As is the case with every FanDuel Fades, we are going to look at some players who should think twice about placing in your lineup or who you should avoid using entirely. Remember to check back on this page later in the day for confirmations on starting goalies and keep an eye on Rotoworld’s daily blurbs for all your fantasy hockey needs.
Ryan Kesler (ANA) - C - $6,500
The center pool for Thursday’s slate has been hit hard by injuries. Sidney Crosby, Jack Eichel and Patrice Bergeron won’t be available, but you can do better than Kesler. He is more expensive than Derek Stepan, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tyler Johnson and Alex Galchenyuk. All those pivots have higher point potential. Kesler did enjoy success against the Stars last season, with two goals and two assists in three games, but he also isn’t a stranger to sluggish starts.
Ryan O'Reilly (BUF) - C - $5,600
O'Reilly’s participation in Thursday’s opener could come down to a game-time decision. He managed to practice on Wednesday, but remains doubtful to be in the lineup. If he does manage to play, and the Sabres will need him to return soon after losing Jack Eichel to a high-ankle sprain, then he will be coming back from spasms in his back and midsection which could limit his contributions.
Patric Hornqvist (PIT) - W - $6,700
Hornqvist is projected to open the regular season with Matt Cullen and Conor Sheary. Sidney Crosby won’t be available because of a concussion, which hurts the value of Hornqvist. It will probably give more ice time to the Evgeni Malkin line and Nick Bonino’s combination. Hornqvist and the Penguins will also be facing Washington’s Braden Holtby, who won’t be easy to beat. Hornqvist recorded just one goal and one assist in five games versus the Capitals last year.
Rick Nash (NYR) - W - $6,600
Nash struggled mightily in 2015-16 with 15 goals and 36 points in 60 games. He has plenty of work to do to regain not only his confidence, but the confidence of fantasy/DFS owners as well. You can afford to take a wait-and-see approach with him here, especially since he went scoreless in three games versus the Islanders last year.
Brad Marchand (BOS) - W - $6,900
Losing Patrice Bergeron for the season opener due to a lower-body injury has the potential to disrupt the flow of Marchand. The duo feed off each other so well and making adjustments on the fly with new center David Backes after just a couple of sessions may not be enough.
Evander Kane (BUF) - W - $6,500
Kane may not have much to work with at center on Thursday with Ryan O'Reilly unlikely to play and Jack Eichel sidelined. Buffalo could have Johan Larsson, Zemgus Girgensons and Derek Grant line up alongside Kane. Sam Reinhart may switch to center, but choosing Kane is still a bit risky considering his price point. He will probably rack up shots, but you are better off seeking production elsewhere especially if you are looking to stack your wingers with talented centers.
Alex Pietrangelo (STL) - D - $5,800
Pietrangelo led the Blues with 26:29 of ice time on Wednesday night at Chicago. He routinely logs big minutes, but skating at the World Cup of Hockey and seeing an abundance of playing time in the opener may make him a bit sluggish for the team’s home opener versus Minnesota. There are also just five defenders on the slate who are more expensive than Pietrangelo, so you won’t have any trouble finding other options if you choose to go cheaper.
Zach Bogosian (BUF) - D - $5,100
Bogosian should be in the lineup on Thursday for Buffalo after recovering from a groin injury, but he isn’t worth rostering over the blueliners who share his price point on FanDuel. Ryan Suter and John Klingberg cost the same as Bogosian and they are both much better options, especially Klingberg. If you wanted to select a defenseman on the Sabres then Rasmus Ristolainen should be your target. He will see power-play time, blocks shots, fires pucks on net regularly and has more offensive potential. Ristolainen will also cost just $4,400 of cap space.
John Gibson (ANA) - G - $8,800
Gibson finished the preseason with an illness, but still could be between the pipes for Anaheim on opening night. Unfortunately, he will be facing a potent Dallas offense that finished first in the league in goals for last season. The Stars are unlikely to slow down in 2016-17 and Gibson could be under siege in his first start on the road, where he struggled a bit last year. He had an 8-6-1 record with a .907 save percentage and a 2.43 GAA in 17 appearances away from Honda Center in 2015-16.