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:
So far this season, Saturdays have been fantastic for NHL DFS players with some high-scoring games and a lot of thrilling action. Hopefully this afternoon’s five-game slate can bring just as much excitement to the table, unless you rostered any Sabres (not that you would), who were once again throttled by a Pittsburgh Penguins team that seemed to take the foot off the proverbial gas after scoring two quick goals to start the game. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets started a rookie goaltender against the visiting Lightning, which did not turn out well for the home team. Today’s slate locks three hours later than usual (6 PM EDT), so there is not much information available just yet. Nevertheless, this slate provides us with a few games that are straight-forward to handicap (e.g., Rangers vs Oilers; Maple Leafs at Senators) and a few others that will be tougher to read (e.g., Red Wings vs Lightning; Blackhawks vs. Sharks), but should be great to watch from a pure hockey perspective.
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, $9,300 – The Rangers are skating on home ice tonight in a game that Vegas has handicapped the Rangers as the largest favorite. Currently sitting with a -183 moneyline, while they are playing on back-to-back nights, the Rangers are taking on an Edmonton Oilers team that has dropped four of their last five games with the sole win coming two nights prior against the Buffalo Sabres. Even that was a not-so-impressive win. Meanwhile, the Rangers have been playing slightly better hockey and their 6-3 loss last night to the Maple Leafs was not indicative of how much they had improved over the first month of the season, especially with Lundqvist’s backup between the pipes. Lundqvist is starting to show glimpses of why he is thought of as one of the top goalies in the NHL. His 2.86 GAA and .901 SV% have actually improved following a handful of rough starts, and with a “win” on FD being weighted so heavily, start Lundqvist in your cash games, as he is the most likely netminder to earn the “W” on Sunday. Lock this pick in.
**Writer’s note – As of this publication, early on Sunday morning, Lundqvist has not yet been confirmed. Cameron Talbot is currently the backup to Lundqvist. If Talbot gets the nod for the Rangers, pivot to him and use the $1,900 savings on a superstar skater.
Other Goalies To Target (Cash Games) – Corey Crawford
Derick Brassard, New York Rangers, $4,900 – The first line center and first powerplay unit center has registered at least one point in three straight games and is averaging 0.83 points per game over his first 12 games. In fact, Brassard has only failed to register a point in three of the 12 games that he has played. At just $4,900, Brassard is severely underpriced given his recent production. Brassard’s price tag has jumped $400 since last week, but on an evening of what may be blowouts and you will want to spend up at your other center slot, grab the center, who comes at a significant discount compared to other first line centers who have not produced as much as the Ranger.
Andrew Shaw, Chicago Blackhawks, $4,500 – In order to roster some of the high-priced centers and wingers today, you will want to find value at center this afternoon. In comes Andrew Shaw, who skates with Bryan Bickell and Brandon Saad on the Blackhawks’ second even strength line. With an injury to Patrick Sharp, Shaw has taken his spot on the Blackhawks’ deadly first powerplay unit along with superstars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Shaw’s price tag had previously been suppressed due to his lack of powerplay time, but now that Shaw is skating with Kane and Toews, expect the price tag to jump this week. Before that happens, take advantage of the $4,500 price that provides you cheap exposure to the Hawks’ top skaters. Use the savings to splurge on your wingers and know that Shaw should hit value if he continues his two-game point streak.
Rick Nash, New York Rangers, $7,900 – The price point for Nash, a first line winger who skates with Derick Brassard and Martin St. Louis on the first even strength line, is fair and possibly a few hundred dollars too high, but on a night with just five games, you want to pay for a safe floor. At $7,900, Nash is by no means a value play, but over the past three games, the winger has logged scored 4.4, 5.9 and 4.0 points on FD, which includes a total of two goals and one assist. Moreover, Nash is averaging almost a goal per game (10 goals in 12 games) and he also has an excellent +6 rating. With the Rangers having the heaviest moneyline on the evening, they are sure to score at least a few goals and Nash should be involved in at least one. Keep in mind that Nash’s 31% shooting percentage is far above league average and it will regress to his career average, but for now, ride the hot hand.
Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning, $4,300 – The rookie winger has already found his spot on the Lightning’s top powerplay unit along with Valtteri Filppula and Ryan Callahan, and deservedly so. With one goal and four assists, the soft-handed left winger has already flashed some brilliance with his “thread the needle” passes to his teammates over the past two games, in which he registered three assists. What separates Drouin from other wingers in the mid-$4,000 price range is the fact that he skates with a top powerplay unit that includes superstar, Steven Stamkos, at the point. This matchup against the Red Wings should be up-tempo as both teams have a tendency to score and the Lightning are often shaky on the defensive end. Additionally, with both teams playing high-event hockey, look for Drouin to help on at least one goal and at $4,300, he should have no trouble hitting value.
Dan Girardi, New York Rangers, $3,500 – With just three points (0 goals, 3 assists) in 12 games, Girardi will not light up the scoreboard. However, what you are paying for on this short slate is opportunity. Much like NBA DFS, your player needs minutes on the court in order to score fantasy points. The same goes for hockey when looking for defensemen. That is, you want them to average well over 20:00 minutes of ice time per game. Well, Girardi logged nearly 33:00 minutes of ice time in a shootout loss to the Blues this past week. With injuries to Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein, Girardi has been asked to lead the Rangers’ defensive unit, and it appears as though he is doing just that in looking at his ice time log. Girardi’s price tag is low enough that you should be able to roster the top-tier, offensive-minded defenseman mentioned below.
Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings, $4,900 – In what might be the most fun game of the day to watch, the Red Wings play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning. As of this publication, Vegas has not yet set a line for the game. With 10 points on the season (3 goals, 7 assists), Kronwall has been heavily involved in the Wings’ offensive attack and he is averaging a healthy 24:58 minutes of ice time per game. Moreover, four of Kronwall’s assists have come on the Wings’ powerplay, which is critical as FD awards bonus points for any goal or assist scored with the man advantage. Paired with Henrik Zetterberg on the powerplay and with Jonathan Ericsson on the team’s first even strength defensive unit, Kronwall will lead the Wings’ attack in what will be a “high-event” game, as both teams are above average in both TG/G as well as SF/GP and SA/GP. That is, the more total goals per game as well as shots for and shots against per game for a team, the more scoring opportunities exist, which, of course, leads to more fantasy points.
Other Defensemen To Target (Tournaments) – Jake Gardiner, Mark Staal