The Winnipeg Jets begin week number three with Connor Hellebuyck’s first start with less than four goals against (hooray!) and opportunity abound for Jets forwards with Gabe Vilardi’s injury.
He’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
Winnipeg once again will play the standard NHL schedule, with games on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, making their depth options less appealing.
But it’s the opposition that makes Jets players interesting fantasy-wise this week.
And the top six has seen a reshuffle with Vilardi’s injury.
Let’s take a look at the Winnipeg Jets fantasy week ahead.
As always, player ownership numbers refer to Yahoo.
Winnipeg Jets play their easiest schedule of the year so far
The Jets’ schedule is as follows:
- Tuesday at home vs. St. Louis
- Thursday away in Detroit
- Saturday away in Montreal
It’s the easiest set of teams so far, depending on your own evaluations. I personally do not have Montreal and St. Louis as playoff teams, and though Detroit is off to a red hot 5-1-0 start, they still need to prove they can sustain those efforts.
I don’t think any of these teams are playoff worthy yet.
St. Louis has been getting swamped this year, and it’s only through timely goal scoring that they’ve managed to accumulate some points.
They also have the worst penalty kill in the league early on, with a penalty kill rate of just 63.6%. The Jets could find some power play points on Tuesday.
Montreal, meanwhile, boasts a middling penalty kill, 15th in the league at 79.2%.
But they’re a young, leaky team prone to making plenty of defensive errors, and have allowed 3.5 GA/G so far. Goaltenders Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault are decent, but can allow four goals or more on any given night.
If you’re streaming Jets players, Tuesday and Saturday are your best days. I can’t exactly tell what Detroit is yet, and see Thursday as either a chance for Detroit to fall back down to earth and get handled, or for them to continue proving that they are what their record says they are.
Which so far, is pretty darn good.
Winnipeg Jets top six and first power play unit see personnel change
As mentioned above, the Jets top six and power play received a shuffle with Vilardi’s injury. He was glued to Connor and Scheifele’s hip and a staple on the first power play early on.
That is no longer the case.
This is the top six the Jets used against Edmonton on Saturday night:
It should be noted that Mason Appleton started on the top line Saturday, but that only lasted a period before Iafallo took over. Iafallo ended up registering an assist while playing 19:23 of ice.
Meanwhile, the top power play unit was:
Iafallo was generally down low, but he and Scheifele were rotating through the bumper position.
Ehlers gets the promotion to the top unit with Vilardi out, and his shot volume should increase as a result. He’s never been a shy shooter.
For what it’s worth, the second power play unit was as follows:
Kupari gets bumped to PP2 with Ehlers moving up to PP1.
Iafallo and Namestnikov are your targets this week
Alex Iafallo (3% rostered) is an excellent under the radar add right now, given his opportunity and deployment.
The Jets schedule this week definitely helps.
As a name on his own, he’s fantasy irrelevant. But playing on the top line alongside Scheifele and Connor while seeing top power play time is the assignment when it comes to the Winnipeg Jets.
When Vilardi played that role prior to injury, he logged over 20 minutes of ice both games. Iafallo’s first look in the role saw him play 19:23. Rick Bowness likes to ride his top guns, and as long as Iafallo’s there, he is worth monitoring.
So far, Iafallo has 3 goals (1 PPG) and an assist, with 16 shots on goal, over 3 per game.
If you need a forward, this would be a good week to add Iafallo, where you can take advantage of the Jets schedule and drop him toward the end of the week or next week if you’re unsatisfied.
I especially like him against St. Louis Tuesday and their poor penalty kill early on.
Vlad Namestnikov (1% rostered), meanwhile, started the season on the 4th line. But with Vilardi’s injury, he’s jumped up to centering the second line, with Ehlers and Perfetti on his wings. He’s also on the second power play.
Namestnikov is a swiss army knife, one who gets blocked shots on the penalty kill and also a medium amount of hits. After playing 10 and 11 minutes in the first two games, he’s played roughly 14 per game in the three since.
With second line deployment and a role on the second power play, he’s worth monitoring. I only mention him because he and Ehlers showed excellent chemistry last season, and his wingers are very skilled.
If you’re in a very deep league, consider him. If you’re not, just be aware of the promotion. Ehlers can be streaky, and when he gets moving, Namestnikov will surely benefit.
Beware the Dylan DeMelo trap
Dylan DeMelo (4% rostered) plays on the top pairing alongside Josh Morrissey. He has a goal and three assists (one on the power play) in five games, but don’t be fooled.
The power play assist was because of a whistle with around 10 seconds left in the power play. He was on the ice because of the impending even strength situation, and after a Jets faceoff win, he passed it to Morrissey who blasted one home.
DeMelo does not play on the power play.
He’s alright for blocks, with 10, but you can find other defenseman who block more and contribute more hits. He only has 7 hits. He also only has 7 shots on goal.
Basically, DeMelo may continue to accidentally get points as the very clear fifth best player on the ice when the top line and Morrissey are out there.
But his career high in points is 27 (set last year), and if he surpasses that, it won’t be by much.