Waiver watch: Fantasy hockey risers this week
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.
Joonas Donskoi, F, Colorado Avalanche (Rostered in 20.2 percent of ESPN.com leagues): The top-line substitute celebrated Mikko Rantanen‘s first game back by potting two goals and two assists in Saturday’s 7-3 drubbing of the Blackhawks. Even with the return of Gabriel Landeskog seemingly on the horizon, Donskoi has value in deeper leagues as linemate to Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky (once healthy himself). But for now fantasy managers should, however possible, exploit the most from the lucky forward’s current role aside Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon.
Joel Armia, F, Montreal Canadiens (19.0 percent): If the three goals in three games don’t move you, the 21 shots(!) over that span should seize your attention. Armia is clearly feeling it at present, even while his club struggles as a whole. Give the top-power play participant consideration in Daily Fantasy competition before he cools off.
Charlie Coyle, F, Boston Bruins (9.2 percent): For however long it lasts, I like Coyle a lot as substitute for Patrice Bergeron on the Bruins’ No. 1 power play, especially since he’s also filling in for David Krejci – Bergeron’s top-line plug – aside Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen at even strength. The recently extended forward has a goal and three helpers in the four games Bergeron has missed. Just keep up on the top center’s recovery, listed as day-to-day.
Tanner Pearson, F, Vancouver Canucks (Rostered in 7.0 percent of ESPN.com leagues): A top-six staple in Vancouver, Pearson has five goals and six assists in 10 recent games, including four points with the extra skater and two-short-handed goals. Seemingly settled in with the Canucks after a three-team tour of the league last season, the 27-year-old has fantasy use in deeper ESPN.com competition.
Kevin Fiala, F, Minnesota Wild (6.2 percent): Turns out the Wild might not be as hopeless as they had us believe. Having lost in regulation just the once in 11 recent contests, Bruce Boudreau’s assembly is clearly determined to turn the page on an ugly launch to 2019-20, both on ice and off. Credit Fiala for contributing his bit to the cause, pacing near a point-per-game with six goals and seven assists through 14 contests. Only Fiala’s linemate, Zach Parise, has been more impressive of late, and he isn’t freely available in most leagues.
Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres (43.5 percent): If by chance available, Ristolainen should be scooped up immediately considering the current blue-line climate in Buffalo. Suffering a concussion, Rasmus Dahlin is out indefinitely, cementing Ristolainen’s role on the Sabres’ top pair and No. 1 power play. Already appreciated for his physical play – he ranks ninth in the league with 85 hits – Ristolainen can anticipate a bump in production for as long as Dahlin remains in recovery. Defenseman Brandon Montour might also be worth a whirl in playing a more prominent role at even-strength and with the extra skater.
Adam Fox, New York Rangers (16.1 percent): Boasting four goals and eight assists in 14 games, the 21-year-old rookie has one more point than Tony DeAngelo and twice the number as Jacob Trouba since Nov. 4. Yet Fox remains available in near 84% of ESPN.com leagues.
Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets (0.5 percent): With Zach Werenski expected to miss at least a month with a shoulder injury, Murray appears the top candidate to fill in on the Blue Jackets’ No. 1 pair aside Seth Jones, and in anchoring the secondary power play (assuming Jones ascends to the first). Here’s his chance to, again, prove he can contribute after collecting 29 points in 56 games this past season. By no means a game-changer, Murray could still serve as a valuable plug on some fantasy blue lines affected by injury.
Brian Elliott, Philadelphia Flyers (2.9 percent): Widely recognized for his colorful history of playing either very well in stretches, or the very opposite, the 34-year-old veteran is enjoying an impressive November, rocking a .932 SV% and 2.30 GAA through six recent appearances. He hasn’t lost in regulation since the end of October. Splitting time in the Flyers’ net with Carter Hart, Elliott presents as an attractive streaming or DFS option in the here and now. Just don’t get too attached.
Alex Stalock, Minnesota Wild (2.9 percent): Filling in as Minnesota’s No. 1 as Devan Dubnyk attends to a family matter, Stalock has been good-to-great in five of his past six appearances. The Wild’s backup might merit rolling out again this week while Dubnyk is expected to miss all three stops on the club’s upcoming road trip.
Kevin Labanc, F, San Jose Sharks (51.9 percent): With only a pair of assists to show for his past half-dozen games, Labanc has been demoted to the Sharks’ third line (although he’s still seeing quality minutes with the power play). Bench the 23-year-old until he snaps out of his current funk and again rises up the forward ranks. For now, fantasy dark horse Barclay Goodrow is benefitting from skating on a top line with Evander Kane and Logan Couture. And, hey, the Sharks are winning.