Special to Yahoo Sports
It's getting close to the end of 2019. Time to start making resolutions. And we're not talking about some promise you probably won't be able to keep. Since fantasy is the focus of this column, let's keep the wish simple: Make a better effort with your teams.
Like you've heard before, the key to succeeding is staying on top of things. Well, that and some luck. But the first part is something you can control. Plan to follow the latest news at least twice a day — maybe once in the morning and then again before puck drop. And if you'll be up after the games, then a third review won't hurt.
The following suggestions come from checking the wire, looking at line situations/other factors, and predicting who can help now — while also not repeating any past entries from this season (at least not until the New Year). But that also depends on your team's situation, as a player listed below is projected to be on the rise but may not fit your roster.
The recommendations are there to guide you, but it's ultimately your decision on whether to pick them up.
(Yahoo rostership rates/stats as of Dec. 5.)
Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes (43 percent rostered)
Based on his first two seasons, it seems unconscionable Keller would someday be available in more than half of Yahoo leagues. His stats appear slightly erratic, but 17 points — with seven of those on the power play — in 29 games represent a decent haul. Fantasy managers are probably staying away from Keller because they assume his totals should be higher, but that might prove difficult to achieve within Arizona's modest attack. Still, anyone who fires more than two pucks on net per night and earns prime scoring chances should be on more rosters.
Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets (25 percent)
Jenner has proved consistent the last four years by staying healthy and notching 32 to 49 points. He's performed well when it comes to shots on goal, hits, blocks and — in formats that count it — faceoffs. The six goals and three assists from 27 games this season don't inspire confidence, but a recent move to Columbus's top man-advantage and a regular spot between talented wingers Gustav Nyquist and Oliver Bjorkstrand should eventually boost Jenner's fortunes.
Anthony Beauvillier, New York Islanders (20%)
After an excellent junior career, Beauvillier jumped straight to the NHL as a 19-year-old. His numbers from the first three years could be considered decent, but nothing exciting. However, Beauvillier saw a significant spike in rostership last month after he reeled off six goals over four appearances. The latest stats might have stagnated, but he remains a vital part of the Isles' offense as a member of their second even-strength trio and top power play.
Phillip Danault, Montreal Canadiens (20%)
Danault doesn't get as much attention as other first-line centers, probably due to his general absence while up a man. But he recorded 53 points last season and is continuing that trend with 21 in 28 games. And along with an average ice time approaching 18 minutes, there's plenty to like about Danault. As the position is loaded in fantasy, we can excuse the 80-or-so-percent of leagues where he remains available. But, seriously, he's worth the add.
Alex Tuch, Vegas Golden Knights (17%)
Not much went right for Tuch to start the season, as he missed the first 17 of 19 games with a mystery injury. He struggled after returning with only one assist across eight matchups. But the power forward has looked more like the guy who tallied 52 points last year as he's struck for three goals and three assists — with three PPPs — in addition to 11 shots from his last three outings. Snap up Tuch before someone else does.
Charlie Coyle, Boston Bruins (15%)
Patrice Bergeron has been sidelined for five games and might not return for another week. That has bumped David Krejci up to the No. 1 center role and opened the No. 2 slot for Coyle. The hometown boy has responded with two goals, three assists, and 11 shots during this stretch. Even before Bergeron's absence, Coyle was trending up thanks to a five-game point streak. His contribution in secondary categories may be negligible, but you might as well take advantage of the added offensive opportunities.
Kevin Fiala, Minnesota Wild (7%)
Even though his Nashville career ended on a sour note, plenty was expected from Fiala when he arrived in Minnesota — especially since he was traded straight up for two-time 60-point man Mikael Granlund. The first phase didn't go as planned for the Swiss sniper, who only counted seven points from 19 games. And this campaign didn't begin well either, with one assist in his first eight while missing another five due to injury or healthy scratch. Since that downturn, Fiala has gone off for six goals, seven assists, and 37 shots. His ice time dropped by more than four minutes on Tuesday, but that shouldn't hurt his play if it continues.
J.T. Compher, Colorado Avalanche (5%)
Compher saw a bit of action on Colorado's first line when Mikko Rantanen was out but has since settled on the second unit. In his last eight contests, the former University of Michigan standout has posted six points and 14 shots while skating 18:15 — including more than two minutes on the man-advantage. As the Avs tend to score goals in bunches, Compher's top-six status and partnership with Nazem Kadri qualifies him as a solid low-profile target.
Brady Skjei, New York Rangers (7%)
Remember when Skjei used to provide decent offense and pick up PPPs? Yeah, those days are mainly gone due to the likes of Jacob Trouba, Anthony DeAngelo and Adam Fox. The good news is that the 2012 first-round selection can still perform as an adequate fantasy player. Mind you, Skjei has supplied five points from his last 12 outings. But it's the 25 shots, 27 hits, and 18 blocks during the same span that carry his value.
Brandon Carlo, Boston Bruins (3%)
Like Skjei, no one expects Carlo to regularly hit the scoresheet. It's the supplementary stats that keep the bruising blueliner relevant. Carlo's three assists from his most recent six games have been a bonus, while the 13 shots, 20 hits, 14 blocks, and plus-7 over this run make him worthy in deeper leagues.
Henri Jokiharju, Buffalo Sabres (1%)
With Rasmus Dahlin (concussion) out indefinitely, one might've expected Rasmus Ristolainen to move up to the Sabres' premier power-play unit. Instead, the coaches have opted to promote Jokiharju and leave Ristolainen with Colin Miller on the backup quintet. The 20-year-old has already displayed deft point skills for Finland at international events and managed 12 assists in only 38 games with Chicago last season. And in his debut appearance with Jack Eichel and crew, Jokiharju netted a goal. It remains to be seen how long this situation will last, but you might as well take a gamble.
Nicolas Hague, Vegas Golden Knights (0%)
The 6-foot-6, 220lb-blueliner is no stranger to the physical side of the game, having accumulated 38 hits in 20 contests. But some might not know Hague starred in the OHL and even took home top defenseman honors in 2017-18 after exploding for 35 goals and 43 assists. He got his feet wet in the AHL last season and registered a respectable 32 points. Hague is still adjusting to the NHL offense but has recently received minutes on Vegas's second power play that also currently boasts Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, and Alex Tuch.
Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues (14%)
The future was once bright for Allen. The top job in St. Louis was handed to him, but he never could fulfill the task. As he continued to decline into last season, the Blues eventually promoted Jordan Binnington … and we all know what happened after that. Allen has rebounded with a 2.35 GAA and .926 save percentage in eight appearances, but he's not moving up the depth chart. At least he's being provided with more action, which has boosted his confidence and puts him in a position to serve as an above-average backup.
Chris Driedger, Florida Panthers (8%)
With Sergei Bobrovsky struggling, the Panthers decided to call up Driedger from the AHL after he posted a 2.09 GAA and .938 save percentage in 14 games. And then it was announced he would start for the first time in the NHL since October 2016. Driedger shocked the hockey world by shutting out the Predators in that debut and followed that with a decent showing versus the Wild. But let's not fool ourselves. There's no way he'll surpass Bob as the No. 1 netminder, but he should earn subsequent starts — and hopefully, more wins — behind a dangerous Florida attack.
Players to consider from past columns: Brock Nelson, Bo Horvat, Jake DeBrusk, Zach Parise, Victor Olofsson, Joonas Donskoi, Nazem Kadri, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Tyler Bertuzzi, Zach Parise, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Anthony Cirelli, Alex Killorn, David Krejci, Ryan Strome, Martin Necas, Travis Konecny, Jaden Schwartz, Christian Dvorak, Oscar Klefbom, Neal Pionk, Devon Toews, Filip Hronek, Adam Fox, Alex Goligoski, Anthony DeAngelo, John Marino, Antti Raanta, Mikko Koskinen, Jonathan Quick, Jaroslav Halak, Linus Ullmark, Joonas Korpisalo.