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.
Player: RW Justin Williams, Kings
Ownership: 17 percent Yahoo!, 4.2 percent ESPN.
Optimism: Williams tallied an assist and four shots on goal in a 4-2 loss at the Rangers last night. He has six points (one goal, five assists) in six games, not to mention a +3 mark and four penalty minutes on a Kings team averaging 3.50 goals per game (ranking eighth). Scoring right wings do not grow on trees in fantasy; and Williams continues to skate on the top line with C Anze Kopitar and LW Ryan Smyth. A former first-round pick, Williams is only 28 years old.
Skepticism: Williams has never sustained a point-per-game pace in his career, nor has he distinguished himself in any fantasy category save for shots on goal. Of course, that’s why he’s still so widely available.
Player: D Brett Clark, Avalanche
Ownership: 2 percent Yahoo!, 1.2 percent ESPN.
Optimism: Avalanche D John-Michael Liles (bruised right shoulder) is out two weeks, according to Adrian Dater in the Denver Post. The Avalanche lead the NHL with six power play goals. D Kyle Quincey (one goal, five assists, four PPP) has been the story, but Clark is not far behind (one goal, three assists, four PPP). It is easy to forget that the 32-year-old veteran posted serviceable fantasy seasons with the Avalanche in 2005-06 and 2006-07.
Skepticism: Clark has never finished with more than 40 points in a season and Liles is only out for two weeks.
Player: LW Steve Sullivan, Predators
Ownership: 17 percent Yahoo!, 9.7 percent ESPN
Optimisim: A point-per-game scorer in 2003-04, 2005-06 and 2006-07, Sullivan is skating on the first line with C Jason Arnott and RW Patric Hornqvist. That means it’s just a matter of time before his ESPN league eligibility becomes RW/LW and makes him a bench asset. (Sullivan is currently a RW in ESPN leagues.)
Skepticism: Sullivan has not scored in his last three games. Like his teammates, played atrociously in last night’s 6-0 loss at Dallas.