Fantasy hockey preview: Stock watch, waiver wire streamers

Juraj Slafkovsky of the Montreal Canadiens scored a power play goal on four shots against the St. Louis Blues. Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports

First things first, let's quickly review how the fantasy points against per game (FPAPG) experiment with the St. Louis Blues defense played out over the weekend. If you missed it, FPAPG is tracking how many fantasy points each team allows its opponents to score each game, and we can break that down by position. In Friday's lookahead, I circled the St. Louis Blues playing the New Jersey Devils on Friday and the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday as an experiment to watch.

That's because the Devils had been allowing the most FPAPG to opposing defense this season, while the Canadiens had been allowing the fewest FPAPG to blue liners.

It played out more or less as hoped, especially noting that the Blues won both games. They scored more goals on Saturday against the Canadiens (six) than against the Devils on Friday (four), yet the Blues D scored more fantasy points against New Jersey (7.9) than against Montreal (6.2). When it comes to actually functioning fantasy points, Justin Faulk did fine both nights, but did manage more fantasy points against the Devils (3.7) than against the Habs (3.3). The only other fantasy-relevant line from both nights was Nick Leddy notching 1.9 fantasy points against the Devils, while Colton Parayko almost got there with 1.5 on the Friday. Marco Scandella had the second-best showing on Saturday with a lowly 1.1 fantasy points.

All in all, I think we can call this hyper-specific experiment a modest success for FPAPG. Unfortunately the actionables were minimal, as Faulk was fine each night, Torey Krug was useless, no one was starting Nick Leddy, and Parayko's positive showing was on the edge of being disappointing. If you had Parayko and you were absolutely min-maxing your fantasy starts, it would have been reasonable to start him Friday and bench him Saturday based on the FPAPG matchups -- and it would have been a great call (1.5 fantasy points Friday and then 0.3 fantasy points on Saturday). That's getting pretty specific, but it shows FPAPG by position has promise as we move forward this season.

As for the next few days, we have four games on Monday, 10 on Tuesday and three on Wednesday.

The stakes are high in three of four games on Monday to kick off the week. A division showdown between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs, a cross-conference heavyweights matchup between the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars, and a rematch of two early-season tilts between the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks that sent them each on their current trajectory.

Tuesday will test whether everyone gets to tee-off on the Sharks now or just the stronger offenses, as the Philadelphia Flyers visit San Jose. Elsewhere, the so-far potent Detroit Red Wings will test the defense of the New York Rangers, which is the best team in the league at limiting opposition fantasy points (20.0 per game).

Wednesday's three games feature the Battle of Ontario, and a battle among the early elite in the Pacific Division between the Vegas Golden Knights (coming off their first regulation loss) and Los Angeles Kings.

The Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning all play two games in this window; the Leafs are home for both. The only team off all three days is the Chicago Blackhawks.

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Stock up

Juraj Slafkovsky, W, Montreal Canadiens: Finally given a promotion on Saturday to the top line with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, Slafkovsky responded with a power-play goal and four shots in the loss to the Blues. Maybe this was the confidence booster he needed; watch the lines on Tuesday against Tampa, whom coach Martin St. Louis surely wants to beat.

Nino Niederreiter, W, Winnipeg Jets: When you're hot, you're hot. The Jets second line doesn't scream piles of goals on paper, but Niederreiter, Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton are piling them up -- usually with Niederreiter the one to pot the puck. It looked like a two-game multi-point burst by Niederreiter was over after he was held off the scoresheet in consecutive contests, but then he potted a hat trick against Arizona on Saturday. But note for Tuesday that opposing forwards have 13.09 FPAPG on the Blues, which ranks 30th.

Quinton Byfield, C/W, Los Angeles Kings: You could probably only play each night with Anze Kopitar for so long before finding an offense rhythm in the NHL. Of course, Byfield has been shadowing Kopitar since last season, but we haven't seen anything like the offensive outburst he's turned in with nine points in the past six games.

Matt Duchene, C/W, Dallas Stars: He didn't finish Saturday's game, so check on his health before starting him this week, but Duchene has been coming on in the past few games. He had points in five consecutive games until he was knocked out of Saturday's contest.

Sean Monahan, C, Montreal Canadiens: Playing on a veteran line with Tanner Pearson and Brendan Gallagher, Monahan is also getting minutes on the top power-play unit with the youngsters. The result has been vintage Monahan, with six goals, 10 points, three power-play points and 29 shots on goal across 11 games.

Erik Gustafsson, D, New York Rangers: It's confirmed that Adam Fox will miss most -- if not all -- of November, so Gustafsson steps up to take the reins of a pretty dangerous power play for the Rangers.

Stock down

New Jersey Devils: Take Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier out of the equation and the Devils become ordinary very quickly. They got by the Blackhawks on Sunday, but not all opponents will be quite as pliable. Hughes is considered week-to-week after leaving Saturday's game. Dawson Mercer and Michael McLeod filled the voids at center on the scoring lines on Sunday.

Calen Addison, D, Minnesota Wild: The Wild opted for a five-forward power play on multiple occasions in Saturday's game, leaving Addison to mop-up duty on the second unit.

Streamer specials

Samuel Ersson, G, Philadelphia Flyers (0.1% rostered in ESPN leagues): The San Jose Sharks are ripe for the feasting, coming off massive losses. But aside from the offensive opportunity for the Flyers, goaltenders have been doing just fine against the Sharks, too (7.20 FPAPG).

Niko Mikkola, D, Florida Panthers (4.5%): A nice bag of tricks from Mikkola this season as he plays on the team's top defensive pair with Dmitry Kulikov. AAcross 10 games, he has a goal, three helpers, 19 shots, 14 hits and 23 blocks, which combines for a total of 2.0 fantasy points per game (FPPG) this season. It's unfortunate the ride will surely end when Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad reclaim their ice time.

Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Boston Bruins (9.1%): Charlie McAvoy has served only two games of his four-game suspension, so Shattenkirk will have to hold down the fort on the power play Monday against Dallas and Thursday against the New York Islanders. The Stars are a bad matchup, giving up only two power-play goals this season, but quarterback work is worth chasing most of the time. This could be a play in deeper leagues.