Diamond in the Rough?

The Question here is whether it is better to take a great player on a team that is not going to make the playoffs or even go on a significant run or to take a depth player on a team that is great?

This year only really has a few teams that are not going to be making a significant playoff push in the next few weeks (specifically Colorado, Arizona,New Jersey and Detroit). Usually there are some quality players on these squads that can be nice additions to your fantasy teams but this year that may not be the case. Granted that a lot of players that might have been worth having on a fantasy team could have been traded to a contender at the trade deadline only a couple of weeks ago but this could not possible be the case for every team.

I have complied a list of the best players of the four teams listed above in order to see what kind of value these teams could potentially have for your fantasy team.


  1. Radim Vrbata: Ranked 183 in yahoo fantasy leagues this player could potentially add some value in leagues that only have goals assists and points as this player gives little to no hit or block support. Only 22% of people around all yahoo leagues currently have him which speaks to the fact that people would rather have players from teams they consider good rather then individuals that could help their squad from bad teams.
  2. Oliver Ekman-Larsson: This player is having a down year compared to his stat line from previous years but this does not seem to have an impact on how people are perceiving him. Currently rated 231 in yahoo fantasy leagues his stats are fairly average across the board but with his potential upside it allows people to continue to have hope.


  1. Nathan Mackinnon: Nathan Mackinnon is your definition of Diamond in the rough. Although he is not having a great season offensively he gives a lot of value in leagues where more stat lines are taken into effect. He is a center who is counted at the rw slot which is huge in leagues that count face offs. Although he is a liability in such categories as plus/minus and points this seems to be overlooked because of the other stat categories that he is able to bring to the table. This is a classic case of where the talent of the player is taken into consideration even though the stats are not currently there. Currently 85th in Yahoo fantasy leagues.
  2. Matt Duchene: Matt Duchene falls into the same category as Mackinnon as being a center who counts as a winger but is having a far worse season. Duchene is a player who had a great year last season after a terrible start but has not been able to find is game at all this season. Currently 289th in yahoo leagues and a complete liability to any team.
  3. Gabriel Landeskog: Landeskog is still a player who can fit certain stat categories but not as well as other players in the league. He is still competitive as seen by his hits but cannot find his game defensively this season at all. With the season he is having it is quite surprising that more people have not abandoned ship on this player (as 65% of leagues still have Landeskog on a team)

Detroit Red Wings:

  1. Hennrik Zetterberg: Although only rated the 90th player in yahoo leagues this player would be a good asset on any team. He takes faceoffs from the wing and is not a liability when it comes to alomost any catergory. This could be the best player available from a terrible team this season.
  2. Tomas Vanek:Although second on the team in scoring this player gives almost no support to any categories. Currently ranked 325th in yahoo leagues I would not touch this player with a 10 foot pole. If there is no penalty for tanking in your league and you are hoping to go for the #1 overall pick this might be the player for you. With the players Detroit currently has on their team it is a wonder how they are even ahead of Arizona in the standings.

New Jersey Devils:

  1. Taylor Hall: Still owned in 94% of leagues Taylor has respectable stats but there are players who are definetly better then him potentially on the free agent market. Don’t get me wrong 44 points in 58 games is not bad but it isn’t the number that you expect from a first overal pick who should be entering his prime.┬áHe still gives alot of shots average number of hits so he is a decent player to have but is not the fantasy superstar which everytone thinks that he is. If you are banking on him helping you get to the promiseland I would have looked into acquiring other peices at the trade deadline.
  2. Kyle Palmieri: This player gives a average amount of points but could actually be an asset for other stat categories. He gives a decent amount of hits aswell as PIMS. There is definitely value in this player and therefore could actually be a good depth forward on a competitive team.
  3. Micheal Cammalleri: This is a classic case of players getting to old to produce at the levels that they were once able to. He doesn’t give many hits or blocks and his shots are down from previous years. New Jersey may want to consider bringing in some more talent to help players like Palmieri and Taylor Hall moving forward.

It appears that their is some talent on these teams as expected but not a whole lot. Although the prices for these pieces may be considerable cheaper then even a second line forward on a playoff or Stanley Cup contender it may be detrimental in your chase to pursue a fantasy title. This year is one of the worst for the bottom teams in the league. Honestly usually these teams at least have 1 or 2 players that are worth picking up in a fantasy league.

I did not look into specific stat categories such as players that can help with hits or blocks specifically so there might be some players that could help you depending on the strategy you have for winning in your league. All in all sticking to teams that have something to play for seems to be a winning strategy.