Itís Tuesday again which means itís time for another FanDuel bargain bin column. Note that with Thanksgiving this week, the NHL schedule is a bit shuffled. There are only two games on Tuesday, and zero on Thursday. That is drastically different from the typical NHL week.
It was another good week last week, with Leon Draisaitl (who is an auto-start until his price corrects), Melker Karlsson, Shayne Gostisbehere, and James Reimer all having good games. Letís hope that good fortune carries over.
As usual, there will be one skater per position priced $4,000 or less, with a couple of cheap goalies at the end, and a mention as to which days are the best to use the players.
Bo Horvat (Vancouver) - $3,900
Itís been a decent start to the year for Horvat, but not necessarily what fantasy players were hoping for. The 20-year old second year player is averaging just under 0.2 more shots per game than last year, despite nearly four more minutes of ice time per game. Not an ideal start, though he does have eight points, so at least heís doing something.
It is time to admit that there arenít a whole lot of numbers supporting this recommendation. Vancouver goes into Minnesota and Dallas this week, and both teams have pretty good second lines. What can be said is that having watched the last handful of Canucks games, Horvat seems to be playing with a lot of confidence with the puck. He gets in quick on the forecheck, he is finding teammates and this, in part, has led to assists in those last two games.
I would not use Horvat unless it was relief in a tournament, as he is definitely not a cash game play. The target, however, would be in Dallas on Friday.
Teemu Pulkkinen (Detroit) - $3,700
The lines in Detroit have seemingly been in constant flux since the return of Pavel Datsyuk from injury. Lately anyway, Pulkkinen has been lining up on the second line with Datsyuk, and that includes playing the power play with arguably the most talented player of this generation. Pulkkinen is the perfect match for the Russian, as the latter is great at finding seams for passing lanes while the former has an absolute cannon for a shot.
Detroit has three home games this week. They start at home against Boston on Wednesday, Edmonton on Friday, and Florida on Sunday. It is no secret Patrice Bergeron is the defensive wizard for the Bruins, but I would assume he plays most of his ice time on Wednesday facing the Zetterberg line, not the Datsyuk line. That is good news for Pulkkinen. Also, I would assume there is a Sunday-Monday game offered this week on FanDuel as the Detroit-Florida game is the only game on Sunday. The secret to the Panthers this year is their top defensive pair really carries the team: with Aaron Ekblad on the ice, the Panthers manage over 56% of the scoring chances. Thatís really good. Without Ekblad, that number drops to 41%. Thatís really bad. I think Pulkkinen can get on the board against the depth of either Boston or Florida this week.
Magnus Paajarvi (St. Louis) - $3,200
It has been an up-and-down career for Paajarvi. As a 19-year-old for the Oilers, he managed 34 points in 80 games, and seemed to be another up-and-comer in Edmonton. Since the end of the 2010-2011 season, though, heís managed just 39 points in 158 NHL games, and has found himself demoted to the AHL on several occasions.
The return of Paul Stastny has shifted things around a bit as far as the lineup is concerned. Paajarvi is playing on what would be considered the third line for the Blues with Jori Lehtera and Dmitrij Jaskin. In the first game as a trio, Paajarvi played over 13 minutes of five-on-five time and managed two shots on goal.
St. Louis is home to Columbus on Saturday. Assuming the Blues lines stay the same (and thatís quite an assumption for a Ken Hitchcock-coached team), the Paajarvi line should see a heavy dose of either Kevin Connauton or Dalton Prout (due to a Fedor Tyutin injury). The loss of Tyutin is big on Columbusís back end, as they donít have much depth to begin with. Connauton and Prout are typically defencemen that give up a lot of scoring chances (before this season, that is), which bodes well for Paajarvi on Saturday.
Colin Miller (Boston) - $3,000
There were many questions surrounding the Bruins blue line coming into this year, but Zdeno Chara seems to have regained some of his form and Colin Miller has stepped forward as an offensive presence for their blue line.
Miller is a fifth round pick who made his debut this year. While heís not being fully trusted by the coaching staff year Ė heís regularly getting around 15-16 minutes a game Ė the key here is his use on the second power play unit for the Bruins. While it doesnít get as much ice time as the top unit, for a defenceman that is min-priced, this is still a good situation.
Most importantly, the Bruins have a game in Detroit on Wednesday. The nice thing about Millerís ice time is that he wonít see much of the Datsyuk/Zetterberg lines, and thatís good for plus/minus. Considering he seems to have little downside, and is facing a penalty kill that gives up the 17th-most scoring chances, Miller is a good salary relief option on Wednesday.
Anton Khudobin (Anaheim) - $7,900
After a fairly poor October (.875 save percentage), Khudobin has bounced back nicely in November with a .948 save percentage. The Ducks, as a whole, have rebounded from a poor start as they have gone 6-3-2 so far this month.
The Ducks are home to Calgary on Tuesday and then go into Arizona Wednesday. It doesnít really matter which game Khudobin gets, as heís a very solid tournament option in either game; Arizona isnít a very good team top-to-bottom and Calgary isnít very deep either.
Ryan Miller (Vancouver) - $7,600
This is a tournament option to use on Wednesday when the Canucks go into Minnesota.
Since November 1st, a span of eight games for Minnesota, the team has an adjusted CorsiFor-percentage of 46.4-percent, good for 23rd in the NHL, behind teams like Calgary, Colorado, and Philadephia. They were top-10 in the month of October. There wouldnít be much to read into this normally, but over the last handful of seasons, the Wild have been notorious for sliding as the season wears on. This season, at least to this point, has been no different.
I donít suspect Miller will be very highly owned in tournaments on Wednesday, and thatís what makes him a solid option.