An important aspect to success in any fantasy sport is to be able to buy-low and sell-high at the right time on specific players.
If you can turn a late-round pick or a waiver wire pick up into a viable fantasy asset for the rest of the season, you have come out ahead in the value game. Fantasy seasons are won with superstars and value, so if you can turn a value player into a superstar via trade, you are well on your way to building a successful team.
Here are a few buy-low, sell-high candidates that you should be looking at.
Tomas Hertl (F-SJS)
Before this goes any further, if you haven’t seen the goal scored by 19-year old rookie Tomas Hertl last night, take the time to do so. You’ll probably want to do it a few times.
The rookie is off to a scorching start, with six goals and seven points, both leading the NHL at this point in time. Keep this in mind:
- Hertl is shooting 46.2% to start the season. Daniel Winnik started last year shooting 45.4% through four games (five goals); he scored one goal his next 44 games. Vladimir Tarasenko started last year shooting 37.5% through his first two games (three goals). He scored 5 goals his next 36 games.
- Hertl has a 1200 PDO, which is a flashing-red-light-warning that a huge regression is coming. It’s obvious he can’t keep up scoring two goals every game, but his plus/minus rating won’t come close to sustaining itself either; he’s on pace to finish (+137) and the NHL single season record is +124 (Bobby Orr, 1970-1971).
I guarantee you will be able to wrest a Top-25 forward or Top-10 defenseman from someone in your league who is all hopped up on rookie juice. Take your gains now before he goes several games without a goal.
Semyon Varlamov (G-COL)
This is less of a sell-high than Hertl, but a sell-high nonetheless.
Varlamov has started the season off very strong with three straight wins and just three goals against on 91 shots against. This is an excellent start for a goalie who struggled mightily last year.
Again, things to keep in mind with Varlamov:
- He started last year with just five goals against in his first three games, including a shutout.
- He had three different stretches in 2011-2012 where he allowed three goals or less in three games (Dec.29-Jan.6; Feb22-27; Mar1-6). In other words, in an otherwise mediocre season, Varlamov had stretches where he was outstanding.
- Colorado, as expected, has been a middle-of-the-pack possession team to start the year, as they will be all year.
- He has a .961 even-strength save percentage and hasn’t allowed a power play goal yet. His numbers will come tumbling down as soon as these numbers regress to their mean.
Can Varlamov be a top-20 goalie this year? Sure, I don’t expect it but it’s possible. Is he going to be a Top-10 goalie? No. This is why it’s a perfect time to sell-high, maybe you can take advantage of a frustrated Pekka Rinne or Jonathan Quick owner.
Eric Staal (F-CAR)
There are worries down in Carolina that Eric Staal might not be the player he used to be after suffering a knee injury in the World Championships last year. The video is not for the squeamish.
Having watched the Hurricanes already this year, I don’t see Staal having any problem moving around. Some things to keep in mind when you think about Eric Staal:
- Every season except his rookie year and the lockout-shortened season, Staal tallied 24+ goals, 70+ points and averaged over 3 shots per game.
- Staal’s Quality of Competition is through the roof right now. Through their first three opponents, the Staal/Semin/Tlusty line has faced: The Giroux line from Philadelphia, the Alfredsson line from Detroit and the Crosby line from Pittsburgh. Things would be a lot worse had they been matched up against the Datsyuk line against Detroit (s/t to ShiftChart for their resource).
- The Hurricanes have a tough schedule to start the year: Their first seven games include Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago and Pittsburgh. After their meeting with Chicago this coming Tuesday, they face: TOR, NYI, MIN, COL, PIT, TBL, NYR, PHI, NYI, MIN, COL. The only real tough game in there is Pittsburgh. In other words, Staal has a good chance to go on a tear for several games, and you won’t be able to buy low after that.
There is nothing wrong with Eric Staal, just like there’s nothing wrong to offer a player like Mikhail Grabovski, Michael Grabner or Tomas Hertl to a panicking Staal owner.
Pekka Rinne (G-NSH)
Last night’s win may have slammed the window shut, but some people were panicking after his sluggish start, losing his first two games and getting pulled in one.
Here’s a dirty little secret: Rinne’s even-strength save percentage today is .937, and the highest it ever was for a season out of the previous three was .932. In other words, Rinne is playing just as well as he ever has.
The problem with Rinne (as it was last year) is the penalty killing. After setting a career-low save percentage on the penalty kill last year at .818, it’s .727 to start the year (three goals on 11 shots). This is a function of Nashville’s penalty kill being under 70% to start the year, a number that will climb at least 10% by the end of the season.
If there is any aspect that I expect the Predators to begin to correct it’s their defensive play, which includes penalty killing. If the Predators penalty killers can be around league average, it’s likely that Rinne finishes around a Top-5 goalie this year. I see no issues in Rinne’s movements that would suggest a lingering issue with his hip (an amateur observation), so see what it would take to acquire Rinne’s services. Maybe Semyon Varlamov?