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Fantasy mailbag: Buy-low candidates at each position

Penguins, Bruins, Oilers worth targeting for right price; Duchene droppable in shallow leagues

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

Every Friday during the season, NHL.com will answer your fantasy mailbag questions. Whether you're in a year-long league or play DFS, we'll answer the most relevant questions based on Yahoo transaction trends, DraftKings value and any other developments (production, lineup, injuries) around the League. Send your questions to @NHLJensen on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

 

@ChrisBones27: Who are some buy-low candidates?

The buy-low category can change on a week-to-week or even game-to-game basis depending on the league format or fantasy owner. Below are lists for each position, with two tiers for each. Order is based on NHL.com's most recent forward, defenseman and goalie rankings, which take into account past performance and future potential.

FORWARDS: 

First tier: Brad Marchand, BOS (INJ.); Leon Draisaitl, EDM; Patrice Bergeron, BOS; Jack Eichel, BUF; Mike Hoffman, OTT; Artemi Panarin, CBJ; Mitchell Marner, TOR; Joe Pavelski, SJS; Wayne Simmonds, PHI; Max Pacioretty, MTL. Second tier: Jake Guentzel, PIT; Cam Atkinson, CBJ; Matt Duchene, OTT; Jonathan Drouin, MTL; Brandon Saad, CHI; Ryan O'Reilly, BUF; Jordan Eberle, NYI; Max Domi, ARI; Alex Galchenyuk, MTL.

DEFENSEMEN:

First tier: Brent Burns, SJS; Zach Werenski, CBJ; Duncan Keith, CHI; Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF; Dougie Hamilton, CGY; Torey Krug, BOS; Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI. Second tier: Seth Jones, CBJ; Justin Schultz, PIT; Justin Faulk, CAR; Oscar Klefbom, EDM.

GOALTENDERS:

First tier: Matt Murray, (PIT); Cam Talbot, (EDM);  Carey Price (MTL); Tuukka Rask (BOS). Second tier: Craig Anderson, OTT; Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK (INJ.); Jaroslav Halak, NYI.

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@miketrip88: Time to drop Matt Duchene in all leagues?

I would not say all leagues just yet, but this has been a worst-case scenario so far for those who anxiously awaited the Duchene trade and anticipated a performance spike. He has no points, 24 shots on goal and is minus-10 in seven games with the Ottawa Senators, and they have yet to find the right forward combinations. I still have a lot of trust in defenseman Erik Karlsson and forwards Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman from a fantasy standpoint, so the chances of Duchene and the Senators figuring this thing out over time are strong. That said, it's concerning to see Duchene playing most often with Ryan Dzingel and Bobby Ryan as opposed to Stone and/or Hoffman. If there's a Brock Boeser, Teuvo Teravainen, Mathew Barzal, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Jake Guentzel, Jonathan Marchessault or another respectable forward available in a shallow or standard league, don't waste any more time. If the waiver wire is thin, you need to exercise patience for a few more weeks.

 

@gioiamia11: Points-only league. Who gets more by season's end: Dylan Larkin, Mikko Rantanen, Bo Horvat or Brock Boeser?

Boeser has the highest ceiling of this group considering he's better than a point per game (22 in 20 games) this season and showing no signs of letting up with a high shot volume and strong power-play production (10 power-play points). Horvat is on Boeser's line in most situations, meaning the center could easily jump to 60 points after scoring an NHL career-high 52 last season. Larkin is scoring primarily at even strength, and I worry about the Detroit Red Wings' sustainability. I love what's going on with the Colorado Avalanche and Rantanen's exposure to a resurgent Nathan MacKinnon, so I would probably go Boeser, Rantanen, Horvat and Larkin for a points-only format, in that order.

Video: VAN@PIT: Boeser rips one-timer past Murray for PPG

 

@joexbondo: I picked up Nino Niederrieter over Jake Guentzel this week for an open spot. It was a tough call. Should I make a switch now?

I love Guentzel's upside for the rest of the season despite a rocky start for the Pittsburgh Penguins. I've been a big advocate to buy low on him, his power-play usage and production have been better than expected, and his shooting percentage has begun to correct itself (four goals in past four games). He has also looked great at center with Evgeni Malkin out. But once Malkin returns, Guentzel needs to be in the top six and/or first power-play unit to remain fantasy relevant. On the flip side, the Minnesota Wild are finally getting healthy and Niederreiter looks even better than last season, when he finished as a top 15 left wing in Yahoo leagues. Try to make room for Guentzel elsewhere on your roster, maybe by dropping a defenseman or depth goaltender, because Niederreiter has bounced back from injury to score a power-play goal in five straight games on Minnesota's first unit. For those in hits leagues, Niederreiter and Guentzel each is a must-own option.

 

@KMerk99: Would you trade Ben Bishop to get Cam Talbot in a buy-low opportunity (W, GAA, SV% league)?

This is much more of a lateral move than it would have been in the preseason, but I would hold off on this trade. I love Talbot's buy-low appeal, especially if Edmonton's low 5-on-5 shooting percentage (6.6, 28th in NHL) reverts closer to normal, but Bishop has been dominant at home, and I don't see that changing. If anything, his road splits come back to earth. Dallas, like Edmonton, is trying to spread out its scoring, but the Stars have the clear advantage on defense when comparing John Klingberg to Klefbom. I know things can change over time, but I trust Dallas a lot more than Edmonton the rest of the way. The Stars rank near the top of the League in power-play percentage (23.9 percent, 5th) and, like the Oilers, have room for improvement in goals per game (2.91, T-14th).

 

@SteveLovesHocke: What are your thoughts on Carey Price for the remainder of the season? Think he can turn it around, or is the team in front of him just not good enough this season? I'm thinking of trading John Gibson and Wayne Simmonds to get him. Thanks.

We saw a glimpse of the Montreal Canadiens' bounce-back potential when Charlie Lindgren went 3-1-0 early during Price's injury absence. That said, I am sticking with my gut from the preseason that I would not invest heavily in this roster. Giving up Simmonds, a valuable category coverage for the up-and-down Philadelphia Flyers, plus Gibson for Price is too much. Gibson is 16th among starting goaltenders in Yahoo's performance-based rankings despite injuries to Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and a bunch of the Anaheim Ducks defensemen. I would side with him, especially knowing those talented players will be back over the course of the season. For those who already own Price, activate him now ahead of his return against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, SN, MSG-B, NHL.TV).

 

@GrimlockSlag: Standard league. Please rank Mathew Barzal, Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Marchessault and Gabriel Landeskog. Thanks.

Here's an early update to my top 100 forward rankings for next week: 1. Barzal, 2. Landeskog, 3. Marchessault, 4. Dadonov.

Video: NYI@PHI: Barzal uses leg to score late in the 1st

 

@gioiamia11: What is Clayton Keller's ceiling in points this season? After only playing approximately 30 games last season with Boston University, will he run out of gas playing an 82-game schedule?

I believe the Arizona Coyotes were at least slightly better than their record to start the season. Hopefully this Antti Raanta injury isn't serious, because the goaltender was beginning to bounce back and the Coyotes don't have much depth behind him. We've also seen improved play from Ekman-Larsson in recent games, a great sign for Keller's rest-of-season upside. Keller has gone nine games without a goal and could have some more growing pains as his rookie season unfolds, but I would still say there's a great chance he reaches 60 points. The upcoming Christmas and All-Star breaks should help the Coyotes, who have had a difficult schedule so far.

 

@MiazyK: I traded Brayden Schenn for John Tavares. Who do you like more rest of season? 15 forward categories. Thanks Pete!

Each of these players is averaging better than a point per game, and neither is a particularly strong face-off man. You must not be too reliant on hits if you traded Schenn away, and you clearly acquired the more proven fantasy asset in Tavares, who's in a contract year and continues to make the most of Anders Lee and Josh Bailey. St. Louis Blues forwards Paul Stastny and Jaden Schwartz have injury histories, and Schenn could be moved off Vladimir Tarasenko's line if either goes down for any period of time. This is a really close one, but my latest forward rankings reflect my opinion: 15. John Tavares, C, NYI; 16. Brayden Schenn, C/LW, STL.

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