The league stacks games in March, and it’s evident with eight of 10 teams playing on the second half of back-to-back contests during this Sunday slate. It’ll be mainly backup goalies, so choose wisely among the bunch. Here are some players to start off you daily fantasy quest.
Thatcher Demko, VAN vs. CLM ($24): It’s a tough slate for goaltenders with a heavy majority of teams on the second half of back-to-back games, but Demko comes at an intriguing value among the backups. He's posted a .927 save percentage in March and draws a struggling Blue Jackets team who rank last in the league with 1.37 goals per game since the All-Star break.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Semyon Varlamov, COL at CHI ($32): The month of March hasn’t been kind to Varlamov, as he's struggled with an .891 save percentage and 1-3-0 record. That makes it surprising he’s the third highest-priced goaltender in this slate, especially since the Blackhawks have averaged 3.09 goals per game over the last 10.
Jordan Staal, CAR vs. MON ($14): Staal has been back from his lengthy upper-body injury for over a month now, and he still comes in at a surprisingly low price considering he has 11 points in 13 games since his return. The Canadiens will be playing their second game in as many nights in this outing, and they have recorded a 4.00 team GAA in such contests. Lock Staal in with major offensive upside.
CENTER TO AVOID
Matt Duchene, CLM at VAN ($23): Since being traded to the contending Blue Jackets, Duchene has struggled badly with just four points in 13 games. Vancouver has been holding its own defensively lately, so Duchene’s simply overpriced until he can reach the level he did with Ottawa.
Brock Boeser, VAN vs. CLM ($23): Boeser’s riding a nine-game point streak (four goals, six assists) into this matchup, with four of those points coming on the power play. He’s also averaging three shots on goal per game during that span. That’s an appealing combination, especially since the Blue Jackets’ goaltending situation is up in the air right now with Sergei Bobrovsky battling an upper-body injury.
Brett Connolly, WAS vs. PHI ($17): As the Capitals try to secure the tight Metropolitan Division, Connolly has kicked his game into gear with four goals and three helpers over the last five games. He’ll have plenty of opportunities here since the Flyers have compiled a 3.32 team GAA in March - the worst mark in the league over that span.
WINGS TO AVOID
Alex DeBrincat, CHI at COL ($26): His price tag is finally reflecting the type of player he has been, but DeBrincat’s in a cold spell with zero points and a minus-3 rating over the last three - including a pair of negative fantasy outputs during that span. I tend to stay away from high-priced risks like this and will be doing so in this Sunday slate.
Cam Atkinson, CLM at VAN ($24): Atkinson’s in the midst of an ugly cold streak with just one assist over the last six games and a minus-3 rating. The Canucks have impressed with a 2.57 home GAA since the All-Star break, so Atkinson’s chances to break this slump aren’t favorable. Steer clear.
Shea Weber, MON at CAR ($23): Weber’s offensive game is rocking with four goals and as many assists in the last nine games. He’s also diversifying his stat line with a whopping 42 shots on net and 18 blocked shots during that stretch, providing a solid floor even if Curtis McElhinney pops up as a brick wall.
Erik Gustafsson, CHI at COL ($19): The 27-year-old is stacking on his breakout season with a three-game goal streak. He finds new ways to score, but he also gives himself plenty of chances with 16 shots on net during the streak. Slot him in against the Avs - against whom he scored Saturday night - and you have a bargain on the blue line.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Tyson Barrie, COL vs. CHI ($20): Barrie brought a three-game, four-goal streak into Saturday’s game versus the Blackhawks, but he got blanked. In fact, Chicago has had his number all year, as Barrie has registered just one assist in four games against the Blackhawks. With the same matchup on the docket Sunday, Barrie’s a risky pick.
Nick Leddy, NYI vs. ARI ($18): Leddy tickled the twine Saturday versus the Flyers to end a six-game pointless streak. That stretch didn’t hold much promise, as Leddy fired one or less shots on net in four of those six games. The Coyotes have tightened up defensively lately, so Leddy’s chances are slim to continue his recent offense.