Each fantasy season is full of injuries and players that just don’t meet your expectations. Being able to adjust on the fly and find studs on your league’s waiver wire is critical in a short season. Here are five players owned in less than 30% of Yahoo leagues that can help your team:
Ryan O’Reilly (22%): Fantasy owners were drooling at the prospects of O’Reilly centering Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay after Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster signed him to an offer sheet. But Colorado matched the offer, avoiding the strange possibility of the Flames giving up a first and a third round pick just to lose him to waivers. Whether or not that would have happened is now a moot point; he will make his season debut today against Columbus.
CBA interpretations and holdouts aside, O’Reilly more than doubled his output last year from 2011, increasing his point total from 26 points to 55. His potential is undeniable – as his new two-year, $10 million contract would suggest – but adding him won’t yield immediate returns. Last year he found great chemistry centering Steve Downie (out for the season) and Gabriel Landeskog. This year? He’ll start out on the third line centering John Mitchell and Milan Hejduk. He’s worth a roster spot (for now), but be patient.
Derek Roy (21%): This is one guy I never thought would be so readily available in 79% of fantasy leagues. Roy was traded to Dallas on the heels of his lowest point per game average (0.55) since his rookie campaign. This season, he has a very reasonable 11 points in 16 games, good enough to average 0.69 point per game. If he can quickly establish chemistry with new Stars acquistion, Erik Cole, the points will continue to come.
Tomas Kopecky (17%): Given Jonathan Huberdeau‘s resume from his time in juniors, it doesn’t blow me away to see him lead the inconsistent Florida Panthers in goals. However, it is peculiar to see Tomas Kopecky tied with Huberdeau for the lead. The hard-nosed Kopecky goes to the dirty areas in the corners and in front of the net, and his efforts this season have resulted in goals. He has replaced the injured Kris Versteeg on the top line with Tomas Fleischmann and Stephen Weiss, and recorded his first career hat trick Feb. 26 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Brendan Gallagher (8%): The “other” rookie for the Montreal Canadiens has found himself on the top line with red-hot Max Pacioretty and playmaker David Desharnais. He was already making valuable contributions in shots, hits, and plus/minus before the line promotion. Now the diminutive Gallagher could see his name more often on the scoresheet.
Kyle Palmieri (6%): This sleeper pick is part potential, but mostly timing-based. Palmieiri is the lucky Duck that gets to play with first-liners Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry – and they are firing on all cylinders. Getzlaf-Perry have combined for 24 points in Anaheim’s last seven games. Over the last two games, Palmeiri has 4 points and recorded his first career hat trick. He’s making a solid case to remain on the top line, and he should stay in your lineup if he succeeds.