In weekly matchup fantasy leagues, balancing your roster and getting the most amount of man games played in a week can be the difference between winning and losing your matchup. Managing your weekly pickups to get the most games played can be a great strategy to gain the upper hand for the week.
Streaming players is an underrated aspect in fantasy leagues that if managed properly can pay huge dividends throughout the season. Based on the upcoming schedule for next week in the NHL, let’s take a look at some streamers to target based on their teams schedule.
Streaming options with four games next week
Colorado Avalanche (vs. OTT, vs. ANA, @DAL, vs. NSH)
Despite their slow start, the Colorado Avalanche still sit third league-wide for goals for per game and have four games next week. They also have a pretty easy schedule overall as they face the lowly Senators and Stars—both of whom rank bottom-10 in goals allowed per game. The Avs will have a great opportunity to fill up the scoresheet next week as they are on a roll right now with 24 goals in their last four games.
Jonas Johansson – G
Jonas Johansson isn’t the greatest goalie, but he plays behind a good team which means he offers some value in fantasy. His tenure in Colorado has been up and down since he arrived, meaning his starts can be hit or miss fantasy-wise. Case in point: he’s gotten into two games so far this season, one of which he played well, allowing only three goals on 37 shots, and the other in which he got lit up for five goals.
With the Avalanche having a back-to-back this week against Dallas on Friday and Nashville on Saturday, he’s bound to get into at least one game this week. Dallas would be the preferable opponent, but even Nashville isn’t a scary matchup and the Avs will be favoured in both games. Picking up Johansson near the end of the week as a goalie stream could provide some nice value for anyone needing to pad their goal stats.
Valeri Nichushkin – LW/RW
Valeri Nichushkin went down with an injury on October 13th in the Avs’ first game of the season and just made his return to the lineup last week on November 11th. Since returning to the lineup, Nichushkin has been playing top-six minutes for the Avs and has put up three points in four games. On the season he has four points in five games so far.
Nichushkin has never been a big point producer in his career; however, given the opportunity to play in the Avs’ top-six right now, he offers some great value in fantasy as a streamer for the week considering the Avs have four games this week. He’s also seeing power play time on the second unit as well, further boosting his value. He’s just 4% owned in Yahoo! at the time of writing, so he should be available in almost every league.
Columbus Blue Jackets (@BUF, vs. WPG, vs. VAN, @STL)
The Columbus Blue Jackets have been one of the league’s surprise teams this season, as they sit well above .500 on the year with a 9–5–0 start. Fueled by their young talent, the Blue Jackets currently sit ninth league-wide for goals for per game as they’ve been one of the better offensive teams in the NHL this year. With four games on the docket next week—including two against the dreadful Sabres and Canucks—the Blue Jackets offer solid value.
Cole Sillinger – C
Picked by some as a deep sleeper to begin the season, Cole Sillinger was dropped in almost every league after a slow start that saw him register just two points in his first eight games. Perhaps he just needed some time to get acclimated to the NHL as he’s been red-hot of late, posting three goals and six points over his last six games centring the Blue Jackets second line. He’s also registered an impressive 18 shots over that stretch as well.
Playing alongside veteran Jakub Voracek and fellow rookie Yegor Chinakov on the Blue Jackets second line puts Sillinger in a prime spot to continue to produce as long as he’s playing there. He’s also lining up on the team’s number one power play unit as well.
With four games this week and currently producing at a point-per-game pace over the last two and a half weeks, Sillinger is a prime streamer candidate going into next week. Because of his slow start he’s only 5% owned in Yahoo! right now meaning he’ll be easy to grab.
Boone Jenner – C
Another solid option to stream from the Blue Jackets this week is Boone Jenner, who is currently lining up as the team’s top line centre. Playing alongside Oliver Bjorkstrand and Gustav Nyquist, Jenner has been averaging nearly 20 minutes a game this season, giving him plenty of opportunity to produce.
He currently sits with 11 points in 14 games—which is third on the team—including nine goals on the year which leads the Blue Jackets. He’s also posting a ton of shots every night right now, as he currently sits with 46 shots to lead all Blue Jackets forwards. Jenner has posted at least three shots per game over his last seven games, including posting at least five shots four times. He’s only been held without a shot once all season, and that was way back on October 16th.
Jenner is also seeing time on the team’s top power play unit, further increasing his value. He’s still just 28% owned and would be a great value streamer with four games next week.
St. Louis Blues (vs. VGK, @DET, @CHI, vs. CLB)
The St. Louis Blues also have four games next week, three of which are against teams ranked bottom-10 in the NHL for goals allowed per game. They currently sit eighth league-wide for goals for per game, so they could have a huge week offensively considering their matchups.
Scott Perunovich – D
Scott Perunovich is a rather unknown name in fantasy hockey for now, but he should be at the top of every manager’s watch list when it comes to streaming help on defence. A 2018 second-round pick, Perunovich earned his first career NHL call-up last week and suited up for his first NHL game on November 16th.
Perunovich had been on a tear in his first AHL season before being called up, posting eight goals and 20 points in just 12 games. His 20 points are still tied for first in the AHL despite not suiting up there since November 13th.
His first NHL tenure has started off strong as he’s registered one point and four shots while averaging around 19 minutes in his first two NHL games. He’s currently lining up on the Blues second pairing with Justin Faulk, and on the team’s second power play unit—which is even more valuable with the Blues sitting second in the NHL on the power play.
Perunovich currently sits at just 20% owned in Yahoo! so he’s still widely available in most leagues as a streamer for next week and potentially an option for the rest of the year if he stays in the NHL.
Robert Thomas – C
Robert Thomas may be the most underrated player in fantasy right now. The 22-year-old 2017 first-round pick currently sits with 16 points in 16 games on the year, which ranks 30th in the NHL among forwards. His 14 assists rank eighth in the NHL. Despite this he is currently just 28% owned in Yahoo! leagues.
Thomas is currently centring the Blues second line alongside two lethal snipers in Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich and like Perunovich, Thomas is also seeing time on the Blues second power play unit. After a down year last season with just 12 points, Thomas is back to his 2019–20 form that saw him on pace for 64 points.
Thomas is currently averaging the highest ice time of his career at 19:05 ATOI and is taking full advantage of it. He currently has at least one point in 10 of his 16 games played, and has also posted five multi-point games, including racking up eight points in his last five games. If he’s still available in your league, I recommend picking him up as soon as possible before the rest of your league notices.
Streaming teams to avoid
On the flip side of streaming strategies, Calgary, Detroit and Los Angeles only have two games each next week and all should be avoided. If it makes sense to do so, players on these teams could be readily swapped for the ones listed as targets above, but be sure check that doing so doesn’t end up leaving too many extra players on the bench.
Take advantage of the schedule
One of the most underrated ways to get the upper hand in your fantasy league is by studying and learning the schedule for each week of the season. By optimizing your weekly pickups and getting the most man games played and potential points, you’ll give yourself the upper hand more often than not.