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Fantasy Hockey: Why John Tavares is actually quite good and it’s time to sell Clarke MacArthur

Dobber Hockey
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Dobber checks in every Monday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of DobberHockey.com and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this rollercoaster world and is unable to escape.

John Tavares may be outside of the Top 25 players under the age of 25 to those who use some abstract statistics and ignores the common ones, but us fantasy owners will stick to the main six statistical categories.

And lookie here — JT holds down top spot in rotisserie hockey over the last three weeks. I used Frozen Pool's Roto Rater this time, which lends weight to each stat based on the player's position and the distance of the stat from the average (so a negative number is below average). And if I may shamelessly plug — DobberHockey has now made FREE some of the Frozen Pool tools — including line combo quick reports, player profiles and a new fantasy player newsfeed that registers pretty high on the awesome-meter.

Here is a snippet of the aforementioned three-week Roto Rater report:

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Studs...

These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...

David Backes, St. Louis Blues (9-5-7-12, plus-8, 23 PIM, 31 SOG) — The only thing lower than the Blues' goals-for number since Ken Hitchcock took over … is their goals-against number. This team plays it tight and will probably have just one 60-point player. But his name is David Backes and he's someone you can count on for consistent points down the stretch.

Justin Williams, Los Angeles Kings (7-3-6-9, plus-4, 4 PIM, 25 SOG) — Prior to his seven-game points streak, Williams was way — way — off the pace. Somewhere between Scott-Gomez off, and Bobby-Ryan off. But now the numbers have undergone the market correction needed and Williams should be good for 60 points. If he's healthy. Which is another fantasy hockey column altogether.

Francois Beauchemin, Anaheim Ducks (8-2-5-7, plus-9, 21 PIM, 11 SOG) —If Leafs fans were to go over the game-by-game stats of Beauchemin during his tenure there, they may be hard-pressed to find any eight games that were this impressive. But he has been a new man in Anaheim, and the team rewarded him last week with 10.5 million thank-yous.

"Sell High" pick of the week: Dave Bolland, Chicago Blackhawks. I don't have to paint to clear a picture for you here. Patrick Sharp plays 38 games, Bolland gets 17 points in those games. Sharp misses seven games, Bolland gets eight points. Sharp is back in a week, so you have one week to move Bolland.

Duds

Somebody wake these guys up — their fantasy owners are counting on them...

Tomas Fleischmann, Florida Panthers (18-3-3-6, minus-16, 6 PIM, 48 SOG) — I'm inclined to think that at this point you could acquire Flash for a song at this point. And I think you should. Just stick him on the bench until he snaps out of it. He's danced this jig before, we've seen it a few times in his career. You want him on your team when he turns it on again.

Clarke MacArthur, Toronto Maple Leafs (7-0-0-0, minus-2, 2 PIM, 11 SOG) — Injuries and complacency have combined to hurt MacArthur's stock. You can probably write him off for this season and look for a bounce-back in 2012-13 when it's another contract year.

Jordan Leopold, Buffalo Sabres (9- 0-0-0, minus-8, 2 PIM, 10 SOG) — Like Bolland, this is another easy one. Tyler Myers returned after Leopold was on a seven-game run in which he had six points. In the nine games since the return — zip.

"Buy Low" pick of the week: Derek Roy, Buffalo Sabres. Roy was a rookie the last time his points-per-game average was this low (0.54). So as long as he doesn't get stuck playing with Leino from a statistical standpoint, he should be a safe bet to boost his point total substantially.

The Wire...

Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...

Peter Mueller, Colorado Avalanche (3-3-1-4, plus-1, 2 PIM, 14 SOG) — He is a must-own in all roto leagues with unlimited or a reasonable amount of transactions allowed. I say this obviously because of the noggin issues. He's healthy right now though, and he's shooting the puck like Ovechkin on three shots of espresso.

Sergei Kostitsyn, Nashville Predators (10-7-4-11, plus-7, 2 PIM, 10 SOG) — Mr. and Mrs. Kostitsyn decided it was Sergei's turn to be the good player this month. So Andrei will just have to wait until next month.

David Perron, St. Louis Blues (4-2-2-4, plus-6, 0 PIM, 15 SOG) —The 23-year-old is making up for lost time. He missed the first 26 games with a concussion, but has since been producing at a clip that marks the best points-per-game average of his career (0.77). He's on a line with the aforementioned Backes, and that's the only line scoring right now.

David Desharnais, Montreal Canadiens (11-2-9-11, plus-7, 0 PIM, 15 SOG) — The shots and penalty minutes may be lacking, but the 5-7 Desharnais has pretty much improved his production with each passing month at virtually every level of hockey. Yes please.

Filip Kuba, Ottawa Senators (9-1-5-6, plus-6, 2 PIM, 9 SOG) — Kuba's career-best plus/minus was the plus-4 he finished with back in 2008-09. Eight times in his career he was a minus player. So what's his secret? Finally healthy? Better focus in his own end? Nope. He gets to be on the ice at the same time as Erik Karlsson.

Brayden Schenn, Philadelphia Flyers (7-1-1-2, plus-3, 11 PIM, 10 SOG) — Obviously a depth option who must be on your bench. But worth a "wait and see" move because not only is he getting more involved physically, but he's also seeing more ice time with Daniel Briere and Jaromir Jagr hurt. He saw nearly 19 minutes Sunday.

Andrew Shaw, Chicago Blackhawks (6-4-2-6, plus-2, 4 PIM, 18 SOG) — After being passed over in 11 rounds of NHL drafting over the last two summers, Shaw finds himself in the NHL. The reason that he will continue to chip in with nice fantasy numbers is simple. Ice time. He's averaged over 18 minutes per game over the last four contests.

For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while you're at it, follow Dobber's fantasy hockey musings on Twitter. For midseason help in your fantasy league, get some second-half projections, prospect info and more in Dobber's sixth annual Midseason Fantasy Guide.

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