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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 FanDuel bargain bin options.

Last week produced both positive and negative results, typical when using players of the bargain variety. While Rasmus Ristolainen and Adam Henrique had goals on nights slated for use, Nick Ritchie and Zack Kassian were held pointless (and negative games too). For our goalies, Matt Murray had a win against New Jersey and James Reimer took a loss to Vancouver.

There will be one skater listed per position priced at $4,000 or less. There will also be a couple of cheap goaltenders to use.

Centre

Riley Sheahan (Detroit) - $3,400


The Red Wings lines have been set for a few games now, which is always nice considering how often coaches cycle linemates. Of late, Sheahan has been centering the second line with Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. While the trio hasn’t been overly productive as a line – Puckalytics has them at 2.27 goals per 60 minutes together going back to last year in nearly 400 minutes played – they are exceptional defensively together, allowing just 41.36 shot attempts per 60 minutes when playing together. For reference, the best defensive team in the NHL is Los Angeles, and they allow 48.4 shot attempts per 60 minutes as a team.

Knowing the Detroit second line is good defensively becomes important here because it minimizes the likelihood of taking a minus on FanDuel. With bargain players, part of their value comes knowing that a minus-2 or minus-3 isn’t very likely. When playing together, this seems to be the case for those three forwards.

Detroit is in Columbus on Tuesday, and at home to Winnipeg on Thursday. That second game in particular is of interest here, as trades and injuries have really left the Jets thin among their forwards, and there isn’t much past their top line. It seems to be a good time for Sheahan and company to take advantage of secondary matchups.

Right Wing

Dustin Brown (Los Angeles) - $3,800


The problem right now with using Los Angeles skaters is that coach Darryl Sutter tends to bring out the lineup blender frequently. Over the Kings’ previous three games, there have been 10 different five-on-five lines, and only one of them appearing more than 10% of the time. For that reason, stacking LA skaters in tournaments is a very risky proposition.

Their most recent game saw Dustin Brown back on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Milan Lucic. While Brown has just 23 points at time of writing, he averaged 2.04 points per 60 minutes at five-on-five when playing with Kopitar. For reference, on the season, Artemi Panarin, Jason Spezza, and Matt Duchene are all between 2.03 and 2.05 points per 60 minutes.

This coming Saturday, the Kings host the Devils. Jersey will be without goaltender Cory Schneider, and considering their other injuries and lack of depth, that is a great matchup for LA. With Brown back on the top line, that game is a very good time to use him and get salary relief in cash games on a big slate.

Left Wing

Nikita Soshnikov (Toronto) - $3,300


The youth movement is in full swing in Toronto, with about half their lineup having spent some portion of time in the AHL this year. While that doesn’t bode well for the win/loss column, it does present some good value opportunities in daily fantasy.

One of these values is Soshnikov. The 22-year old rookie was signed from the KHL last year and spent most of this season in the minors. In his first four with the Leafs, he has two goals.

The big reason for his value would be him playing on the top line with Nazem Kadri and Leo Komarov. He has played at least 14 minutes in three of those four, including over 19 on Saturday night.

The Leafs have two good matchups this week for offence, particularly for their first unit. On Wednesday, they are home to the Islanders and on Saturday, they’re in Ottawa for another game against the Senators. The Islanders have a top line featuring John Tavares, a centre who has been on the ice for 13.25 high-danger scoring chances against per 60 minutes, one of the worst marks in the league. That Ottawa squad was the team Soshnikov put up six shots on goal and had all that ice time. He is fine to use on either night so long as he stays with the same personnel.

Defence

Nick Holden (Colorado) - $3,000


Anyone who reads this column with some regularity knows one of the best ways to find value this season has been to attack the Winnipeg penalty kill. It has been bad for most of the year, and has not really improved. In fact, at time of writing, the Jets allow the most high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes while short-handed of any team outside of Calgary. They are also one of five teams to have taken over 200 penalties so far.

Lately, the Avalanche have gone to a more traditional power play setup, which is to say three forwards and two defencemen. The two defencemen on the top unit have been Tyson Barrie and Nick Holden.

This coming Saturday, when the Avs go into Winnipeg, Holden is a solid option as a min-priced defenceman. He is on the top unit of a power play that features names like Barrie, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon, and faces a team that takes a lot of penalties and are poor at killing them when they do.

Goalie

Garret Sparks (Toronto) - $4,700


That is not a typo. One of the goalies for the Toronto Maple Leafs is priced under $5,000. Given that there has been some depression of goaltending prices over the last few months, this is still a ridiculous price.

Toronto has three more games this week, including a back-to-back this weekend against Ottawa and Detroit. Regardless of which game Sparks gets, at this price, he’s automatic for cash games and tournaments. He will be highly owned because of the low cost, but he’s so underpriced that it allows DFS players to really make a high-end lineup, and Sparks can reach value without getting a win.

James Reimer (San Jose) - $6,500

It may be a split-start situation in San Jose unless a goalie gets hot, but with the Sharks on the second game of a back-to-back on the road tonight (Tuesday), Reimer should get the nod.

At his price, Reimer should be considered for tournaments. While playing consecutive outings on the road isn’t really ideal, the Oilers are one of the worst teams in the NHL. Also, I think a fair amount of the public will be using one of the top two Oilers lines in tournaments, and going with the Sharks goalie is a good way to get a leg up on those users.

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.