5 Undervalued NHL Players to Target in Daily Fantasy Hockey
One major key to winning in NHL DFS is mastering the uniquely high levels of variance in the game.
For example, there is no statistical "floor" for players. When building a lineup, one can never rule out the possibility, albeit slim, that Alex Ovechkin or Patrick Kane will leave you with a 0 -- or worse -- at the end of the night.
That being said, to build winning lineups in NHL DFS, you need to cash in on low-owned players with substantial scoring potential as a hedge for the possibility that the high-owned players will not live up to expectations, particularly for the GPP contests with large prize pools.
Below, I'm going to give a list of five NHL players who have been recording nightly low ownership percentages but have been giving their owners a solid return on investment with above average points performances.
Matt Niskanen, D, Washington Capitals
Despite being ranked as the number-two defenseman on the NHL's hottest team, Matt Niskanen's ownership levels have still been relatively low, and people should start snagging him before his price grows even more.
With the injury of the Capitals' iron man John Carlson, Niskanen has been leading the top defensive pairing on the Caps with Karl Alzner as well as quarterbacking the Caps' elite power play unit, which is currently ranked first in the NHL with a 27.1 conversion percentage.
Niskanen also leads the NHL's number-one team in time on ice with 24:35 per game along with 1.82 shots per game, 1.78 blocked shots per game, a +/- of 15, and 11 powerplay points.
Niskanen has limited goal upside but, at the same time, has high assist upside with 19 helpers in 46 games. NHL DFS players should grab him before the rest of the crowd does. He hasn't posted fewer than 1.0 FanDuel fantasy points since December 22nd.
Robby Fabbri, LW, St. Louis Blues
Robby Fabbri has 2 goals and 3 assists in his last six games; match that to 11 goals and 7 assists over 43 games, and his most recent numbers appear unsustainable.
However, Fabbri has recently been skating on St. Louis' second line with the prolific goal-scorer Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera, and this position on the Blues' attacking lines puts Fabbri in good position to continue to register points while his salary remains remains on the value side at $4,400 on FanDuel.
Fabbri currently posts a +/- of 3 along with an impressive 16.4 shooting percentage, and these numbers should become sustainable if he stays on the Blues' second line with Tarasenko.
Jeff Skinner, LW, Carolina Hurricanes
Jeff Skinner is a volatile option. In mid-December, he posted two hat tricks in a three-game span. In his past six games, he has scored 3.4, 0.4, 4.3, 7.6, -1.6, and -2 FanDuel points.
Skinner skates on the Carolina Hurricanes' third line with Victor Rask and the talented young Phil Di Giuseppe, which poses a high-upside for DFS owners in the sense that Skinner won't have to meet the opposing team's top checking lines and is good to go off for multi-point games in a good matchup.
Additionally, Skinner has a Corsi For % of 52.7 and a Fenwick For % of 51.8, meaning that the Hurricanes are in control of the puck in scoring situations more often than not when Skinner is on the ice.
Add to that a 64.1/35.9 offensive zone/defensive zone start splits and Skinner remains an undervalued attacker who can stuff the scoresheet any night against opposing team's weaker defensive lines.
Alexander Wennberg, C, Columbus Blue Jackets
Despite being on the NHL's worst team, Wennberg has had a solid season so far.
The young Swede has shown himself capable of performing offensively despite skating on the NHL's weakest team. With an average 15:07 time on ice and 1:55 power play time, look for Wennberg to be a low-owned player who maintains an uptick in offensive production while skating with the Blue Jackets' best attacker.
After a slow start to the season where he only managed 7 points in 23 games, Andre Burakovsky has put up 10 points in his last 20 games along with an aggregate +/- of 9.
More importantly, Burakovsky is starting to click with his offensively dangerous linemates Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams. For example, over the last 20 games, they have combined for 18 goals and 28 assists for a combined average of 1.9 points per game.
As long as Burakovsky is skating in Washington's top-six offensive unit, expect him to maintain his recent production at a great value considering his line and team position.