Fantasy Hockey Waiver Watch – Championship Round Pickups
Each week, we’ll be leveraging the Under-Enrolled Asset Waiver thread to help your team, whether you prefer the Dynasty or the reformulation format, and we’ll add some tips for DFS players as well. Finally, we’ll take a look at some favorite old fantasy assets that may be overvalued – short or long term – for one reason or another.
Phil Kessel, RW, Arizona Coyotes (51.0%): The Coyotes need Kessel to be at his best to maintain a realistic hope of keeping the Blues at bay for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West. Especially with Conor Garland week after week with a lower body injury. Fortunately, “Phil the Thrill” is generally more effective with a little extra competition fire in its belly. The Coyotes’ upcoming schedule also looks favorable, including four games against San Jose and a pair with the Kings (a two-game set with Vegas certainly looks less advantageous). Kessel has scored seven goals in four games against the Sharks this season, including a hat-trick in his last outing (March 27). I’m all over the veteran sniper as a sneaky fancy addition as the regular season ends.
Nino Niederreiter, RW / LW, Carolina Hurricanes (49.9%): Planted on a line with Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas, Niederreiter has scored a pair of goals and an assist in his last three games. They tend to come in bunches for this guy, which portends a productive end to the regular season. And, unlike Trocheck and Necas, Niederreiter is available in about half of the ESPN.com leagues.
Tanner Pearson, LW, Vancouver Canucks (42.5%): The Canucks are expected to play 11 more games before May 13, the final date of ESPN.com’s fantastic schedule. Only the Avalanche, Blues and Kings have as many contests remaining on their respective slates (for comparison, the Red Wings and Blue Jackets have only six left). That’s a good number of minutes on the ice for Pearson to enjoy the front row with Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. And the compilation of three goals in three recent games suggests the forward may have finally regained his scoring touch.
Anthony Duclair, LW / RW, Florida Panthers (41.1%): After highlighting Sam Bennett’s rejuvenated whimsy value in this space just a week ago, I turn my attention back to one of his current linemates. Since returning to the ice in mid-April, Duclair has collected two goals and seven assists (plus-13!) In seven games. This production corresponds to 2.1 fully useful fantasy points per contest. There’s a lot to love right now on Florida’s second scoring line – including Jonathan Huberdeau as well – as the Panthers continue to battle Tampa Bay and Carolina for the Central Division crown. Especially this week when the club face the Predators and Blackhawks twice.
Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Edmonton Oilers (29.5%): Goodness knows how many times Puljujarvi has been acquired and then dropped during his reunion season with the Oilers, but maybe consider giving him once again. Competing on a goal line with Connor McDavid, the 22-year-old has scored in three straight games (plus contributed an assist). McDavid – and this shouldn’t be taken as even a minor surprise to anyone – helped on all three of these goals. After a brief hiatus, the Oilers are back, facing a 10-game streak before ESPN wraps up the fantasy play on May 13. As long as he stays next to one of the game’s greats, Puljujarvi might make some noise before we’re done.
Eeli Tolvanen, LW / RW, Nashville Predators (22.0%): After losing most of April to a lower body injury, Tolvanen appears to be picking up where he left off. Skating on a top line from the Predators with Victor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen, the 21-year-old is a goal and assists well thanks to two games back. Promising, especially remembering his three goals and six assists in Nashville’s six-game winning streak to conclude in March. The Preds need more of the same from their young forward if they are to fend off Dallas, or maybe even Chicago, for fourth place in the Central.
Tyler Bozak, C, St. Louis Blues (3.0%): Without attracting much attention from the fantastic crowd, the center of the Blues quietly went on a six-game streak with one point including one goal and seven assists. In this clip, he’s unlikely to be moved from the top six list with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz anytime soon. As mentioned above, the Blues – who occupy a point on fourth place in the West – are part of a small handful of teams with 11 games remaining on the schedule. After missing all of February and most of March, Bozak seems determined to make up for lost time. He’s valuable in the deeper leagues, no doubt.
See also: Nick Foligno, LW / RW, Toronto Maple Leafs; Josh Norris, C, Ottawa Senators; Andre Burakovsky, LW / RW, Colorado Avalanche
Matt Grzelcyk, Boston Bruins (34.3%): Fighting injuries all season, Grzelcyk is back once again, skating on Boston’s best pair and anchoring the No.1 power play. There’s no point expecting some real fantastic fireworks. here, but the Bruins defenseman is a hot body that shoots, blocks shots, and contributes to the weird point. When in better shape, Grzelcyk is good for a few fantasy points per night.
Braden Holtby, Vancouver Canucks (42.9%): As mentioned above, the Canucks are expected to play a fair number of games before the end of 2020-21, and Holtby looks set to feature in most of them. He started three of Vancouver’s most recent four – won them all convincingly – and as he’s scheduled to face the Senators on Monday. If you’re interested in a goalie who is set to grab plenty of opportunities over the next couple of weeks, Holtby is an option to consider.
See also: Darcy Kuemper, Arizona Coyotes; Jeremy Swayman, Boston Bruins; Alex Nedeljkovic, Carolina Hurricanes
Kevin Lankinen, G, Chicago Blackhawks (70.5%): Malcolm Subban has been the busier of Chicago’s two main goaltenders lately, starting three of the club’s last four games. In fact, Lankinen’s last outing in Nashville was a particularly ugly affair, which saw him receive the hook after allowing five goals on 22 shots. Plus, there’s not much to like about what’s left of the Blackhawks’ schedule, including a tilt with Tampa, a pair against Florida and a three-game game in Carolina. This all adds up to six of the remaining eight games against the Central Division Cream of the Crop. Even if Lankinen starts half of them, they may not be okay.