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Fantasy picks: Stamkos back in top form

Lightning center on three-game point streak, good play against Penguins

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

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: Steven Stamkos, TBL ($7,300) -- Stamkos is looking for his first regular-season goal since Nov. 15 but has five assists, including two multipoint games, in three games this season. He's increased his SOG total in each game and has averaged 4.0 per game. The Tampa Bay Lightning offense has looked good (4.33 goals per game) and it should only be a matter of time before Stamkos scores his first goal this season. Let's not forget he had 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 17 games last season prior to his season-ending knee injury. The Lightning host the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have shown cracks early this season.

Value pick: Bryan Little, WPG ($5,000) -- Off to a slow start with one assist and six SOG through three games, Little and the Winnipeg Jets have an appealing matchup Thursday. They will face the Vancouver Canucks, who were tied for 24th in goals against per game last season (2.94). Little had 47 points (21 goals, 26 assists) in 59 games last season and 42 (17 goals, 25 assists) in 57 games in 2015-16, proving his worth when healthy. The fact that he centers a line with elite wing Patrik Laine ($7,000) also makes him an instant scoring threat.

Video: OTT@WPG: Little seals the win with empty-netter

 

WINGS

Spend up for: Evander Kane, BUF ($6,300) -- The Buffalo Sabres wing has done it all this season. Kane has six points (four goals, two assists), including two shorthanded goals in three games, and scored two goals in each of his past two games. Kane had 11 SOG in his first game of the season, making him worth the price alone, and has at least 7 SOG in each of his three games. He's averaging 1.0 blocked shots per game and is on the ice in all situations. Take him Thursday against the San Jose Sharks, who he has five goals against in nine NHL games.

Video: NJD@BUF: Kane chases down puck, slips home PPG

Value pick: Alex DeBrincat, CHI ($3,900) -- The highly touted rookie scored his first NHL goal and had an assist in a 3-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. DeBrincat is playing on a line with Patrick Sharp and Tanner Kero, but could be promoted to a top-six role and see more ice time if his stellar play continues. He has five SOG in four games and should be a part of the Chicago Blackhawks offense against the Minnesota Wild.

 

DEFENSEMEN

Spend up for: Alex Pietrangelo, STL ($6,300) -- The St. Louis Blues are 4-0-0 and a big part of that offensively and defensively has been Pietrangelo. He has six points (two goals, four assists) and a point in each of the four games. With 17 SOG and six blocked shots, he does more than just score. His price has gone up each game, but he has a good matchup against a Florida Panthers team that's allowed nine goals in two games. 

Video: STL@PIT: Pietrangelo nets two in season opener

Value pick: Olli Maatta, PIT ($3,900) -- With the loss of Trevor Daley and Ron Hainsey in free agency during the offseason, the Pittsburgh Penguins were counting on young defensemen to step up and Maatta has done that in four games. He's averaging 4.1 DraftKings points per game and has four points (two goals, two assists). He's taken multiple SOG in three of four games and has three blocked shots. Maatta and the Penguins visit the Lightning and his price makes him worth considering.

 

GOALTENDER

Top pick: Corey Crawford, CHI ($8,200) -- The Blackhawks are 3-0-1, averaging more than five goals per game (5.25) and allowing fewer than two goals per game (1.75). Crawford is 3-0-0 and has stopped 101 of 104 shots this season, an average of 8.9 DraftKings points. He faces the Wild, who could have trouble keeping up with Chicago's high-scoring offense.

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