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FanDuel NHL: Monday Picks

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.

We have just a four-game slate in the NHL on Monday night, but there are a lot of upper-echelon players available. Thus the focus here will be finding those low-salary guys who let you fit stars into your lineup.

GOALIE

Craig Anderson, OTT vs. BOS ($8,500): According to Corsica Hockey, Anderson has managed a .940 save percentage at 5-on-5 this year. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, that number is .932, which puts him among the top-10 goaltenders in that span. This year, Boston has the second-highest rate of shots per minute in this regard, but the 10th-fewest scoring chances per minute. Sure, the rate of generating scoring chances has improved under their new coach, but relying on a sample of 10 games is not recommended. For his price and expected save volume in this matchup, Anderson should be a target.

CENTER

Bryan Little, WPG vs. SAN ($5,100): The price on Little for this slate seems low. His shooting percentage this year is high at 18.6 percent, but thatís not considerably higher than the 14.4 percent he put up over the three previous seasons. His point-gathering rate this season is also very similar to those same campaigns. Littleís also skating with two highly skilled forwards in Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers. Being cheaper than centers like Mika Zibanejad and Joe Thornton makes little sense. On pricing alone, the top Winnipeg pivot warrants consideration.

Brayden Point, TAM vs. NYR ($3,800): Tampaís second line of Point, Jonathan Drouin and Alex Killorn have been very good since being assembled, helping the team generate over a shot per minute at 5-on-5. Crucially for Mondayís slate, this trio should generally avoid being matched against Derek Stepanís line. When that line is off the ice for the Rangers, they give up about 9.2 adjusted scoring chances per 60 minutes. For reference on how poor New York is defensively with that line on the bench, the only teams in the NHL that have given up more than 9.2 adjusted scoring chances per minute this season are the Islanders and Coyotes.

WING

Justin Williams, WAS vs. DAL ($5,200): Washington is sure to be a popular team due to facing Dallas, but with a poor defensive team in town, thereís no reason to avoid them in cash games. This year, the Stars have given up the third-most scoring chances and third-most shot attempts at 5-on-5. With the Caps banged up a bit recently, Williams has been seeing more ice time than normal, coming in at 16:29 over the last 10 games (compared to 15:24 up to that point). Playing on the second line, he makes a good secondary option for those looking to avoid paying up for expensive players like Alex Ovechkin or Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Kevin Labanc, SAN at WPG ($3,500): The Sharks are playing their second game in as many nights on the road, and that can have a significantly negative effect on goal scoring and win expectancy. On a slate that features just four games, but a lot of high-end options, missing on high-priced choices is a quick recipe for losing contests. Labanc is a way to get exposure to the Sharksí high-priced players at a low cost, as heís skating on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. If he isnít productive, itís not going to hurt you that much at this salary, while the upside is terrific.

Jason Spezza, DAL at WAS ($6,000): Since the start of the 2015-16 season, the line of Spezza, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin has been one of the most dominant in the league; their shot rates compare to the lines of Jeff Carter in Los Angeles, Ryan Johansen in Nashville, and John Tavares in New York. This is a situation like Labancís, only more expensive, as both of his linemates cost more than $2,000 than Spezza does Monday. The Stars will also carry low ownership given the matchup and the other top options on the slate. DFS players wanting to get exposure to the elite options on Dallas without paying an exorbitant cost should grab the 33-year-old pivot.

Frank Vatrano, BOS at OTT ($4,300): Vatranoís role has changed a bit with the new coaching staff Ė mostly, heís not playing among Bostonís top-six forwards with any regularity. Despite this, heís still landing 2.64 shots on goal per game under the new regime (it was 2.86 under the previous coach). Being able to shoot at that volume with such a low price is something to be valued in DFS. This is another solid player who can provide salary relief on a night that features so many superstars.

DEFENSE

Kevin Shattenkirk, WAS vs. DAL ($5,400): In an effort to kick-start their power play, the Capitals have started using both Shattenkirk and Alex Ovechkin on the first and second power-play units. Those additional minutes with the man advantage are a huge boon to the defensemanís fantasy value. This is particularly relevant against a middle-of-the-pack Dallas team in terms of shots allowed while shorthanded.

Jacob Trouba, WPG vs. SAN ($4,700): There are few defensemen in this price range who can provide the fantasy floor that Trouba does. This season, heís managed 127 shots on goal, and 95 blocked shots. Combining those two categories, thatís an average of 4.53 per game, or about 7.3 FanDuel points. Through shots and blocked shots alone, he has provided nearly the same fantasy value on a per-game basis as New York blueliner Brady Skjei, including Skjeiís goals and assists. The Winnipeg rearguard is only $200 more than his Rangers counterpart.

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.