Fantasy: Kostitsyn finally worth a look; making Ducks calls

("Sleepers, Keepers , Bench'em or Drop'em" is a weekly fantasy hockey column written by Darryl "Dobber" Dobbs, an honest-to-goodness expert on such matters and founder of His column will run on Puck Daddy every Thursday.)

That's the beauty of fantasy hockey -- throwing darts can often bring you better results than hours of studying statistics and depth charts.

Of course, I speak to last week's recommendation of considering Andrew Ebbett(notes) (since scratched) and dropping Matt Stajan(notes) (now back on Phil Kessel's(notes) line and doing just fine, thank you) and Radim Vrbata(notes) (let's not go there either). It's enough to drive a man to drink. As Homer found out (to his dismay) in an early Simpsons episode spoofing fantasy sports -- "when you're right 52 percent of the time, you're wrong 48 percent of the time."

I strive for that 52 percent. With everything in life.

Injury replacement of the week: Andrei Kostitsyn(notes), Montreal Canadiens

Brian Gionta(notes) has a fractured bone in his left foot and the slumping A.K. has already scored a goal in his absence. Kostitsyn has had a hell of a time with things since early spring and fantasy owners have been jumping ship faster than figureheads at the NHLPA.

Are you drunk?

It's Thursday. You know the answer to that already. If there is ever a moment that you should show interest this season in the elder Kostitsyn, it is right now. Granted, six points in 21 games is as impressive as a Gary Bettman press conference, but he's a talented kid who will now get another chance to be a go-to guy.

The Keepers who are on fire...

Niklas Kronwall(notes), Detroit Red Wings: Kronwall's been improving his statistics every year and he has also proven (last season) that he can stay healthy for the full slate of games. He has seven points in his last four contests and has shown in the past that his hot streaks can go for as long as 25 games.

Brad Boyes(notes), St. Louis Blues: He'd been about as effective in the first six weeks as the Coyotes' PR department was back in July. Nothing gets fantasy owners back on a player's bandwagon faster than a four-point game, which Boyes had on the 10th. Sure, he may take a step back this year, but that step won't take him below the 60-point mark. The Blues' offense won't remain this horrible forever.

Steve Sullivan(notes), Nashville Predators: Something clicks with Sully. You don't know when it will happen, but when it does it's pretty sweet. He has scored three goals in his last two games, which tops his total from the first 17 games. That sound you heard was "click". Now watch him go.

Bobby Ryan(notes), Anaheim Ducks: There were a lot of poolies panicking over this guy. They couldn't understand how he could post nearly a point-per-game as a rookie and then stumble out of the gates with two points in nine games. Relax. He's not going to finish with a point-per-game as a sophomore and that thought should never have teased you in the first place. He's also not going to get 20 points - no "jinx" is that bad (unless he gets hurt, but I won't go there -- it may curse him). He'll finish in that 62-67 range. His 11 points in the last 10 games are just one of several hot runs he will have in 2009-10.

The Sleepers who are on the wire...

Frans Nielsen(notes), New York Islanders: The 25-year-old Dane has given the Isles some more secondary scoring. You'll never mistake him for Bryan Trottier, but Nielsen does have a bit of upside. He should set a career high of 40 or 45 points come April. Seeing as he has eight of his points (and plus-6) in the last 10 games, he's a good short-term option in a lot of fantasy formats

Anton Stralman(notes), Columbus Blue Jackets: Tons of potential, he just needs to be used properly. And Ken Hitchcock is world renowned for using his young players properly, right Nikita? Actually, in Stralman's case, Hitch is doing a good job. He has 11 points in his last 15 games and eight of those points have come on the power play. Unless Stralman shows up at the rink wearing a Filatov mask, he'll continue to get the ice time and as such should be a lock for 42-plus points.

Brian Pothier(notes), Washington Capitals: This is just a short-term suggestion, as Pothier has teased us before. Following up a 35-point season in Ottawa to go to a budding offensive powerhouse in Washington back when they didn't have another option for a quarterback ... and then stumbling to 28 points was as big a letdown as "Transformers 2." But he does have six points in his last six games and they came on the heels of a healthy scratch - which sometimes gives a player the kick in the ass they need.

Jimmy Howard(notes), Detroit Red Wings: Chris Osgood(notes) is hurt and Howard is getting all of the starts. More importantly - he's winning them. He is 3-1 in his last four and sports a 0.903 SP in that span. Not the greatest, but good enough to earn Mike Babcock's confidence. Goalies are always hard to get via the wire in roto leagues, so from that standpoint Howard is a great short-term option.

In a slump, these boys are mired...

Jason Spezza(notes), Ottawa Senators: It's amazing how many clowns there are out there. The dummies who will jump on anyone for still having faith that Spezza can be a 100-point player, and they believe that without Dany Heatley(notes) he'll be lucky to get even 80 again. Both the peanut butter and the jam can be very good on their own, folks. He's only 26 and we haven't seen anywhere near the season that will be his career best yet. It won't be this year, obviously, but just remember that Vincent Lecavalier(notes) had a disappointing 75 points at the age of 26 - before exploding for 108 the next year. Ride it out.

Mikhail Grabovski(notes), Toronto Maple Leafs: It's another one of Grabby's cold streaks and when the Phil Kessel line is the only line scoring, it will probably be a couple of weeks before he gets back into the swing of things. Frustrating to own. Bench him.

Sergei Samsonov(notes), Carolina Hurricanes: The talent is there -- just watch him with the puck. But for whatever reason (perhaps his wrist never fully healed from back in 2003), he's not beating the goaltender and neither are the players that he dishes to. His ice time is dropping faster than your jaw did when I said Spezza will be a 100-point player. Drop him.

Joffrey Lupul(notes), Anaheim Ducks: One point in eight games makes a great-looking season look very bad in an awful hurry. Teemu Selanne(notes) gets in his last gasp of mediocre-to-decent numbers while Lupul, the understudy, waits in the wings. The two are often linemates, but they don't mesh at all - six of his nine points have come while playing on the top line with Corey Perry(notes) and Ryan Getzlaf(notes) even though he played twice as many shifts on the Selanne line. Next year he'll hit his prime and I still think he'll be a 70-point player. Bench him.

Darryl Dobbs is the founder of, a fantasy hockey community with over a dozen columnists, a daily blog and in-depth fantasy player rankings. His always accurate opinions can also be found over at The Hockey News in their fantasy section.

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