A few months into the NHL season now, we can safely take a look at some of the players who have over- and under-performed in fantasy. For season-long leagues, this doesn’t always matter a whole lot. Sure you might be looking into making some trades on your own fantasy roster, but for the most part your performance to date will in and of itself tell you which players were good picks, bad picks, or “steals.” On the daily fantasy front, however, recognizing steals at any given point during the season can be the difference between winning and losing.
It should be noted that daily fantasy advice is largely general. DFS can cater to different game types including 50/50s and double-ups, head-to-head contests, massive prize pools, etc., and strategies vary between them. For instance, in a 50/50 in which you’re just trying to finish in the top 50 percent of participants, you might want to go for a lineup with a “high floor” of performance – an average but reliable bunch. Meanwhile in a big prize pool in which perhaps only 10 out of 100 people will win (as a random example), you may want to take a few bigger shots and select some more “high ceiling” players with the upside to boost you above an average or good lineup.
Having said that though, these are some players who are still being listed relatively cheaply in DFS, and who have proven to be worth more than their price tags on a fairly consistent basis.
Sebastian Aho – Carolina Hurricanes
Somehow – perhaps because he plays for a team that has been largely irrelevant for a decade – Sebastian Aho still seems to be somewhat overlooked. In daily fantasy he’s being priced right around the average of what you can spend per player, or just a tick above, which is incredibly generous for a guy who’s in the top 30 in the NHL in points. Aho recently earned his first All-Star Game selection, which The Athletic called another box checked on his road to stardom, so it may be a matter of time before he’s more recognized and more steeply priced. For now though he’s an incredible bargain.
Andreas Athanasiou – Detroit Red Wings
Andreas Athanasiou is another young, rising star who is frankly undervalued at DFS platforms. This may be partially a result of an early winter slump that saw him unable to find the back of the net for some time (and in some cases seemingly unwilling to try). Now, however, Athanasiou appears to be back on track. His typical role as a winger on the third line keeps him from being a consistent fantasy star, but on any given night he can over-perform significantly, which is more than a lot of players in his role (or at his price) can say.
Patric Hornqvist – Pittsburgh Penguins
It can be a nice trick in daily fantasy across different sports to look for capable supporting players on good teams. While the stars are the biggest draws, their salaries can ruin DFS lineups on occasion, yet they can also elevate offenses enough too result in stats (and therefore points) being spread around among other good players as well. This is essentially what you’re hoping for with Patric Hornqvist. While not a feature player for the Penguins, he’s still priced a bit beneath his production, and he gets opportunities within Pittsburgh’s scheme to produce stats.
Mattias Ekholm – Nashville Predators
About a month ago it was written that Mattias Ekholm was skating toward a career season with the Predators, and it remains true now. So it’s somewhat baffling that a player having such a strong season and playing mostly on the Preds’ first line of defensemen has consistently been in the DFS bargain bin. It can be a little bit harder to identify “steals” in defense and in the net, but Ekholm is definitely a name that’s served more than a few DFS players well these past couple of months.
Laurent Brossoit – Winnipeg Jets
Brossoit is more in the get-him-while-he’s-hot category, because the way he’s been minding the net for Winnipeg it’s a matter of time before he’s among the most expensive goalies on the menu. A December hot streak capped off by a magnificent 40-for-40 save performance at Vancouver on the 22nd has him looking like one of the most productive players at his position moving forward. For now though – for whatever reason – he’s still going at least relatively affordably on DFS sites.