It’s a jam-packed Week 24 with 10 games each on Tuesday and Thursday, and then a week-high 12 games on Saturday. Monday (four games), Wednesday and Friday (five each) and Sunday (seven) will be much quieter, so fantasy managers should focus on teams playing on those nights to make up some ground, which include St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Winnipeg.
Three teams have 11 games remaining – Anaheim, L.A. and Vegas – and 11 teams have 14 remaining. With the season slated to end on April 29, managers in head-to-head leagues have to remain even more cognizant of the upcoming schedule. Note that in Yahoo leagues, the default schedule has a regular seven-day week for Week 25 that runs April 11-17 and then a 12-day week for Week 26 that runs April 18-29. It’d be wise to think about teams that have the most games remaining to ensure you’re getting the most volume.
P% = season points percentage
Opp. P% = opponents’ season points percentage
Diff. = difference between P% and Opp. P%
Green is good. Red is bad. All advanced stats courtesy naturalstatrick.com.
They have a home-and-home series against the Sabres, who have lost four of their past six but should not be underestimated thanks to their impressive young core and a very good top line. However, after a road visit to Buffalo on Tuesday, the Canes will play their remaining three games at home where they’re 25-6-4, tied for second for most wins at home. It’s a good idea to stack up on some Canes depth for Week 24, and note both Martin Necas and Nino Niederreiter have scored four goals in seven games over the past two weeks. Tony DeAngelo usually spearheads the offense from the blue line, but Jaccob Slavin (6 assists in 7 games), Ian Cole (4 assists), Brady Skjei (4 points) and Brett Pesce (3 points) have also gotten in on the action.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Their goaltending is a mess but at least they’ll get their toughest game out of the way early in the week on Monday against the Bruins. Without Zach Werenski, expect their defensive numbers to crater and the goaltending continue to be a huge headache, but two games against the Flyers and another against the Wings will provide a lot of offensive opportunities. Jack Roslovic’s production has been modest even though he plays on the top line, and second-line pivot Cole Sillinger has zero goals on 19 shots during his nine-game goal drought, but the feeling is that both players may be able to break through against easier competition. Even lesser-known names, such as Justin Danforth (2 goals in 6 games) and Yegor Chinakhov (2 points in 6 games), should be able to provide some pop on offense. The games against the Flyers, in particular, should be high-scoring affairs. Their only previous meeting this season was a 2-1 win for the Jackets in January, but both Elvis Merzlikins and Carter Hart have struggled since then.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks rank 25th on the schedule matrix and went 0-3-0 this past week so, naturally, there’s very little confidence in them and it’s probably warranted. However, there’s enough reason to think they can perhaps sweep their three-game week; the Oilers’ goaltending continues to be very suspect, they’re 3-0-0 against the Flames this season with 13 goals scored, and the Canucks’ playoff push has really fizzled lately with their inability to defend or score goals consistently. There are some sneaky options on their roster, starting with Alexander Barabanov, who has scored five points in six games playing on the top line with Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier; Noah Gregor, who ranks third on the team with 15 shots in his past six games; and both bottom-six forwards Sasha Chmelevski and Scott Reedy, top scorers in the AHL who are developing into NHL regulars with Reedy getting some valuable playing time with the second power-play unit.
Roman Josi’s record-setting point streak is over, and it’s somewhat concerning Juuse Saros is just 10-10-0 with a .907 Sv% since Feb. 1. That save percentage ranks 22nd out of 45 goalies (min. 10 GP), and being in the middle of the pack is not going to help Saros win games. Scoring shouldn’t be a problem so the Preds’ forwards are safe, but there will definitely be some concern with Saros facing three teams with elite offensive players in Minnesota, Florida and Pittsburgh, and a sneaky-good offensive team in Ottawa. If Saros can escape Week 24 with even two wins, that should be a pretty good result.
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