FanNation hockey throwdown fantasy game picks for Thursday Dec. 11

Thursday December 11th, 2014
Play our new daily fantasy hockey game!

If you haven't tried our daily Hockey fantasy game, check it out. The link in the tile will take you to the game page where you can set up a head-to-head challenge with a friend, an enemy, the cable guy, the vicar, me ... basically anyone. Pick three players on three different NHL teams who you think will surpass their projected totals in such categories as wins, saves and goals-against average for goalies; and goals, assists, plus-minus, PIM and shots on goal for forwards and defensemen. Your team earns points based on live game stats. Highest score wins. You can play for free or wager anywhere from $1 to $500.

Each day, I offer up three picks that I think are primed to have a big night. Here are today's best bets:

Trade bait Chris Stewart has Sabres in a bind; games to watch; more

Forward: Tommy Wingels, Sharks (hosting Wild, 10:30 p.m. EST; FS-NFS-WICSN-CA)

You gotta dig way down the list of eligible forwards to find Wingels, but so much the better when your goal is to beat projections. Clearly the guys who worked up the numbers (0.3 G, 0.3 A, 0.1 +/-, 0.5 PIM, 2.6 SOG, 0.2 PPP) overlooked his exceptional play of late. Wingels is on fire, notching three goals and 10 points during his past six games, and while he might be in tough to top that shots stat—he's landed more than two just once in his past dozen games—he's your best bet to max out the others.

Defenseman: Dustin Byfuglien, Jets (at Avalanche, 9 p.m. EST; TSN3, ALT)

His four-game goal-scoring streak came to an end on Tuesday in Dallas, but Big Buff chipped in with a pair of assists to lead the Jets to a 5-2 win and extend his scoring run to five. He's loading up and letting it go every chance he gets (22 shots during his streak), so you have to like what that volume does for his chances to top out his projections (0.3 G, 0.4 A, -0.1 +/-, 0.8 PIM, 2.5 SOG, 0.2 PPP) against a Colorado team that ranks 27th in goals-against at 3.21.

Streaking Blackhawks juiced by Patrick Sharp's return

Goalie: Pekka Rinne, Predators (at Coyotes, 9 p.m. EST; FS-TN, FS-A)

I recommended Rinne on Tuesday and he pitched a shutout. No reason to change horses after that. His projections (0.4 W, 2.8 GA, 24.8 SV, 0.1 SO) remain low, his confidence is high and he's up against an Arizona side that ranks 26 in offense (2.29 goals per game) and has tallied two goals or fewer in four of its past five games. He might be the night's safest play.

Other games on the schedule: Blackhawks at Bruins (7 p.m. EST; NHLN-US, SN360, TVA2, CSN-CH, NESN); Flames at Sabres (7 p.m. EST; SNF, MSG-B, BELL TV); Islanders at Blues (8 p.m. EST; MSG+, FS-MW); Devils at Flyers (7 p.m. EST; MSG, CSN-PH); Blue Jackets at Capitals (7 p.m EST; FS-O, CSN-DC); Kings at Senators (7:30 p.m. EST; FS-W, RDS, TSN5); Hurricanes at Lightning (7:30 p.m. EST; FS-CR,SUN)

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.