Every Thursday, the Genius will list three players to monitor for fantasy relevance. As a rule, all the players will be owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo! and ESPN leagues.
Ownership: 39 percent Yahoo!, 33.6 percent ESPN.
Tonight: The Flyers host the Penguins at 7 pm EST.
Optimism: Following his four assist gem (two PP) on Tuesday night in the Flyers 6-5 win vs. the Capitals, Carle was endorsed as an immediate add by Yahoo!’s Scott Pianowski. There’s little risk in dropping a No. 4 defenseman to give Carle a trial run. The difference in productivity between a rostered No. 4 blue-liner and the best D-man in the free agent pool is usually negligible.
Skepticism: Is there enough fantasy productivity to go around between Carle and Flyers D Kimmo Timonen, who notched 40 assists last year (26 PP), along with a +19 and 53 penality minutes? A fantasy mainstay since his breakout 2000-01 campaign with the Predators, Timonen is as steady as they come, statistically. He already has one goal and three assists this year. Tonight, you’ll want to watch if he continues taking a scoring backseat to Carle; or if there are, indeed, enough points to go around for both players.
Ownership: 11 percent Yahoo!, five percent ESPN.
Tonight: The Wild visit the Kings at 10:30 pm EST.
Optimism: As recently as 2006-07, the 36-year-old Brunette was a point-per-game stallion (27 goals, 56 assists in 82 games) and PP ace (nine PPG, 27 PPA) with the Avalanche. Teamed with free-agent acquisition RW Martin Havlat and shot machine C Mikko Koivu, Brunette is positioned for a late-career breakout. In fact, Puck Daddy has dubbed this line “always dangerous,” including them in the second tier of his line rankings. In the Wild’s first two games Brunette has tallied two goals and one assist, all of which came on the PP.
Skepticism: Brunette has not topped 60 points in either of the last two seasons, though he exceeded 80 games in each campaign. He is not a contributor when it comes to +/- and penalty minutes. Moreover, as a LW, it is not as if he plays a position where fantasy talent is scarce. All of this also explains why he is only 11 percent owned in Yahoo! and, therefore, qualified for our watch list.
Player: Darcy Tucker, RW, Avalanche
Ownership: Six percent Yahoo!, 3.4 percent ESPN.
Optimism: With a goal in each of Colorado’s first two games (one PP), the 34-year-0ld Tucker is giving us shades of his 2005-06 heyday, when with Toronto he notched 28 goals and 33 assists in 74 games. Those stats, on their own, are not super impressive, until you couple them with Tucker’s 100 PIMs, 36 PPPs (18 and 18), and 189 shots on goal from that season. This year, Tucker is playing LW on the third line with C T.J. Galiardi and RW Chris Stewart, both of whom are at least 12 years younger than he. The good news, however, is that Tucker should soon have RW/LW eligibility. Also, it feels as if the Avalanche have already exceeded their low expectations, knocking off San Jose and Vancouver in their first two games.
Skepticism: Though Galiardi and Stewart are young and gifted, in fantasy terms they are JAGs until they prove otherwise. For that matter, so is Tucker, who was so useless last season he only compiled 16 points and 67 PIMs in 63 games. Of course, as Rotoworld reminds us, Tucker’s father was in poor health. A veteran with Tucker’s track record should not be judged too harshly for one subpar season.