Week 4 is officially done which wraps up the first month of the season. The final week of the month was a productive one, particularly if you had Penguins on your fantasy team. The Pens outscored the opposition in week 4 by a count of 16-3 and we'll have much more on the week the Penguins had in the stud section. On the contrary, the Stars endured a pretty rough week, dropping all 3 games they played with only four goals scored in those games, so the Stars will be a big feature on the dud section this week.
A couple of honorable studs and duds that didn’t make the list this week include Tampa’s Russian winger Nikita Kucherov who enjoyed the best week of his career, as the 21 year old put up 5 points in three games. His biggest game came against the Arizona Coyotes, recording his first career hat-trick. His line mate Tyler Johnson was a stud as well, putting up 6 assists for the week, as the Lightning created some serious scoring depth in week 4. T.J. Brodie is another player who continues to shine, as he's been an absolute stud so far. This week, the Flames defensemen put up a stellar 5 points for the week, as the Flames have surprised many with their start this season and Brodie is a big reason. If he is somehow still available, get him fast. On the other side of the spectrum, Erik Karlsson had a pretty rough week for the Sens, as his plus minus took a massive hit. Karlsson was a minus 5 for the week, and the Sens captain had a particularly rough night in a 4-2 to loss against the Bruins, being on the ice for all 4 goals. Now let us check out who made the list of fantasy hockey’s 5 studs and 5 duds for week 4.
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10 STUDS: Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk & Justin Abdelkader (6G, 8A, +10)
Everything changed for the Wings heading into the third against the Capitals, as with the Wings down 2-1 with not much going offensively, Mike Babcock shuffled the lines going wih Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Abdelkader. This line dominated the third, scoring all 3 goals for the Wings en route to a 4-2 victory in Washington. The line continued its dominance for the rest of the week, scoring more than half the goals for the entire team. With Datsyuk and Zetterberg finally 100%, along with a hungry Justin Abdelkader, look for this line to potentially dominate every night. My advice for fantasy team’s needing to change things up would be to hit the free agency market and take a serious look at Abdelkader, as playing with these two studs will benefit him greatly.
9 DUD: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (0G, 3A, -6)
There is no doubt this guy is a stud who puts up huge minutes on a nightly basis, but sadly his plus minus rating has taken a beating this season. The Arizona defensemen had another rough week in the plus minus column, particularly against the Lightning where he was a minus 4 on the night. Ekman-Larsson currently sits last in the league with a minus 13 rating. The defensemen posses some great offensive skill from the back and is off to a decent start points-wise with 8, but his plus minus numbers have taken an absolute beating, making him a dud for the week.
8 STUD: Phil Kessel (2G, 4A, +6)
Like we've seen with Phil in the past, this guy comes in waves. In week 4 Kessel was an absolute stud, leading the Leafs to a perfect 3-0 week. Kessel was in on 6 of Toronto’s 11 goals during the team's three game sweep of the week. A change of line has sparked Kessel in a positive way, so our advice is to ride this guy every night while he’s hot. Fantasy team’s that have Kessel will get plenty of chances to do so in week 5, as Phil and the Leafs will see plenty of action (4 games in 6 nights).
7 DUD: Matt Duchene (0G, 2A, -3)
It’s been difficult for the Avalanche to sustain any momentum this season and a big part of that has to do with their two superstars, Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon. It seems like when one is going, the other one isn’t. Nathan finally seems to be catching heat after a disappointing start, with 4 goals in his last 3 games along with an assist. Duchene instead was ice-cold, despite playing 5 games in week 4, as he failed to register a goal while picking up only 2 assists.
6 STUD: Marc-Andre Fleury (3W, 0L, 1.00 GAA)
What a week for the Pens and Fleury, as they went 3-0 with two shutouts in the process. No goalie in the league is hotter than Fleury at the moment, as since losing to Philly on Oct.22 ,he has picked up three shutouts in 4 starts while going a perfect 4-0. Fleury currently leads the league in shutouts and sits in second with seven wins. The Pens netminder is a must start for any team every single night, and is a strong candidate to finish the season with the most wins.
5 DUD: Kari Lehtonen (0W, 3L, 3.33 GAA)
Kari Lehtonen was picked by fantasy teams with the expectations that the goalie would start a lot and win a lot. One of those has been true so far, as Kari has started nine out of the Stars' eleven games. Unfortunately, he hasn’t won very much, registering only 4 wins in the month of October. Week 4 was certainly his worst so far, as the Stars didn't win a game and Lehtonen gave up a bunch of goals in the process. Look for Lehtonen to get many opportunities to make up for this dud week.
4 STUDS: LINE OF THE WEEK- Chris Kunitz , Sidney Crosby & Patric Hornqvist (8G, 10A, +12)
One piece of advice to teams playing Pittsburgh is to stay out of the penalty box. The Penguins have wreaked havoc so far on the power play, sitting at an incredible 41.9% efficiency. The unit featuring Crosby, Hornqvist, and Kunitz was money in week 4, picking up 18 points combined in three games. The unit was aided immensely by Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin dominating on the points during the team's power play. Under new head coach Mike Johnston the Pens are scoring a lot of goals and you should continue to ride these studs in the weeks to come.
3 DUDS: Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza & Tyler Seguin (1G, 3A, +1)
After playing like absolute studs to start the season, this trio of Stars finally hit a wall in week 4. The fortunes for the Stars top unit changed at the end of week 3, when the line combined for a minus 11 against the Islanders. That dud performance transferred into this week, as the team dropped all 3 games while seeing the team’s top unit only score once. This shows how important these three are to the success of the team, as week 4 was a big dud week for both the team and the trio.
2 STUD: Vladimir Tarasenko (5G, 1A, +6)
This was a solid week for the young Russian, as he picked up 5 goals on the week with a hat-trick against the Stars and a two goal performance against the Avalanche. The Blues went 3-0 this week, in large part to Tarasenko who was a part of six of the team's nine goals. Vladimir has shown some great chemistry with new linemates Alex Steen and Jori Lehtera and we may be seeing the beginning of a huge star being born in St. Louis.
1 DUD: John Tavares (1G, 0A, -3)
The expectations were incredibly high for Tavares coming into the season, and the captain of the Islanders was a definite first round pick in all fantasy hockey pools. Tavares started out the season at a 2 point per game pace, but unfortunately for John and his fantasy owners, the last seven games have been pretty tough with Tavares recording only 3 points along with a minus 5 rating. This week was not only tough for Tavares, but for the entire team, as they dropped all 3 games while scoring only 4 times. The Islanders are going through a little bit of a rough patch at the moment after starting the season on fire, but you should still expect Tavares to get back on track.
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