Special to Yahoo Sports
Sundays are usually exciting when it comes to weekly fantasy matchups, but it's tough to follow the late games when you're old and can't stay awake past 9 p.m. That's where the exciting early Monday boxscore check comes in to announce your fate. Did your wishing help? Or did your opponent eke out a win thanks to a last-second goal/assist/save/hit/non-appearance?
(Don't talk to me about close results, as I once dropped to second in a roto league when another team picked up an assist in the last minute of the last period of the last game of the season.)
Hoping won't bring you success. It's the regular planning and detail/media attention that provide a solid base. A random guess may eventually stick or a missed move could somehow turn the tide, but your best chance to do well is to be aware of what's going on and apply that to your teams.
And what better way to prepare than with the latest player news on RotoWire and our hockey content to set your lineups and manage your rosters.
If you're lucky, some of these NHLers will still be available on the waiver wire.
Fine, you don't have to be lucky — just quicker than others.
(Yahoo rostered rates/stats as of Feb. 25.)
Evgenii Dadonov, OTT (32 percent rostered)
Ottawa ranks low in a few defensive stats, but there's plenty of potential on the offensive end. The strong youth core up front has naturally received most of the attention, though a couple of veterans would also like to be noticed. One is Dadonov, who's coming off three consecutive 25-plus-goal seasons with Florida. He's up to six tallies on the campaign while skating 17 minutes a night, including a prime position on the Sens' top power play.
Brock Nelson, NYI (29 percent)
Nelson makes his way into this column every year, though that's probably because the center position is deep and he's not considered an elite producer. Eight points in 18 games might not be enticing, but there's been recent promise with three goals — including two on the man-advantage — from the last five. Nelson notched 26 goals and 28 assists during the abbreviated 2019-20 schedule and 25/28 the previous year, so a prolonged scoring run seems more likely than a slump.
Mats Zuccarello, MIN (27 percent)
Surgery, schmurgery. It only took two appearances for Zuccarello to shake off a November procedure on his right arm and hit the scoresheet with an assist. The veteran winger has piled up nine points across five since returning, highlighted by a goal and three assists Monday. One could argue Zuccarello's latest scoring haul is mainly the result of playing weaker West Division opponents, but a proven track record and Kirill Kaprizov as a linemate should convince you otherwise.
Trevor Zegras, ANH (23 percent)
The Ducks can't consistently score and Zegras has dominated at all other levels, so it was only a matter of time before he got called up. No points in either of his first two, but the slick moves and significant power-play time are encouraging. Zegras offers all the tools to become a top forward and is long gone in dynasty leagues, so it's not a question of whether you should add him to your team in other formats but rather WHY HAVEN'T YOU ALREADY?!?
Alex Tuch, VGK (21 percent)
Tuch posted two solid seasons to start his Vegas career, though injuries prevented him from making it three in a row. He quietly racked up 10 points from the opening 12 contests on the third line, while a two-goal performance Monday having just been installed on the top trio thrust him back into the spotlight. There's a chance Tuch could slip down the depth chart, but let's not forget he was already producing before the promotion. (NOTE: Vegas's game against San Jose on Thursday is postponed.)
Pavel Zacha, NJ (8 percent)
How is a first liner who's riding a seven-game point streak available in more than 90 percent of Yahoo leagues? That'll happen when you're on the Devils since most of their players often get overlooked. Zacha has slowly built up his game since being selected sixth overall in 2015 and looks like a legit power forward — at least on the offensive side. And if you require PPPs, he's accumulated four on Jersey's first group.
Eeli Tolvanen, NSH (1 percent)
After being touted as a top draftee in 2017 and then slipping to No. 30, things haven't gone so well for Tolvanen in North America. He didn't receive many opportunities with the Preds his first two seasons and mainly saw action in the AHL. With Nashville apparently going through a rebuild, Tolvanen is earning the chance to make his mark and finally came through with a power-play goal (on the top unit), three shots, and three hits Tuesday. That may only be one performance, but it's at least a positive step in the right direction.
Alex Chiasson, EDM (1 percent)
Chiasson went scoreless in his first seven games and subsequently found himself on both the taxi squad and waivers. Thankfully, he wasn't claimed and has managed to turn things around with three goals and three assists. Following a two-goal outburst against the Jets, Chiasson was promoted to the Oilers' premier power play and has produced a pair of PPPs. The big winger doesn't offer much else, but he should stay in that special-teams situation considering he combined for 28 PPPs the last two years.
Radko Gudas, FLA (35 percent)
Let's not hide the truth: Gudas is only good for one thing. He's decent for blocks and likes to mix it up at times, but you're really adding him for hits. Gudas leads all NHL regulars averaging 5.4 a game and put up 10 and nine in consecutive contests at the beginning of the month. He only helps in leagues that count secondary physical stats and has hypothetically enhanced his cause with 14 shots on goal in the last five.
Jordan Oesterle, ARI (3 percent)
Oesterle has mainly operated as a fringe power-play specialist in recent years and that's historically reflected in equally sparse coverage numbers. After Oliver Ekman-Larsson went down, Oesterle earned a bigger role and totaled five points in three weeks. It was assumed he'd revert to a lesser position when the captain returned, but it appears the two have joined forces on the Coyotes' second power play. Oesterle represents a niche D pick for points and PPPs while contributing a few blocks.
Cam Fowler, ANH (2 percent)
When Fowler debuted with 40 points as a teenager, one could've envisioned a multi-All Star and potential Norris Trophy career. Unfortunately, that scoring figure was never met or surpassed in any of the next nine seasons. And it appeared similar disappointment would continue this campaign with only three points from the first 14 matchups. Fowler has recovered during the latest run when he's racked up a goal and five helpers — with two of the latter coming while up a man. There's not much of an attacking blueline threat in Anaheim outside of Kevin Shattenkirk, so Fowler shouldn't have to worry about receiving offensive opportunities.
Jake Bean, CAR (1 percent)
Even with respectable output from Brett Pesce and Jake Gardiner, Carolina has lacked a reliable secondary point-producing defenseman behind Dougie Hamilton. Enter Bean, who went off for 23 goals and 69 assists across two AHL seasons but only made two appearances with the Canes over that stretch. He had to bide his time on the taxi squad for most of the current schedule, though he's since picked up five assists in six games. Bean's ice time may be a bit low and there's no guarantee of a full-time role, but he's at least proving he can be counted upon for offense.
Brian Elliott, PHI (30 percent)
Something has looked off with Carter Hart this season. Whether it's the six goals he's allowed twice (!) to the Bruins or the substandard .891 save percentage, there's potential to be worried. Hart will eventually recover and become the world-beating goalie he was destined to be, but Elliott has at least found an opening and is running with it to the tune of a 4-1 record complemented by a 2.37 GAA and .922 save percentage. So, until Hart finds that groove again, Elliott qualifies as a serviceable option.
Pekka Rinne, NSH (28 percent)
Juuse Saros was given the chance to grab control of the Preds' No. 1 job, but he's been awful this year, having given up at least four goals in four of 10 outings. That leaves 38-year-old Rinne with the bulk of the duty and he's posted a 2.13/.926 line — along with his first shutout Tuesday — over the last month. Nashville is planning for the next generation, but Saros is going to have to do a lot if he wants to reclaim the lead from Rinne.
(Players to consider from past columns: Jack Roslovic, Jordan Staal, Conor Garland, Vincent Trocheck, Dustin Brown, Zach Hyman, William Karlsson, Jordan Kyrou, Roope Hintz, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Carter Verhaeghe, David Krejci, Paul Stastny, Alex Iafallo, Alex Killorn, Nick Ritchie, Tim Stutzle, Chandler Stephenson, Matt Dumba, Rasmus Andersson, Josh Morrissey, Noah Dobson, Devon Toews, Nick Leddy, Filip Hronek, Kevin Lankinen, Chris Driedger, Mike Smith, Kaapo Kahkonen)