NHL Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 2/14/20

Elvis Merzlikins has been on fire as of late and is worth paying up for tonight. Which other players can you look to roster on this four-game slate?

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

It's time to give it a try over on FanDuel because it's a ton of fun.

Our analysis and projections can help you win. To help, let's take a look at a goalie, some high-priced skaters, and lower-priced players to target for today's slate.

Goalie to Target

Elvis Merzlikins ($8,600): You may not be super into NHL DFS, but with the NBA at the All-Star break, it could be a time to give it a shot. Paying up for a goalie is somewhat similar to paying up for a pitcher in MLB DFS, and tonight the stud you want to reach for is Merzlikins, who is the starting goalie for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Merzlikins is actually a rookie but leads the league in shutouts, is tied for the best save percentage (.930), and has the fourth-best goal against average (2.19) among qualified goalies this season. He is a star in the making and in a spot to post another big performance against the New York Rangers, who are on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Blue Jackets come in as -150 home favorites tonight -- tied for the third-highest on the slate -- and should be able to come away with the win. We are also looking at a matchup where the Rangers could hit the under on their already low 2.54 implied goal total. The Rangers come in with a 53.61 Corsi For (shot attempts created) per 60 minutes this season, the ninth-lowest in the league. They simply don't generate a ton of offense, and with how solid Merzlikins has been in net, allowing only one goal en route to a victory is in the cards tonight.

High-Priced Skaters

Evgeni Malkin ($8,400): The Pittsburgh Penguins are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race and have a winnable game at home tonight versus the Montreal Canadiens. Pittsburgh comes in as -180 home favorites tonight -- the second-highest on the slate -- and we should see their offense post solid numbers. They are holding a 3.09 implied goal total, which seems a bit too low to me, so I want to load up on some Penguins tonight.

That means paying up for Malkin, who comes in with 8 points and 10 shots in his last five games. That's production you would expect from a star player who has been doing it for over a decade. He is on the Penguins' second forward line and the first power-play unit, alongside Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang -- who are both worth paying up for if you can afford it.

Patrik Laine ($8,200): The Winnipeg Jets have a 3.49 implied goal total tonight, and you want to look right to their first forward line for the fantasy points. Winnipeg, as a team, can be interesting to approach from a DFS perspective since they get nearly all of their production from their top unit. Over their last five games, they have scored 16 goals as a team, with two players on the top forward line -- Laine and Kyle Connor -- account for eight of them. They have almost no depth scoring, so if you are looking to stack them, there is only one option.

That option is paying all the way up to their first forward line and grabbing Laine, who has 6 points and 22 shots in his last five games. He is viable in all formats tonight and brings both a consistent floor and a high ceiling as their best goal-scorer.

Value Skaters

Kevin Labanc ($4,700): Although the San Jose Sharks aren't the best team this season, tonight's matchup against the Jets is worth looking at for fantasy production. This game has an over/under sitting at 6.5 -- high for the NHL -- putting us in a spot for plenty of scoring. Due to a few key injuries on the Sharks, Labanc is now on the second forward line and the first power-play -- a spot we haven't seen him in past seasons.

Labanc is taking advantage of this new role, as he comes in with 6 points and 27 shots in his last 10 games. With only four games on tonight's slate, there isn't a ton of value, but at under $5K, Labanc sets himself up to be one of the better value options.

Jake Gardiner ($3,800): With a 3.89 implied goal total -- the highest on the slate -- you should look to the Carolina Hurricanes as a very strong option tonight. Not only do they carry the highest implied goal total on the slate, but the Canes are also the largest home favorite tonight, since they are taking on the New Jersey Devils, one of the weakest defensive teams in the league.

Gardiner is the defender on the second power-play and comes in with a surprising five assists in his last five games. You'll never get an insane amount of offense from him, but given his price tag, the matchup, and his role on the power-play, he makes for a great value tonight.