Fantasy Hockey Buy/Sell: Week 15
Here’s a look at players to buy and others to sell for Week 15.
Brandon Pirri (C – VGK)
The Golden Knights called up Brandon Pirri from the minors on December 20. He made it to the New Year by registering six goals and nine assists with a +8 rating and 22 SOG. Perhaps the organization was still hazy from all the celebrating of 2019, as they sent him back down despite his solid performance. They came around, however, and brought him back on January 8. He rewarded them with a goal in his first game. The Golden Knights are now on a seven-game winning streak, and Pirri will see minutes. Based on what they accomplished in their first year as an NHL team, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them guide players to a profitable second half. He’s only 18% owned in Yahoo! leagues, so managers can probably scoop him up for nothing. The only downside is he’s just center eligible and might be tough to slot into your starting lineup.
Bryan Rust (LW/RW – PIT)
The Penguins got out to a bumpy start this year. There were a few questions about whether age was starting to grab a hold of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. But, as Christmas started to round the corner, so did the Pens. They’ve won 11 of their last 13 games dating back to December 15. Matt Murray is healthy and looking good again, and they’re getting points from their wing. Enter Bryan Rust, who started to heat up in a linear fashion with the team. He suffered a minor lower-body injury, but it only hampered him for a game. He is seeing time on the first line with Crosby and Jake Guentzel, and there’s no reason to think he’ll get bumped with the way he’s performing. There is always good upside when playing on the same line as Crosby, especially while they’re putting pucks in the net. His dual eligibility should make for an easy choice to cut some dead weight from your fantasy roster.
Robin Lehner (G – NYI)
The Islanders find themselves 6-1 in their last seven games, and a big reason for that is Robin Lehner’s goaltending. It shouldn’t be totally shocking, as Lehner shows up on the radar once in a while and starts stringing together a series of solid performances. He doesn’t have a history of sustaining it for the entire season, but he’s won all six of those victories while the loss came with him benched. To date, he has very respectable numbers sitting at a 2.18 GAA and .927 SV %. Now is a good time to get him if you need goalie help, and even if you don’t he’s worth a spot as third or fourth tender for when you need him. He’s hovering around 66% in Yahoo! leagues, so keep an eye out for him.
Jake Allen (G – STL)
Jake Allen has undoubtedly frustrated his owners during an up-and-down year (more down). His inconsistent play only adds to the frustration. We’ve seen what he can do in the past, and the talent is there, but the consistency isn’t. His numbers to date are not attractive, sitting at a 3.07 GAA and .896 SV% which both show how bad the downs are. With the Blues not performing well in front of him this year, it might be time to look elsewhere for goalie help. He can’t really be relied on as a solid second starter, so take a look at the aforementioned Lehner or Calgary’s David Rittich to give you some streaming options. He’s still got the upside to serve as a bench player, but consider relegating him to the waiver wire if he’s holding you back and hurting your ratio stats (along with the other categories).
Casey DeSmith (G – PIT)
Casey DeSmith shouldn’t be viewed as a performance faller. He’s played quite well while Murray was on the shelf and makes for a solid streaming option if you’re able to time the pickups right. Depending on league size, however, he loses bench value because of the starter’s resurgence. The Penguins are winning right now, and Murray is a big reason for it. This, unfortunately, takes away opportunities for DeSmith. Yet keep an eye on Murray. If his play starts to slip or he gets injured, DeSmith will get sent right back into the fray, in which case he must be grabbed immediately.
T.J. Oshie (RW – WSH)
Since the arrival of Alex Ovechkin, every time you hear the name Washington Capitals it’s assumed that you’re investing in a team that puts points on the board. Along with notable players like Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, etc. This brings us to T.J. Oshie. Typically over the years, the fast-moving right winger has been a good bet to put up 50+ points in a season. Due to an injury sidelining him from November 11 to December 14, his pace is way behind (13 G, 5 A) at the halfway mark. There hasn’t been anything outstanding in his play or line combinations to make owners think that will change. Temper expectations, and don’t be surprised if he goes down with an injury again. It’s worth shopping around to see if you can make a lateral move or upgrade because he’ll hurt your lineup when going cold as chilled beer. He does throw his body around and usually registers two/three hits a game, which may be worth considering depending on your league settings.
Jeremy Farr is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Jeremy, check out his archive.