The year 2016 is almost over, but there are still a couple days left to get your FanDuel fix in. Friday’s got a small four-game slate that may make differentiating your lineups difficult, but let’s start by identifying some of the evening’s best values.
Cam Ward, CAR vs. CHI ($8,300): Chicago is certainly better than Carolina, but the Blackhawks will be on the second night of a back-to-back – which most likely means Scott Darling rather than Corey Crawford in net – while the Hurricanes are surprisingly 10-3-1 at home. The ‘Canes are only allowing 27.5 shots on goal per game, and they have the league’s best penalty kill. That’s certainly contributed to Ward’s unusually solid 2.27 GAA, and it makes him a good (if still risky) value at this price.
Ryan Kesler, ANA at VAN ($6,900): Kesler has a chance to rub some salt into the proverbial wounds of his old team Friday. The Canucks are giving up 3.03 goals per game, and their penalty kill is ranked 21st. Kesler has excelled on the power play this year, notching 15 points with the extra man, so this matchup works out well for him.
Bo Horvat, VAN vs. ANA ($4,900): Despite the fact that Horvat is averaging more fantasy points than Henrik Sedin (9.4 to 8.2), he still comes cheaper (Sedin will set you back $5,200). Ergo, going with Horvat will allow you to spend a little more money elsewhere, but you aren’t giving up any real fantasy value. Of course, it only makes sense to take Horvat if he can help your fantasy team, and he can do that Friday. The Ducks are on the second night of a back-to-back, which means Jonathan Bernier (3.07 GAA, .897 save percentage) could be in net. That would certainly benefit Horvat.
Jeff Skinner, CAR vs. CHI ($6,900): As previously mentioned, the Blackhawks will be on the second night of a back-to-back. The Blackhawks are giving up 31.1 shots on goal per game, and their penalty kill is ranked 29th. That offers great appeal for Skinner, who takes tons of shots (121 on goal in 33 games) and excels with the extra man (11 power-play points). He’s well worth the price, even if it is on the high side.
Rickard Rakell, ANA at VAN ($5,900): Rakell had been on a bit of a dry spell before scoring Thursday night, but before that, he had seven points in five games. That’s contributed to his season-long average of 14.2 FanDuel fantasy points per game. His shooting percentage is bound to go down eventually, but the Canucks offer a friendly matchup, so it’s worth speculating that his good luck continues in this one.
Robby Fabbri, STL vs. NAS ($5,300): Unlike Rakell, Fabbri has been on fire recently. He’s got 11 points in his last 10 games, and he’s notched seven power-play points as well. The Predators are 17th in goals allowed per game, and they will be on the second night of a back-to-back. That could mean unproven rookie Juuse Saros in net, although the young Finn has looked good so far.
Sebastian Aho, CAR vs. CHI ($4,700): If you want a low-priced play with some upside, Aho could be your guy. The 19-year-old owns a modest 18 points in 34 games, but he has seven in his last nine contests, a stretch in which he’s averaged 17:41 of ice time, with 1:56 of that on the power play. He’s clearly growing into a major role for this team in his rookie year, and he gets a chance to shoot on a backup goalie Friday.
Ryan Ellis, NAS at STL ($4,700): Despite Nashville having two elite defenders in P.K. Subban and Roman Josi, Ellis is still averaging 24:06 of ice time per game, with 2:06 of that on the power play. Despite the relatively cheap price, Ellis is averaging 10 fantasy points per game. St. Louis doesn’t let up a lot of shots, but the Blues have a 2.92 GAA, thanks in large part to their poor .895 save percentage as a team. Ellis can also help defensively, as he’s blocked 54 shots in 26 games.
Troy Stecher, VAN vs. ANA ($4,600): Despite being a rookie, Stecher already has a pretty big role on the Canucks’ blue line. He plays 20:52 per night on average, with 3:02 of that on the power play. Stecher has also put 71 shots on goal in 27 games. The Ducks rank 20th on the penalty kill, and with Bernier possibly in net, they might be even worse than usual.