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Fantasy picks: Ride potent offenses on opening night

Jets, Oilers feature appealing skaters for Oct. 4 DFS contests

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

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.

 

[MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: DFS strategy guide | Cheat sheet]

 

CENTERS

Spend up for: Leon Draisaitl, EDM ($6,000) -- The 21-year-old had a brilliant Stanley Cup Playoff (16 points in 13 games) as an encore to his 77-point regular season. He's much cheaper than other elite centers (Connor McDavid: $8,300; Sidney Crosby: $8,200; Auston Matthews: $7,900; Evgeni Malkin: $7,700) for opening night against the Calgary Flames despite a similar ceiling. He had six points (three goals, three assists) in five preseason games.

Value pick: Sean Couturier, PHI ($4,300) -- The 24-year-old is expected to center Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek on the Philadelphia Flyers' top line in their opener at the San Jose Sharks. Couturier had three points (one goal, two assists), including a power-play goal, in five preseason games. He finished strong last season with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) and 38 shots on goal over his final 19 games.

Video: EDM@VAN: McDavid, Draisaitl combine for big one-timer

 

WINGS

Spend up for: Patrik Laine, WPG ($7,100) -- He finished among the League leaders in preseason goals (five; T-1st) and points (eight; T-3rd). Laine's 0.49 goals-per-game average last season was tied with Matthews for second among rookies since 2005-06 behind Alex Ovechkin (0.64) among those with a minimum of 70 games played. His line with Mark Scheifele ($6,600) and Blake Wheeler ($6,300) could be one of the best in the NHL this season, so take the discount on one of those forwards if you can't fit Laine into your lineup.

Value pick: Kailer Yamamoto, EDM ($3,000) -- He's one of the biggest surprises League-wide this preseason, beating out right wing Jesse Puljujarvi for a roster spot with the Edmonton Oilers. He had seven points (five goals, two assists) in six preseason games, and could offer exposure to some of the Oilers' top forwards depending on the line combinations. This could be considered a risky play given Yamamoto's lack of NHL experience, but drafting a top-six forward at this low of a price allows plenty of roster flexibility elsewhere.

Video: Laine scores a beauty off the rush

 
DEFENSEMEN

Spend up for: Kris Letang, PIT ($6,100) -- When Letang is healthy, few defensemen are better from a fantasy standpoint. Letang, who had 34 points in 41 games last season, is healthy after a full offseason recovering from season-ending neck surgery. Since 2011-12, Letang has dealt with multiple injuries but has the second-best point-per-game average (0.85) among defensemen behind Erik Karlsson (0.91). He's a safe bet at home; he had 20 points in 21 such games last season and 36 points in 35 such games two seasons ago. Letang also offers $1,800 in savings compared to top-priced Brent Burns ($7,900). 

Value pick: Morgan Rielly, TOR ($4,200) -- From last postseason to this preseason, Rielly's offensive production has spiked. He averaged 4.3 DraftKings points per game in the Toronto Maple Leafs' six-game postseason loss to the Washington Capitals, and has responded with four points (one goal, three assists), one power-play goal and 11 SOG in four preseason games. He offers exposure to the Maple Leafs offense and can be easily stacked with a high-end, middle-tier forward like Mitchell Marner ($6,000) or William Nylander ($5,800). If you can afford to spend up, Oscar Klefbom ($4,900) is another value option on the first power-play unit with McDavid and Draisaitl.

Video: Kris Letang lands at No. 28 on the list

 

GOALTENDER

Top pick: Matt Murray, PIT ($8,100) -- Fresh off back-to-back Stanley Cup titles, Murray has a strong chance at a win Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues, who will be without forwards Alexander Steen (broken hand) and Robby Fabbri (knee; out for season). With veteran Marc-Andre Fleury selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft, Murray has the starting job to himself and should begin strong at home, where he was 17-3-2 last regular season and 5-0 last postseason.

Video: STL@PIT: Murray stuffs Stastny's one-timer

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