Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for lesser-rostered assets to help your squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format, and we’ll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who may be overvalued – in the short- or long-term – for one reason or another.
Five days to go, folks! Which means in redraft playoff competition it’s time to ditch certain long-term relationships – regardless of how fruitful they’ve been to date – for the cream of the what-are-you-doing-for-me-now crop. You can select Alex Ovechkin, who’s listed day-to-day with an upper-body injury, again next fall. Right now, the 50-goal scorer might deserve jettisoning in exchange for a less-prominent depth performer who’s a) on the ice and b) getting it done. Mining the schedule to peak fantasy advantage is also key in these final, waning hours.
William Karlsson, C, Vegas Golden Knights (Rostered in 50.0% of ESPN.com leagues): Despite serving in a less prominent role, the Vegas center is nonetheless contributing his bit in trying to keep his team’s playoff hopes alive. Stomping along at near a point/game pace since Mar. 26, Karlsson has performed more consistently than most of his colleagues up front. The Golden Knights will need much of the same from the former 43-goal scorer this final week, especially if Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, and others continue to struggle to put points on the board. I also like forward Evgenii Dadonov as an acquirable fantasy asset through this last run of must-win road games with stops in Dallas, Chicago, and St. Louis.
Valeri Nichushkin, RW/LW, Colorado Avalanche (45.5%): Skating on a top line with Nathan MacKinnon, Nichushkin has five goals and five assists in his past eight games. He’s averaged 2.0 fantasy points/game all season and 2.4 this past month. With Gabriel Landeskog and/or Mikko Rantanen potentially sidelined until the playoffs, the underrated winger should remain a fixture alongside MacKinnon through the club’s final trio of games – contests the Avs will feel extra inspired to win, having endured a four-game slump of late.
Valeri Nichushkin scores goal vs. Capitals
Valeri Nichushkin scores goal vs. Capitals
Mason Marchment, RW/LW, Florida Panthers (16.7%): The mature sophomore is at it again, with three goals and four assists in six contests. Most productive in bursts, Marchment should be taken full advantage of, fantasy-wise, when on a scoring upswing (like now). Sitting at 47 points in 54 games, the 26-year-old will want to crack 50 before all is said and done, and should see a greater share of quality minutes as the Panthers hit the road to conclude 2021-22 with stops in Boston, Ottawa, and Montreal.
Vasily Podkolzin, LW/RW, Vancouver Canucks (2.2%): A fixture in the Canucks’ top six all spring, the rookie winger is now No. 1-lining it with a red-hot Elias Pettersson and a healthy-again Brock Boeser. With 14 goals and 12 assists in his first NHL season, including nine points in his most recent eight games, Podkolzin presents as a valuable asset in Vancouver for years to come. But, more importantly through our lens, the 10th overall draft pick (2019) is also useful within most fantasy forums right now. Even once the Canucks are officially eliminated from postseason play, the 20-year-old should continue to contribute through the club’s final three matches with the Kraken, Kings, and Oilers.
Noah Cates, LW, Philadelphia Flyers (1.0%): Despite sitting far outside the postseason circle, the Flyers’ younger skaters are having a bunch of fun these days, led by the 23-year-old rookie. Currently competing alongside Morgan Frost (22 years old) and former Panther Owen Tippett (23), Cates has three goals and four assists in his past five games, including three points on six shots in Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Penguins – a team well engaged in fighting for a more favorable position in the playoffs. Only 13 games into his pro career, the former University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog will want to wrap up his promising NHL introduction with productive showings against the Blackhawks (Monday’s only game on the league slate), Jets, and Senators.
See also: Jared McCann, LW/C, Seattle Kraken (28.3%); Matt Boldy, RW/LW, Minnesota Wild (25.3%); Anthony Mantha, RW/LW, Washington Capitals (10.8%)
Justin Schultz, Washington Capitals (3.7%): Uncharacteristically quiet most of the season, the puck-moving defenseman is rediscovering his scoring touch this late stage. With the Capitals playoff-bound, the timing is hardly awful. A regular shot-blocking presence, Schultz also has a power-play goal and six assists (one counting with the extra skater) his past seven games, which rounds out to 2.4 fantasy points/contest. While the experienced blueliner doesn’t play a ton of minutes, he’s making the most of his opportunities at present.
Brandon Montour, Florida Panthers (20.6%): It seems everyone in Florida is putting up piles of points, including members of the team’s blue line. For example, eyeing his first 40-point season, Montour has three goals and eight assists though a dozen April games alone. Fellow Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling (22.1%) is another attractive fantasy asset in the here and now, who blocks more shots than his aforementioned blue-line buddy.
See also: Brayden McNabb, Vegas Golden Knights (32.2%); Travis Sanheim, Philadelphia Flyers (18.2%); Kris Russell, Edmonton Oilers (0.9%); Dante Fabbro, Nashville Predators (0.4%)
Brian Elliott, Tampa Bay Lightning (2.2%): Tampa’s backup is likely to start against either the Blue Jackets or Islanders this Thursday/Friday, in place of No. 1 Andrei Vasilevskiy. An attractive streaming option in both scenarios, Elliott has been pretty good since early April, only serving up one mid-month stinker against the visiting Jets. If in the market for a dark-horse fantasy netminder to wrap it all up, give the veteran keeper a thought.
Dan Vladar, Calgary Flames (3.7%): Like Elliott in Tampa, Vladar is a solid candidate to spell off Jacob Markstrom in Minnesota on Thursday or Winnipeg Friday. The match-up with the depressed Jets definitely holds streaming appeal, depending on what your other fantasy goalies are up to. Cemented in top spot in the Pacific, and unable to catch Colorado for home ice in the conference, the Flames could probably take it a bit easier this final week. If they played for someone other than Darryl Sutter. Which they do not. Charging into the postseason with three final victories remains a raging priority under the club’s head coach.
See also: Vitek Vanecek, Washington Capitals (40.4%)
The following banged-up skaters, all rostered in more than 70% of ESPN.com leagues, are in danger, at minimum, of sitting out the remainder of the regular season: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals; Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche; Patrik Laine, Columbus Blue Jackets; Gabriel Landeskog, Avalanche; Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets; Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues; Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks; Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers; Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets; Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild; Devon Toews, Avalanche