Fantasy Hockey
Sean Allen, Special to ESPN.com 40d

Fantasy hockey rankings Week 6 update: Top five consistent defensemen to add

NHL, Fantasy

Scoring relies a lot on how a player is deployed. Who are they on the ice with? Is it clearly the goal to try and score? If a player isn't a clear offensive catalyst, this can change. A lot of fantasy points come from goals, assists and special teams production that is highly reliant on deployment.

Hits and blocked shots, however, are less likely to ebb and flow for the non-elite fantasy assets. The same is somewhat true of shots. They are stats that can be collected by a player for fantasy points independent of deployment. Not completely independent, mind you, but to an extent, taking those actions doesn't rely on situational deployment or linemates. They depend on an individual player's actions.

I don't want to refer to them strictly as "safe" fantasy points, so perhaps "reliable" is a better word choice. With that in mind, let's look at fantasy contributors who are leading the league in points from the "reliable" categories.

R-FPP60 refers to "reliable" fantasy points per 60 minutes and FPPG is fantasy points per game. In consideration are only players with at least 200 minutes played this season.

Adam Larsson, D, Edmonton Oilers (2.2 FPPG, 6.05 R-FPP60): Still only rostered in 73 percent of ESPN leagues, Larsson is providing plenty of bankable fantasy points this season. He leads the league in the "reliable" categories on a per minutes basis but, more importantly, his FPPG is top 10 among defensemen. He's not fancy, but he needs to be on rosters.

Jacob Trouba, D, New York Rangers (1.9 FPPG, 4.75 R-FPP60): Sidelined for another couple weeks with a broken thumb, expect Trouba to be dumped to the free-agent pile in many leagues. Be ready to pick him back up again later. Despite only netting three assists this season for the struggling Rangers, his baseline of "reliable" stats has kept him in the fantasy mix. Among those with fantasy relevant FPPG (1.6 or higher), Trouba is third among defensemen for R-FPP60 and is averaging more than 21 minutes per game.

David Savard, D, Columbus Blue Jackets (1.6 FPPG, 4.44 R-FPP60): A tight race between Savard and Seth Jones to be the Blue Jackets most productive defenseman for fantasy was not what we expected. What we wanted this season was a battle between Jones and Zach Werenski, with Savard left far behind. Careful here though, as Savard did a lot of his fantasy damage when Werenski was out of the lineup. With both Jones and Werenski healthy, I don't know that I'd bank on Savard doing enough to be worthy of a roster spot.

Calvin de Haan, D, Chicago Blackhawks (1.7 FPPG, 4.33 R-FPP60): The Blackhawks defenseman with the most fantasy points this season? But of course it's de Haan. No, this is out of the blue and, admittedly, only because of time missed by Connor Murphy and Adam Boqvist. But de Haan is doing enough in the "reliable" categories to be worthy of consideration -- especially when he has a three-game point streak going.

Ryan McDonagh, D, Tampa Bay Lightning 1.8 FPPG, 3.87 R-FPP60): It's not every team that has three defensemen doing enough to be worthy of a roster spot. McDonagh is easily overshadowed by Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev, but is doing enough to have a spot on most fantasy rosters. His strong base in the "reliable" categories means he doesn't need to pick up the points as often as his colleagues.

Following the same logic, here's a top reliable forward who should be available in your league.

Brandon Tanev, W, Pittsburgh Penguins (1.9 FPPG, 5.12 R-FPP60): We are seeing signs of life out of the Penguins elite forwards of late -- but Tanev remains right on their heels for overall fantasy value this season. This is a clear example of the ebb and flow of scoring. Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel have more fantasy points than Tanev now, but just barely and only recently did they pass him. Tanev's base of hits with moderate blocked shots and enough shots to make an impact have him contributing almost as much as the aforementioned trio this season. Another scoring slump out of Pittsburgh could see Tanev back on top for the team lead in fantasy points. He should be rostered in more than 34 percent of ESPN leagues.


Forwards on the move

Logan Couture, C, San Jose Sharks (up 13 spots to No. 37): Since the start of February, Couture has only been held pointless twice. He and Evander Kane have found a strong rhythm as the Sharks scoring duo. As a reminder, Couture was one of my three "Consistency Kings" for FPPG during the past four seasons. If you were looking to make a big splash in the trade market and wanted someone reasonably acquirable, borderline elite and safe, I'd make him a strong target.

Drake Batherson, W, Ottawa Senators (enters ranks at No. 236): Combining with Tim Stutzle on offense, Batherson has come on strong during the past two weeks. Strong might be an understatement, as only Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid and Patrick Kane have more points in that span than the young Senators center. Someone is going to score for the Senators and this line combo with Stutzle and insert-other-forward-here (it has been Derek Stepan, Artem Anisimov and Josh Norris during the streak) appears to be the place to look.

Oliver Wahlstrom, W, New York Islanders (enters ranks at No. 247):Getting increasing ice time on a line with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, the Isles rookie has managed to net points in four straight. A first-round pick in 2018, Wahlstrom managed a decent 22 points in 45 games for his rookie pro season last year in the AHL. His ice time has been very minimal to date, but here's betting his recent stretch of scoring can be parlayed into more than the 10:51 he's average this season. His FPP60 has been elite this season, ranking 11th among all players with at least 10 games played.

Defensemen on the move

Jakob Chychrun, D, Arizona Coyotes (up 30 spots to No. 60): As much as I've been carrying a banner for Chychrun for a while now, I admit to skepticism about him becoming the clear-cut No. 1 defenseman for the Coyotes with a healthy Oliver Ekman-Larsson in tow. But with Ekman-Larsson back since Feb. 12, Chychrun remains the go-yo on the power play and is easily leading the club for fantasy production.

Goaltenders on the move

Kaapo Kahkonen, G, Minnesota Wild (up 43 spots to No. 184): Kahkonen is rostered in 38 percent of ESPN leagues, while starting 11 games and collecting 36.4 fantasy points. Cam Talbot is rostered in 65 percent of leagues, while starting eight games and collecting 21.0 fantasy points. We need to flip the script on which goaltender to use in fantasy.

Petr Mrazek, G, Carolina Hurricanes (up five spots to No. 204): Mrazek himself has said that he is ready to return "very soon," so this is just a reminder that he was among the absolutely best fantasy goaltenders in the NHL prior to needing thumb surgery. He should reclaim the No. 1 role upon return and needs to be rostered universally. He's current available in 46 percent of ESPN leagues.

New to rankings

Drake Batherson (No. 236), Pavel Zacha (239), Will Butcher (244), Brett Pesce (245), Nick Leddy (246), Oliver Wahlstrom (247), Andrew Mangiapane (248), Lars Eller (249), Shayne Gostisbehere (250).

Just missed

Calvin de Haan, Barclay Goodrow, Esa Lindell, Joe Thornton, Eeli Tolvanen, Owen Tippett, Pius Suter, Ben Chiarot, Robby Fabbri, Tyler Bertuzzi, Adam Lowry, Nikita Zaitsev.

Dropped out

Noah Dobson, Blake Coleman, Brock Nelson, Zach Parise, Mikael Backlund, James Reimer, Kasperi Kapanen, Evgenii Dadonov, Evan Bouchard.

Fantasy hockey top-250 rankings

1. David Pastrnak, RW, Bos (RW1)
2. Connor McDavid, C, Edm (C1)
3. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB (G1)
4. Auston Matthews, C, Tor (C2)
5. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Wsh (LW1)
6. Steven Stamkos, C, TB (C3)
7. Brad Marchand, LW, Bos (LW2)
8. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Col (C4)
9. Mitchell Marner, RW, Tor (RW2)
10. Victor Hedman, D, TB (D1)
11. Leon Draisaitl, LW, Edm (LW3)
12. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bos (C5)
13. Patrick Kane, RW, Chi (RW3)
14. John Carlson, D, Wsh (D2)
15. Mark Scheifele, C, Wpg (C6)
16. Jack Eichel, C, Buf (C7)
17. Philipp Grubauer, G, Col (G2)
18. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Wpg (G3)
19. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Vgs (D3)
20. Mark Stone, RW, Vgs (RW4)
21. Aleksander Barkov, C, Fla (C8)
22. Anze Kopitar, C, LA (C9)
23. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Fla (LW4)
24. Semyon Varlamov, G, NYI (G4)
25. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bos (D4)
26. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Col (RW5)
27. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Chi (LW5)
28. Max Pacioretty, LW, Vgs (LW6)
29. Brayden Point, C, TB (C10)
30. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Wsh (C11)
31. Sidney Crosby, C, Pit (C12)
32. Sean Couturier, C, Phi (C13)
33. Sebastian Aho, C, Car (C14)
34. Jeff Petry, D, Mon (D5)
35. Ivan Provorov, D, Phi (D6)
36. Blake Wheeler, RW, Wpg (RW6)
37. Logan Couture, C, SJ (C15)
38. Joe Pavelski, RW, Dal (RW7)
39. Cale Makar, D, Col (D7)
40. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Vgs (G5)
41. Roman Josi, D, Nsh (D8)
42. Kyle Connor, LW, Wpg (LW7)
43. Jacob Markstrom, G, Cgy (G6)
44. Darnell Nurse, D, Edm (D9)
45. Drew Doughty, D, LA (D10)
46. John Klingberg, D, Dal (D11)
47. Andrei Svechnikov, LW, Car (LW8)
48. Filip Forsberg, LW, Nsh (LW9)
49. Patrik Laine, RW, Cls (RW8)
50. Jake Guentzel, LW, Pit (LW10)
51. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Col (LW11)
52. Jamie Benn, LW, Dal (LW12)
53. Jordan Binnington, G, StL (G7)
54. Patric Hornqvist, RW, Fla (RW9)
55. John Tavares, C, Tor (C16)
56. James van Riemsdyk, LW, Phi (LW13)
57. Elias Lindholm, RW, Cgy (RW10)
58. Dougie Hamilton, D, Car (D12)
59. Frederik Andersen, G, Tor (G8)
60. Jakob Chychrun, D, Ari (D13)
61. Adam Fox, D, NYR (D14)
62. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Cgy (LW14)
63. Shea Theodore, D, Vgs (D15)
64. Taylor Hall, LW, Buf (LW15)
65. Brayden Schenn, C, StL (C17)
66. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Edm (C18)
67. Artemi Panarin, LW, NYR (LW16)
68. Dustin Brown, RW, LA (RW11)
69. Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR (G9)
70. Vincent Trocheck, C, Car (C19)
71. Morgan Rielly, D, Tor (D16)
72. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Cgy (LW17)
73. Brent Burns, D, SJ (D17)
74. Thomas Chabot, D, Ott (D18)
75. Alec Martinez, D, Vgs (D19)
76. Mika Zibanejad, C, NYR (C20)
77. Tom Wilson, RW, Wsh (RW12)
78. Kris Letang, D, Pit (D20)
79. Aaron Ekblad, D, Fla (D21)
80. Ondrej Palat, LW, TB (LW18)
81. Seth Jones, D, Cls (D22)
82. Tuukka Rask, G, Bos (G10)
83. T.J. Oshie, RW, Wsh (RW13)
84. Mathew Barzal, C, NYI (C21)
85. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ott (LW19)
86. Evander Kane, LW, SJ (LW20)
87. Tyson Barrie, D, Edm (D23)
88. Anton Khudobin, G, Dal (G11)
89. J.T. Miller, C, Van (C22)
90. Travis Konecny, RW, Phi (RW14)
91. Elias Pettersson, C, Van (C23)
92. Victor Olofsson, RW, Buf (RW15)
93. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Wpg (LW21)
94. Darcy Kuemper, G, Ari (G12)
95. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Wpg (C24)
96. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (LW22)
97. Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Edm (RW16)
98. Sam Reinhart, RW, Buf (RW17)
99. Ryan Ellis, D, Nsh (D24)
100. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pit (C25)
101. Jacob Trouba, D, NYR (D25)
102. Ilya Samsonov, G, Wsh (G13)
103. Quinn Hughes, D, Van (D26)
104. Mackenzie Blackwood, G, NJ (G14)
105. John Gibson, G, Ana (G15)
106. Anders Lee, LW, NYI (LW23)
107. Shea Weber, D, Mon (D27)
108. Ryan O'Reilly, C, StL (C26)
109. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Mon (RW18)
110. Brock Boeser, RW, Van (RW19)
111. Jack Hughes, C, NJ (C27)
112. Devon Toews, D, Col (D28)
113. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Buf (D29)
114. Anthony Cirelli, C, TB (C28)
115. Matt Dumba, D, Min (D30)
116. Bryan Rust, RW, Pit (RW20)
117. Kevin Lankinen, G, Chi (G16)
118. Tomas Hertl, C, SJ (C29)
119. Ryan Pulock, D, NYI (D31)
120. William Nylander, RW, Tor (RW21)
121. David Perron, RW, StL (RW22)
122. Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Min (LW24)
123. Jordan Staal, C, Car (C30)
124. Roope Hintz, C, Dal (C31)
125. Joel Farabee, LW, Phi (LW25)
126. Nick Suzuki, C, Mon (C32)
127. Kyle Palmieri, RW, NJ (RW23)
128. Nick Ritchie, LW, Bos (LW26)
129. Neal Pionk, D, Wpg (D32)
130. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (D33)
131. Jake Muzzin, D, Tor (D34)
132. Keith Yandle, D, Fla (D35)
133. Carter Hart, G, Phi (G17)
134. Carey Price, G, Mon (G18)
135. Kevin Fiala, C, Min (C33)
136. Rasmus Andersson, D, Cgy (D36)
137. Teuvo Teravainen, RW, Car (RW24)
138. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, NYI (C34)
139. Alexander Radulov, RW, Dal (RW25)
140. Josh Anderson, RW, Mon (RW26)
141. Mark Giordano, D, Cgy (D37)
142. Alex Tuch, RW, Vgs (RW27)
143. Denis Gurianov, LW, Dal (LW27)
144. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Wsh (C35)
145. Zach Werenski, D, Cls (D38)
146. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Buf (D39)
147. Christian Dvorak, LW, Ari (LW28)
148. Robin Lehner, G, Vgs (G19)
149. Dominik Kubalik, LW, Chi (LW29)
150. Bo Horvat, C, Van (C36)
151. Sean Monahan, C, Cgy (C37)
152. Cam Atkinson, RW, Cls (RW28)
153. Timo Meier, RW, SJ (RW29)
154. Kevin Hayes, C, Phi (C38)
155. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Ari (D40)
156. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, StL (RW30)
157. Ryan McDonagh, D, TB (D41)
158. William Karlsson, C, Vgs (C39)
159. Joonas Korpisalo, G, Cls (G20)
160. Dylan Larkin, C, Det (C40)
161. Chris Driedger, G, Fla (G21)
162. Torey Krug, D, StL (D42)
163. Erik Karlsson, D, SJ (D43)
164. Jakub Voracek, RW, Phi (RW31)
165. Colton Parayko, D, StL (D44)
166. Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, Cls (RW32)
167. Nino Niederreiter, RW, Car (RW33)
168. Claude Giroux, LW, Phi (LW30)
169. Damon Severson, D, NJ (D45)
170. Andre Burakovsky, LW, Col (LW31)
171. Samuel Girard, D, Col (D46)
172. Carter Verhaeghe, C, Fla (C41)
173. Brendan Gallagher, RW, Mon (RW34)
174. Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Min (C42)
175. Ryan Suter, D, Min (D47)
176. Mats Zuccarello, RW, Min (RW35)
177. Ryan Strome, C, NYR (C43)
178. Cam Talbot, G, Min (G22)
179. Jordan Eberle, RW, NYI (RW36)
180. Mike Hoffman, LW, StL (LW32)
181. Jake Allen, G, Mon (G23)
182. Conor Garland, RW, Ari (RW37)
183. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, NYR (RW38)
184. Kaapo Kahkonen, G, Min (G24)
185. P.K. Subban, D, NJ (D48)
186. Boone Jenner, C, Cls (C44)
187. Miro Heiskanen, D, Dal (D49)
188. Adam Larsson, D, Edm (D50)
189. Jakub Vrana, C, Wsh (C45)
190. Jaroslav Halak, G, Bos (G25)
191. Ty Smith, D, NJ (D51)
192. Josh Morrissey, D, Wpg (D52)
193. Max Comtois, LW, Ana (LW33)
194. Nazem Kadri, C, Col (C46)
195. Phil Kessel, RW, Ari (RW39)
196. Mikael Granlund, LW, Nsh (LW34)
197. Adrian Kempe, C, LA (C47)
198. Jared Spurgeon, D, Min (D53)
199. Jonas Brodin, D, Min (D54)
200. Martin Necas, C, Car (C48)
201. Mike Smith, G, Edm (G26)
202. Jordan Kyrou, C, StL (C49)
203. Tomas Tatar, LW, Mon (LW35)
204. Petr Mrazek, G, Car (G27)
205. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Fla (G28)
206. Elvis Merzlikins, G, Cls (G29)
207. Nick Schmaltz, C, Ari (C50)
208. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Vgs (LW36)
209. Alex Iafallo, LW, LA (LW37)
210. Josh Norris, C, Ott (C51)
211. Erik Gustafsson, D, Phi (D55)
212. Scott Laughton, LW, PHI (LW38)
213. Brian Elliott, G, Phi (G30)
214. Chandler Stephenson, C, Vgs (C52)
215. Jeff Carter, C, LA (C53)
216. Duncan Keith, D, Chi (D56)
217. Viktor Arvidsson, RW, Nsh (RW40)
218. Tyler Myers, D, Van (D57)
219. Ryan Graves, D, Col (D58)
220. Justin Schultz, D, Wsh (D59)
221. Calvin Petersen, G, LA (G31)
222. Adam Boqvist, D, Chi (D60)
223. Justin Faulk, D, StL (D61)
224. Miles Wood, LW, NJ (LW39)
225. Brandon Tanev, LW, Pit (LW40)
226. Clayton Keller, C, Ari (C54)
227. Juuse Saros, G, Nsh (G32)
228. Andrew Copp, C, Wpg (C55)
229. Jordan Greenway, LW, Min (LW41)
230. Zach Hyman, LW, Tor (LW42)
231. Pavel Francouz, G, Col (G33)
232. Jack Roslovic, C, Cls (C56)
233. Nico Hischier, C, NJ (C57)
234. Linus Ullmark, G, Buf (G34)
235. Nick Foligno, LW, Cls (LW43)
236. Drake Batherson, C, Ott (C58)
237. Jaccob Slavin, D, Car (D62)
238. Anthony Mantha, RW, Det (RW41)
239. Pavel Zacha, C, NJ (C59)
240. Alexis Lafreniere, LW, NYR (LW44)
241. Brock McGinn, LW, Car (LW45)
242. David Savard, D, Cls (D63)
243. Connor Murphy, D, Chi (D64)
244. Will Butcher, D, NJ (D65)
245. Brett Pesce, D, Car (D66)
246. Nick Leddy, D, NYI (D67)
247. Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, NYI (RW42)
248. Andrew Mangiapane, LW, Cgy (LW46)
249. Lars Eller, C, Wsh (C60)
250. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Phi (D68)

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