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NHL Fantasy: Players who have stumbled after hot starts

Last week we took a look at NHL players who have gotten off to surprisingly hot starts this season in fantasy. There are typically a few players who come out of nowhere and continue to produce all season long, however there are just as many if not more who fall off after a few games or weeks of surprising production.

Picking up players off waivers at the beginning of the season can be hit or miss in fantasy. Sometimes they continue being fantasy relevant for weeks on end, and sometimes the hot starts are just that and their productions falls back to the level everyone expected. Let’s take a look at some players who have faltered after their surprising hot starts to the season.

Joel Farabee – LW – Philadelphia Flyers

First 3 GP – 3G-3A-6P / Last 18 GP – 4G-0A-4P

After last season’s breakout performance with 20 goals and 38 points in 55 games, many expected Joel Farabee to take another big step forward this season. After the first week of the season it looked like the managers who took a swing on him around his ADP of 169 in the 15th round were about to be paid off in a huge way.

After his first three games of the season, Farabee had posted a goal and an assist in all three games. Since then however his production has fallen off a cliff as the Flyers have struggled and sunk to the bottom of the standings. In his 18 games since the first week of the season, Farabee has just four goals and no assists for four total points.

He isn’t generating much of anything either. Across his last 18 games, he has nine games in which he registered one or zero shots. Over that stretch he was actually shooting at 15.4%, a total above his career average of 14.8%. This suggesting that he might have been lucky to even have four goals in that span.

To make matters even worse he looked to be heating up again with goals in three straight games before going down with an injury that has kept him out of action since December 1st. Farabee is now just 20% owned in Yahoo! leagues with that number falling by the day.

Brandon Tanev – RW – Seattle Kraken

First 8GP – 6G-0A-6P / Last 18GP – 2G-5A-7P

It’s safe to assume the Seattle Kraken are not the Vegas Golden Knights 2.0. Going into draft season many had hoped to find some hidden gems on the newest NHL franchise similar to the Golden Knights inaugural season when the likes of William Karlsson, Johnathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, etc., went from irrelevant in fantasy to must-own players.

One of those sleeper picks was Brandon Tanev. Coming off a career best 0.5 points per game in 2020–21, many expected Tanev to take another step offensively playing a larger role on his new team. He was actually drafted even higher than Farabee, at an ADP of 165 in the 14th round.

To start the season, Tanev was shooting the lights out, potting six goals in eight games on just 18 shots. Along with providing plenty of hits, Tanev looked like a real solid sleeper option in fantasy. Unfortunately his luck didn’t last forever as he posted just two goals and seven points in his next 18 games. He’s also shooting less, with just 1.5 shots per game in his last 18 games compared to 2.25 in his first eight games.

Tanev’s goal production has completely evaporated and he’s no longer a viable option in points only leagues.

Andrew Copp – RW – Winnipeg Jets

First 10GP – 5G-7A-12P / Last 17GP – 2G-6A-8P

A benefactor at the beginning of the season due to some key injuries that bumped him up the lineup, Andrew Copp has now settled back into his usual role on the Jets and his production has taken a major hit as a result.

With injuries to Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and Paul Stastny early in the season, Copp was given a major role in the Jets lineup as he was lining up on the team’s first line and top power play unit at times. This led to Copp having the best start of his career posting five goals and 12 points in his first 10 games.

Since then however the Jets have gotten healthy and Copp has seen his role diminish. He’s played at least 21 minutes just four times in the last 17 games after logging six games with 21 minutes in his first 10 games. He’s also posted just two goals and eight points in his last 17 games.

Copp is still a useful fantasy option due to his shot production and the fact he’s still playing top-six minutes for the Jets. That said, his point per game pace to start the season was more of a blip rather than a sign of a big breakout.

Alex Iafallo – LW – LA Kings

First 13GP – 6G-7A-13P / Next 12GP – 3G-0A-3P

A typical waiver wire floater every season, Alex Iafallo looked to have finally gained full-time roster status with his hot start to the 2021–22 season. Unfortunately though, he’s come crashing back down to earth over the last month.

To start the season, Iafallo was on fire, posting six goals and 13 points across his first 13 games. He posted at least one point in nine of those games, and at least two in three of them. Iafallo finally looked to be breaking out into a must-own option in fantasy riding a career-high 12.8 shooting percentage through his first 13 games.

Since then however, his shooting luck has fallen off and his production has nearly completely disappeared. Iafallo has just three goals and no assists for three points in his last 12 games, including a stretch of seven games without a point. He’s still generating a decent amount of shots with 32 shots in that span, however his shooting percentage has dropped back closer to his career average of 10.2% as it sat right around 9.3% over his previous 12 games.

Iafallo will always be a decent streamer option in fantasy, however his point-per-game production to start the season was not the norm for him and he should not be expected to bounce back to that pace anytime soon.

Tyler Bertuzzi – LW – Detroit Red Wings

First 10GP – 9G-6A-15P / Next 10GP – 0G-3A-3P

Tyler Bertuzzi has made lots of headlines this season, one for his public anti-vaccination stance and secondly for his blazing hot start to the season. One will have long lasting impact while the other will not.

In his first 10 games, Bertuzzi registered four multi-point games, including two four-point efforts. Over his first 10 games he posted a ridiculous nine goals and 15 points for the best start of his career. Since then however he has cooled off considerably. We listed Bertuzzi as a sell-high option just over a month ago.

In his last 10 games he has no goals and just three assists. Over those 10 games Bertuzzi has registered one or zero shots five times after getting at least two shots in eight of his first 10 games. He hasn’t scored since November 7th and to make matters worse he has been out since December 1st in COVID protocol.

Bertuzzi has never scored more than 21 goals in a season so it was crazy to assume he would keep up his pace from his first 10 games. He’s since regressed quickly and adding in the uncertainty caused by his vaccination status and the fact he is set to miss another six games minimum due to travel restrictions, his value has taken a big hit after a quick start.

Hit and miss

Sometimes a players hot start is a sign of a breakout and a big season to come. However more often than not, a hot start is just that—a hot start. Players like the ones listed above may have jumped out to fantasy relevance to start the season with their ownership skyrocketing, however they’ve come back down to Earth as the season has gone on showcasing that not all quick starts are sustainable.

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