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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 to this little corner of the NHL DFS world that discusses bargain bin options for the upcoming week on FanDuel.

Last week went just fine: Scott Laughton managed an assist with three shots on goal in one game against Buffalo and two shots in the other. Artemi Panarin had an assist in his games against Minnesota and Winnipeg, with five shots on goal. Nikolaj Ehlers had a good week, just not against the Blue Jackets. Hutton was a miss for the Vancouver blue line. Such is the nature of bargain bin options.

As usual, there is on bargain option for each skater position, and – at time of writing – each player will have a price tag under $4,000. There will also be a couple goalie options in net at the end. Beware of the options in net, as coaches do weird things. Last week, the Toronto Maple Leafs started James Reimer on Monday, then the team had three days off, and they started Jonathan Bernier on back-to-back nights. That was quite unexpected. Be sure to always check the goalie starters for the night.

Centre

Riley Nash (Carolina) - $3,200


The Carolina Hurricanes, expectedly, haven’t been very good offensively this year. They rank 23rd in shots per 60 minutes at five-on-five, 20th in adjusted shot attempts, and this has led to being tied for 24th in goals per 60 minutes. Again, not unexpected, but not good nevertheless.

The bright side here is the Hurricanes will be hosting the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, and for as bad as the Hurricanes are offensively, the Senators have been equally bad defensively; the team is 26th in shot attempts allowed per 60 minutes and tied for 26th in adjusted scoring chances allowed. If Carolina were going to pop a few goals, hosting Ottawa seems like a great opportunity for it.

So far this early season, Riley Nash has been playing pretty well alongside Jeff Skinner, as the duo has been on the ice for over 60 shot attempts per 60 minutes together. That number will fall, but even a 10-percent reduction would still put them above the team average. Seeing as they likely won’t be playing against the top Kyle Turris line, they should do well against Ottawa’s depth.

Right Wing

Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton) - $3,200


It was a banner couple of games for the second year player from Edmonton. Draisaitl – a third overall pick from 2014 – managed five points in two games after his recall on Thursday. Points are always nice, but three things of importance were:

• Draisaitl got power play time on the Taylor Hall unit.
• Draisaitl averaged over 19 minutes in those two games.
• Draisaitl had seven shots in those contests.

The points are nice, but the reasons he got the points are why he can continue to produce. Oh, did I mention he’s playing on the top line with Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?

Draisaitl is a placeholder for now, and will likely be bumped down the lineup once Jordan Eberle returns. Until then, however, it seems like he’s got a grip on the top right wing position, and that’s a good place to be. With a defensively woeful Philadelphia team coming to town for a matchup on Tuesday night, their second in as many nights, there is no reason not to use Draisaitl in cash games.

Left Wing

Teuvo Teravainen (Chicago) - $3,800


As with most of the teams in the league, Chicago is dealing with injuries. Other than St. Louis, though, I don’t think there’s a team dealing with the severity of injuries like Chicago. First it was a knee surgery for Duncan Keith, and now it’s an injury to Marian Hossa. With Hossa out of the lineup, Artemi Panarin has been moved to the top line with Jonathan Toews, while Teuvo Teravainen has been moved to the second line alongside Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane.

Teravainen kind of got lost in the shuffle to start the year. He spent a bit of time up in the lineup, but ultimately settled in the bottom-six. That is kind of a shame, because Teravainen is a player who has the ability to excel with talented linemates. Playing with Patrick Kane should help in this regard.

Chicago has a game in New Jersey on Friday, and then come home for a game on Sunday against Edmonton. Obviously, that home game against the Oilers is a great one because as good as the Oilers are offensively, they’re still bad defensively. All the same, starting Teravainen at that price in either of those matchups is just fine so long as he stays in the top-six (Chicago coach Joel Quenneville is notorious for tinkering).

Defence

Jason Demers (Dallas) - $3,900


In 70 games with Dallas – not including Monday’s game against Toronto – Jason Demers had put up 29 points, which is a point per game mark of about 0.08 higher than it was than San Jose. It might not seem like a lot, but on an 82-game pace, that’s about seven more points a season. For a non-elite defenceman, that is significant.

By just about any five-on-five measurement, the Stars are at the top, or near the top, of the NHL: goals, scoring chances, shots generated… it doesn’t really matter. That is not a huge surprise when looking at the wealth of offensive talent on the team. What it does is give Demers – who is also playing the second power play unit – a higher chance for points than almost anywhere else.

Dallas is in Carolina on Friday, and in Detroit Sunday. While the Hurricanes are fine defensively, they will have a huge layoff coming into that game (they don’t play this week until then). I’ll look for them to be slow out of the gate. As for Detroit, surprisingly, they’re also one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL. At this point, I have no problem picking players going up against the Red Wings.

Goalie

Eddie Lack (Carolina) - $7,100


Carolina is playing back-to-back games this weekend, and one I just mentioned is at home to Dallas. That is a no-go under almost any circumstance. The next game, however, is against the Ottawa Senators. That is the one I would target.

Ottawa has been outshot by 36 in five road games so far this year, which means Lack is more of a tournament play than a cash game. If he only faces 25 shots, a couple of goals against would be too much to stomach in a cash game. In tournaments, we’re looking for that shutout, so if Lack goes against Ottawa, I would take him.

Richard Bachman (Vancouver) - $7,100

Vancouver has back-to-back games on the weekend, in Buffalo and New Jersey. Hopefully Bachman gets the game against Buffalo, as he’s likely to face more shots against them than the Devils. With that said, I like Vancouver’s chances in either game, so I would look to Bachman in a tournament for whichever start he gets.

Keep an eye on the Vancouver goaltending situation, as Jacob Markstrom could be returning from injury soon. He may need a couple games in the minors first before taking Bachman’s spot on the big club, so keep an eye on RotoWire’s roster moves.

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.