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Who to Start and Who to Sit in Week 11 Fantasy Hockey

It's about to get funky in the NHL this week, and your fantasy hockey team is going to be impacted in a big way. Jason Chen prepares you for the week that's ahead.
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Week 11 will run for two weeks since no games were scheduled from Dec. 24-26, and it’s a bit of relief since five teams (so far) have stopped play and any cross-border games have been postponed until after Boxing Day. With so many games postponed already, and perhaps more to come, knowing the schedule will be a huge advantage in head-to-head matchups.

Note that all four games on Dec. 22 have been postponed, and the busiest day will be Dec. 27 when the league returns to action with 28 of 32 teams participating. Since the 27th is a Monday, that also means a heavier slate on Wednesday and lighter slates on Tuesdays and Thursdays. New Year’s weekend will feature nine games on Saturday and eight on Sunday, and that should make for an interesting finish in close head-to-head matchups.

The Week 11 schedule matrix highlights in red games that have been postponed and accurate as of Sunday night. The Leafs and Canucks had their weekend games postponed, and it’s difficult to project what the league may do in the coming days.

In spite of all that, enjoy the holidays and be safe. See you when the calendar flips for Week 12.

Legend:

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.

Week 11

START

Dallas Stars

The Stars are one of seven teams to play a league-high six games in Week 11, but along with the Sabres they’re also only one of two teams who won’t be affected by any cross-border travel bans. Their six games are split evenly between home and road dates, and two of the road games – Arizona and Chicago – should be wins even if the Stars are 4-9-1 on the road. The schedule matrix has the different in points percentage between the Stars and their opponents at just 0.001, which is basically the definition of negligible, and some of the matchups – Minnesota on Monday and Colorado on New Year’s Eve, both at home – are near toss-ups.

John Klingberg is on a three-game point streak and their big line of Roope Hintz between Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski continue to do big things. The nice addition has been Jamie Benn, who has scored four points and won a team-high 44 faceoffs in his past seven games, though Tyler Seguin continues to struggle with just one goal. Rookie Riley Damiani scored in his NHL debut despite playing only 8:13, and the skilled undersized forward could get more looks; if he gets the call-up, he’d be a very intriguing streamer in leagues that emphasize scoring categories.

Philadelphia Flyers

The results are definitely better, but the best part is the Flyers are scoring again. They’re averaging 3.71 goals per game under Mike Yeo, a huge improvement over Alain Vigneault, who coaxed only 2.32 goals per game out of the same lineup, and ranked 28th at the time he was fired. Of the seven teams playing five games, they’re the only ones not scheduled to face a Canadian opponent, and it shouldn’t be a particularly tough road trip with stops in Seattle, San Jose and L.A.

Both Cam Atkinson and Travis Konecny have scored seven points in seven games under Yeo, making them fantasy-relevant again, and depth scorers Oskar Lindblom and James van Riemsdyk have also pitched in. Travis Sanheim leads the defensemen with six points, which is basically his entire season total, and Keith Yandle has provided four helpers on the power play.

A surprise has been Max Willman, a fifth-round pick from 2014 who has managed to finally make his way into the NHL even though it did take some time; Willman will turn 27 in two months and is too old to be considered a rookie even by the league’s generous standards. He might’ve been a sneaky pick up had he not been placed on the COVID last over the weekend. The other has been Jackson Cates, who does qualify as a rookie at 24 years old and scored a goal in his second game, but plays very limited minutes on the fourth line.

Tampa Bay Lightning

They rank No. 1 on the schedule matrix, anyway, but the big advantage they have over everyone else is they play on Dec. 28, when only seven other teams are in action, and play back-to-back on Dec. 30 and 31, two of the other nights that week with lighter slates. This will allow fantasy managers to make easier decisions on nights with a lot of games where it won’t be difficult to fill out a full roster, and also allow them to score key points when their opponents may have fewer active players.

Steven Stamkos should be in the MVP conversation more (though the race is crowded), but it also means that AHL graduates Taylor Raddysh, Ross Colton, Mathieu Joseph, Boris Katchouk and Gabriel Fortier may all play bigger roles. Raddysh, who has scored two goals and four points in his past five games, is of particular interest, playing on the top power-play unit though note that he is playing fourth-line minutes at even strength with Katchouk and Riley Nash. Colton and Joseph have played far more minutes on the scoring lines, and their fantasy value will depend on where they get slotted, though Jon Cooper seems to really prefer Joseph with Stamkos and Ondrej Palat.

AVOID

Cross-border games

The league has essentially suspended international travel for the time being, and if that ban is extended, it means two teams in particular may not play any games at all after the break: the Canucks and Habs. All of their games will require at least one team to travel across the border, and if the ban does get extended into 2022, neither team will have placed since mid-December. That’s just going to make the Habs’ season feel much longer than it already does, and the Canucks may lose some momentum after going 6-0-0 under Bruce Boudreau.

Seattle Kraken

The Kraken ranked first for lowest opponents’ point percentage at 0.466, thanks to games against Arizona and Philadelphia, but note that three of their five games will be against Canadian opponents, and those games could be postponed if the cross-border travel ban is extended. That would knock the Kraken down to just two games over the next two weeks, and they’ve hardly been a desirable fantasy option this season with mediocre scoring and poor goaltending. They’re just not a good team, and unlike Vegas in their inaugural season, have yet to see any Kraken player really exceed expectations.

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