Pick 'Em Up! Week Six
It's the time of year when the free agent pool inevitably thins out and it becomes a challenge to find quality replacements on the waiver wire. That makes the job of fantasy GMs that much more difficult, but it can also be an advantage for owners willing to dig deep with their analysis. In the first few weeks breakout players come crawling out of the woodwork, but at this point the best free agents are fewer and further between and they tend to creep up more slowly. That said, there are still plenty of opportunities to be had if you're looking closely, and whether you're scrambling to replace an injured starter, or just hoping to infuse your bench with upside, Pick' Em Up gives you some options to consider in Week 6.
Top of the Heap
Simon Gagne PHI - Gagne scored a PP goal in his first start with the Flyers last night, and he clearly has a chance at a more prominent role in Philly than he had with the Kings - he was a healthy scratch six times in L.A. We're not expecting him to get in a time machine and come back as the 79-point incarnation of himself from 2005, but it's worth the gamble to see if there's a honeymoon phase in his return to the Flyers. He's only 32, so he's not as old as it might seem, and with a fresh opportunity he's probably the equivalent of a 50-55 point player over a full season. Of course, that assumes Gagne could ever last a full season. Considering his history, that's not something we'd bet on.
Francois Beauchemin ANA - He won't keep up the torrid pace, but with 10-points in his last eight games, it's time to jump on the Beauchemin bandwagon and ride it to the last stop. Everything is working for the Ducks right now - they're the third highest scoring team in the league, behind only Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay - and Beauchemin is all aboard the assist gravy train.
Alex Burmistrov WPG - We've been beating the Burmistrov drum for a while now, but after years of expecting a breakout to no avail, we were beginning to question the wisdom of that pursuit. The criticism has always been that he's all flash and no substance, and Burmistrov still has work to do before he proves otherwise, but hold on... Suddenly there's a glimmer of optimism again, as the 21-year old former first rounder is operating in a top-six role on a line with Evander Kane. He now has five points in his last six starts, and he's put together a three game point streak, in which he's averaged 19+ minutes. If he can keep the momentum, he has the deep-seeded talent to take off. Check out his highlight reel...
Scouring the Depths...
Drew Shore FLA - Shore is quietly having a very solid rookie season. He's quick for his size and is a good playmaker, and he's found a home on a line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Peter Mueller - in his last eight games, Shore has seven points (1G 6 A). He's a great pick-up for leagues requiring a rookie, and he can also bring a little upside to your bench in a league with deep rosters.
Eric Fehr WAS - Fehr has lingered just below the threshold of fantasy relevance for years. He's a career underachiever who's never been able to take his production at the lower levels up to the big leagues, and he's also been held back by a string of nagging injuries. Recently though, Fehr is healthy and showing signs of life. He has seven points in his last eight games, and he also put together a four-game point streak through that stretch. You're definitely digging down pretty deep here, and you're looking at a streaky player to begin with, but Fehr might be turning a bit of a corner.
Devan Dubnyk EDM - Goalies can be tough to come by on the waiver wire, but Dubnyk is available in a decent percentage of leagues. Khabibulin is also on IR with a nagging groin strain, meaning the Oilers must rely exclusively on Dubnyk for now. He'll hurt you if your league factors in GAA, but he'll pick up enough wins to keep you afloat in a basic-scoring format.
There are undoubtedly players on the wire who will still emerge as unexpected saviors over the rest of year, and acquiring even one of them might be the difference in a push to the championship. Hopefully we've given you a few names to include in your scouting for the week, but keep an eye out for other players being given a greater opportunity or trending up statistically. There are gems out there... Happy hunting!