We’re halfway through the season and last time we’ve already picked out some of the most surprising and disappointing fantasy hockey players, multi-category contributors in roto leagues and rookies making an outsized impact.
Here’s the final piece in the five-part series, featuring players that could find themselves regressing as the season comes to a close:
Evan Rodrigues, C/RW, Penguins (Pre-season: 379, 57% rostered)
Rodrigues’ fantasy value comes mostly from his offense and he’s found an expanded role on Pittsburgh, filling in for injured key players at times and has since solidified his spot in the top-six given his strong first-half performance. However, we might be seeing a pause in the 28-year-old’s breakout season, with just two assists in his past 10 games. Maybe he’ll heat back up again, but the Pens have a healthy top line and both Evgeni Malkin and Jeff Carter seem to be ahead of him in the pecking order, potentially taking shooting opportunities away from him. Fantasy managers may want to see if they can trade Rodrigues while his fantasy value is still somewhat high, having already established a new career-high in points (32) but also with a slightly inflated 10.9 shooting percentage relative to his career average (8.2 S%) and known for being a high-volume but inefficient shooter.
Andrew Mangiapane, LW/RW, Flames (Pre-season: 309, 51% rostered)
Mangiapane scored 15 goals in 22 games during the first months of the season but has just one goal in all of January. He’s become far less popular in fantasy already, but you wonder how much more his production can fall. He’s an effective player around the net and isn’t afraid to score the garbage goals, but his career 16.8 shooting percentage does seem a little high for a player who doesn’t possess an elite shot. When he’s not scoring goals, Mangiapane has relatively little fantasy value, especially in roto leagues because he doesn’t shoot often enough to be considered a high-volume shooter and collects modest totals in hits and blocked shots.
Chris Kreider, LW/RW, Rangers (Pre-season: 126, 93% rostered)
Kreider is a fantastic player but he’s having such a brilliant outlier season that you wonder if he can keep up this pace. The Rangers grade very poorly according to naturalstattrick.com’s possession metrics, ranking last in 5v5 CF% and bottom-five in 5v5 xGF% for much of the season, and other than Kaapo Kakko’s 5v5 xGF%, everyone else is below 50 percent. Kreider’s 30 goals put him in contention for the Rocket Richard, but note a lot of that has been buoyed by a top-10 power play where Kreider has scored half of his 30 goals. His 5-on-5 numbers (7.55 on-ice S%, 1.004 PDO) are relatively modest, but the power play is where he’s been excelling, scoring nearly seven more goals than expected and ranking ninth in on-ice S% (min. 100 PP TOI). No other five-man power-play unit has generated more high-danger chances than Kreider with Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. Kreider’s scoring pace will be impacted by how the Rangers PP fares the rest of the season, but it’s like we’re seeing peak efficiency with Kreider right now, and – usually – when you get to the top of the proverbial mountain, the only way left to go is down.
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