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NHL Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 12/23/16

With goals in four of his last five games, Auston Matthews is underpriced in a great matchup. Which other players are worth a look in NHL DFS?

A good chunk of you probably already play daily fantasy football, and I'd be willing to bet a significant portion have also tried out daily fantasy basketball and baseball. But hockey? Hockey?

It's time to give it a try over on FanDuel.com because it's a ton of fun. And our analysis and projections can help you win.

To help, take a look at some goalies, high-priced skaters, and lower-priced players to target for today's slate.

Goalie to Target

Corey Crawford ($9,000): Crawford is finally returning to the crease after a bit of an absence, and he's in a great spot tonight. Betting lines aren't up for all of today's games as of writing, but the Chicago Blackhawks are currently the biggest favorites on the slate (-270 moneyline), giving Crawford an implied win probability of 73%. Chicago should be able to control the puck in this one as they rank 15th in Corsi For Percentage and are taking on a Colorado Avalanche team that ranks only 27th. With Colorado averaging a league-worst 2.1 goals per game, Crawford is a safe bet to score a win while his potential for a shutout also contributes some upside.

Jaroslav Halak ($8,200): Note: Halak has not been confirmed as the starter yet for today. Make sure you check his status closer to game time before locking him into your lineup. Halak is a much riskier option than Crawford, but he offers you a ton of upside at a really low price, making him an outstanding tournament option. The New York Islanders are -138 favorites, as of writing, giving Halak an implied 58% chance to record a win. This isn't bad by any stretch, but it is relatively low on a slate filled with favorites. Where he brings the upside, though, is in how many shots he's likely to face. The Islanders allow the league's most Corsi Against per game, and while the Buffalo Sabres aren't usually an especially high-volume offense, everyone tends to become one against the Isles. Halak has faced 38 shots in 4 of his last 5 games (and 34 in the other), and he has a tremendous ceiling while also being priced as a bargain tonight. If Thomas Greiss ($8,000) plays, a lot of these same things would still apply, making him a decent tourney option.

High-Priced Skaters

Auston Matthews ($6,800): Matthews is in a very similar spot to yesterday. The Toronto Maple Leafs have the biggest edge in Corsi For Percentage of any team on the slate as they take on an Arizona Coyotes team that ranks 29th in that category. They should have every opportunity to build on their league lead in Corsi For per game, creating a ton of fantasy opportunity with their offensive volume. Matthews leads the Leafs with 6.2 shot attempts per game this season, and he should be able to top that with Arizona allowing the league's second-most Corsi Against per game. Arizona has also struggled keeping the puck out of the net, allowing the third-most goals for per game and giving Matthews plenty of scoring upside to go with his high floor.

Brent Burns ($8,100): Speaking of floor, it probably gets repetitive, but Burns really does have an unmatched floor, and when his price is down this low, he's an elite cash-game option. His 9.1 shot attempts per game are the most in the NHL, which has led to a league-leading 137 shots on goal (4.2 per game). He also averages 1.8 blocked shots per game, and those numbers alone offer some serious fantasy value on a nightly basis. He's not without upside, either, averaging 0.91 points per game (the same pace he was on last season), and he plays on the San Jose Sharks' top power-play unit.

Value Skaters

Mitchell Marner ($5,600): Marner's fantasy appeal comes from a lot of the same places that Matthews' does. His volume isn't quite the same, but his 4.9 shot attempts per minute aren't bad by any stretch. His lower price means that he can still offer great value. Just like Matthews, he stands to benefit big time from the Coyotes allowing both a ton of shots and a ton of goals, and he's a great budget-friendly way to get exposure to the Leafs.

Aaron Ekblad ($5,600): The Florida Panthers are a team you will likely want some exposure to tonight as they rank third in the league in Corsi For Percentage and will be taking on the Detroit Red Wings, who rank 25th. We can expect the Panthers to control the flow of this game, and with their affinity for shooting the puck -- ranking 10th in the league in Corsi For per game -- that should lead to plenty of fantasy production. Ekblad's 6.5 shot attempts per game are the sixth-most for any skater on today's slate, and bringing that into such a good matchup already makes him a very strong value. He hasn't scored especially well this year, but his floor is what carries him from a fantasy standpoint. Ekblad is also seeing some ice time on the power play while playing on the Panthers' top defensive pairing, meaning that he isn't completely devoid of upside, either.

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