Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey: Jack Eichel among smart plays for Friday

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.AP Photo/Gary Wiepert

AP Photo/Gary Wiepert

By Jason Chen
RotoWire Hockey Writer

There are nine games on the slate for Friday night, which is great because it gives Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey owners a lot of options. And with players such as Alex Ovechkin, Gabriel Landeskog, Patrick Kane, Zach Parise, Max Pacioretty and Daniel Sedin on the ice, there is no shortage of solid plays on the wing. It’s the one position where DFS owners can find some valuable bargains, or otherwise stack up on one team and pair some potential linemates, such as Arizona’s Max Domi and Anthony Duclair.

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The games to best avoid are probably Boston-Florida, Chicago-Minnesota and Vancouver-Arizona, if only because they will probably be low scoring. Florida has been quite stingy on defense this year, while the two divisional games likely will feature tighter checking. Only a complete meltdown by a goalie will have the game total more than five goals.

Now 10 games into the season, it should be clear which teams are good and which aren’t. Hint: Colorado is awful and Vancouver is surprisingly good.

GOALIE 

Cam Ward, CAR vs. COL ($29) – It’s difficult to back the Hurricanes, but the Avalanche are probably the league’s worst team, and Ward is one of the cheaper goalies Friday. The numbers may not be pretty — in fact, the game might become a shootout — but Ward should get the win easily. Carolina is still looking for its first win on home ice.

Goalie to Avoid: 

Mike Smith, ARI vs. VAN ($30) – The kids in the desert might be flying high now, but the Coyotes are still just one game over .500 with a minus-1 goal differential. The Canucks are playing the second of a back-to-back, but Willie Desjardins’ squad plays well on the road. Richard Bachman is the likely starter, which also means the Canucks will focus on defense more than usual to help out their third-string ‘tender. The real problem, though? Canucks-Coyotes games are usually snoozers.

CENTER 

Jack Eichel, BUF vs. PHI ($16) – Eichel’s upside is just too hard to ignore at this salary. Sure, Ryan O’Reilly is still the undisputed No. 1 center for Buffalo, but Eichel can generate a lot of offense by himself, and without Evander Kane (ankle) he found himself flanked by Johan Larssonand Sam Reinhart, giving the Sabres a pretty potent kid line.

Center to Avoid: 

Nathan MacKinnon, COL at CAR ($24) – Take away MacKinnon’s five points in his first two games and the speedy scorer has just three points in seven games. There will be a little less pressure playing away from home with the Avs struggling, but at this salary MacKinnon just isn’t worth the risk. The Canes shouldn’t be difficult to score on, but why take a chance on a slumping scorer on a bad team when there are better options available? The Avs are also playing the second of a back-to-back.

WING 

Max Pacioretty, MON at CGY ($28) – He comes a tad cheaper than Alex Ovechkin ($30), but he could be just as good, if not better. Pacioretty loves to shoot and is one of the league’s more underappreciated players, and with Calgary’s goaltending just an absolute circus, Pacioretty should have plenty of chances to score. It’d be really disappointing if he walks away without a point.

Tomas Tatar, DET vs. OTT ($19) – He’s one of the best value plays for Friday on a night where most of the league’s best wingers are playing. The Senators have a reputation for good goaltending and timely scoring, but they’ve allowed 30 goals, second most in the league entering Thursday’s games. Tatar has some slick hands and should pot a few points.

Wings to Avoid: 

Brendan Gallagher, MON at CGY ($24) – I’d hate to throw shade at any Vancouver Giants alum, but $24 just seems a tad expensive. He’s off to a hot start with nine points in 10 games, even though he just had a four-game points streak snapped, and the Flames should be an easy opponent, but there are better value plays.

James van Riemsdyk, TOR at NYR ($23) – The Leafs on the road? Against Henrik Lundqvist? This is an easy matchup to avoid as Mike Babcock continues to work out the kinks against Alain Vigneault’s well-oiled Rangers squad.

DEFENSEMEN 

Justin Faulk, CAR vs. COL ($21) – He’s one of the best offensive defenseman in the league playing against a team that allows a lot of shots. He’s a bit of a risk because it’s hard to predict when defensemen will score, but odds are that if any Carolina defenseman gets points, it’s going to be Faulk. He plays 23 to 27 minutes a night. can’t believe we’re recommending two Hurricanes.

Aaron Ekblad, FLA vs. BOS ($18) – His ice time has been scaled back a bit this season (18:45 per game) from his rookie season (21:48), but he’s still been quite productive with three points in nine games. The Bruins aren’t an ideal matchup with Zdeno Chara, but among players priced at $18 and under, he’s one of the better value plays.

Defensemen to Avoid: 

Torey Krug, BOS at FLA ($21) – Going the other way in the Panthers-Bruins game, Krug is really good, but the Cats are pretty good on defense and Roberto Luongo remains one of the league’s best. The Panthers have allowed just 18 goals, second in Eastern Conference.

Alexander Edler, VAN at ARI ($20) – He has a plus-3 rating and is clearly Vancouver’s No. 1 defenseman, so that’s why it’s so frustrating to see Edler score so infrequently. He scored Thursday, but he has just two goals on 22 shots for a 9.0 shooting percentage, which seems low, but is also near his career average, so he’s on pace for another 20- or 30-point campaign. At this price there’s more high upside defensemen to be had.

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