Each week, Jordan will attempt to provide you with guidance and inside information as you pick your Hockey Night in Canada fantasy pool roster presented by Kia, with a focus on finding "sleeper" picks to help fill the roster when cap space is low.
Stats reflect games through Oct. 25.
Week 5 begins on Oct. 29 and its time to ask yourself: "Where is my team sitting in the standings?"
I think the key to winning this pool is to develop a core of reliable fantasy players while identifying trends and hot streaks that you can use to fill out your supporting cast. If you can do that, you will get results, and perhaps at the end of the first half contest you might find yourself behind the wheel of a brand new 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid!
There's a lot to cover this week, let’s start between the pipes and go forward with my choices for your Week 5 sleepers.
This pool rewards owners with two points for a win and three points for a shutout win. Consideration has to be made for how many times a goalie will see action in any given week.
This week there are elite goalies you might want to stay away from due to the amount of games they will play. I would not start Carey Price (MTL), Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT), Tim Thomas (BOS), and Kari Lehtonen (DAL). They all play two games and you can find better options with guys who will give you more starts, and more chances to earn fantasy points.
At one end of the spectrum, in a four-game week, it’s normal to expect a starting goalie to play three games. This means, as a rule of thumb, you should aim for each of your goalies to get three starts per week. That is why it’s worth steering clear of goalies whose teams play twice in a scoring week and to instead latch on to a guy whose team plays more.
This week I like Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford as one of your starters. Chicago is off to a typically strong start with a 5-1-2 record through eight games. Crawford has notched four wins and two overtime losses. That means you would have earned fantasy points in six of his seven starts so far this season. In Week 5, Chicago has four games (vs. CBJ, vs. NAS, @ FLA, and @ TB).
I think Crawford starts the first three games and then sits Friday in Tampa Bay. That would give him games against two of the weaker Western Conference offenses and then a rebuilding team in the Florida Panthers. His player value of ‘3’ points is a worthy investment and consideration should also be given to making Crawford your goalie ‘3-Star’ this week.
This week it’s a no-brainer, if you haven’t had your head stuck in the sand over the first month of NHL action you would know a few things about the 2011-12 Ottawa Senators.
You would know that pretty much every sports media outlet has them finishing 15th in the Eastern Conference and you would also know that they are icing one of the NHL's younger rebuilding squads (27.064 years of age, 12th in NHL).
This might make an owner steer clear of Senators players in other fantasy pools where skaters accumulate points based on multiple categories but in this pool, it’s strictly a goals and assists affair. With that in mind, go ahead and spend ‘2’ player value points on Ottawa’s young Swede Erik Karlsson.
Karlsson is tied for second amongst defense in points (nine) and leads his team in time on ice (24:41 per game). Last year Karlsson managed 45 points in 75 games and with his status as top defencemen on the power play I see no reason why he won’t improve on that total this season.
As an added bonus, Karlsson gets to play in four games this week, with two on the road (@ NYR, @BOS) and two at home (vs. TOR, vs. MTL).
When it comes to sourcing out a cheap forward who fits your dwindling player value points you can find steals that will only cost you ‘1’ point.
The key to landing the steal is to look first at the amount of games played in the scoring week. When considering top guys like Daniel and Henrik Sedin, or Alex Ovechkin, you don’t mind if their teams only play two or three games. This attitude will change when you have ‘2’ player value points left to spend yet still need to fill two forward spots.
This is not the time to stress out, just keep reading, and all will be OK. I promise.
My sleeper forward for Week 5 is Ottawa's Milan Michalek. He can join your team for a pedestrian ‘1’ player value point and should hit the ice four times (@ NYR, vs. TOR, @ BOS, vs. MTL). Michalek has points in six of his nine games played, with a trio of multi-point contests. Another reason to like him is because he plays the left side along with Jason Spezza (12 points in nine games), and Daniel Alfredsson (five points in eight games). The top line for Ottawa is thriving and owners should take advantage of this.
That’s all from me for this week, don’t forget to have your rosters set in time for the Saturday 3pm deadline.