Fantasy Q&A: Anderson or Lehner?

Every Monday, I’ll answer three fantasy questions as best I can. Tweet them to me @THNMattLarkin or write them in the comments below.

Every poolie needs advice once in a while. We want to know our blockbuster deal or surprising add/drop is the right thing to do, so we aren’t publicly ridiculed by our archrivals. We all know that sinking feeling after making a big move when the league message board lights up with “oh my god, terrible trade” or my personal favorite: “euwwwwww.”

Here’s hoping THN can help. Every Monday, I’ll answer three fantasy questions as best I can. Tweet them to me @THNMattLarkin or write them in the comments below.

To help me help you, tell me some specs of your league in your question (most important are league size and what stat categories you use).

Let’s begin!

1. At what point should I drop Craig Anderson and pick up Robin Lehner?
Conor McDonald (@Conor_McDonald)

I’ve always said goalies in fantasy hockey are like running backs in fantasy football. First, the talent pool is so tremendous that studs are easy to find. A Mike Smith or Sergei Bobrovsky emerges every year and a guy often excels as soon as the starter in front of him goes down. Look at what Frederik Andersen and Ben Scrivens have done.

Like with running backs, certain goalies have especially talented guys behind them, creating a must-handcuff situation. Arian Foster owners had to draft Ben Tate – and, to me, a shrewd Craig Anderson owner has to have Robin Lehner. Not only is Anderson becoming injury-prone, Lehner may be the league’s best backup. He has the ability (and temperament) to be the next Tuukka Rask.

If your league has a bench that lets you stash Anderson, GO GET LEHNER NOW. If you don’t have a bench, the decision is tougher. Does your league count volume stats like saves and wins? If so, you have to stick it out with the man getting the starts, fair or not: Anderson, who is still technically the No. 1 guy. But keep a close eye on the Senators, as coach Paul MacLean could change his mind any day. If your league is more about rate stats like goals-against average and save percentage, Lehner is already the superior option even if he plays less.

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2. Jason Garrison: drop or hold?
Tony Moores (@yeahthatginger)

Defensemen are the most overrated commodities in fantasy, with Erik Karlsson being the one true exception. The reason: a real-life superstar blueliner like Ryan Suter is still just a 45-point guy and in most leagues it’s easy to find someone who scores at that pace on the waiver wire. You could have paid through the nose for Shea Weber in the early rounds of a draft – or just picked up Cody Franson. Remember, it’s fantasy hockey, the place where Joe Corvo was once a star, not real-life hockey.

By that logic, I wouldn’t hesitate to cut bait on Garrison, assuming the league is shallow enough. It’s not like he has elite pedigree as an undrafted player who broke out in his late 20s. For all we know, his 16-goal year was a fluke.

3. Should I trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Corey Perry one of Semyon Varlamov/Josh Harding/Henrik Lundqvist for Sidney Crosby and Pekka Rinne?
Good Guy Kevin (@kevincovone)

No. Pekka Rinne’s recovery from his hip infection is not going well. He’s still probably weeks away and the situation is bad enough that he wasn’t speaking to the media about it (as of the last time I tried to reach him). So while Sidney Crosby is the best player in the game, you’re relying on him of all players to stay healthy while giving up a first-round fantasy talent in Corey Perry (who could be as valuable as Crosby on his own if your league counts hits and PIMs), a solid No. 2 fantasy center in Nugent-Hopkins and a stud goalie for an unhealthy one. Too much downside.

Now, it does sound like your opponent is desperate for goaltending. Why not offer Lundqvist plus ‘the Nuge’ just for Sid?