Tuesday's nine-game NHL slate offers a variety of options, but picking on the weakest opponents is still the easiest way to find DFS success. While many teams have been prime targets throughout the season, the league's constantly shifting injury landscape plays a large role in determining which opponents are most effective to stack against at any given point. Find out which affordable players are primed to take advantage of porous defenses or anemic offenses, and which are in tougher matchups, below.
Frederik Andersen, TOR vs. DET ($26): Andersen's four-game personal losing streak has dropped his price to $26, just in time to buy low for a fabulous matchup against a 26th-ranked Red Wings offense that has amassed a mere 2.40 goals per game. His 24 wins, 2.73 GAA and .916 save percentage suggest Andersen has vastly outplayed his current valuation since joining Toronto in the offseason, and improving his season totals shouldn't be tough against such subpar opposition. You may not be able to get Andersen at this combination of price and opportunity again, so lock him in now while you can.
Goalie to Avoid
Calvin Pickard, COL vs. CAR ($35): Even a home matchup against the 23rd-ranked Hurricanes offense doesn't justify using the overpriced Pickard. He comes into this one having won just one of his past nine appearances, which isn't surprising considering the inept Avalanche have scored a league-low 1.92 goals per game this season. Pickard's average of 10.0 fantasy points per game is topped by every alternative priced over $30, so it's safe to expect him to be outplayed by most if not all of those options.
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Valtteri Filppula, PHI at BUF ($12)
: Filppula's stock is on the rise with his new team, ahead of a date with a Sabres squad that has surrendered a league-high 34.1 shots on goal per contest. In two games since coming over from Tampa Bay at the deadline, the Finnish center has averaged 17:57 of ice time while scoring a goal and attempting multiple shots in each contest (five shots in total). That production represents a marked improvement from his final 11 games with the Lightning, which saw Filppula muster multiple shots just once while going without a goal and skating over 18 minutes only twice. He's much more than a minimum-priced asset in Philadelphia, and he shouldn't have a hard time continuing to turn his increased usage into fantasy points here.
Center to Avoid
Eric Staal, MIN vs. STL ($19)
: Staal scored twice Sunday against San Jose after potting just one goal in his previous 18 games, but carrying over his newfound momentum won't be easy against a Blues team that has allowed just 25 goals in 14 games under head coach Mike Yeo. The veteran's recent lack of success and tough matchup make it tough to justify using him on a night with so many alternatives available in every price range.
Filip Forsberg, NSH at ANH ($21)
: Forsberg has been hotter than anybody of late, with 10 goals and 14 points in his past seven games. While the Ducks have been formidable defensively, they're ill-equipped to slow Forsberg's roll with Jonathan Bernier
in net rather than John Gibson
(lower body). Bernier's 2.85 GAA and .905 save percentage suggest the Swedish forward could well pot another one if he continues generating chances at the same rate that has allowed him to fire 27 shots during this scorching seven-game stretch.
Milan Lucic, EDM vs. NYI ($14)
: Lucic is finally rounding back into form offensively, with points in three straight and six shots in his last game. The gritty winger's net-front presence has been a major boon to Edmonton's skillful top power-play unit, which is why 17 of his 36 points have come with the extra man. This matchup against an Islanders team that ranks 20th on the penalty kill and 25th in goals allowed per game offers a terrific opportunity for Lucic to stay hot, and the risk is minimal at just $14.
Wings to Avoid
Taylor Hall, NJ at CLS ($23)
: Hall was stymied by the Blue Jackets on Sunday, mustering just 3.0 fantasy points in a shutout loss at home. There are few indications that things will go any better for him in this road rematch, so expect more of the same form that has seen the talented winger generate just 3.0 fantasy points per contest over his past six.
Vladimir Tarasenko, STL at MIN ($29)
: Despite being mired in a season-worst five-game point drought, Tarasenko remains the most expensive option at his position and sits second in price among all skaters behind only Connor McDavid
($33). While the Russian sniper won't stay quiet much longer, a breakout performance is unlikely against Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk
, who leads the league with a .933 save percentage while ranking second in GAA at 2.01.
Justin Faulk, CAR vs. COL ($18)
: Faulk's minus-15 rating shows that he doesn't come without downside, but the offensive-minded blueliner's 42 goals and 111 points since the start of the 2014-15 campaign suggest his ceiling rivals even the most productive defensemen. This is the perfect time to cash in on that upside while limiting risk as the league-worst Avalanche offense is unlikely to make a dent in Faulk's rating, while Colorado's league-worst defense is primed for exploitation. A similar case can be made for using minimum-priced Carolina blueliner Noah Hanifin
, though Faulk's vast offensive superiority more than covers the $6 difference between the two.
Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI at BUF ($15)
: While Gostisbehere has been a disaster at even strength, he still ranks ninth among NHL defensemen with 18 power-play points. A 3.4 percent shooting percentage has prevented the 23-year-old from placing even higher on that list, but he's bound to start connecting at a higher rate after shooting 11.2 percent while taking seven more shots in six more appearances as a rookie. That poor shooting luck has kept the skilled blueliner's price down, giving him tremendous bang for the buck against a Sabres team that plays right into his strengths with a 29th-ranked penalty kill (76.3 percent).
Defensemen to Avoid
Ryan McDonagh, NYR at FLA ($21)
: McDonagh's 12 power-play points lead the Rangers, but he's going to have a hard time adding to that total against a top-ranked Panthers penalty kill that has denied 86.1 percent of opposing opportunities. With that in mind, it's tough to imagine McDonagh providing the game-changing performance expected from a $21 player after failing to reach double-digit fantasy points in his past eight games and scoring just one goal since Dec. 23.
Erik Johnson, COL vs. CAR ($18)
: Johnson has been ineffective after missing nearly three months due to a broken fibula, with just 16.0 fantasy points in five games since returning to the cellar-dwelling Avalanche lineup. He possesses limited offensive upside after topping 30 points just once in the past seven seasons, while playing for Colorado automatically makes Johnson a major plus-minus risk. Throw in limited power-play potential against Carolina's third-ranked penalty kill, and it becomes even more difficult to justify spending $18 on the 2006 first overall pick.
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. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.