Saturday's 10-game slate is rife with fantasy appeal, as members of the Predators, Flyers, and Ducks figure to be especially in demand since they're facing the generous Blue Jackets, Coyotes, and Senators, respectively. While taking advantage of convenient matchups is a proven strategy, it's also important to keep an open mind and not overlook potential gems hidden in the mass of players in action. Doing so yielded the players below, who make up Saturday's top value plays.
Pekka Rinne, NSH vs. CLS ($37) - Rinne has been on a tremendous run lately, winning 10 of his last 12 starts. The veteran has also been better at home than on the road all season, and should continue both of those trends against a horrendous Blue Jackets team that has the second-fewest points in the Eastern Conference. Youíll be hard-pressed to find a surer bet in net at any price.
Goalie to Avoid:
Cam Talbot, EDM at LA ($37) - Talbot has been playing decently lately, but heís not a very appealing play against the division-leading Kings. Los Angeles has won six of its last 10 games despite dropping three straight, and is bound to snap out of its funk before long.
Claude Giroux, PHI at ARI ($26) - Giroux is riding a three-game goal-scoring streak, and Arizona's 27th-ranked defense is unlikely to slow the Flyers captain down. He doesn't come cheap, but Giroux's level of momentum and matchup is unmatched at the center position. Look for him to keep producing, as he needs just four goals to match last seasonís total despite a slow start.
Center to Avoid:
Zack Smith, OTT vs. ANH ($22) - Nothing about Smithís resume suggests that heís worth anywhere near his $22 price tag, as he has just 31 points in 74 games. When you add in the fact that heís failed to top 3.0 fantasy points in four of his last five games, Smith becomes a very unappealing play against a strong Ducks team.
Jakob Silfverberg, ANH at OTT ($27) - With six goals, two assists, and a plus-8 rating in his last six games, Silvferberg has been as hot as any forward in the NHL. The Swede continues to make up for a slow start with a blazing finish, and chances are he'll keep it going against the third-worst defensive team in the NHL. It's worth being frugal at other positions to get Silvferberg in your lineup considering his capacity to put up game-breaking numbers.
Taylor Hall, EDM at LA ($18) - Those wise enough to invest in Hall at his bargain price Thursday reaped the benefits of his two-goal performance in San Jose, and they would be wise to go back to the well despite a less than ideal matchup. The 2010 first overall pick tends to score in bunches, and his latest performance could easily be the start of another hot streak. Itís worth spending $18 to find out, especially with few others willing to take a chance on him against the Kings.
Wings to Avoid:
Kyle Okposo, NYI at CAR ($22) - Okposo has been struggling heading into the weekend, registering 2.0 or less fantasy points in three of his last four games. He hasnít played nearly as well away from the Barclays Center, making him a questionable value on the road Saturday.
P.A. Parenteau, TOR vs. BOS ($20) - Parenteau has been feast or famine lately, finishing with double-digit fantasy points twice in his last four games while scoring in the negatives in his other two appearances over that span. That level of inconsistency is tough to swallow in a $20 player, especially facing a Bruins team fighting for their playoff lives.
Cam Fowler, ANH at OTT ($17) - Fowler has begun trending in the right direction, logging 34.0 fantasy points over his last six games following a price-dampening cold spell. He still hasn't quite broken out, but Fowler's 16.0 fantasy point game Tuesday and 29 minutes of ice time Thursday suggest he's being put in a position to succeed. The gifted blueliner is bound to fully capitalize soon, and a matchup against the NHL's 28th-ranked defense is as good an opportunity as any.
Joel Hanley, MON vs. NYR ($17) - Those looking to take a flier on a blueliner need look no further than Montrealís Joel Hanley. While itís unlikely the 24-year-old rookie can keep up this pace after logging four assists in his first three NHL games, his price is low enough to make him worth a serious look. Superstar goaltender Henrik Lundqvist isnít expected to start for the Rangers, and a date with backup Antti Raanta might be exactly what Hanley needs to stay hot.
Defensemen to Avoid:
Ryan McDonagh, NYR at MON ($21) - McDonagh hasnít been getting on the scoreboard much lately, scoring just one goal and failing to dish out an assist in his last nine games. Donít expect the former Canadiens prospect to break out at the Bell Centre, considering his Rangers have notoriously struggled at that venue over the years.
Dougie Hamilton, CGY vs. CHI ($25) - Hamiltonís three-assist game Mar. 20 seems like an aberration, as he has just 14.0 total fantasy points in his last four appearances aside from that effort. At $25, the investment is too great for a defenseman who has been mediocre more often than not lately.
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