Jan. 31, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing James Neal (18) congratulates Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Hockey Challenge Picks-NHL Week 3


It’s a good week to load your team with Tampa Bay Lightning in ESPN’s Fantasy Hockey Challenge. In this photo, center Steven Stamkos (91) is congratulated by right wing Martin St. Louis (26) and center Vincent Lecavalier (4) after he scored a goal against the Florida Panthers during the first period at Tampa Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As we head into the weekend, it’s time to get your lineups locked in for the third week of the fantasy hockey challenge. Most teams have three or four games this week with only the Colorado Avalanche as an outlier with only two. If you need to hold onto three-gamers this week for value, don’t hesitate to do so, but it’s probably best to move on from your Avs.

Last week, my entry climbed up to the top 20% of all entries with a solid week 2 so far. Axis of Anarchy still leads our group  after a monster week 1 performance. If you’re looking for a group to join, check out our FantasyCPR group (click here for info).

Here’s my picks for week 2 with only minimal changes to last week’s lineup (click here for week 2 lineup post):

Jan 29, 2013; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from Washington Capitals left wing Jason Chimera (25) in the third period against the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place. The Senators defeated the Capitals 3-2 Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Goalies

Craig Anderson-Ottawa Senators: The Sens are off to a hot start and Anderson has been excellent moving up to the #2 spot in hockey challenge behind only Antti Niemi coming into Friday’s action. Anderson doesn’t have back-to-back games and faces the Sabres, Hurricanes, and Jets all at home this week.

Jaroslav Halak-St. Louis Blues: The Blues have a similar favorable schedule with a three-home game schedule against the Predators, Red Wings, and Ducks. The Blues goalie is in the top five in challenge points coming into the weekend. He will probably take one of each back-t0-back set off for the foreseeable future, but should get all three starts with off days sprinkled throughout this week.

Defensemen

Zdeno Chara-Boston Bruins: Chara continues to pile up time on the ice and is part of a successful power play unit. He scored in three games in a row early this week with a three-point game in Carolina on Monday. The Bruins have three games this week, but Chara’s value is likely to rise so I’ll hold on to him.

Jan. 20, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes center Steve Sullivan (26) celebrates with right wing Shane Doan (19), center Antoine Vermette (50), defenseman Keith Yandle (3) and defenseman Derek Morris (53) after scoring his third goal of the night in the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Jobing.com Arena. The Coyotes beat the Blue Jackets 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Keith Yandle-Phoenix Coyotes: Yandle only has three games too, but is owrth holding onto averaging just under a point a game so far this season.

Andrei Markov-Montreal Canadiens: Markov is the third-ranked defenseman in hockey challenge with points in each of his last five games. Markov’s averaging 1.3 points per game as the Habs host their rival Bruins and Maple Leafs while traveling to Buffalo to take on the Sabres this week.

Victor Hedman-Tampa Bay Lightning: Hedman plays four games this week for the Lightning and has put points on the board in his last three games. He’s been a big boost to the Lightning defense and will get four games this week as the Lightning travel to take on the Flyers, Devils, Bruins, and Rangers.

Forwards

Steven Stamkos-Tampa Bay Lightning: Another Lightning skater to make sure is on your roster is Stamkos who already has 11 points this year and is averaging just under 2 points per game. With four games, Stamkos is going to be heavily owned, but he’s scoring too prolifically to overlook on your roster this week. Just lock him in at the lowest price you can.

Evgeni Malkin-Pittsburgh Penguins: Malkin has four games too and is averaging over a point a game. He’s scored three points in his last three games despite the Penguins overall struggles so expect a nice week as he plays four.

Zach Parise-Minnesota Wild: A mainstay of my team, Parise is averaging 1.3 points per game despite not being able to net one in his las two games. Next week the Wild only play three, but I’ll stick with Parise against the Coyotes, Canucks, and Predators.

Pavel Datsyuk-Detroit Red Wings: Datsyuk and Detroit take on the Flames, Oilers, and Kings at home this week and also go on the road to take on the Blues. Datsyuk is averaging 1.3 points per game and continues to be among the better play-makers on the Wings front line.

Martin St. Louis-Tampa Bay Lightning: If you’re going to go “all-in” on a team this week, the Lightning are the way to go. The Lightning lead the league in scoring and are in the top five in Power Play percentage. St. Louis’s creativity has benefited him so far with 12 points coming into Friday’s play averaging 2.0 points per game. Make sure this Quebec-native finds a home on your team this week.

Jan 20, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA; Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle (14) has a scoring chance against Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Eberle-Edmonton Oilers: In his first seven games, Eberle has seven points. He and the Oilers play four this week–at home for Vancouver and Dallas and then finishing the week on the road for Detroit and Columbus.

Tags: Fantasy Hockey Hockey Challenge NHL Schedule NHL Week 3 Popular Tampa Bay Lightning