Cheap Players for Daily Fantasy Hockey – February 4

by Michael Clifford on February 4, 2016

Some bargain bin, and top-end, options to use tonight on DraftKings

****

Welcome back daily fantasy players to another top-end/bargain bin column here on DraftKings! After a week away because of the All-Star Game, and this week begins the stretch run of the season.

****

It is a huge 12-game slate tonight, so with all those options, don’t forget to check out the $35 000 prize pool Sniper contest tonight on DraftKings. Just follow this link to get to the player selection screen, and details are below:

  • Maximum of 13 400 entries, $3 per entry
  • $35 000 guaranteed prize pool
  • $2000 top prize, with the top 2750 scores paying out.
  • Draft two centres, three wingers, two defencemen, a goalie, and a utility skater

****

As always, there will be three cheap options, and three expensive options to use for tonight’s DraftKings slate. Each of the expensive forwards will be $7000 or more, with the expensive defenceman at $6000 or more. The cheap skaters will all be $3000 or more. Unless otherwise indicated, these players are for use in cash games.

Cheap Options

Phillip Danault (CHI-C) – $2700

Jonathan Toews skated with the team on Wednesday, and is expected to be back in the lineup tonight for the Blackhawks. That should have their forward lines back to normal, meaning that Toews is back with Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw, with Teuvo Teravainen returning to a line with Danault. While playing the third line for most teams usually doesn’t bring a lot of value, they are going into Arizona tonight, and that’s not a bad thing.

The Arizona Coyotes are very top-heavy on the blue line. The pairing of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Connor Murphy are excellent together, and boast a high-danger scoring chance differential over 54-percent (very good). Every other Arizona defenceman is under 49-percent. This would suggest that whichever Blackhawks line gets that pairing may be in for a tough night. That will not be Danault’s line, and hopefully they take advantage of a weak Arizona defence corps past the top two.

Sven Baertschi (VAN-W) – $3000

Keep an eye for Vancouver’s morning skate (which happens late afternoon for those in the Eastern or Atlantic time zones). Henrik Sedin may return, as he skated with the team coming out of the break. That may change the lineup a bit, though it shouldn’t affect Baertschi too much as he wouldn’t be the one losing his spot in the top-six to Sedin.

Baertschi has quietly had a pretty good season for the Canucks. While the raw totals are not eye-popping – 17 points in 42 games – he hasn’t had much ice time, and 14 of those points came at five-on-five. As a result, he trails just the Sedins and Jannik Hansen in points per 60 minutes among Vancouver forwards at five-on-five. He started playing regular minutes in January, and that resulted in six points in 10 games.

Columbus coming to town is something that most teams should look forward to with regards to their offence. Most of the public should be on the Sedin line, which means very low ownership rates for guys like Baertschi. With a bigger role, and a good matchup, Baertschi looks to be a solid play tonight at his price.

Ben Hutton (VAN-D) – $2900

I don’t like usually doubling up on players from the same team in this column because it feels like kind of a cop out. With that said, there aren’t many good bargain defence options tonight, and Hutton is getting some power play time on the second unit for the Canucks.

In the month of January, Hutton played the most minutes per game that he did of any month this year. Over the last five games, that has translated to a floor that would recoup over half of his cost (1.2 points per game in just shots/blocked shots; I personally use $1400 per point to determine “value”). For a very low-priced defenceman, that leaves a lot of upside because at that point because just an assist brings gigantic value. If he goes pointless, there’s not much lost and he has an outside chance of achieving value without a point anyway.

** I will also say that Adam Clendening (EDM-D, $2600) can be an option tonight provided Justin Schultz is still out of the lineup. Clendening was Edmonton’s PP quarterback on the second unit with Schultz.

Expensive Options

Patrice Bergeron (BOS-C) – $7300

Boston’s first game out of the break was legitimately one of the worst games Bergeron has played in recent memory, and that’s not an exaggeration: Bergeron had the worst shot attempt plus/minus of all Bruins in Tuesday night’s game. I can’t imagine that has happened too often when Boston has hosted the Leafs over the last half decade or so. I am not one for narratives, but this is something Bergeron would know inherently, and would probably like to have a much better game tonight.

The Sabres are hosting the Bruins tonight, and Buffalo had a road game last night in Montreal. It may not be a great matchup for Bergeron, as he should see a lot of Ryan O’Reilly’s line, but I do think he has a big bounce-back game tonight after a brutal game on Tuesday night.

Taylor Hall (EDM-W) – $7000

There are a few things working in Hall’s favour tonight with regards to tonight’s game and daily fantasy. Obviously, playing the Senators helps a lot (did anyone see that Penguins game on Tuesday?!). Not only that, it does not appear as though Kyle Turris is ready to return for the Senators, and he is legitimately their only two-way centre. The rest of them are one-or-none-dimensional. Last, with Connor McDavid back in the lineup, and that highlight reel goal on Tuesday night, most of the public will lean to that line, and not Hall/Leon Draisaitl. This is all good news for Hall backers.

It might not seem like it, but Hall is on a six game point streak, with two goals and eight assists in that span. Over those six games, Hall hasn’t had fewer than two shots on goal in any of them. Although he and Draisaitl don’t seem to be on a tear like they were a couple of months ago, Hall is still doing very well.

Ottawa, as a team, is allowing the most shots per 60 minutes at both five-on-five, and while short-handed. With no Turris, the entire Oilers top-six should have their chances tonight. Hall isn’t exorbitantly priced, has a great matchup, and shouldn’t be too widely owned. As Happy Gilmore’s playing partner might say, all good things.

Erik Karlsson (OTT-D) – $7400

On the flipside of the Ottawa/Edmonton game is the fact that Edmonton still isn’t a very good defensive team. There isn’t a whole lot of thought that needs to go into this one. With Turris likely out of the lineup, there is no question that the offence runs through Karlsson (and it likely does anyway).

In the calendar year 2016, or 13 games for Karlsson, he has managed 49 shots on goal. In those 13 games, he has also added 24 blocked shots. That gives him a points per game average on shots/blocked shots alone of nearly three DK points (2.81, actually). Assuming no points, Karlsson’s play over the last month or so has seen him recoup over 56-percent of his salary at a price of $7400. Just an assist gets him very close to value on top of that. This should be a high-scoring game, and if so, Karlsson should figure in heavily.

*Some stats from Hockey Reference, Hockey Analysis, and War On Ice. Line combinations from Dobber’s Frozen Pool