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Know when to hold 'em

Kyle Okposo is struggling with just three assists in 12 games. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Kyle Okposo is struggling with just three assists in 12 games. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

We’re already seeing some “market corrections” with several players. With the coaching change in St. Louis, there are bound to be more on the way - let’s get to your letters!

Hey Dobber, I’m in a 10-team season points league that counts points, +/- and PIM. We're about 10 games in and I am getting impatient with some players. Ville Leino, James van Riemsdyk, P.K. Subban and Kevin Bieksa have all started poorly. Which of these players do you think will bounce back and which are you starting to get concerned with? Or am I just paranoid - should I give them all a bit more time?
Alex, Toronto


Hey Alex, I don’t have too many concerns with Subban, other than the fact the Habs will be goal-challenged this year. Subban will pot his share and flirt with 50 points. In the past, we’ve seen him bang out eight or nine points in 10 games to get himself back on track. I am concerned about Bieksa, who is not only off to a terrible start, but is an injury risk. I am also not comfortable with Leino, who I thought all along was a poor fit in Buffalo. That doesn’t mean he’s a fantasy bust, but he’ll be in tough to make it to 45 points unless he finds magical chemistry with someone - and soon. As for JVR, well, you’ve seen what he has done since you flipped me this note last week. Just one of many “market corrections” we have seen in the past two weeks.

Hey Dobber, I'm starting up a keeper pool this year and though it's already underway, I'm still tweaking it and getting the details right. One issue I have though is with the points. Currently, it’s G, A, and GWG for one point, hits and blocks for half points, wins are 2, SO are 3, and OTL are 1. So far, it favors players who throw their body around, where the finesse scorers aren't doing much. How would I level the playing field a little more?
Dayton, Medicine Hat, Alta.


Hey Dayton, first of all, don’t make changes mid-season - it’s not fair. But a great method for creating weighted stats is to take last season’s final numbers and try different formulas. How do the numbers stack up with hits at 0.2 and blocked shots at 0.3? What about replacing game-winning goals with PPP (power play points)? Play around with the Top 500 scorers from last year in Excel and use five or six different formula options as columns beside the players. Sort each one and determine which fits your vision of the perfect pool.

I know it's a bit early to jump the gun on most players, but I picked up Kyle Okposo high in my draft gambling on 20-25 goals and 55-60 points. Am I trigger happy, or should I be searching for another option on the right side? It really seems things aren't clicking for him.
Shaun


I’m surprised at Okposo’s start. But it seems as though any player who isn’t on a line with John Tavares won’t produce. Okposo is not ready to lead his own line yet. Hang onto him (on your bench) for another two weeks. If the Isles keep losing, they’re bound to put him back with Tavares. If it still doesn’t happen, then it’s time to cut bait.

Dobber, I am in a 15-team keeper league (keep 10, draft 10, score top 9F, 4D, 1G). My window of opportunity to win is now but should stay open for a few years. I have Matt Duchene and his situation in Colorado does not look good. I've had my eye on Tavares for a long time. How much better is Tavares than Duchene, now and over the next five years? Better enough to justify offering Duchene and Cam Fowler? Or Drew Doughty? I am stacked on defense with those two plus Mark Streit, Alex Edler, Grant Clitsome, Cam Barker.
Micah, Vancouver

I’m sure I’ll get some argument over this, but Tavares is the better keeper to own by a fairly wide margin. Duchene was obviously more NHL-ready at the start, but I would be surprised if he ever reached the 85-point mark. Whereas with Tavares I fully expect him to one day top 95 points. That being said, do you want to add a future star defenseman in Fowler to the package? Or how about a perennial Norris candidate in Doughty? Nope. Defensemen are too important and great ones are too rare. But definitely add Edler, Clitsome or Barker to Duchene and see if he bites.

I drafted Bobby Ryan ninth overall and was very happy with that pick, now a month into the season and Ryan is playing on the second line. I’m starting to lose patience.
Trevor, St. John’s, Nfld.


Trevor - actually, Ryan has been on the ice with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry for approximately 55 percent of his even strength shifts this year, per Frozen Pool. Last season that number was closer to 48 percent. In 2010-11 Ryan had 23 points in his first 32 games before posting 48 in his last 50. Hang in there.

Hey Dobber, HUGE fan here! I am in a standard ESPN roto, 10-team league. I am barely sticking around the top of my league because of my goaltending and when some of my skaters start coming down to earth I think I'll start dropping in the standings fast! Any idea which of my skaters I should consider trading and any possible puck stoppers I should target? Forwards: Ovechkin, Zetterberg, Franzen, Havlat, Ribeiro, Benn, Kulemin, St-Louis, E. Staal, Michalek, Kessel, Nugent-Hopkins, and Pominville Defensemen: Chara, Boyle, Myers, Bieksa, Wisniewski, and Whitney Goalies: Howard, Fleury, and Halak
Alex, Bowling Green, Ohio.


Thanks Alex. First of all - love your goaltending. I think Halak will start to turn things around under Ken Hitchcock so you have the luxury of choosing which two of your three solid starters you can activate in a given week. Don’t touch! Up front, your forwards are fine. Granted, Michalek and Kessel are over-the-top right now, but that is balanced off with weaker-than-expected production from Zetterberg and Staal. Your only weakness is on the back end. Trade Myers for what will probably be a great return, for reasons that are best outlined in this article. I’m sure you can get a 45-point defenseman in return. You also need to upgrade Bieksa and temporarily replace Whitney while he is injured. If Edmonton’s Corey Potter is available on the waiver wire, he is a nice short-term option. You may have to move one of your forwards to upgrade a defense spot, but that’s last resort only.

Note regarding the Fantasy Mailbag – it is important to indicate whether or not your league is a keeper league or a one-year league. Also note whether the league is “points only,” “standard roto league,” or if there are any uncommon rules that are important to know. This will help in advising you on the right course of action. Also note the mailbag is up every two weeks, so keep that in mind when sending in your question.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Mailbag will appear every other Wednesday during the season. To send the Dobber your question, click HERE.

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