DraftKings value picks for Thursday
All season long, NHL.com's fantasy staff will provide daily picks for DraftKings NHL contests. This article includes expensive and value plays and can be used as a basis for your roster decision-making.
Value pick: Mathew Barzal, NYI ($3,900 at WSH): The New York Islanders rookie has seven points (three goals, four assists) and 16 shots on goal over his past seven games, including five points (two goals, three assists) in four road games over the span. He plays on the second line with Jordan Eberle ($5,100) and Brock Nelson ($3,800) and first power-play unit with John Tavares ($7,400) and Nick Leddy ($4,600).
Spend up for: Patrice Bergeron, BOS ($6,900 vs. VGK): The Boston Bruins center has an elite linemate in Brad Marchand ($7,200) and a high DFS floor, scoring at least 2.5 DraftKings points in each of his five games this season. He also has a high ceiling, with 12.0 DraftKings points in his season debut against the Vancouver Canucks and 7.0 at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.
Value pick: Sebastian Aho, CAR ($5,000 at COL): The Carolina Hurricanes forward has struggled in an expanded role with no goals, five assists and 28 shots on goal through 10 games. That said, all of his assists have been primary, and he's in a bounce-back spot against the Colorado Avalanche, who have allowed 24 goals over their past six games.
Spend up for: Jamie Benn, DAL ($7,300 at WPG): The Dallas Stars forward has 10 points (five goals, five assists) and is averaging 5.6 DraftKings points per game through seven road games. Many DFS owners will likely ride the hot hand with Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, but a contrarian strategy is to invest in Benn, who feasted on the Jets last season (five points, 15 shots on goal in five games).
Value pick: Mikhail Sergachev, TBL ($4,500 vs. NYR): The Tampa Bay Lightning rookie will be a popular pick at home against the New York Rangers on Thursday, but should still be rostered considering he's tied for the scoring lead among rookie defensemen with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 13 games. He's a huge reason the Lightning lead the NHL in goals per game (4.08) and are tied for second in power-play efficiency (29.6 percent), and the Rangers have allowed the sixth-most goals per game (3.54).
Spend up for: Jake Muzzin, LAK ($4,700 vs. TOR): The Los Angeles Kings defenseman is a safe choice at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are allowing the most DraftKings points to opposing defensemen. Muzzin averages 2:07 per game on the power play and is tied for 22nd among defensemen in DraftKings price despite being the fifth highest-scoring player at his position (4.1 DraftKings points per game).
Antti Raanta, ARI ($6,900 vs. BUF): Raanta has been activated off injured reserve and is expected to start for the Arizona Coyotes against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. He will likely carry low DFS ownership because of his struggles and injury concerns this season, but fantasy owners shouldn't sleep on the Coyotes' sneaky offense, led by Clayton Keller ($6,000; 15 points, 49 shots on goal in 13 games), against a favorable opponent.
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Sharks utilizing Heed in power-play situations
Many expected one of the San Jose Sharks forwards to take Patrick Marleau's longtime spot on their first power-play unit. Instead, it's been defenseman Tim Heed who has taken the man-advantage role and run with it.
Heed (6 percent owned in Yahoo) had another assist against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday, giving him seven points (two goals, five assists) in 10 games this season. He has solid fantasy peripherals with 20 shots on goal, 11 blocked shots, and, most notably, three power-play points playing on the first unit with defenseman Brent Burns and forwards Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton.
The 26-year-old played a season-high 7:57 on the power play against the Predators, raising his season average to 3:54 per game in those situations. He has become a viable deep-league fantasy addition and is scratching the surface of consideration in standard formats as well.
Heed played one NHL game last season with the Sharks and had 56 points (14 goals, 42 assists) in 55 games with San Jose of the American Hockey League. He led all AHL defensemen in points per game (1.02; minimum 25 games).
POSITION ELIGIBILITY UPDATE: Couture has gained left-wing flexibility in Yahoo leagues, making him C/LW-eligible for the rest of the season. He is ranked 34th overall in Yahoo based on standard-category performance.
Bratt could benefit from Devils injuries
The New Jersey Devils are leading the Metropolitan Division with 18 points through 11 games this season, but injuries continue to pose a threat to their surprising start. Luckily, they have the rookie firepower that could potentially help them survive.
Right wing Kyle Palmieri (foot) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, and left wing Marcus Johansson has dealt with multiple injuries over the past week. Johansson sustained a lower-body injury prior to New Jersey's game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday, returned against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday but then sustained an upper-body injury when he fell head-first into the boards.
These injuries could open the door for rookie forward Jesper Bratt to maintain his fantasy relevance in the days and weeks to come. Bratt (LW/RW, 33 percent owned in Yahoo) has 10 points (four goals, six assists) and five power-play points in 11 games, including a two-game stretch with four points (one goal, three assists) and three PPP last week. It was also encouraging to see him have a season-high five shots on goal against the Canucks on Wednesday.
Bratt, 112th in Yahoo based on standard-category performance, is worth consideration in most formats, especially as an injury replacement for Palmieri or Johansson. These injuries virtually guarantee that Bratt will see top-six and first power-play usage in the short term alongside forwards like Taylor Hall and Adam Henrique and rookie defenseman Will Butcher.
Raanta expected back for Coyotes
Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta has been activated off injured reserve and is expected to start against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; FS-A, MSG-B, NHL.TV).
Raanta (26 percent owned in Yahoo) was a preseason fantasy sleeper candidate given the Coyotes' offseason improvements and youth movement, but he has been limited to three starts because of a lower-body injury. He is 0-1-1 with poor peripherals in the games he has played, but was injured in the preseason and hasn't been fully healthy yet this regular season.
The Coyotes are a League-worst 1-11-1 and have been outscored 56-33, but are showing signs of life with 21 goals over their past seven games (T-7th League-wide in span). If Raanta provides stable goaltending and the Coyotes offense continues to improve, they could see more wins in the near future. Arizona has a favorable two-game homestand this week against the Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes.
He is priced affordably in DraftKings ($6,900) and a favorable value pick at home against the Sabres, who are allowing the fourth-most DraftKings points to opposing goaltenders.
READ: Projected starting goaltenders for Thursday, Nov. 2 (12 NHL games)