Sunday's NHL slate is a light one, with just four games on tap beginning at 12:30 PM Eastern time. With three of the league's eight most effective offenses as well as three of the six worst defenses in action, there's certainly value to be found despite the limited selection. Read on to see which players to target and which to avoid.
Jacob Markstrom, VAN at ARI ($30): Markstrom's been battling an illness recently, but Vancouver's top 'tender should be good to go for this favorable matchup after serving in a backup capacity Friday. Both of these offenses struggle to provide much help for their respective goalies, but Arizona's unit has been especially inept with an average of 2.41 goals per game, which is a mere .01 ahead of Buffalo's league-worst mark. At his affordable price, Markstrom's worth a look against this subpar opponent.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Kari Lehtonen, DAL at PIT ($31): Lehtonen ended a personal three-game losing streak Friday, but the man who struggled as a starter last year looks to be buckling under an increased workload once again with Ben Bishop (lower body) on the shelf. This road matchup with the fifth-ranked Penguins offense (3.26 goals per game) is far from what the doctor ordered for Lehtonen.
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Riley Nash, BOS at CHI ($17): Nash has eight points in six games as the top line center with Patrice Bergeron (foot) sidelined, and he's not expected to give up that role anytime soon with Bergeron out at least through this road trip. He continues to be a great value at $17 given his current role, and the single assist Nash put up in his club's 7-4 victory over this same opponent Saturday should be viewed as his absolute floor.
CENTER TO AVOID
Brock Nelson, NYI at CGY ($15): Nelson's been almost nonexistent for an Islanders team that's lost 10 of its last 12 games, posting just one goal, three helpers and a minus-3 rating over that span. He's skated less than 13:30 in two of the past three games, so Nelson's poor play hasn't gone unnoticed by coach Doug Weight. Those limited opportunities will make it tough to get back on track.
Micheal Ferland, CGY vs. NYI ($12): With an over/under of 6.5 goals, this matchup is projected to produce plenty of strong fantasy performances. One of those is likely to come from Ferland, who benefits from one of the most favorable lineup placements in the league skating alongside Sean Monahan ($20) and Johnny Gaudreau ($27). Ferland's already established new career highs of 20 goals and 36 points, and he's been a key cog on the man advantage as well with six power-play goals. He's perfect for owners who don't want to pay up for his expensive linemates or are looking to stack Flames against an Islanders team that surrenders the most goals per game (3.53) and has the second-worst penalty kill (74.9 percent).
Jordan Eberle, NYI at CGY ($17): Eberle's not the man to blame for New York's recent struggles, as he's been terrific over the past six contests. He's scored at least 11.6 fantasy points three times in that stretch while displaying solid all-around skills with three goals, a plus-3 rating and 19 shots. Look for the former Oilers forward to keep the good times rolling in what projects to be a high-scoring affair against his ex-rivals from Calgary.
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WINGS TO AVOID
Patrick Kane, CHI vs. BOS ($28): While Kane finished with a plus-1 rating in Saturday's 7-4 loss to this opponent, his season mark of minus-11 is in grave danger of taking a massive hit in this rematch against a team that's scoring the fourth-most goals in the league (3.31) while allowing the third-fewest (2.51). The risk far outweighs the reward given Kane's $28 valuation.
Jamie Benn, DAL at PIT ($28): Benn doesn't have a point in his past six road games, and turning things around will be a tall order against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs. Just like with Kane, the tough opposition here makes sinking $28 into this player a losing proposition.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI vs. VAN ($16): Ekman-Larsson's minus-35 rating has dragged his value down substantially, but it's not as much of a concern against a Canucks team that's averaging just 2.69 goals per game and is without leading scorer Brock Boeser (back). Vancouver's 26th-ranked penalty kill is even worse than its 23rd-ranked offense, which is great news for Ekman-Larsson, who is on pace for a fifth consecutive campaign with at least 39 points and 15 power-play points. His 42 power-play goals over that stretch are second only to Shea Weber among NHL defensemen.
Dougie Hamilton, CGY vs. NYI ($20): It doesn't take an expert to tell you that using a defenseman that's tied for the league lead at his position in goals against the team that surrenders the most goals is a good idea. That's not the only thing working in Hamilton's favor, as he's fired 59 shots on net over the past 15 games. His offensive ceiling here is about as high as it gets for a blueliner.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Zdeno Chara, BOS at CHI ($17): Chara's five points in his past six games make him a tempting pick here, but his only reliable fantasy contributions at this stage come in the plus/minus category. He only had 17 points in 61 games prior to this stretch and is also far from a guarantee in the rating category as the top defensive option against a top-heavy Blackhawks lineup.
Alexander Edler, VAN at ARI ($19): Even against Arizona, Edler lacks the scoring upside to justify a $19 investment. He hasn't lit the lamp since Jan. 12 and owns a minus-16 rating for the season with no positive finishes in the past eight games. This small slate has plenty of high-ceiling alternatives at his position, reducing Edler's value in comparison.