Welcome back to another round of FanDuel bargain options for the six days from January 12-19. As always, make sure to keep an eye on the RotoWire charts, as most value plays are a result of a change in situation before prices adjust. When the situations change, the values change, and itís important to stay on top of these things.
As with most weeks, the previous article had its hits and misses. Louis Domingue and Andreas Martinsen were just fine, while the rest were misses. Such is the nature of using bargain-priced players.
As always, there will be one skater at each FanDuel position priced at $4,000 or less. There will be a couple of cheap goalies at the end of the article to use as well.
Tomas Hertl (San Jose) - $3,700
The career arc of Tomas Hertl has been a weird one so far. He had 25 points in 35 games as a rookie two years ago before injuring his knee, returning for just a couple games at the end of the year. He followed that up with just 31 points in 82 games last year (22 at five-on-five), despite having 170 individual scoring chances, third on the Sharks. He had 15 points in 37 games before a three-point effort on Saturday night.
That is what makes Hertl such an odd case. He has averaged more individual scoring chances per game since the start of the 2013 season (2.24) than Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture (both at 2.21), and Patrick Marleau (2.08). Yet he hasnít produced much in the way of points, and ranks fifth among Sharks forwards in points per 60 minutes at five-on-five over that span.
Maybe his linemates had something to do with it, and the important note following Hertlís three-point game on Saturday night is that it came on the top line with Pavelski and Joe Thornton. It is worth noting that in Hertlís career, he has played nearly 791 minutes with Thornton, and has posted 1.97 points per 60 minutes doing so (considerably higher than his rate otherwise of 1.51). With home games against Edmonton and Dallas (two defensively problematic teams) later this week, Hertl is a very solid option at his price.
David Pastrnak (Boston) - $3,200
Speaking of solid rookie seasons, Pastrnak had 27 points in 46 games last year after being called up by the Bruins. It is still a small sample, but itís worth noting that over the last two seasons, Pastrnak leads all Boston Bruins forwards in points per 60 minutes at five-on-five. He did have 29 points in 27 games in the AHL, and was always regarded as an offensive talent. It should be no surprise he is having success.
In another parallel with Hertl, Pastrnak has found himself in a very fortuitous situation. Once Brad Marchand returned from suspension, Pastrnak found himself alongside Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on Bostonís top line. He is on the second power play unit away from Bergeron, but some power play time is better than none.
With the prices of Bergeron and Marchand getting pretty high, Pastrnak is a great way to get exposure to that top line without spending a lot. The Bruins have a home game on Saturday night against the Leafs where both teams will be playing their second game in as many nights. This usually favours the home team, and without James van Riemsdyk in Torontoís lineup, theyíre missing a big scoring threat. That minimizes the plus/minus downside of Bostonís top line, and makes Pastrnak even more enticing. Considering his price, though, Pastrnak is a decent play on any given night as long as heís on the top line.
Andre Burakovsky (Washington) - $3,600
With Alex Ovechkin reaching the 500-goal plateau, the milestones are out of the way for the Capitals. In their previous couple of games, you could see the team intentionally feeding Ovechkin, trying to get him there, and that changes the way the team plays a little bit.
Burakovsky has been alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov the last several games, and one immediate impact is an increase in ice time. Over his last five games, Burakovsky has played at least 14 minutes in four of them, and the one he didnít was the 7-1 win over Ottawa when the team started playing the third and fourth lines once the game was out of hand.
The Capitals have a few days off before a home game against Vancouver. Besides the Canucks not being a very good team, the thing is without the Sedin twins on the ice at five-on-five, Vancouver only controls a little over 43-percent of the scoring chances that occur. That is exceptionally poor. The Kuznetsov line shouldnít see much of the Sedins, and that means they should have the balance of the play when theyíre on the ice. Burakovsky is a solid bargain option on Thursday night.
Mathew Dumba (Minnesota) - $3,700
It is at the point of the season where some fairly definitive conclusions can be drawn. There are a couple things we know for sure about the Winnipeg Jets, the team Minnesota plays at home on Friday night:
1. Winnipeg averages nearly four short-handed opportunities against in the league, the most in the NHL.
2. The Jets are arguably the worst penalty killing team in the NHL as measured by scoring chances allowed per minute.
Even with an upgrade in net, the Jets canít stay out of the box, and canít stop the opponent with efficiency when they do take a penalty. That is a bad combination for Winnipeg.
On the flipside, that is a great combination for opposing power plays. Dumba has been skating on the second power play unit for the Wild and considering the matchup with a short six-game slate on Friday night, Dumba is a good bargain option on the blue line.
Louis Domingue (Arizona) - $6,700
Back to the well with Domingue.
On Saturday night, the New Jersey Devils are in town. Arguably their best forward Ė Michael Cammalleri Ė has missed nearly two weeks of action now. In the five games without Cammalleri, the Devils have scored just seven goals. While a concern would be that Domingue wonít face a lot of shots, he seems to have a reasonable chance at a shutout. Considering his price, Domingue is good option in net on Saturday night in both cash games and tournaments.
Brian Elliott (St. Louis) - $7,300
To continue picking on the Devils, the Blues are at home to New Jersey on Tuesday night. With Jake Allen injured for the Blues, itís Brian Elliottís net for now. While thereís a good argument heís a below-average goalie, the Devils are hard-pressed to score right now, which seems a shutout a distinct possibility. I wouldnít risk Elliott in a cash game, but at his price and situation, he is fine for a tournament.