Friday, March 27, 2009

Mining for Waiver Wire Gold

So here we are, right there on the doorstep of the finals this year in fantasy hockey. Its been a fun year so far for most of us, but for the two lucky GM’s who are going into the final bracket its crunch time, so I thought it might be appropriate to address a very important issue for those going to the finals… is it a bad time to clean house? The answer to this is usually a resounding NO! This time of year there are usually a handful of players(maybe more but we will get into that later) who will have more of an impact on your roster than someone who may be a little banged up and getting a few games off because their team has already punched their ticket to the playoffs. The players I am referring to are typically guys that are on teams making a push to try and get into the playoffs and are starting to come on strong, and believe it or not, there are a lot of them out there. These are typically players who might have been drafted, but due to slow starts or a GM stumbling onto a hot rookie or needing to fill a need, got banished to the wire to wait for some savvy GM such as yourself to take full advantage of the situation and pick them up to help them win their respective title. Below is a list of the top 3 players who are available in most Yahoo leagues who are red hot as of posting this.

1.) Rod Brind’Amour- Brindy had a VERY slow start to this season, after being considered one of the most consistent players out there and a perennial late draft pick year in and year out, fell flat on his face for most of this season and left those who picked him wondering why they are keeping him on the roster in December when he only had 15 points. Well folks Brindy is back, and in a big way! Rowdy Roddy has 16 points in his last 12 games, and has been a major part of the Hurricanes recent surge towards the playoffs. Since Erik Cole returned to the ‘Canes, the lines seem to have finally balanced themselves out and Brindy is reaping the benefits. If you are carrying someone like Jason Arnott, who is suffering from a concussion, its time to cut bait if Brindy is out there and keep those roster spots producing instead of wondering how Arnott is feeling on the stationary bike today. Brind’Amour is only owned in 23% of Yahoo leagues and should be considered a solid candidate to pick up for extra point production

2.) Alexei Ponikarovsky- Alex is one of those guys who you maybe had on your roster as a fill in when you had an injured player for a week or 2 and figured he would be an easy guy to cut once your star came back. Well now Alex is starting to tear it up at the end of the season(when, sadly for Leafs fans, it doesn’t matter cause the Leafs are done). Just call Ponikarovsky Mr. March right now because the guy is on FIRE. Alex has put up 15 points in his last 12 games, and in the last 6 games has had two 4 point nights. This guy is definitely worth a look if you need to add some scoring punch to your team for the finals. Ponikarovsky is only owned in 26% of Yahoo leagues so its likely that he is out there and ready to start putting points up for your team instead of wasting away on the wire.

3.) Mikhail Grabovski- Sticking with the theme of Maple Leafs(I swear I am not a fan), Grabovski has turned it on of late, and should be looked at as another dark horse candidate for anyone looking to make fantasy moves and cut a little dead weight heading into their finals. There is a steep drop off in production from the first two players mentioned prior to Micky, but he is still better than nothing if you have players nursing injuries and your not sure when they are going to come back. SOMETHING IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN NOTHING. Grabovski has 11 points in his last 12 games, and that is certainly nothing to turn your nose up at, and it seems he has turned it up in particular in the last 7 games with the bulk of those 11 points coming during that stretch. He could burn out on you and stop producing, so buyer beware, but for now if your struggling with injuries he could be worth a look.

The A-Hole Impact….
The waiver wire is a funny place, in that it is a lot like going to a discount store, you never know what your going to find there. This time of year, this is especially true because of the A-Hole impact. What I mean by this is that every year it seems in most leagues there is one guy who is such a sore loser that he decided to cut half of his team in an effort to let everyone else in the league know he is having a temper tantrum over losing. GM’s who are still in it would be wise to check the wire everyday to see if one of our immature friends(or just some jerk in public leagues) decides to dump big names to show his immaturity. After all, its better for you to get to these guys first, instead of your potential finals opponent. As I write this I am counting my fortunes as I managed to pick up Travis Zajac AND Chris Kunitz in a league where this happened, and it only cost me the underachieving Mats Sundin and Dustin Byfuglien. Not bad shakes if you ask me, and these are two players that should have an IMMEDIATE impact on my roster for the duration of the season. To those who read this by the way… PLEASE don’t be the A-Hole in your league that does what I mentioned before. Show some poise and composure and accept the fact that at the end there can only be one winner, and there is after all next year. Don’t show your friends just how much of an A-Hole you can be through this… if your really peeved, wait for them to get drunk and shave their eyebrows when they are passed out, that way your still an A-Hole but your not a bitter one.

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