Welcome everyone to the 2016 calendar year! The holidays have come and gone Ė seemingly too quickly Ė and we are making our way towards the back half of the NHL season. Itís Tuesday, and that means another round of bargain options on FanDuel for the upcoming week of games.
A quick reminder that quite often, these are players to use because their situation has changed with regards to their lineup positioning. Coaches can be finicky, and a teamís lineup combination could be completely different three days from now. Keep an eye on things like the RotoWire daily lineups for information as the week progresses.
As always, there will be one player per skater position priced $4,000 or less. At the end, there will be a couple of cheap goalies to use throughout the week.
Markus Granlund (Calgary) - $3,900
It has not been a great start to the start of the NHL career for Mikaelís brother. While 25 points in 72 career regular season games isnít abysmal, there were certainly higher hopes for the second round pick.
Things are starting to look up a bit for Granlund as heís playing on a line with Jiri Hudler (Mason Raymond for Hudler, if he is indeed injured) and Sam Bennett. While not really gangbusters, itís easily the best scoring line the Flames have outside of the Sean Monahan-Johnny Gaudreau top line.
Granlund has also found some time of late bouncing between both the first and second power play units. While more consistency would be ideal, the important part is heís getting power play time at all.
With Calgary at home to Arizona on Thursday, it seems like a good night to avoid the Oliver Ekman-Larsson defence pairing and go with their depth players. That means using Granlund, Bennett, and the like.
Andreas Martinsen (Colorado) - $3,400
Colorado has been fiddling with its lines ever since breaking up of the Gabriel Landeskog-Nathan MacKinnon-Matt Duchene trio. In their game Monday night, MacKinnon and Duchene were reunited on a line together, but the left winger was Andreas Martinsen Ė and not Landeskog.
For those unfamiliar with Martinsen, there is a reason for that. The 25-year old was an undrafted player signed in the offseason by the Avalanche. He wasnít some offensive dynamo playing in the KHL, either: two of the three previous seasons Martinsen played in the German pro league saw him manage under a half-point-per-game. In other words, barring some miraculous career turnaround, this is the definition of 'just a guy'.
All the same, he is playing on a line with two of the most gifted offensive players in the NHL. Not only that, but their line isnít playing the top competition of the other team; that distinction goes to the Landeskog unit. On a short Wednesday slate, the Avalanche host the Blues. With the MacKinnon line likely avoiding the Tarasenko line, Martinsen seems like a reasonably low-risk bargain option.
Dustin Brown (Los Angeles) - $3,600
The injury to Jeff Carter has forced Los Angeles to rotate their lines. One that was put together, and has played pretty well in their time together, is the trio of Dustin Brown, Trevor Lewis, and Dwight King.
One advantage is that like the MacKinnon line I talked about earlier, they are not asked to eat a lot of hard minutes for the team. Rather, that distinction goes to the Anze Kopitar line. That is important for the two games this week featuring two teams with two solid scoring lines: Toronto and the Bozak line, and St. Louis with the Tarasenko line.
On top of all this, Brown-Lewis-King are playing on the power play together. Things will probably change once Carter comes back, but it can only help their chemistry.
Brown, at time of writing, has a three-year high in shots on goal per game, despite fewer minutes per game this year compared to last. More shots means a higher floor, and easier competition means less concern about taking a minus. I would prefer to use Brown on Thursday against the Leafs.
Dmitry Kulikov (Florida) - $4,000
The Florida Panthers are one of the bigger stories in the NHL, and rightly so considering their nine-game winning streak, and the fact that they sit atop their division. With where we are in the season, itís quite an accomplishment for a franchise that has largely been irrelevant for their entire existence.
What is critical with regards to Kulikovís fantasy value is the Panthers have drawn the second-most power plays in the NHL this year by raw totals. The only team that has drawn more overall is Arizona. This is critical because Kulikov plays alongside Aaron Ekblad on Floridaís top power play unit.
The three opponents the Panthers face this week, albeit all on the road, are in the bottom-third of the NHL when discussing scoring chances while short-handed. In particular, the Ottawa Senators are terrible at staying out of the box (ranking in the top-10 for most power play opportunities given). Kulikov is a very solid option on Thursday night for that matchup.
Louis Domingue (Arizona) - $6,600
Arizona isnít particularly a team that should be relied upon for the win, but theyíre doing a decent job of winning games now, and since Domingue had to take over for an injured Mike Smith, heís done an admirable job of filling in (at time of writing, a .923 save percentage on the season).
The Coyotes are at home to Nashville on Saturday night, and normally that wouldnít make for a great matchup. The Predators, however, will be playing their second game in as many nights on the road, and that is always tough for a team. It seems like a schedule win for the Coyotes, and Domingue doesnít need much more than that to exceed value at (I assume) a very low-owned rate.
Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg) - $6,700
The return of 'starter' Ondrej Pavelec is looming, but at the least, it does not look like it will be this week. That means the rest of the games, until Pavelec is ready, will probably go to Hellebuyck.
The Jets have had their struggles of late, mainly related to penalties and penalty killing. Fortunately for the Jets, they get Buffalo on Sunday, and theyíre a team thatís only mid-range in drawing power play opportunities. In a home game on a Sunday, I donít mind Hellebuyck at all in that matchup.