Puck Picks: Bargains

We have dreary weather with the potential for snow as far south as Virginia and exciting hockey as far West as Los Angeles where the struggling Bruins from Boston try to get it together in La La land against the first place Kings. Every game matters this time of year and the intensity makes for some high scoring, stressful Daily Fantasy Hockey. We have a few big-ticket picks to go along with a few affordables and a tempting taste of bargains.

I haven’t been high on the big-ticket picks of late and that continues today. It irks me to leave $800-$1,300 dollars in salary sitting in my budget begging to be spent but it has allowed me to spend on the best Team G’s, a strategy I have advocated against since the scoring changes. We like a lot of bargains tonight and because of the pure volume of viable plays I suggest you mix and match in a multiple of entries so that you have shares of them all to start alongside your “Big-ticket picks” and “affordables.”


Big-Ticket Picks

The Bruins are normally a good place to shop for top dollar, reliable production and for a majority of the season they were allowing goals by the bunches, but they haven’t been that team recently. They haven’t been a team to stack against and they aren’t scoring like they had been for the majority of the season. They were shutout by Anaheim Friday night, they are fifth worst in goals scored and they are ninth best in goals allowed over their last 10 games. They are looking like the 2014 Bruins more than the 2016 version and because of that, as well as other reasons, we have a limited number of big-ticket picks for tonight’s action.

John Tavares (Islanders) Center $16,100

Opponent: Dallas Stars

Stats: 3 Goals – 2 Assists – 17 Shots on Goals = 6 Games Played

The Stars have allowed more than three goals per game over their previous ten and Tavares, playing alongside Kyle Okposo, are the best scorers on the Islanders. Tavares hasn’t been lighting it up but he does have two assists in his previous three games and he had scored in three straight before that. The match up is a very good one, making Tavares a viable big-ticket item.

Steven Stamkos (Lightning) Center, $15,400

Opponent: Arizona Coyotes

Stats: 4 Goals – 1 Assist – 12 SOG = 3 GP

Another cushy match up and Stamkos has been on a run, lighting the lamp four times in three games along with a four shots on goal per game average. His price is low for a “big-ticket” item as well.

Vladimir Tarasenko (Blues) Wing $15,400

Opponent: Vancouver Canucks

Stats: 3 Goals – 4 Assists – 15 SOG = 5 GP

The Canucks have allowed 31 goals in their previous 10 games, seventh worst in the NHL over that period. Tarasenko is the Blues best scorer and leading them with 27 shots in their previous seven games. He has a high floor because of his shot totals and upside because of the friendly match up with the Canucks. He is also an affordable price for a “big-ticket” player.



While we weren’t overwhelmed with the “big-ticket” picks for tonight, we aren’t all lathered up over the “affordables” either. That being said, there are a few that we like because of the match up against the Dallas Stars.

Kyle Okposo (Islanders) Wing $12,500

Opponent: Dallas Stars

Stats: 2 Goals – 1 Assist – 11 SOG = 4 GP

Okposo has been moved up to play with John Tavares and that can’t be anything but a good thing for his DFS production. His salary is reasonable for an “affordable” play. We like a stack of Tavares and Okposo in what should be a high scoring game against the Dallas Stars.

Johnny Boychuk (Islanders) Defense $11,000

Opponent: Dallas Stars

Stats: 2 Goals – 1 Assist – 20 SOG = 7 GP

11 shots on goal in his last four games and 20 in his last seven makes a great floor for a defenseman. If he continues to shoot that often goals are certain to follow. He has averaged two blocked shots per game in his last nine as well if you needed some gravy to moisten your palate for starting Boychuck.

Alex Galchenyuk (Canadiens) Center $10,600

Opponent: Ottawa Senators

Stats: 12 goals – 2 Assists – 32 SOG = 11 GP

Galchenyuk has been a must start for the last two weeks, but he has begun to cool as of late (an instinct I commented on in Tuesdays article). He has one goal, one assist and seven shots on goal in his last three games. He is still extremely affordable and his production hasn’t cratered, just calmed from the torrid pace he was on. The price still makes him a well above-average start tonight and the Senators are a friendly match up as well.


Bargain Buys

Ideally, I like to see a “Bargain Buy” under $9,000 in salary but anything under $10,000 makes a player a viable bargain and there are a lot that are producing well enough to be tantalizing starts. When I feel good about as many as 8-10 bargains it immediately makes me think “multiple entries.”

You can start an entire roster of bargains (and I have to test the strategy) and then partner them with a golden ticket Team G and do just fine most nights, but it stings my conscience to leave $5,000-$6,000 in salary sitting in my budget screaming to be spent. To ease my mind, instead of rostering an entire roster of sleepers, I enter two or three times in a tournament and then I nap well. On Thursday, I finished first and second in a multiple of contests with this strategy so feel free to take it to the bank as well. Here are tonight’s bargains.

Milan Lucic (Kings) Wing $9,800

Opponent: Boston Bruins

Stats: 3 Goals – 7 Assists – 11 SOG = 8 GP

I don’t love the match up against the stingy Bruins and I don’t like to see so few shots on goal per game, but the salary makes him a value play. He is producing both goals and especially assists at a salary that should be easy to fit into your budget.

Anders Lee (Islanders) Wing $9,800

Opponent: Dallas Stars

Stats: 3 Goals – 3 Assists – 13 SOG = 9 GP

As you may have noticed, I like the idea of an Islanders stack against the Dallas Stars and Lee is the affordable piece of the puzzle. He isn’t performing well enough to earn “must-start” status and he isn’t a $6,000 salary steal, but he is a good mix of production and cost to be a good play in a great match up.

Zach Bogosian (Sabres) Defense $9,400

Opponent: Toronto Maple Leafs

Stats: 2 Goals – 4 Assists – 36 SOG = 9 GP

Bogosian’s four shots on goal per game average in his previous nine games is a very exciting number to see for a defenseman. The fact that he has put a couple biscuits in the basket is tasty, four helpers make him savory and the salary makes him close to a must-start meal for tonight.

Marcus Foligno (Sabres) Winger $6,500

Opponent: Toronto Maple Leafs

Stats: 3 Goals – 2 Assists – 16 SOG = 9 GP

The shots on goal are not confidence inspiring but the production and the bargain-basement salary along with the friendly match up makes Foligno a well-above average play tonight. If you don’t need to save the salary then feel free to move along, but if you need to pinch your pennies, Foligno is a great place to cut costs. He is a nice stack to mix with a combination of Zach Bogosian ($9,400), Johan Larsson ($5,300), or Nicolas Deslauriers ($4,700).

 Johan Larsson (Sabres) Wing $5,300)

Opponent: Toronto Maple Leafs

Stats: 3 Goals – 11 SOG = 9 GP

The Leafs are a friendly opponent and Larsson is as cheap a play as you will ever find. He is averaging 17:01 minutes per game of ice-time, which isn’t a hefty workload, but it’s a lot for a player of this salary. I don’t recommend this kind of Hail Mary choice, but if you are desperate to save salary Larsson is a viable option.

Nicolas Deslauriers (Sabres) Wing $4,700

Opponent: Toronto Maple Leafs

Stats: 3 Goals – 13 SOG = 9 GP

I misspoke about Larsson, Deslauriers IS AS CHEAP AS YOU WILL EVER FIND. All the arguments for Larsson apply for Deslauriers, except he is averaging 11:39 minutes of ice time, which is low, even for a bargain. Some times to squeeze in that player you love you need to pinch pennies and that is where Deslauriers comes in. The Sabres have a multiple of plays that are viable either because of production or salary.

Paul Stastny (Blues) Center $9,200

Opponent: Vancouver Canucks

Stats: 3 Goals – 4 Assists – 13 SOG = 7 GP

His shots on goal aren’t what you love to see but the goals and the assists are there to make his salary a bargain. I like the match up against the Canucks tonight and Stastny is the most affordable Blue to buy. I won’t eat your lunch if you would like to stack a mix of Tarasenko, Backes, Shattenkirk and Stastny in some fashion or another. The Blues aren’t high-octane enough to risk a super stack, but a mini-stack is a viable play in this one.

Darren Helm (Red Wings) Center $5,700

Opponent: Florida Panthers

Stats: 3 Goals – 1 Assist – 24 SOG = 7 GP

The Panthers have allowed almost three goals per game in their previous 11 and Helm has been the Wings leading scoring in there last seven. Helm averaged more than three shots on goal per game and has averaged 13:44 minutes of ice time, making what would appear to be a risky play a lot safer than his salary suggests. He is a must-start tonight.


Buffalo Sabres $15,200 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

In their last 11 games the Toronto Maple Leafs is in top five in shots on goal and the bottom five in goals scored. The likelihood that the Sabres finish with a lot of saves and not very many goals allowed at an affordable salary is the trifecta of Team G strategy. The fact that the Sabres are slight favorites is the cherry on top. They are my Team G of the night.

Florida Panthers $16,600 vs. Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings take a lot of shots and are significant underdogs against the Panthers tonight. The downside is that the Panthers allow more than their fair share of goals, but a lot of saves and a likely win make the Panthers a good play tonight.

Los Angeles Kings $16,900 vs. Boston Bruins

The Bruins take a lot of shots, they have struggled to score recently and the Kings are heavy favorites, all factors we love to see in a Team G. They are one of the highest priced Team G’s of the night so they aren’t a bargain, but if you can afford the salary they are one of the higher-percentage plays for tonight.

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell has been playing Fantasy sports for over twenty years. He contributed to RotoWire.com in their early days before contributing as a writer and doing Fantasy sports Podcasts for Seamheads.com. Three seasons ago he brought his writing and his Fantasy sports Podcast to RotoExperts.com and the Fantasy Sports Television network and this past season he wrote a weekly Fantasy sports column for BaseballAmerica.com. He also writes about Minor League prospects for RotoExperts. Chris has no more access to the site than the typical user. Follow him at Twitter @CJMiitch73.

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