FanDuel NHL Value Plays: Tuesday (2/28)
Heavy Tuesday night slates are back. With every NHL team, save for the Ducks, having completed their mandated bye week by this point we can expect large Tuesday/Thursday slates again like we witnessed prior to the New Year. Tonight there are 12 games on the slate which will surely provide us with an exciting batch of hockey as the playoff races continue to heat up. With more games come more options in the value department so let’s identify the top plays for tonight’s slate.
Nick Cousins (PHI): $3,200 vs. COL
For a guy that has just one goal in the last five weeks, Cousins sure shoots the puck a lot. He has recorded multiple shots on goal in six of his last eight games while averaging a solid 2.75 per game in that stretch. Tonight Cousins and the Flyers have a solid chance to get their offense back in gear against the visiting Avs. Colorado is the NHL’s worst team by a 14-point margin and enter tonight’s game having surrendered a league-worst 3.30 goals against per game and 3.26 per game on the road. Cousins is centering the Flyers’ third line but does receive power play minutes on the second unit, a group that now includes home ice shot taking machine Jakub Voracek, a potential boon to Cousins’ fantasy outlook.
Cody Eakin (DAL): $3,700 vs. PIT
It took some time for Eakin to get his feet under him this year, but the veteran center is now starting to roll for the Stars. Eakin has tallied a point in three of his last four games while taking exactly two shots and blocking one in all four contests. This is the type of cross-category production I have expected from Eakin given his spot as the team’s No. 1 center next to Jamie Benn. He has skated as much as 23 minutes and as little as 15 over his last eight games, so his ice time remains a mystery. Still, as long as he plays with the former Art Ross trophy winner Benn he should continue to get looks at the offensive end of the ice.
Kevin Fiala (NSH): $3,100 vs. BUF
It’s pretty crazy to look at the amount of goals Nashville has scored lately and the fact Fiala has just one goal over his last five games. Nashville has scored at least three goals in nine of their last 10 games and at least four goals in five straight. It’s not for a lack of trying, either. Fiala has taken at least two shots on goal in five straight games and has taken as many as eight in a game this season. This kid has 19 points in 22 AHL games this season as well so the scoring touch is certainly there. Let’s hope he finds it tonight against a Sabres’ team that has given up 13 goals over their last three games.
Adrian Kempe (LA): $3,200 vs. CGY
It’s just a matter of time before this kid notches his first NHL goal. In seven games since being called up by the Kings Kempe has recorded two assists, but both have come within the last four games where he has averaged 2.5 shots per game. He looks like he is settling into the NHL after a slow start, and the 20-year-old looks like he has been bumped to the Kings’ top line where he skated 13 minutes in last night’s overtime loss in Minnesota. Kempe’s matchup is a more intriguing one tonight against a Flames team that has given up 3.8 goals per game while losing five straight to the Kings.
Philip Larsen (VAN): $3,100 vs. DET
Larsen has missed significant time this season – 23 games – with an upper-body injury but has looked solid since his return. He has a goal and an assist in three games since his return while recording a shot on goal in all three contests. The Canucks are being ravaged by the mumps right now, a happenstance that will likely boost Larsen’s ice time and power play minutes in the short term. The Canucks will entertain the Detroit Red Wings tonight, a club that has lost five of its last seven games while surrendering 3.43 goals per game during that stretch. This could be a solid opportunity for Larsen at just $100 over the minimum price.
Mark Barberio (COL): $3,300 vs. PHI
There simply aren’t any defensemen in this price range that get the same favorable opportunities that Barberio receives from the Avalanche. Since being acquired from the Canadiens Barberio has consistently seen over 20 minutes of ice time per game while getting looks on the Avs’ top power play unit with the likes of Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. While the Avalanche are certainly a low-scoring offense, their power play is actually better on the road and that could benefit this guy in a big way tonight. The Flyers rank 26th with an even three goals against per game so he also has that working for him in a favorable matchup tonight.
This one is tough today because there are only two of 24 goalies that have been confirmed as starters tonight as of the time of this writing, but here goes nothing.
Michal Neuvirth (PHI): $7,700 vs. COL
Yes, I know that I have an Avalanche skater listed above, but this isn’t a lineup but rather options for value plays and Neuvirth certainly fits that bill tonight. Neuvirth will take on an Avalanche team that ranks dead-last with 2.02 goals per game on the season. While I did mention their power play is better on the road, Colorado’s man advantage still sits at 29th overall, above only the Detroit Red Wings with their 13.9% clip. There is also Neuvirth’s splits. On the road Neuvirth checks in with a brutal 3.62 goals against average and a .862 save percentage, but at home he’s posted a rock-solid 2.25 goals against average and a decent .911 save percentage. All said Neuvirth looks like a solid play as one of the lowest priced goalies on the board.
Roberto Luongo (FLA): $8,200 vs. CAR
If you don’t like Neuvirth for whatever reason your next best value option is Luongo. Although he has struggled badly in the month of February, he and the Panthers get a favorable matchup tonight against the visiting Hurricanes. Only Colorado has scored fewer goals on the road this season than the 65 Carolina has scored, giving the Canes an average of 2.24 goals per game away from home. Carolina has scored two goals or fewer in six of their last seven and one goal or less in five of their last seven. A solid matchup tonight for the veteran, to say the least.