Daily fantasy advice for Sunday
Center: Vadim Shipachyov, VGK ($3,500) -- Shipachyov could be a great value play against the Boston Bruins if he draws into the Vegas Golden Knights lineup and makes his NHL debut. With injuries to forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Erik Haula, Shipachyov could see significant playing time in the top six and should see power-play time as well. At $3,500, he is a top value target.
Backup: Brock Nelson, NYI ($3,900)
Wing: Joshua Ho-Sang, NYI ($3,500) -- Ho-Sang has looked strong in his four games in the New York Islanders lineup. The talented puck-moving winger has points in each of the Islanders games on their current west coast road trip, and in three of his four games this season. Ho-Sang has four assists and six shots on goal. He's skating on a line with Nelson and is on the Islanders second power-play unit.
Backup: Anders Bjork, BOS ($4,100)
Video: NYI@BUF: Ho-Sang finishes break with outstanding move
Defense: Charlie McAvoy, BOS ($4,100) -- McAvoy could be in line for a big offensive night with Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury out because of a concussion. McAvoy had a power-play assist and played 20:51 in a 6-2 victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. He has three points, two on the power play, in four games.
Backup: Brandon Montour, ANA ($3,800)
Goalie: Reto Berra, ANA ($7,800) -- Berra stepped in for the Anaheim Ducks in relief of John Gibson after Gibson sustained an injury against the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-1 loss on Friday. Berra made 19 saves on 20 shots, although he took the loss. If Gibson is unable to start, it will be Berra going against the Buffalo Sabres. It will be a favorable matchup for the Ducks goalie since the Sabres rank in the bottom third in the league in scoring this season, averaging 2.2 goals per game.
Backup: Tuukka Rask, BOS ($7,400)
Video: ANA@COL: Berra makes big saves with shoulder, glove
Fleury, Marchessault on IR, Subban next in line in goal
The Vegas Golden Knights placed starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and top-six forward Jonathan Marchessault on injured reserve Sunday.
Fleury has been off to a hot start, going 3-1-0 with a 2.48 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. He was injured during a 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, though he finished the game.
Video: DET@VGK: Fleury denies Mantha's backhander
With Fleury on IR the Golden Knights will turn to Malcolm Subban, who is owned in just 1 percent of Yahoo leagues. Subban ($7,700 in DraftKings), who was picked up off waivers before the season, will start Sunday against the Boston Bruins (7 p.m. ET; ATTRM, NESN, NHL.TV), who selected him No. 24 in the 2012 NHL Draft.
Fantasy owners of Fleury should target Subban in the interim, especially in deep leagues where goaltender depth is shallow on the waiver wire. Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks (22 percent owned), Steve Mason of the Winnipeg Jets (21 percent), Petr Mrazek of the Detroit Red Wings (24 percent) and Louis Domingue of the Arizona Coyotes (2 percent) are other starting goaltenders available short-term on waiver wires in most leagues.
Marchessault has been in the top-six forward rotation, seeing time on the first and second lines, as well as the second power-play unit. Marchessault is owned in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues and has one goal and 10 shots on goal in four games. With Erik Haula being placed on IR on Saturday and Marchessault on Sunday, this opens up a spot in the top six for center Vadim Shipachyov to see significant playing time right away. Shipachyov ($3,500) is dual-eligible as a C/LW and is a great DFS start on Sunday if, as expected, he dresses.
Fantasy players on the rise
A number of players had a big week to put themselves on the fantasy radar.
Dustin Brown is off to a strong start for the Los Angeles Kings. The forward (LW/RW) is owned in 36 percent of fantasy leagues on Yahoo and is riding a three-game point streak, including a goal Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. Brown is skating on the top line with Anze Kopitar and has four goals, six points and 15 shots on goal during his streak. He gets an extra bump in leagues that count hits, with 14 so far this season. Brown ($4,900 in DraftKings) and the Kings play Sunday against the New York Islanders (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, MSG+, NHL.TV).
Bryan Rust (15 percent owned) continues his great start for the Pittsburgh Penguins 9one goal, seven assists). Rust is skating on the Penguins' top line with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. He has a four-game point streak since his promotion to the top line. In three games this week, Rust scored once and had three assists, two power-play points and seven shots on goal.
Brock Nelson has been the New York Islanders' best forward through three games this week. Nelson (7 percent owned) is dual-eligible as a C/LW; he is skating on the third line and centering the second power-play unit. He has three goals, one assist and 10 shots on goal in three games this week. Nelson is averaging 3.7 fantasy points per game on DraftKings and is $3,900 on Sunday against the Kings.
Top fantasy players off to poor starts
Much like the under-the-radar players off to solid starts, there are a number of big-name players who are struggling early.
Brent Burns is off to a surprisingly poor start with the San Jose Sharks. The reigning Norris Trophy winner has one assist through four games. However, Burns is getting great category coverage in leagues that count shots on goal and blocked shots; he has 18 shots on goal and 10 blocks in four games, but his and the Sharks' lack of offense to start the season should concern some fantasy owners. Be wary of buying Burns in DFS formats until his offense begins to turn around.
Victor Hedman is another top defenseman who is off to a slow start. Skating in one of the top offenses in the League with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Hedman has two points and one power-play point in five games. He scored a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, but has been held off the scoresheet in three of his past four games despite his exposure to high-scoring forwards Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Hedman should turn things around, but fantasy owners and DFS players will want to monitor him before putting him into lineups.
Max Pacioretty has been held scoreless for the Montreal Canadiens in four straight games, a trend that should concern fantasy owners. Pacioretty (98 percent owned) is skating on the Canadiens' top line with Jonathan Drouin, who is also off to a disappointing start. Pacioretty has scored more than 30 goals in each of the past four seasons, but Montreal's offense is averaging 1.4 goals per game, last in the NHL. Fantasy owners should expect a rebound by Burns and Hedman, but may look to try and sell on Pacioretty if this trend continues.
Four Bruins rookies have points in win against Coyotes
The Boston Bruins had an impressive 6-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday and the got great games from a quartet of rookies who were in the lineup and should be on fantasy and DFS radars going forward.
Forwards Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen and Andres Bjork all drew into the lineup and contributed. DeBrusk (2 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) had a multi-point game, scoring his second goal of the season and had an assist. DeBrusk was skating on the Bruins most-used line with David Krejci (29 percent) and Bjork (5 percent), who scored his first career NHL goal on Saturday.
Heinen (C/RW) was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League earlier in the week and in two games with the Bruins has three assists, including two against the Coyotes. Heinen ($3,100 in DraftKings) played 15:41 on Saturday and is owned in less than one percent of Yahoo leagues.
Highly-touted defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who had a power-play assist against the Coyotes. He's owned in 69 percent of leagues but if he is available, should be grabbed immediately in all leagues, especially in keeper formats.
Hellebuyck, Greiss push for more playing time
Connor Hellebuyck made his third consecutive start for the Winnipeg Jets, a trend which could continue based on his current play. Hellebuyck (41 percent owned) made 28 saves on 29 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday to push his winning streak to three. He's tied for 10th in the League with a 2.11 goals against average and is eighth with a .937 save percentage. Hellebuyck is competing with Steve Mason for playing time, but should continue to see the bulk of the starts if this level of play continues.
Thomas Greiss posted a second straight strong outing for the New York Islanders against the San Jose Sharks, making 40 saves to help the Islanders steal a victory. Greiss (45 percent owned) has faced 76 shots in his past two starts, allowing three goals. He is firmly entrenched in a time-share with Jaroslav Halak, who starts on Sunday for the Islanders, but expect coach Doug Weight to roll the hot hand. Both Greiss and Hellebuyck are worth adding in fantasy leagues and are great targets in DFS formats.
Butcher continues to shine for Devils
New Jersey Devils rookie defenseman Will Butcher, the reigning Hobey Baker award winner as top collegiate hockey player, continued his hot start to the season with an impressive showing against the New York Rangers. He had two assists, including one on the power play, in 14:49 of ice time.
Butcher, owned in 44 percent of leagues, is on a three-game point streak and has points in four of his first five games. He has eight points on the season with five coming on the power play, which ranks tied for second in the NHL with Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers for the lead among NHL defensemen. Butcher, who is ranked No. 20 in standard leagues, should be targeted in all fantasy formats.