The case for drafting Marchand 1st overall in fantasy

Marc DesRosiers / USA Today Sports

Maybe Connor McDavid shouldn't be a slam dunk for the first overall pick in your fantasy draft.

Before you make the easy selection and take the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner, consider the value Brad Marchand can offer in fantasy.

Over the past couple of seasons, the Boston Bruins forward has truly emerged as an offensive talent, showing he can be more than just a pest.

Marchand has hit career highs in goals and points in the last two seasons. In 2016, he bested his 2012 numbers (28 goals and 55 points), tallying 37 goals and 61 points. He did even better last season, finishing tied for fourth in the league in goals with 39 and tied for fifth with 85 points.

Of his 39 goals, eight were game-winners, tying him for fifth among all skaters, and another three were scored shorthanded, which also placed him fifth league-wide (and just two shy of Viktor Arvidsson's league-high five).

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

He's also making significant contributions on the man advantage. Last season Marchand tallied 16 more power-play points (24) than the season prior, which had previously been his career high. This is largely thanks to the Bruins' power play, which ranked seventh in the league in 2016-17 with a 21.7 percent success rate.

Meanwhile, at five-on-five, Marchand had the second-most shot attempts for Boston, while his linemate Patrice Bergeron ranked No. 1. In all, he threw 226 shots at the opposition, ranking 31st among all forwards.

And discovering his scoring touch hasn't made Marchand any less salty on the ice. He still led the Bruins in penalty minutes with 81, which also ranked 24th among all forwards. To put that into perspective, only two other forwards who ranked in the top 50 in scoring had more penalty minutes than Marchand: Nazem Kadri and Ryan Kesler.

As crazy as it might sound, his overall strengths suggest that plucking Marchand first in your fantasy league - if you're lucky enough to have that selection - might be a smart move.

He ranks in the top five in almost every offensive category in the league. On top of that, he chips in on special teams, he racks up penalty minutes, and while he doesn't sit among league leaders, he'll also hit and block shots on occasion.

In most fantasy leagues, he'll get you points in nearly every category, something you can't necessarily say about usual first overall selections such as McDavid and Sidney Crosby.

Taking Marchand at No. 1 might be risky, but the payoff could be worth it.

The case for drafting Marchand 1st overall in fantasy
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