Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire: Boeser, Matheson lead pickups to target this week
Canucks forward Brock Boeser and criminally under-rostered Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson lead this week's fantasy hockey waiver wire options.
Utilizing the waiver wire is a crucial part of any championship fantasy hockey season. Finding players to work into your lineup every single week who can add points to your total is the number one way to control the outcome of your matchup.
In this weekly article, I’ll be going over players at every position and at different levels of rostership so you can fill out your fantasy squad with the best players available in your league. Let’s dig in:
Rostered in 41-50% of Leagues: Brock Boeser, RW - VAN (46% rostered)
Like many Canuck players, Boeser has dealt with significant ups and downs over the course of a tumultuous season in Vancouver. But Boeser has started to flip a switch of late, firing three shots or more in each of his last six games. Boeser hasn’t seen less than 17 minutes of ice time in over two weeks and is still featured on Vancouver’s new-look "2 D / 3 F" top power play unit alongside stars J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson. It’s all signs green for Boeser now and for a Vancouver squad that has won ten of its last twelve games. I’m expecting a motivated Boeser to close out the 2022-23 season in style and prove he’s still a valuable scorer in this league.
Honourable Mentions: Barrett Hayton, C - ARI (47%) and Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW - LAK (48%)
Rostered in 31-40% of Leagues: Lucas Raymond, RW - DET (34% rostered)
Raymond has had a disappointing campaign, following up last year’s 57-point rookie season with just a 50-point pace on 39 points through 64 games this season. But Raymond’s game and deployment have started to take a turn for the better of late, punctuated by a five-shot performance in 20:04 of ice time Saturday versus Philadelphia. Raymond may not put up point-per-game numbers for the rest of the season, but he appears to be getting hot at the right time for fantasy managers. Raymond plays four games this week and is a good bet to put together a three or four point week with his current top line and top power play usage.
Honourable Mentions: Ryan Hartman, C/RW - MIN (40%) and Dylan Strome, C/RW - WSH (34%)
Rostered in 21-30% of Leagues: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C - NYI (21% rostered)
Pageau’s Islanders have one of the league’s best streaming schedules this week, with a Monday-Wednesday off-night opener and a Saturday-Sunday set to close the week. Whether you target Pageau for the early-week, late-week, or week-long look, he’s an easy bet to provide plenty of hits, some blocks and if you’re lucky a couple of points. Pageau had a four-game point streak snapped and went pointless in back-to-back games against the Blue Jackets and Sabres, but if you’re in a league that counts faceoffs and hits, Pageau makes for a very intriguing streaming option as a multi-category contributor.
Honourable Mentions: Nino Niederreiter, LW - WPG (23%) and Andrew Mangiapane, LW/RW - CGY (28%)
Rostered in 0-20% of Leagues: Anthony Duclair, RW - FLA (12% rostered)
Florida has one of the best streaming schedules this week, starting the week with Monday and Wednesday off-night games and playing four games total. Duclair got a mouth-watering promotion to a new-look Panther top line also featuring stars Aleksander Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk on Saturday. He responded with an assist and five shots on goal, so it seems likely that he’s done enough to keep that role for at least another night. As long as Duclair remains attached to one or both of those Florida superstars, I’m interested in streaming him.
Honourable Mentions: Eetu Luostarinen, C/LW - FLA (6%) and Kyle Palmieri, RW - NYI (4%)
Rostered in 26-50% of Leagues: Michael Matheson - MTL (36%)
Matheson being rostered in only 35 percent of Yahoo leagues is a borderline criminal offense at this point. In the month of March, Matheson is tied for seventh amongst all defensemen in points and third in shots. Montreal starts this week with a Monday-Tuesday back to back against Buffalo and Philadelphia, both bottom-half teams in terms of goals allowed this season. I’m all for rostering Matheson for the rest of the season, but at the very least give the man a chance for these two games and make your rest-of-week moves after that.
Honourable Mentions: Jake Sanderson - OTT (29%) and Filip Hronek - VAN (47%)
Rostered in 0-25% of Leagues: Cam Fowler - ANA (20% rostered)
In times like these we turn back to the ol’ reliable Cam Fowler. Fowler has been a solid streaming option more often than not, pacing for 48 points on the season as the Ducks’ clear No. 1 defenseman and top power-play quarterback. I’m not expecting Fowler to put up huge numbers and he’s definitely more of a points league play as he’s not a bigtime hitter or shot blocker, but he’s a better bet than any other defenders in this range to get you a couple of points on the back end this week. If you’ve already got another blueliner playing a couple of games from Monday through Wednesday, consider holding off on adding Fowler until Thursday where he ends the week playing three games in four nights.
Honourable Mentions: Ryan Pulock - NYI (21%) and Adam Boqvist - CBJ (7%)
Rostered in 26-50% of Leagues: Philipp Grubauer (30% rostered)
Grubauer has been quietly effective for the Kraken since the turn of the year, winning 11 of 19 starts including six of his last eight. Seattle needs to keep winning as they attempt to climb out of a wild-card spot, and Grubauer has been by far the best option in goal of late. I fully expect Grubauer to be a volume starter for the Kraken from here into the playoffs and am not overly scared of their three opponents this week: Minnesota, Anaheim, and Los Angeles. Grubauer should start at least two if not all three of these games and with the Kraken offense rolling I anticipate even more wins in Grubauer’s immediate future.
Honourable Mentions: Joel Hofer - STL (34%) and Joonas Korpisalo - LAK (42%)
Rostered in 0-25% of Leagues: Sam Montembeault - MTL (12% rostered)
Finding goalies to pick up in this range is always a difficult task, but Montembeault has taken over as the starter in Montreal right as the team has started to score in bunches. The Canadiens have scored less than three goals only once in their last seven outings and twice in their last eleven. Meanwhile, Montembeault has provided steady goaltending to a team that has sorely lacked it this season. I anticipate Montembeault will see at least two starts this week in Montreal’s four-game slate, and he should see plenty of rubber while providing a solid opportunity for a win or two as well.
Honourable Mentions: Alex Stalock - CHI (9%) and Eric Comrie - BUF (4%)
Nate Groot Nibbelink is the creator of Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey and the originator of the #ZeroG draft strategy. You can find him pontificating about obscure fantasy hockey strategy topics in the Apples & Ginos Discord Server or on Twitter @applesginos.