Friday's NHL slate is a light one, with just four games on tap beginning at 7:00 PM Eastern time. Read on to see which players present the best value and which should be avoided…
Scott Darling, CAR vs. DET ($23):
Darling hasn't inspired much confidence with his poor first-half play, but he does have a .922 career save percentage after the All-Star break compared to a .911 career first-half mark. He'll be making his first start of the second half after Cam Ward got the nod Thursday, and Darling's history suggests he makes for a solid No.2 goalie play at just $23. It certainly helps that he has a favorable home matchup against a Red Wings team that ranks third from the bottom with just 2.53 goals per game.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Devan Dubnyk, MIN vs. VGK ($31):
Dubnyk's the most expensive projected starting 'tender in this slate, but he's unlikely to be the most productive given this tough matchup. The dominant Vegas offense ranks second in the league with 3.39 goals per game and is capable of posting a crooked number against even the finest defenses.
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Erik Haula, VGK at MIN ($17):
Haula's average of 7.3 fantasy points per game is a full point higher than the next-highest mark among sub-$19 centers. Considering he also has three goals and eight points over the past six games, Haula's unlikely to stay this cheap much longer. Grab him at $17 while you still can.
CENTER TO AVOID
Lars Eller, WAS at PIT ($17):
Eller's been hot lately with five goals and three assists in his past nine games, but a completely unsustainable 26.3 percent shooting percentage has a lot to do with that success. Chances are a 28-year-old center who's never scored more than 30 points in eight NHL seasons isn't going to keep producing at this rate for long, so $17 is a serious overpay for Eller, especially against the two-time defending champs.
Josh Anderson, CLS vs. SJ ($14):
Anderson's mired in a slump, but his overall resume suggests he's too good a player to pass up at $14. He's still skating a robust 18:35 per game and is averaging 6.2 fantasy points per game -- best among sub-$17 wingers. San Jose allows a middling 2.74 goals per game despite killing penalties at a second-ranked 84.1 percent rate, so Anderson has little to fear in this matchup considering only three of his 25 points have come on the power play.
Sebastian Aho, CAR vs. DET ($19): Aho's been tremendous over his past 12 appearances, totaling 10 goals and 15 points. Some injury issues have kept the 20-year-old winger from exploding on the national stage, but he won't stay one of the league's best-kept secrets for long. It's safe to roll Aho out at $19 in all but the toughest of matchups, and Detroit is far from that echelon in terms of opponent.
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WINGS TO AVOID
Jeff Skinner, CAR vs. DET ($17):
Skinner's completely outclassed by his teammate Aho, who has two more goals, seven more points and a rating that's 18 points higher in four fewer games played. Paying up the extra $2 for Aho is absolutely worth it considering Skinner is easily the worst defensive player on the Hurricanes and contributes little besides throwing pucks on net at a high rate. Equally-priced winger Teuvo Teravainen is also a superior alternative to Skinner.
Brett Connolly, WAS at PIT ($15): Connolly's tremendously overpriced at $15, as he's failed to crack 10 minutes of ice time in his past two appearances and is averaging an unimpressive 3.8 fantasy points per contest. Any other Capitals winger makes for a stronger value play.
Brent Burns, SJ at CLS ($32):
Burns is the favorite to lead all skaters in fantasy scoring here. He's bounced back beautifully from a slow start by scoring 30 points in his last 24 games, with 16 of those points coming on the power play. Columbus' scuffling penalty kill is down to fifth-worst in the league and worst in this slate at 77.1 percent, so Burns' extra-man prowess should once again be put on display here. Additionally, he often adds an amazing amount of value through putting pucks on net, having fired at least six shots on goal nine times over this dominant 24-game stretch.
Mike Green, DET at CAR ($12): Green's power-play prowess makes him a low-risk, high-reward option at just $12 against a Hurricanes penalty kill that ranks sixth-worst at 77.5 percent. He's scored a team-leading 13 points with the extra man while adding another 13 in other situations. There's also reason to believe Green's scoring rate should tick up moving forward, as the career 8.1 percent shooter is converting at a 5.0 percent rate that's his worst since an injury-shortened 2011-12 campaign.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Seth Jones, CLS vs. SJ ($21):
Unlike his teammate Anderson, Jones is heavily reliant on the power play for his production. No Blue Jackets player has recorded a higher percentage of their points with the extra man than Jones, who has produced 12 of his 33 points in such situations. San Jose's second-ranked penalty kill makes this a tough matchup for the expensive blueliner.
Ian Cole, PIT vs. WAS ($15): Cole is a nonsensical choice considering teammate Olli Maatta costs $2 less but is in the midst of a far superior campaign while Justin Schultz is far better than either and can be had for $16. The Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals are likely to make life difficult for Pittsburgh's entire defense corps, anyway.