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FanDuel NHL: Value Plays for the Week

Michael Clifford

Michael Clifford writes about fantasy hockey for RotoWire. He was a FSWA finalist in 2015 and 2013 for Hockey Writer of the Year. Former SportsNet hockey columnist, where he churned out four articles a week.

Welcome back for another week of bargain hunting on FanDuel for DFS NHL. For our players last week, one worked fine (Enroth), some hit on the wrong days (Zidlicky, Brown, Janmark), while one just flat missed (Chad Johnson). Such is the nature of bargain bin options. However, when they work out, there’s almost no better feeling (outside of winning the actual contests, of course).

As always, there will be one skater listed at each position that is priced $4,000 or less. At the end, there will be a couple of goalies to look for in either cash games or tournaments (GPP).

Centre

Scott Laughton (Philadelphia) - $3,200


Personally, Scott Laughton is one of those players I have been keeping an eye on for a few years, hoping for a breakout. The 20th overall pick in 2012 has just 43 NHL games under his belt, but looks to be taking that step forward this year with 2.43 shots per contest and three points in his seven games played.

Laughton is currently skating on the third line with another player the Flyers are holding out hope on for an offensive breakout in Brayden Schenn. They don’t have much time together yet this season, so it’s a wait-and-see as to how their chemistry will pan out. With two youngish players together, though, I would hope they push each other.

The biggest reason for looking at Laughton is Philly’s schedule this week. They have three games, and they are two against Buffalo with one against New Jersey. Those games against Buffalo in particular are of interest because the bottom-half of the Sabres roster is fairly weak, as is their goaltending. I have no issue with using Laughton against the Sabres in either contest.

Right Wing

Nikolaj Ehlers (Winnipeg) - $3,300


There was lots of hype (and rightly so) leading into the season behind super rookies Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. That is probably a good thing for Ehlers, as if he were a rookie in most other years, he would have had higher expectations heaped upon him.

Ehlers was a wizard in Junior, putting up 205 points in his most recent 114 regular season games. Even more impressive is the fact he notched 101 points in 51 games in his last year, a season without fellow young (potential) star Jonathan Drouin on his line. Ehlers proved he can stand on his own, and his skill and vision are up there with almost any other under-20 player in the NHL.

Playing on the second line with Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault is great for Ehlers, as it allows him to play with other highly-skilled linemates, yet avoid the tough matchups that can be taken by the first line. He has also been getting second unit power play time of late. The Jets have a game in Columbus on the weekend, and Ehlers is a great option against the still-improving Blue Jackets.

Left Wing

Artemi Panarin (Chicago) - $3,400


Sometimes, players just fall through the algorithm cracks. Last year, Sean Monahan was $3600 on FanDuel for the majority of the season despite being a 30-goal scorer. So far this year – at time of writing – Artemi Panarin was playing on the second line with Patrick Kane, getting some second unit power play time, playing over 18 minutes a game, and putting up a line of eight points in eight games. His price hasn’t budged.

Panarin is an import from Russia who turns 24 later this month. He isn’t a flash in a pan, either; this is a guy with a wealth of skill. That is why he has fit in so well on the second line with Kane and Artem Anisimov. It is also why that line hasn’t been broken up all year.

The Blackhawks have a couple of tough games later this week, going into Minnesota and going into Winnipeg. The bright side is like Ehlers, he should be able to likely avoid the tough matchups like Dustin Byfuglien and Ryan Suter. Also, considering his price and production to date, he’s pretty much a plug-and-play every game until the cost rises.

Defence

Ben Hutton (Vancouver) - $3,200


One of the quieter rookie successes this year has been Vancouver rookie defenceman Ben Hutton. Having been drafted in the fifth round in 2012, he went back to the NCAA to finish out his career before earning a roster spot with the Canucks this year. He’s made the most of it, putting up four points and 15 shots in eight games.

Hutton has also earned a spot on the second power play unit. While it would be more beneficial to be on the top unit with the Sedin twins – and Yannick Weber is there at $3900; another option, though I’m not as much a fan as his game offensively – there is no doubt that some power play time is better than none.

The Canucks have a road game on Friday night in Arizona against the Coyotes and, at time of writing, the Coyotes had given up nearly four power plays per game (31 shorthanded opportunities in eight games). That is far too many power plays to give up with the hopes of keeping the puck out of the net. I am all for using Hutton against the Coyotes on Friday.

Goalie

James Reimer (Toronto) - $6,800


Reimer has had some bumpy moments to start the year, but his matchups and price show that he is a very viable option for GPPs. The Leafs have back-to-back games later this week in New York and at home against the Penguins. While I think the better option would be in New York – does anyone really want to bet against the Pittsburgh offence? – Reimer is the perfect GPP option: his low price allows DFSers to fit in a lot of expensive players while the matchups would likely mean he’s very low-owned.

Kristers Gudlevskis (Tampa Bay) - $6,500

Gudlevskis saw his first action of the season on the weekend, allowing just one goal (in overtime) in a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. He looked very sharp, though, saving 31 of 32 shots against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Tampa Bay has three games in four nights later this week, with Boston and Carolina on the weekend. Ideally for DFSers, Gudlevskis would get the start against Carolina. Whichever game he gets, he’s a low-cost alternative for secondary cash game lineups or primary GPP lineups.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.