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DraftKings daily fantasy value picks for Dec. 18

by Pete Jensen / NHL.com

Each day during the 2015-16 season, NHL.com's fantasy staff will identify one player at each position worth owning in DraftKings daily fantasy hockey contests. Based on factors including but not limited to matchups, line combinations, power-play usage, statistical coverage and recent production, we'll provide you with lower-priced options that can help you build a winning lineup.

Players accumulate points in DraftKings for each goal (3 points), assist (2), shot on goal (0.5), blocked shot (0.5) and shootout goal (0.2). Bonuses are given for shorthanded points (1) and hat tricks (1.5). Goalies accumulate points for each win (3) and save (0.2), and lose a point for each goal allowed. Goalie bonuses are given for a shutout (2) where the goalie completes the entire game with no goals allowed in regulation (and overtime, if applicable). Shootout goals will not prevent a shutout, and goalies will receive points for any goals or assists they score in a game. Penalty minutes, hits, plus-minus and PP points DO NOT count in DraftKings. DraftKings lineups must include nine players (2 C, 3 W, 2 D, 1 G, 1 FLEX) and fit within the $50,000 salary cap.


Pavel Datsyuk, C, Detroit Red Wings

DraftKings price: $5,500

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There are a number of affordable centers in the $4,000 range, but most of them are boom-or-bust picks who will be heavily owned in DraftKings. I would be much more comfortable investing in Datsyuk ($5,500), who's priced 12th among centers Friday at home against the Vancouver Canucks. Datsyuk has been inconsistent through 16 games after missing an early chunk of the season with injury, but is picking up his production over his past 10 games with six points, six blocks and 27 shots on goal. He has been strong at Joe Louis Arena this season with seven points and three SOG per game (33) in 11 home games. The Canucks have allowed 56 goals in 19 road games this season, third-most in the League.

Phil Kessel, W, Pittsburgh Penguins

DraftKings price: $6,900

It's rare to see Kessel dip below the $7,000 threshold in DraftKings, so take full advantage as the slumping Penguins take the ice for the second time in three nights against the Boston Bruins. Kessel has not scored a goal since a two-goal game in San Jose on Dec. 1, but has 16 SOG during his six-game drought, not including when he rang the post Wednesday against the Bruins. While the line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz had a new look Friday morning with low-priced Conor Sheary ($2,500) on the wing, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan had Kessel with Evgeni Malkin ($7,300) and David Perron ($4,000). Kessel has nine more SOG at home (53) than he does on the road (44) in the same number of games (15), but only two goals at Consol Energy Center as opposed to seven in away games. Translation: He's due for some home success, especially as he gets his feet wet in the Penguins' new offensive system.

Ron Hainsey, D, Carolina Hurricanes

DraftKings price: $3,600

The Florida Panthers will be playing their third game in four nights and the Hurricanes, a strong possession team, have gotten their offense going with 26 goals in their past six games. Much of their scoring has stemmed from their blue line, with Justin Faulk leading the charge, but Hainsey also is producing strong coverage and chipping in points. He's averaging nearly two blocks (29) and two SOG (29) in 15 home games this season, and has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past eight games. If he posts a point and has multiple blocks and SOG, he will be well worth the price of admission (24th among defensemen).

Craig Anderson, G, Ottawa Senators

DraftKings price: $7,500

The cheapest projected goalies for Friday are Connor Hellebuyck ($6,500) of the Winnipeg Jets at home against the New York Rangers, who could get Derek Stepan and/or Kevin Klein back, and struggling Cam Ward ($6,400) of the Carolina Hurricanes at home against the red-hot Panthers. Therefore it's more appropriate to spend in the middle range for a more favorable matchup like Anderson at home against the San Jose Sharks. Yes, the Sharks have won two straight to kick off their road trip, but the Ottawa goaltender has done his best work at home this season with a 7-3-3 mark, a .922 save percentage and two shutouts. The Senators have scored 46 goals in 16 home games (2.9 per game) and will likely face backup Alex Stalock with San Jose on the second of a back-to-back. Anderson, meanwhile, is well-rested after Andrew Hammond made a rare start Wednesday.

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