Waiver watch: A plus-minus standout from Ottawa?
Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for lesser-rostered assets to help your squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format, and we’ll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who may be overvalued — in the short- or long-term — for one reason or another.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, Ottawa Senators (Rostered in 23.8 percent of ESPN.com leagues): Previously reluctant to jump on the Pageau fantasy bandwagon, there’s no more dismissing his current aptitude for finding the back of the net, as made evident by five goals scored in four consecutive games. Skating on a feisty line with Connor Brown – featured in this space last week – the just turned 27-year-old is averaging nearly 18 minutes per game and boasts a plus-16. Plus-16 with the Senators. Stream him up before the bubble bursts.
Gustav Nyquist, RW,LW, Columbus Blue Jackets (36.9 percent): The former Red Wing is not the Bread Man and never will be the Bread Man and expecting him to fully make up for the loss of Artemi Panarin is a waste of emotional energy. But at least he’s starting to appear more comfortable with his new squad. One goal and three assists in his last couple of games suggests Nyquist is starting to figure it out on a scoring line with top center Pierre-Luc Dubois and the No. 1 power play. He has a role to fill in deeper fantasy leagues, as long as plus/minus doesn’t carry too much weight.
Brandon Saad, LW/RW, Chicago Blackhawks (20.2 percent): Disposed to contributing in fits and bursts, Saad is feeling it at present, potting three goals and an assist in four games. Now that the Blackhawks are warming up some, losing just one of their last five in regulation, most members of their top-six merit rostering in most ESPN.com leagues – including Saad as a streaming option on a scoring line aside Jonathan Toews. At least as long as the 27-year-old winger remains warm himself.
Jordan Eberle, RW, New York Islanders (17.7 percent): I’m keen to see how Eberle manages on an Islanders’ top line with center Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee, now that he’s recovered from an early-season lower-body injury. Or, if he even sticks there for an extended period of time. The former 65-point winger was solid enough in Saturday’s tight 2-1 win over the Panthers, rifling four shots and finishing plus-one. But unless you’re desperate for RW help, an impulsive fantasy move isn’t warranted here. Josh Bailey could be back on that scoring unit before long.
Kevin Fiala, C/LW/RW, Minnesota Wild (6.0 percent): November has been much kinder to the still new-ish Wild forward. Skating on a scoring line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, Fiala has three goals and two assists in four games this month. If nothing else, the former Predator presents as an appealing unconventional DFS asset when the match-up makes sense, like versus the Kings on Tuesday.
Robby Fabbri, C/LW, Detroit Red Wings (2.6 percent): It’s impossible not to cheer on the first-round draft pick (2014) in what feels like a promising, and necessary, fresh start with his second NHL club. After years of battling serious knee and other issues, then no longer blending in up front for the Blues, the still only 23-year-old looks super jazzed to compete for the statistically worst team in the league. Because he gets to really participate and pitch in, on a scoring line and top power play. Two goals and an assist through his first two contests with the Wings offer promise of more of the same through the coming months.
Justin Schultz, Pittsburgh Penguins (26.1 percent): With Kris Letang tagged as week-to-week with a lower-body injury, the task of anchoring the Penguins’ top power play, once again, falls to their No. 2 offensive-defenseman. This isn’t his first go around in subbing in for the club’s star blueliner: Schultz racked up 12 goals and 39 assists when a hobbled Letang sat out half of 2016-17. Admittedly, Pittsburgh’s power play has been starkly awful since mid-October – 0 for 25! – but that dam won’t be long for busting. Even if Sidney Crosby misses a game or two with a (hopefully only) minor lower-body injury, Schultz is worth rostering in all but the shallowest of leagues until Letang fully recovers.
Anders Nilsson, Ottawa Senators (5.1 percent): By no means your forever fantasy goaltender, Nilsson nonetheless offers serious value in the here and now. Allowing only five goals through his past three contests (.950 SV%) – all of them wins – the Senators’ No. 1-for-now is again tapped to start against the Hurricanes on Monday. Then likely Wednesday in New Jersey, and once more in splitting back-to-back tilts against the Flyers and Sabres to end the week. He’s playing well and likely there for the grabbing if you need temporary netminding help.
Tomas Tatar, LW/RW, Montreal Canadiens (77.9 percent): Supplanted on Montreal’s top line by Jonathan Drouin, Tatar tumbles to the third line, sliding in aside rookie Nick Suzuki. While the winger still managed an assist against the Kings Saturday, more limited minutes and fewer quality opportunities will negatively affect his numbers over time. Tatar’s fantasy managers should consider bench relegation until there’s another change in assignment.