 0.52 Expected Goals, Meier had himself a career night - worthy of at least a brief mention in the introduction. And, just in case you were unsure, his 83.3% shooting percentage for that game is very unsustainably high!

If you are looking for further add/drop guidance, make sure to check out Kyle's stock watch or Tyler's Waiver Wire article!

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 14 Unsustainable Players

Unsustainably High

Anton Lundell, C, Florida Panthers (26% rostered)

Embed from Getty Images

It is not too often that a player under 21 has a significant fantasy impact. It is even rarer for such a player to be added en masse more than halfway through the season. That is what makes Anton Lundell's recent performance and subsequent boost in Fantasy value all the more intriguing.

Over the past two weeks, Lundell has been impressing GMs. He has two goals and four assists through six games. In the peripheral department, he has added 15 shots and seven hits, bringing some impressive multi-cat coverage for a waiver wire pickup. In response, he has seen his ownership skyrocket from 5% just a couple of weeks ago, to 26% at the time of writing.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
6241150716:3227.5%

It is easy to attribute Lundell's production to the fact that he plays on the best offensive team in the NHL. However, luck has had a lot more to do with Lundell's recent offensive explosion than teammates or linemates do.

For starters, at five-on-five, Lundell has been playing with Frank Vatrano and Mason Marchment. This is a far cry from playing with the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau or Sasha Barkov.

Add in the fact that Lundell is not even finding his way onto the first powerplay unit, and the deployment alone is enough to make me question the sustainability of Lundell's scoring.

The other red flag is Lundell's secondary assist rate. On the season, his secondary assist rate is sitting at 57.1%. This means that 57.1% of all of his assists (8/14) have been secondary assists. The situation is even bleaker when you look over the past two weeks. Of his four assists, three have been secondary assists for a 75% secondary assist rate. Whenever a player's secondary assist rate climbs above 50%, I begin to become leary of that player's ability to keep up their scoring. I would not be surprised to see Lundell fall off of a cliff over the course of the next few games.

With three games left this week (against the porous Oilers, the mediocre Canucks, and the floundering Kraken), I don't hate the idea of streaming Lundell until the end of the week. But once this week is over, I would not hesitate to drop him from your squad.

Mats Zuccarello, RW, Minnesota Wild (54% rostered)

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Moving from one of the most added players in the East to one of the most added players in the West. Over the past two weeks, Mats Zuccarello has brought the fire. He has notched three goals and four assists through four games. The Wild have also had three games postponed during that stretch, explaining his lack of action.

The 34-year-old veteran has had somewhat of a resurgence this season, playing alongside Ryan Hartman and Russian-phenom Kirill Kaprisov. He went from being drafted in just 3% of leagues to 54% rostered in a little more than half of the season.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
4341132421:2363.3%

Everything about Zuccarello's performance screams "negative regression". With three goals on just 13 shots, Zuccarello is rocking a 23.1% shooting percentage. This is more than double his career average of 11.5%.

Part and parcel with his overinflated shooting percentage is the fact that Zuccarello is outscoring his Expected Goals at an astonishing rate. On the season, Zuccarello has generated just 5.7 Expected Goals while he has scored 11 times. Compare this to last year when Zuccarello scored the same 11 goals on 8.9 Expected Goals. Sooner or later, the puck will stop going in for Zuccarello.

Additionally, Zuccarello has been a primary beneficiary of over-producing linemates. Over the past 14 days, Zuccarello has an oiSH% of 14.9%, up from the 11.0% he finished last season with. His IPP is also Unsustainably High, clocking in at 87.5% over the past two weeks (compared to the 72% he has averaged over the past three seasons).

If you are a Zuccarello owner, now would be a good time to sell high. He has been having an unsustainable season which has been augmented by even more unsustainable performances over the past two weeks. If you are going to be a buyer this year at the deadline, you could get a real headstart if you capitalized on Zuccarello's current value.

Unsustainably Low

John Tavares, C, Toronto Maple Leafs (99% rostered)

Embed from Getty Images

Love them or hate them, the Toronto Maple Leafs have had a very solid season. The team has been propelled not in the least by their stellar 1-2 punch down the middle of the ice. While Auston Matthews has asserted his dominance this season, John Tavares has quietly had a very impressive season.

Before going cold over the past month, Tavares managed to put up 32 points (13 G, 19 A) through 29 games. However, over the past month, and even more so over the past two weeks, the Leafs' captain has not been able to catch any breaks. He has just one goal and one assist through five games, putting him on a 33-point pace during that stretch.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
5111206219:0872.1%

Even with the cold spell, Tavares is still scoring at a point-per-game pace on the season. What is even crazier is that all of the signs point towards him having more to give than that. On the season, Tavares has just 15 goals on 17.2 Expected Goals. When extrapolated over an 82-game season, Tavares is on pace to put up 39 Expected Goals. That would be the second-most goals Tavares has scored in his career. The 2018-19 season, when he put up 47 goals, is the only season he has topped 39 goals.

Further, even though he is racking up the points, his advanced on-ice metrics are not crazy. On the season, his IPP is sitting at 65.5%, which is nearly six percentage points lower than the 71.4% IPP he finished last year with. His oiSH% is also very realistic, sitting at 12.4%. This is just slightly higher than the 11.6% oiSH% he ended with last year, and the 12.2% he has averaged over the past three seasons.

It is too soon to press the panic button on Tavares. Once he can get the monkey off of his back, I would expect the $11-million-man to pick back up where he left off before the Christmas break. If you are looking for a good buy-low candidate going into the final stretch of the season, Tavares may be your guy.

Sustainably High

Roman Josi, D, Nashville Predators (99% rostered)

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It has been 10 weeks since I last covered Roman Josi. Back in my Week 4 edition of Unsustainable Players, the Swiss defenseman cracked my Sustainably High list. Initially, I did not want to cover Josi for a second time. I hesitated even more in light of the fact I have very little to add that is novel. However the recent performance and the subsequent attention that Josi has been getting warranted repeat coverage.

Over the past two weeks, Josi has been performing at a different level. With two goals and eight assists over seven games, Josi has been on pace for 117 points.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
72863091327:2669.3%

While a 117-point pace is not sustainable, I think it is very realistic to expect Josi to finish the season right around a point per game. While his on-ice metrics are a touch high, they are not completely out of this world.

This year, his IPP is sitting at 60.6%, just slightly higher than the 55.8% he has averaged over the past three seasons. On top of that, his oiSH% is sitting at 11.3%, right around league average. I would not be surprised if Josi managed to maintain these numbers throughout the course of the season, considering that he is one of the league's premier defenders.

And if anyone was able to keep up these numbers, it would be someone in Josi's position. As I noted back in Week 4:

The other thing that Josi has going for him compared to Shattenkirk, is that he is Nashville’s go-to defenseman. He is playing over 25 minutes per game and is seeing nearly 72% of their powerplay time.

If this isn’t a recipe for success, I don’t know what is.

As the season has gone on, Josi's average time on ice has actually increased. He is now averaging over 27 minutes per game, in part due to COVID-related absences ravaging the Nashville blueline.

Going forward, Josi is on pace for a historic season. The only defensemen to post comparable seasons in the post-lockout era have been Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson. Josi is quickly making a case to join those two as one of the best offensive defensemen of this generation.

Sustainably Low

Evan Bouchard, D, Edmonton Oilers (40% rostered)

Embed from Getty Images

If there is one thing that I have learned over my years of playing Fantasy Hockey, it is that good Waiver Wire defensemen are hard to come by. As a result, I tend to get very excited when there is an intriguing defenseman floating around as a free agent.

One player that I got excited about early on in the season was Evan Bouchard. He started the season very well, posting two goals and six assists through his first 12 games. This put Bouchard on a 55-point pace right out of the gate. I was one of the GMs quick to react and pick him up early on.

However, recently, Bouchard has gone ice cold. Over the past month, Bouchard has played just six games. During that stretch, Bouchard has managed just a single goal.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
6100125720:0238.9%

The big concern I have with Bouchard is the fact that he has seen his ice time slowly decline. After his hot start earlier in the season, Bouchard saw his average ice time jump up to over 23 minutes. However, over the past month, Bouchard has been averaging just 20:02 per night. Over the past two weeks (albeit with only one game played), he has played just 12:38.

When Bouchard is getting on the ice, he is being used primarily in a defensive role. Over the past month, he has started just 43% of his shifts in the offensive zone. Compare that to nearly last season, when he posted a 70% offensive-zone start rate.

The honeymoon phase with Bouchard on my team is over. Unless your league is very deep, I don't see any reason to hold onto a defenseman that is trending towards fewer than 20 minutes per night with no first-powerplay upside. Even with exposure to Connor McDavid, other defensemen give me a better chance to win.

Summary

And with that, we wrap up our coverage of the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 14 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 13 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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