Special to Yahoo Sports
When examining a fantasy situation, it's easy to get lost in the details. The finer points can help make decisions and/or recognize trends, but they prove less helpful if the bigger picture isn't considered.
A solid producer/hot performer might be available, but there's a chance he won't fit in your lineup. If you participate in a roto format, don't neglect categories — however, there is the exception later in the year where you know you can't catch up or be caught. Also, do not overload on position/categories unless it's necessary to compete in a weekly head-to-head matchup.
With that lesson out of the way, check out the newest batch of mainly free recruits.
(Yahoo rostership rates/stats as of Jan. 16.)
Blake Coleman, New Jersey Devils (51 percent rostered)
Coleman generally fills the statsheet but has never really succeeded when it comes to scoring. He's making a case to correct that with 18 goals, including a hat-trick Tuesday and seven tallies from the last eight games. During the same stretch, Coleman has also produced 41 shots and 29 hits while averaging 18:36. So if you're looking for a multi-talented forward — or just want a pickle — he makes a worthy candidate.
Christian Dvorak, Arizona Coyotes (18 percent)
How can someone who centers the first line and top power play with Taylor Hall still be available in roughly four of every five leagues? Fine, so Dvorak isn't exactly lighting it up, and the Coyotes might have been shut out in consecutive contests last week, but they've counted 24 times in the other five this month. Dvorak's case is helped by the fact that he's registered assists during the last two and will face mediocre defenses before the All-Star break in Vancouver and Edmonton.
Frank Vatrano, Florida Panthers (16%)
Vatrano's a superb sniper but has been streaky throughout his NHL career. This year, he's evenly distributed the points with 10 goals and 10 assists. The USNTDP product has even recorded a pair of two-point efforts in the last four outings while delivering five points, 17 shots and 19 hits across the most recent six. Vatrano also performs in a secondary role on both special-teams units, totaling three goals.
Lars Eller, Washington Capitals (15%)
A third-line pivot will typically not receive much attention, especially when your career point peak in a season is 38 and you are behind Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov on the depth chart. But Eller is getting more looks thanks to 11 goals and 15 assists in 47 appearances. In addition to significant responsibilities in all situations, the veteran Dane has contributed 113 shots and a club-leading 376 faceoff wins.
Marcus Foligno, Minnesota Wild (3%)
Five goals in five games for Foligno looks great, but you can't expect this to continue as his best year had him potting 13 times for the Sabres in 2016-17. Other than a regular shorthanded spot, the power forward doesn't maintain any prominent place in the lineup. Let's be serious: Foligno's worth primarily comes from his physicality, as the 125 hits in only 36 outings will show. Consider it a bonus if any decent offense is included.
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks (2%)
Logan Couture's ankle injury has opened the door for others to add opportunities. Tomas Hertl has slid into the No. 1 center position during five-on-five, but Thornton has been promoted as the lead middleman on the Sharks' top power play. The former MVP has only notched a goal in the three matches since Couture went down, but the ice time is up almost three minutes compared to his season average. Thornton might be 40, but there's enough left in his legs to pick up some stats.
Jesper Fast, New York Rangers (1%)
Fast has predominantly worked in a diminished role while in New York in six seasons. That's nothing against the Swede, who's known for his full effort and — as his surname would suggest — speed. Fast occupies the right side of the Rangers' second line alongside Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome and has taken advantage of the advanced standing by going off for seven points across four games. Provided he stays in the top-six, he's worth the add in most leagues. If he drops back down, release immediately.
Derek Ryan, Calgary Flames (1%)
Like Eller, Ryan doesn't earn a lot of recognition as the third center. Yet the 33 year old has ably manned the Flames' second man-advantage unit while posting a healthy 24 points on the campaign. And since Dec. 31, Ryan has managed two goals, three assists, 11 shots, six blocks, and 50 faceoff wins skating at an increased 16:40 average. That's solid production from a lower-half forward who could fit in the bottom of your roster.
Esa Lindell, Dallas Stars (36%)
Since being featured in the Nov. 7 edition, Lindell has recovered offensively with 17 points — including five PPAs. He's racked up nine of those across the last seven games, with the overtime winner Tuesday the icing on the cake. The Finn is also continuing to see major action across the board and blocking his fair share of shots. Even with John Klingberg back in the blueline fold, expect Lindell to keep it going.
Adam Fox, New York Rangers (26%)
Fox appeared in this column for the first time soon after Lindell and has also significantly added to his attack the last eight weeks. There have been a couple dry spells along the way, but the three goals and 15 assists from 27 matchups have vaulted the youngster up the fantasy charts. Fox may not be involved as much as a top-tier D-man, but he appears to have settled in at the NHL level and on the path to stardom.
Rasmus Sandin, Toronto Maple Leafs (18%)
Hey, look, another defenseman named Rasmus! This one starred in the OHL at 17, was drafted 29th overall by the Leafs in 2018 and has compiled an excellent scoring record in the AHL. Sandin started the season in Toronto but was returned after two assists in six. Based on the 15 points through 21 games with the Marlies — and the loss of Morgan Rielly — he earned the return call-up. And in his NHL reintroduction on Tuesday, Sandin dished out a couple of assists while lining up on the second man-advantage. Add him now.
Mike Reilly, Ottawa Senators (0%)
After serving as a power-play specialist in Minnesota, Reilly found new life in Montreal in an expanded capacity. Unfortunately, that didn't carry over to this year and he'd be a healthy scratch for numerous outings. Reilly would ring in the New Year with a move to Ottawa. And even though he's only posted a PPA in the five since arriving in the nation's capital, the 20:17 average and 15 shots show signs of promise.
Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers (28%)
The battle for Edmonton goalie supremacy has been hard-fought all season, but Smith is in the lead. Mikko Koskinen was ahead for many weeks, but the big Finn struggled to a 3.65 GAA and .891 save percentage in his last nine appearances. Meanwhile, Smith has kicked off 2020 by going 4-0-1 to go with a 2.40/.928 line. Connor McDavid and co. seem to be clicking on the offensive end, which leaves the hot hand as a solid bet to excel on the fantasy front.
Marcus Hogberg, Ottawa Senators (3%)
Anders Nilsson is suffering from a concussion and a comeback date is unknown. Craig Anderson got first dibs on reclaiming the starting gig but looked horrendous over a four-game stint. That left Hogberg to answer the call. And while the 25-year-old has never impressed at any North American level — and hasn't been victorious since Dec. 19 — he's stepped in and put together three outstanding outings. That provides Hogberg with a firm hold on top duty in Ottawa for as long as Nilsson is absent.
Players to consider from past columns: Brock Nelson, Bo Horvat, Clayton Keller, Sam Reinhart, Patric Hornqvist, Nazem Kadri, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Zach Parise, Nico Hischier, Ondrej Palat, Phillip Danault, Alex Killorn, Ilya Kovalchuk, Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Strome, Robby Fabbri, Bryan Rust, Jordan Eberle, Nikita Gusev, Christian Dvorak, Martin Necas, Nick Suzuki, Oscar Klefbom, Neal Pionk, Anthony DeAngelo, Samuel Girard, John Marino, Filip Hronek, Alex Goligoski, Tristan Jarry, Jaroslav Halak, Ilya Samsonov, Elvis Merzlikins, Linus Ullmark, Adin Hill, Robin Lehner.