Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey: Friday/Saturday picks

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By Chris Morgan

And then there were four. With just two series left, your daily fantasy options have gotten quite slim, so as the difficulty increases for the teams left in action, it also increases for you. However, perhaps I can help make things less difficult. Here are some players to target and to avoid in Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Hockey this Friday.

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GOALIE

Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT vs. OTT ($35): Matt Murray is healthy again, but it’s quite hard to see the Penguins taking Fleury out of the net at this point. After all, Fleury’s gotten them this far while posting a 2.55 GAA and .927 save percentage in the playoffs. The Senators only scored 2.51 goals per game this year, which ranked in the league’s bottom 10, and their offense rarely looked explosive in the Rangers series. If Fleury can manage against Columbus and Washington, Ottawa shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

GOALIE TO AVOID

Craig Anderson, OTT at PIT ($30): Pittsburgh had the top offense during the regular season (3.39 goals per game), and that has carried over into the playoffs (3.42 goals per contest); there’s no more formidable group of scorers in the NHL. That’s concerning for Anderson to begin with, and it doesn’t help that he only has a .914 save percentage in these playoffs. There are just four goalies to choose from, and while Pekka Rinne ($39) is the most expensive, he’s also been great. You can’t say Anderson has been great.

CENTER

Kyle Turris, OTT at PIT ($16): Yes, Fleury is my goalie to target, but there are still reasons to be enticed by Turris. After all, the Penguins did allow 32.6 shots on net per game this season, and that number is up to 35.3 in the playoffs. After scoring 27 goals in 78 games during the regular season, Turris hasn’t been explosive in the playoffs, but he does have five points in his last seven games. He’s one of Ottawa’s most heavily used weapons both at even strength and on the power play.

CENTER TO AVOID

Ryan Getzlaf, ANA vs. NAS ($27): As previously mentioned, Rinne has been great for the Preds. He’s posted a 1.37 GAA and .951 save percentage in the playoffs, both leading all netminders. Nashville has also only allowed 28.8 shots on net per contest in the postseason. This is not a knock on Getzlaf, who has been quite good, but he’s the most expensive Ducks center by a wide margin and one of the most expensive centers on the slate. If Rinne keeps up his excellent play, it will be hard for Getzlaf to pay off at this price.

WING

Phil Kessel, PIT vs. OTT ($25): Kessel is the priciest wing, but he’s liable to be worth it; after all, he’s notched 13 points (including six on the power play) over 12 games in these playoffs. That comes after he tallied 30 points with the extra man during the regular season. The Senators had the 27th-ranked penalty kill after the All-Star break, which is the exact sort of thing Kessel is primed to take advantage of.

James Neal, NAS vs. ANA ($14): After a slow start to the playoffs, Neal picked things up in the second round, tallying three goals on 19 shots against the Blues. Neal also started 37.2 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone this year, second among Nashville forwards. Meanwhile, John Gibson has a modest 2.80 GAA and .908 save percentage in the playoffs.

WINGS TO AVOID

Conor Sheary, PIT vs. OTT ($21): While Sheary has averaged 7.1 fantasy points per game overall, the playoffs haven’t gone well for him. He’s notched zero goals while putting only 16 shots on net in 11 games, and his minutes have been cut down considerably: Sheary only averaged 10:42 on the ice per game in the Capitals series.

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Jakob Silfverberg, ANA vs. NAS ($21): Silfverberg’s story is almost identical to Getzlaf’s. It’s not so much about him as it is about Rinne and the Predators. Nashville has only allowed 1.40 goals per game in the playoffs; the next-best team, San Jose, gave up 2.00 goals per contest before being eliminated. While he’s operating at a point-per-game pace in these playoffs, Silfverberg has to be avoided until the Ducks show that Rinne’s human after all.

DEFENSEMEN

Cam Fowler, ANA vs. NAS ($17): Fowler has averaged 6.6 fantasy points per game, and that includes five points against the Oilers. He’s also averaged 3:19 per tilt with the extra man, and he’s tallied two power-play points in the postseason. Now, Nashville’s goal-prevention excellence is a concern, but Fowler often helps on the defensive end of the ice as well, giving him a bit of a floor to build on. The Predators attempted 58.6 shots per 60 minutes, eighth-most in the NHL, and Fowler blocked 134 shots this year.

Dion Phaneuf, OTT vs. PIT ($13): As noted earlier, the Penguins have been generous to opposing shooters in the postseason, but they also averaged 58.8 shot attempts per 60 minutes, sixth-most in the league. Phaneuf put 156 shots on net this year while also blocking 156, so he contributes at both ends of the ice, and while he’s been held off the scoresheet in nine of his last 10 playoff games, those heavy minutes (including power-play time) are bound to pay off in points eventually.

DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID

P.K. Subban, NAS at ANA ($21): Subban only has one goal in his last 14 games, and he’s not doing much to amend that. In his last five games, he’s only put two shots on net. He’s also failed to block a shot in three of his last five contests. The Ducks have had their issues defensively in the playoffs, but during the regular season, they only allowed 2.00 goals and 28.9 shots on net per game at home.

Shea Theodore, ANA vs. PIT ($17): Theodore has only averaged 4.3 fantasy points per game, so even though he’s the same price as Fowler, his upside isn’t as high. He was also held without a point in six of the seven games in the second round, and he’s put no shots on net in his last two contests. On top of that, Theodore only blocked 30 shots in 34 games during the regular season, so he’s less likely to get in front of pucks than other defenders.

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