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Playoff Preview for Daily Fantasy action

by chewy 10. April 2012 09:00

The regular season has come to an end, but the fantasy hockey action continues, at least for a little while, on Draftstreet.  Draftstreet moves into 2-day game mode with the playoff schedule down to 3 or 4 games a night.  Your first chance to get in on the action is Wednesday/Thursday, with 7 of the 8 series in play.    Today's playoff preview will briefly spotlight each matchup and offer the Top Target and Best Value for each of the 16 playoff squads.

 

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE

 

NYR vs OTT

This one features the top defensive team in the East (New York) versus the third best offense in the East (Ottawa).  Despite winning the conference, the Rangers haven't been as impressive lately as they were earlier in the season.  The same can be said for the Sens.  All told, this will be a fairly even matchup with a few stars worth targeting. 

Prediction: Senators with the upset in 6.

 

Top Targets:

OTT - Erik Karlsson (D) - obvious Norris pick, Karlsson was the leading defensive scorer by 25 points.  That's the most dominating performance we've seen at this position in a generation.

NYR - Henrik Lundqvist (G) - if anyone can stop Karlsson and the Sens, it's Lundqvist.  He will be solid.

 

Best Value:

OTT - Sergei Gonchar (D) - $7.3k - with all that Karlsson has done, the veteran has flown under the radar in a respectable comeback season.  He finished with 37 points, along with a healthy 115 blocked shots.

NYR - Brad Richards (C ) - $11.6k - Richards was so far down through the first 3/4 of the season, that his tremendous fourth quarter didn't provide enough time for his salary to over inflate.  Only Malkin had more points in the final 2 months of the season.

 

 

BOS vs WAS

It came down to the very end, but the Caps snuck into the playoffs, so can we forget about the regular season and assume all is well?  Probably not, as they've drawn a round with the defending Champs who still boast an impressively deep roster of offensive talent.  This should be a short series with the B's coming out looking stronger than they do going in.

Prediction: Bruins walk in 5

 

Top Targets:

BOS: Tyler Seguin (C ) - Last spring, Seguin emerged as the playoffs drew on by scoring some highlight reel goals, despite very limited ice time.  This time around, he'll be counted on to lead the offense in the Cup defense.

WAS: Nicklas Backstrom (C ) - if Backstrom hadn't returned in time, we'd probably be discussing the Sabres in the spot.  He'll top a point a game easily.

 

Best Value:

BOS: David Krejci (C ) - $11.4k - Similar to last season, Krejci has been up and down all season long.  He was an absolute beast come playoff time last year.  Expect another fine run.

WAS: Brooks Laich (C ) - $8.2k - Laich has historically stepped up his game in the post-season, averaging more points in playoff games than regular season throughout his career.

 

 

FLA vs NJ

It's been over a decade, but Florida is finally playing spring hockey.  It won't last long, so enjoy the next week.  Don't expect much scoring in the one, so from a fantasy perspective, this isn't a series to target.  The top two stars in New Jersey should provide some thrills.

Prediction: Devils in 6 uneventful games.

 

Top Targets:

FLA: Jason Garrison (D) - Garrison was a bit of a surprise this season with his 2.46 FPPG average on the back of 16 goals (3rd best at this position in the NHL).

NJ: Ilya Kovalchuk (LW) - Kovalchuk had a season of redemption, piling up 37 goals and 83 points in total.  He finished strong with 8 points in 5 games.

 

Best Value:

FLA: Radek Dvorak (RW) - $2.7k - he's practically free

NJ: Zach Parise (LW) - $10.5k - the other superstar on left wing in New Jersey is priced well to start the series.

 

 

PIT vs PHI

This is the series that will get all the attention in round 1, and rightfully so.  It's a stinkin' shame that one of these teams will not be playing in Round 2.  The winner will likely be lifting the Cup in June.  It's tough to pick just one player to target from both of these squads.  Put the names in a hat. 

Prediction: Pens in 6.  There's no stopping Crosby-Malkin-Staal down the middle.

 

Top Targets:

PIT: Sidney Crosby (C ) - Flip a coin (a three-sided one).  Crosby, Malkin, Neal.  Can't go wrong.

PHI: Claude Giroux (C ) - In any other matchup, Giroux would be the center getting all the press.  As it stands, he'll settle for a bronze in this discussion.

 

Best Value:

PIT: Pascal Dupuis (LW) - $11.6k - Despite heading into the playoffs on a league-best 17 game scoring streak, he remains a fair value.  Continue to play him until he proves us wrong.

PHI: Jaromir Jagr (RW) - $10.6k - he's slowed down significantly over the course of the year, but should have little trouble getting up for this challenge.

 

 

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

 

VAN vs LA

Prior to the start of the season, I picked the Kings to represent the West in the finals.  It could still happen, but it's looking less likely.  The Canucks aren't the offensive dynamo that they once were, but were still a complete enough team to take another Presidents trophy.  Is Daniel Sedin healthy enough to lead the top line?  That may decide this one.

Prediction: Call me nuts, but LA in 7.

 

Top Targets:

VAN: Roberto Luongo (G) - When the offense shut down in the final month, Luongo stepped it up and dominated.

LA: Jonathan Quick (G) - it's a goalie competition in this series.  Quick has a great chance at the Vezina and no reason to doubt him now when the Canucks have struggled to score.

 

Best Value:

VAN: Ryan Kesler (C ) - $9.3k - His production dried up considerably in the 2nd half of this season, but it's playoff time.  Kesler will show.

LA: Jeff Carter (C ) - $7.6k - Assuming he's back to health in time, you won't find a better value than Carter in this price range.

 

 

STL vs SJ

The Blues are one of the most complete teams from top to bottom and are a defensive titan.  They allowed just 165 goals this season.  No other team was close.  Halak and Elliot combined for 15 shutouts, now the question is who will get the chance in the post-season?  Meanwhile, the Sharks have the same story as the Caps back East.  High expectations have been replaced with relief over post-season qualification.  Like the Caps, it will be short-lived.

Prediction: The Blues will squeeze the Sharks in 5 defensive battles.

 

Top Targets:

STL: Jaroslav Halak (G) - When the dust settles, expect Hitchcock to go with Halak between the pipes.  He won't disappoint.

SJ: Joe Pavelski (C ) - Last season, Pavelski was a beast in the playoffs.  He'll need to be that again if the Sharks are to have any hope of moving past the Blues.  He set a career high with 31 goals this season and will be good for a few more in round 1.

 

Best Value:

STL: Andy McDonald (C ) - $10.3k - He's produced at nearly a point a game over the last two season, but few have noticed due to the injuries. 

SJ: Dominic Moore (C ) - $4.5k - in order to make cap, you'll need a bargain bin pick or two.  Moore could not care less about the regular season.  This is his time.

 

 

PHO vs CHI

The biggest question in this series will be the health and effectiveness of Jonathan Toews.  If he's able to shake off the concussion and return to form quickly, the Hawks are a serious power.  Otherwise, the Coyotes could certainly match up well and win this one. 

Prediction: The Hawks in 7, with Toews gaining speed as it wears on.

 

Top Targets:

PHO: Mike Smith (G) - The hottest goalie to end the season was Smith.  He'll struggle to shut down the Hawks, but should give some solid games.

CHI: Jonathan Toews (C ) - If he's healthy, he may be the best player in the West.

 

Best Value:

PHO: Keith Yandle (D) - $7.6k - Yandle is one of the best options on defense in the league at any price.  This value is too good to pass up.

CHI: Marian Hossa (RW) - $11.2k - He led the Hawks in scoring, yet he's cheaper than 4 other forwards on Chicago.

 

 

NAS vs DET

Much like the East, the 4-5 matchup in the West is the series to watch in Round 1.  And like the Philly-Pittsburgh showdown, there's a good chance the winner of this epic showdown will represent the West in the finals.  The Preds are extremely deep at all positions, though they lack a superstar on offense.  The Wings will lean on Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Lidstrom, as they have for years.

Prediction: Nashville in 5.

 

Top Targets:

NAS: Shea Weber (D) - 19 goals from a defenseman is worth taking notice of.  His canon on the point will cause problems for Howard.

DET: Pavel Datsyuk (LW) - all hopes for success in Detroit start with their top gun.

 

Best Value:

NAS: Mike Fisher (C ) - $9.5k - Fisher has a history of elevating his game in the post-season. 

DET: Valtteri Filppula (C ) - $7.9k - Filppula has quietly put together a solid season, yet remains a value under 8k.

 

 

And for the record, my Cup prediction:  Pittsburgh over Nashville.

 

 

 

For more insight into daily fantasy sports, check out more of my posts on http://www.Rotogrinders.com.

Also, if you want to try daily fantasy hockey on Draftstreet, use the promo code "LANDSHARK" for a bonus on your deposit.

 

http://www.draftstreet.com/register.aspx?r=LANDSHARK

 

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