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FanDuel NHL Plays: Sunday

by Tony "TheTonyM Mauriello
Updated On: December 3, 2018, 6:01 pm ET

Each day I will be providing my recommended player picks for your FanDuel daily fantasy hockey lineups.
My FanDuel NHL Plays will be broken down by player positions, and will include picks for cash games (50/50s/double-ups/head-to-head) and GPPs (guaranteed prize pool tournaments).

Are you new to Daily Fantasy Hockey? Check out these strategies documents first for tips and recommendations to craft your winning FanDuel hockey lineups:

Daily Fantasy Hockey Primer: 2014-15 Season
Winning Strategies for Cash Games (head-to-head, 50/50s)
Winning Strategies for GPP Tournaments
Advanced Tips for Winning by Utilizing Vegas Odds and Line Combinations
FanDuel Daily Fantasy Hockey Research and Strategy Tools


If you are playing NHL on today’s 3-game slate, then you certainly are a dedicated NHL DFS player. With just six teams in action, you should also note that three teams are playing on back-to-back nights (Rangers, Blackhawks and Maple Leafs). If you are trying to choose between two players that you have projected to hit the same point target on a short slate, selecting the player who is not skating on back-to-back nights may be the better selection. That said, with such a small slate, it will be difficult to fade these skaters. The games on FanDuel lock at 5:00 p.m. Eastern this afternoon, so you will have plenty of time to study and set your NHL lineups after football starts.


Scott Darling, Chicago Blackhawks, $6,000 – The Blackhawks are the heaviest favorite on the afternoon. As of the publication of this article, the Hawks are -190 moneyline favorites on home ice against the visiting Calgary Flames. Darling is coming off a 38-save loss last night on Long Island and has not yet been confirmed to start. If he is set to go, lock him in against a Flames team that has lost four in a row and only managed to score seven goals during those games. That Flames are playing a get-away game in Chicago and are looking to head back to the Saddledome after a tough road trip. Meanwhile, prior to dropping last night’s contest to the Islanders the Blackhawks had won 8 in a row and 9 of their last ten games. The play here has more to do with the overall chances that the Blackhawks have to win the game and with a “win” on FD being weighted so heavily, start Darling in your cash games as he is the most likely netminder to earn the “W” on Sunday.

**Writer’s note – As of this publication, early on Sunday morning, Darling has not yet been confirmed. After protecting the net on Saturday, Darling may have the day off. If someone other than Darling gets the nod for the Blackhawks, pivot to him. If the Blackhawks goalie has not been confirmed by the time lineups lock at 5 p.m. EDT, pivot over to another cash game target listed below.

Other Goalies To Target (Cash Games) – Henrik Lundqvist (or Cameron Talbot)

Other Goalies To Target (Tournaments) – Jonathan Quick


Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks, $7,000 – After leaving Thursday’s game following a head injury, Chicago held its collective breath until its superstar laced up his skates Saturday night. Toews logged 18:35 minutes of ice time and he looked sharp so we cannot assume that any concussion symptoms (if he had any) remained or made Toews tentative. While he had just one shot and two hits, back on home ice tonight, Toews should look to score a few points as the Blackhawks look to start a new winning streak.

Tyler Bozak, Toronto Maple Leafs, $5,700 – Vegas actually has the Leafs as underdogs on home ice tonight, which makes sense as the Leafs have struggled with the critical defensive aspect of hockey this season having given up an average of 2.79 shots per game to go along with 33.6 shots per game, which is good for 5th most in the NHL. That said, while you are not starting the goaltenders in this game, what these numbers hint at is that smart money is on picking players from high-event games. In other words, the more possessions a team has, the more opportunities they have to score points. In comes Bozak who centers two of the NHL’s hottest shooters in James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel on the Leafs’ first even strength line and first power play unit. Bozak’s price tag allows you exposure to two great skaters, which allows you to spend money elsewhere. For your cash games, pair Bozak with Kessel and lock in a safe floor.

Other Centers To Target (Cash Games) – Anze Kopitar, Nazem Kadri, Derick Brassard

Other Centers To Target (Tournaments) – Jeff Carter, Brad Richards

Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks, $5,400 – The Saad play in a pure strategy start tonight. Coming off a one assist night, the idea here is that Saad gets you exposure to Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa on the Blackhawks’ first even strength line and to Brad Richards and Andrew Shaw on the team’s second power play unit. In other words, by using 9.8% of your cap space, rostering Saad gets you exposure to four of Chicago’s top 6 forwards. In a game with an over/under of 5.5 goals, you will need as much exposure to the top team skating on a short slate.

James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs, $7,300 – With 24 points in 28 games, excluding on game in which he had just 15 minutes of ice time, van Riemsdyk is cash game playable with a floor of 2.7 FD points. If you are spending $7.3K on a forward, you will want more than 2.7 points, but Vegas has the game set at a 5.5 over/under. As discussed above, the Leafs play a quick game and van Riemsdyk often gets open shots on goal due to both his speed as well as the fact that opposing teams’ forwards get caught up ice and cannot backcheck quick enough. With a goal last night in a win over the Red Wings, JVR now has at least one point in his past three games and at least one point in six of his last seven games. With three goals and five assists during that game span, spending 13.2% of your cap on a quick winger is the smart play.

Other Wingers To Target (Cash Games) – Martin St. Louis, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane

Other Wingers To Target (Tournaments) – Jiri Hudler, Tyler Toffoli, Johnny Gaudreau


Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks, $6,200 – In what has been a theme today, let’s round out the FD plays with another member of the Chicago Blackhawks. Keith has struggled his past two games out, but prior to this hiccup, an early frontrunner to win his second Norris Trophy in a row (and third in his career), the defenseman had posted at least one point in five of his previous eight games. With the team skating on back-to-back nights, head coach Joel Quenneville will look to his top blueliner to log heavy minutes for a club that has the best penalty kill unit in the NHL and faces a bottom ten power play. With more ice time comes more fantasy points and Keith should easily hit his average of 3.1 FDPPG.

Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs, $5,300 – Here is another example of a defenseman who will be asked to log at least the same 27:58 minutes of ice time that he skated less than 24 hours ago. The Kings may have had Saturday night off, but they had to think long and hard about a 6-2 beating they took at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens on Friday. Phaneuf has just one goal on the season, but with 14 assists, the offensive-defenseman will look to keep the tempo of the game tonight up, as the Leafs will attempt to out-gun a Kings team that has played a much lower-event style of hockey than the Leafs.

Other Defensemen To Target (Cash Games) – Ryan McDonagh

Other Defensemen To Target (Tournaments) – Mark Giordano, Drew Doughty, Brent Seabrook

Tony "TheTonyM Mauriello
A 25-year fantasy sports veteran and a California and New York licensed corporate transactional attorney by day, Tony has been a part of the daily fantasy sports world for four years and joined the RotoGrinders team prior to the 2013-14 NHL season. A Duke law graduate and Boston sports (and Eagles) fan, he is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and contributes to RotoWorld, FantasyPros, and ProjectRoto. Please feel free to contact him at any time on twitter @TheTonyM with your fantasy sports questions.