We're mixing it up with a little Daily Fantasy fun this week in examining a few alternative assets that may help boost your roster over the weekend and beyond. Most of these oft-disregarded, bargain commodities best suit Grand Prize Pool competition, while others could also serve as viable streaming options in more conventional ESPN.com leagues. The Penguins' replacement for Sidney Crosby at center, for one.
Martin Necas, F, Carolina Hurricanes: Competing on a forward line and secondary power play with Nino Niederreiter, Necas has two goals and four assists in his past six games, including a pair of points (one power-play goal) versus the Senators on Monday. The 20-year-old rookie is also firing the puck on net with greater regularity. The Hurricanes face the Sabres on Thursday and the Wild Saturday. By the way, this future scoring star should already be a popular figure in deeper dynasty leagues. He's still just only warming up.
Jared McCann, F, Pittsburgh Penguins: With Sidney Crosby out several weeks following hernia surgery, McCann is first skater up in filling in for the superstar center on a top-six scoring line with Alex Galchenyuk - who needs to get his act together in a hard hurry - and Jake Guentzel. In McCann's first go at the role, he scored a power-play goal versus the Rangers Tuesday, his sixth point in four consecutive games. And betcha you can still get the 24th overall draft pick (2014) for a bargain price against the generous New Jersey Devils on Friday.
Zack Kassian, F, Edmonton Oilers: Not sporting the same inexpensive price tag as others on this list, Kassian nonetheless appeals as a relatively cheap, below-average DFS commodity on a line with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. The feisty winger is feeling it right now, with three goals and two assists on nine shots through four games. Just don't expect any power-play production. If not all-in on Colorado rookie netminder Adam Werner - veteran of 59 minutes in the NHL - consider stacking Kassian with McDavid against the Avalanche Thursday. The Oilers host the Stars Saturday, then visit the Sharks on Tuesday.
Ondrej Kase, F, Anaheim Ducks: Skating on a scoring line with Ryan Getzlaf, Kase potted two assists and fired three shots in Tuesday's OT loss to Detroit - much-welcome production in hopefully busting matters open for the struggling 24-year-old. For below-average DFS cost, Kase strikes as an appealing, outside-the-box roster plug against Martin Jones and the Sharks Thursday.
Barclay Goodrow, F, San Jose Sharks: An under-the-radar asset in San Jose, Goodrow has six points in six games, including a goal and assist against the Oilers Tuesday, and is skating on a scoring line with Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl. He sports sneaky value in Daily Fantasy leagues that don't reward power-play production. Not for nothing, the physical forward also blocks more shots than the overwhelming majority of forwards in the league, ranking sixth in the West.
Justin Dowling, F, Dallas Stars: For those endeavouring to draw way outside conventional roster lines, Dowling scored his first NHL goal in Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Flames. The largely unknown AHL journeyman is currently centering a scoring line between Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin - both of whom feel the need to buck up, production-wise, after a calling out from coach Jim Montgomery. No better time than the present, during the Stars' ongoing western Canada swing. And Dowling will hardly dent the DFS roster budget, allowing you to splurge on others.
Esa Lindell, D, Dallas Stars: At mid-range cost, Lindell offers additional value in playing increased minutes, including with the extra skater, while John Klingberg continues to recover from a lower-body injury. And - this is big in DFS competition - the 25-year-old isn't reluctant to throw himself in front of an opposing shot. Lindell ranks 11th in the league in blocked-shots with 40. It all adds up.
Jake Allen, G, St. Louis Blues: I know he hasn't been great overall, but the Blues' No. 2 was flat-out impressive in stopping 32 of 34 shots in last week's 5-2 win over the Oilers, earning the game's first star. And St. Louis faces the Blue Jackets and Ducks in back-to-back matches this Friday and Saturday - two of the league's least potent offenses. Assuming Jordan Binnington and Allen split the load, I'm all over the latter as a darker DFS horse against whoever he faces.
Kasimir Kaskisuo, G, Toronto Maple Leafs: Rumor has it the 26-year-old is tapped to make his first NHL appearance against the Crosby-less Penguins on Saturday - which would fall in stride with Mike Babcock's steadfast approach in playing his No. 2 in the second of back-to-backs. If that's how it pans out, and Frederik Andersen doesn't play both Friday and Saturday, I'm all over the Leafs' new backup in DFS competition. Not only has Kaskisuo been fabulous with the AHL Marlies this season - .928 SV% and 2.13 GAA - but newbie netminders often sparkle during their first, adrenaline-spiked start in the bigs. For instance, Jordan Binnington pitched a 25-save shutout in his first ever start for the Blues against the Flyers last January.
Adam Werner, G, Colorado Avalanche: For those needing introduction, the 22-year-old is the present-day No. 1 netminder for the Avalanche, while both Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz convalesce on the sidelines. He was perfect - perfect! - in hefty relief (59 minutes)of Francouz versus the Jets Tuesday, stopping all 40 shots faced. You want a truly off-the-wall DFS asset in goal to set your roster apart in GPP, for better or worse? Werner's your guy. The Avs face the Oilers Thursday and Canucks on Saturday.