Each week, Jordan will try to provide you with guidance and inside information as you pick your lineup in the Hockey Night in Canada Fantasy Pool presented by Kia, with a focus on finding "sleeper" picks to help fill the roster when cap space is low.

This week marks the start of the second half contest in CBC's Hockey Night in Canada Fantasy Pool presented by Kia. The second-half winner will drive away with a 2012 Kia Sorrento!

I want to welcome all the new poolies who have signed up to test their luck and skill as the second-half contest begins. Each week you will have to set your lineup by picking six forwards, four defencemen and two goalies. Each player is assigned a player value and your total team value cannot exceed 30. Once a valid team is chosen, you must choose a "star player" for each of your forwards, defencemen, and goalies. Any points earned by these chosen players are doubled. Forwards and defencemen are awarded one point for each goal and assist. Goalies are given two points for a win, one point for an overtime/shootout loss, and three points for a shutout win.

As part of the start of the second-half contest, many player values have been increased or decreased to reflect in-season performance. This week I want to focus on those changes and how they will affect your fantasy teams.

Goalies

Here are all the goalie changes in player value prior to the start of the second-half contest.

Jimmy Howard (DET), Pekka Rinne (NSH) and Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) have all been increased from a player value of 3 to a 4. Increasing in player value from a 2 to a 3 are Mike Smith (PHO), Jose Theodore (FLA), Brian Elliott (STL), Johan Hedberg (NJ), and Ray Emery (CHI).

On the other side of things, Carey Price (MTL) has dropped from a 4 to a 3. Dwayne Roloson (TB), Michal Neuvirth (WAS), Steve Mason (CBJ), Dan Ellis (ANA) and Antero Niittymaki (SJ) were dropped down to a player value of 2.

All in all there are some interesting changes here. I usually would allot 7 points for my goalies, but I may have to consider increasing that to 8 as the options are very slim for goalies valued 3 or less.

Defence

I think defence is an area most owners were able to exploit during the first-half contest.  Many solid fantasy players were assigned a low rating. Here are a few highlights for defencmen who have had their player values changed.

Increasing to a 3 are Erik Karlsson (OTT), Kris Letang (PIT) and Brian Campbell (FLA).  Increasing to a 2 are Marc-Andre Bergeron (TB), Dmitry Kulikov (FLA) and Nick Leddy (CHI). Players decreasing to a value of 2 are Nicklas Lidstrom (DET), Keith Yandle (PHO) and Lubomir Visnovsky (ANA).

Notable defencemen who may have fantasy value in the second half that decreased to a value of 1 are Mark Giordano (CGY), Jordan Leopold (BUF), Alex Pietrangelo (STL), Grant Clitsome (CBJ) and Tyler Myers (BUF). 

I usually try to budget a total player value of 6 for all four of my defencemen picks, so the second half will be about trying to see which low-valued guys can provide big time points.

Forward

This position saw over 80 players change value from the first-half contest to the second-half contest. Here are the highlights of these changes.

Players decreasing from a 4 to a 3 are Pavel Datsyuk (DET), Patrick Kane (CHI), Corey Perry (ANA), Brad Richards (NYR), Martin St Louis (TB), Ryan Getzlaf (ANA), Jarome Iginla (CGY), Alex Ovechkin (WAS) and Henrik Zetterberg (DET). Notable players decreasing to a value of 2 are Jeff Skinner (CAR), Mike Ribeiro (DAL), Alex Tanguay (CGY) and Matt Duchene (COL).

Players increasing to a value of 4 are Claude Giroux (PHI), Evgeni Malkin (PIT) and Phil Kessel (TOR).

Notable guys who have increased to 3 are Joffrey Lupul (TOR), Jason Pominville (BUF), Thomas Vanek (BUF), Kris Versteeg (FLA), Scott Hartnell (PHI) and James Neal (PIT).  The biggest increases, from a 1 to a 3, were Tyler Seguin (BOS) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM).

As you can see above, there were lots of opportunities in the first half to take advantage of low-valued guys as they piled up high point totals. As the second contest begins, it will be even more important to follow my weekly updates as I try to steer you through your team selections while staying under the cap.

The top three surprises of the player value increases/decreases that owners should capitalize on are Eric Staal, Alex Ovechkin, and Corey Perry. All three of these guys have a proven history of being fantasy relevant and may perhaps have been victims of playing on weaker teams than anything else.

Next week I will continue with my usual recommendations, but for now good luck with this week’s selections and remember to have your rosters set in time for the deadline on Saturday, January 14 at 12:30 p.m. ET.