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Fantasy picks: Bryan Little surging for Jets

Winnipeg's top-line center among Jan. 31 DFS targets against Blues

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

Each day this season, NHL.com's fantasy staff will provide daily picks for DraftKings NHL contests. This lineup has been constructed with expensive and value picks and should be used as a basis for your roster decision-making.

 

C - Mika Zibanejad, NYR ($5,900)

Zibanejad had a successful return from injury against the Dallas Stars on Jan. 17, when he scored two goals on seven shots on goal for 9.5 DraftKings points. But the New York Rangers center has not scored a point in his four games since, totaling four blocks and four SOG in the span. He's averaging 2:16 per game on the power play since returning, helping his bounce-back candidacy. Zibanejad scored a goal with one block and one SOG against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 18, his opponent Tuesday, and has nine points and 40 SOG in 14 home games.

 

C - Bryan Little, WPG ($5,300)

Little is centering the Winnipeg Jets' top line with Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers, and was on an absolute tear prior to the 2017 NHL All-Star break. He has four multipoint outings in his current five-game point streak, totaling an NHL-best nine points since Jan. 18. He faces the St. Louis Blues, whom he has three goals, one assist and four SOG in two games against this season (6.5 DraftKings points per game).

Video: WPG@CHI: Little picks the corner with wicked wrister

 

W - Wayne Simmonds, PHI ($6,400)

Fantasy owners can expect the Philadelphia Flyers forward to pick up right where he left off after winning MVP at the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game. Simmonds scored three goals on eight SOG in two games for the Metropolitan Division, an average of 6.5 DraftKings points per 20-minute game. He is one of five players (others: Sidney Crosby, Cam Atkinson, Evgeni Malkin, Vladimir Tarasenko) with at least 20 goals, (21), 15 PPP (18) and 130 SOG (132). He has four points in two games against the Carolina Hurricanes this season.

 

W - Jonathan Drouin, TBL ($5,200)

Drouin has had a marvelous season on the power play for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are tied for fourth in man-advantage efficiency (22.8 percent). He is second on the Lightning with 15 PPP in 42 games, a pace that would have him among the League leaders if he did not miss eight games this season. Drouin is affordable in DraftKings against the Boston Bruins and has 18 points in as many home games. He had eight SOG against the Bruins on Nov. 27.

 

W - Evander Kane, BUF ($4,800)

The shot volume (43 in past 10 games) is enough of a reason to invest in Kane against the Montreal Canadiens. The Buffalo Sabres wing has nine points in his past 10 games and 14 goals in 37 games. He has two assists, one block and nine SOG in two games against the Canadiens, and 14 points and 60 SOG in 18 road games. Kane stormed into the All-Star break with a three-game point streak, including two multipoint outings.

Video: BUF@DAL: Kane shows off wheels, beats Niemi in 1st

 

D - Justin Schultz, PIT ($5,200)

Schultz is nearly a point-per-game player at home with 22 points in 25 games. He has 11 points in his past 10 games and had 7.0 DraftKings points (one goal, one assist, one block, three SOG) against the Bruins on Thursday. With Kris Letang (knee) possibly still sidelined, Schultz is manning the first power-play unit with Crosby and faces the Nashville Predators, who are among the League's bottom 10 in DraftKings points allowed to opposing D-men.

 

D - Nick Leddy, NYI ($4,400)

Leddy is second among defensemen in scoring this month with 12 points in 11 games, trailing Brent Burns (16 points in 13 games). Leddy continues to shoulder a heavy workload and anchor the New York Islanders' first power-play unit (10 PPP) with John Tavares. He has a four-game point streak with a total of six points, three blocks and five SOG. His price has somehow dipped $200 for a home game against the Washington Capitals.

Video: PHI@NYI: Leddy beats Mason following chaos in crease

 

G - Peter Budaj, LAK ($8,200)

Budaj has exceeded all fantasy expectations, going 22-14-3 in the absence of injured Jonathan Quick. He has more wins at home (14-5-1, .903 save percentage, one shutout) but his stellar road peripherals (8-9-1, .933, 4 SO) have made him as consistent a goalie as you'll find in the League. The 34-year-old faces the Arizona Coyotes, who are allowing the second-most DraftKings points to opposing goalies.

 

UTIL - Patrick Sharp, DAL ($4,500)

Sharp has been a boom-or-bust fantasy asset for the Dallas Stars when healthy, but still has a high floor against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday considering he has 32 shots in his past 10 games. He has points in four of his past 10 games, but three of them have been multipoint outings. Sharp scored two goals on five SOG against the Sabres on Thursday. His power-play usage may be down this season (1:55 per game), but it should still only be a matter of time before he finally gets his first power-play point of the season.

Video: BUF@DAL: Sharp speeds around defense, beats Nilsson

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