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:
After a short slate on Wednesday, the NHL comes back strong tonight with a nice set of 7 games, which is three less than the league normally provides on Thursday. Of the fourteen teams that are in action this evening, none of them are playing on back-to-back nights, which is good news as each team’s top netminder should be between the pipes. As a side note, remember that 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. In examining early Vegas odds, the heavy favorites are the Sharks (home vs. Oilers), Leafs (home vs. Hurricanes), Flyers (home vs. Panthers), and Kings (home vs. Blues).
Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks, $9,900 – As the heaviest Vegas favorite on the night, Niemi is the clear cash game play against an Edmonton Oilers team that lost five in a row and 9 of their last ten games. The sole Oilers’ win during their last ten games was a 2-1 defensive battle against this same San Jose team, who now gets to host the Oilers in the Shark Tank. In their nine losses over their last 10 games, the Oilers have managed just an average of 1.44 goals per game. If you factor in their one victory, their GF/GP is still just 1.5. At $9,900, Niemi is the third most expensive netminder tonight, but he clearly has the best matchup against a team that appears poised to “earn” the top pick in the next draft. The one downside with this play is that the Oilers are averaging just 24.8 shots per game over the last ten games, which limits Niemi’s upside. The play here has more to do with the overall chances that the Sharks have to win the game and with a “win” on FD being weighted so heavily, start Niemi in your cash games as he is the most likely netminder to earn the “W” on Sunday.
Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers, $9,200 – Depending on your risk tolerance tonight, take a roll of the dice on Mason on home ice against the visiting Florida Panthers. The Vegas line has the Flyers as just a -138 ML favorite, which is less than I like to target on a large slate of games, but with the matchups being fairly tight tonight, Mason should be in line for a win. The Flyers did disappoint fantasy owners on Tuesday and Mason has lost seven of his last nine starts. This appears ugly on the surface, but over his last four starts (two wins), he has given up an average of just 1.75 GA/GP. At $9,200, this is a GPP play, but with many owners looking to Niemi or Jonathan Bernier tonight, Mason should be under-owned and should face more shots than Niemi as the Panthers are averaging 30.8 SF/GP compared to the Oilers 28.5 SF/GP this season.
Other Goalies To Target (Cash Games) – Jonathan Bernier
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers, $8,100 – The top center selection of the night is arguably Evgeni Malkin, but tonight is the night that the Flyers’ offense will put up at least four goals after a disappointing effort in a 3-1 loss on Tuesday. Giroux helped on the lone Flyers’ goal and he now has at least one point in six straight games. During that streak, the center logged one goal and six assists. After the poor showing the team’s last game out, Giroux may be under-owned, which will help your GPP lineup. He also comes at a $1,700 discount to Malkin, so roster Giroux and use the savings to pay up for your goaltender or wingers.
Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens, $4,600 – In order to pay up for Evgeni Malkin or Claude Giroux tonight, you will need to find value at your other forward spots. At 8.3% of your cap, the first line centerman, who skates with Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher as well as with the same duo on the Canadiens’ first power play unit, registered his first career hat trick in the team’s last game out in a 4-1 thrashing of the Carolina Hurricanes in Montreal. With Galchenyuk’s price not moving following his 13.2 FDP performance on Tuesday, take advantage of the home ice advantage tonight against an Anaheim Ducks team that was throttled at the hands of the Canadiens’ rival their last game out and still have one more game in Ottawa before they can get home to Southern California. The key here is that head coach, Michel Therrien, should attempt to get his first line matched up against the slower and less physical Ducks’ lines, which will allow Galchenyuk and Pacioretty to move the puck easier to create more open shots.
James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs, $7,700 – This suggested play feels a little like cheating, but his price tag is at a point where you must take advantage of it, especially when the Leafs are winning games with ease and are scoring in bunches. With six straight wins a row and an average of 4.17 GF/GP, the Leafs are playing fantastic hockey. In your cash games tonight, you will want at least one piece of the team’s top line and at just $7,700, van Riemsdyk feels like the must play. Sure, Phil Kessel is the superstar that you ideally like to slot in your lineup tonight, but when you are paying up for your goaltender, with a $500 discount to his first line and first power play unit linemate, you need to find a way to save money wherever you are able. With at least one point in five straight games, and a total of three goals and four assists over that time span, lock JVR in your cash game lineups.
Blake Comeau, Pittsburgh Penguins, $5,000 – While the Vegas line is off as of this publication for the Penguins/Avalanche game, look for the Penguins to be -155 moneyline favorites with an over/under of 5.5. Both teams play in the top quarter of the NHL in terms of high-event hockey with the Avalanche being a slightly quicker paced team given the fact that they give up the third most goals per game. With that in mind, the Pens’ offense is one to attack tonight. Injuries and illnesses have left Pittsburgh without Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. This left a void on the wing of the Malkin line, which has been filled by Comeau, who, at $5,000, will provide you cheap exposure to one of the top offenses of the night. While the winger does not skate with the top power play line, he does look to have chemistry with Steve Downie on the team’s second PP unit.
UPDATE: It looks as if Crosby will return tonight. Comeau should skate with Brandon Sutter and Steve Downie on the 2nd line and 2nd PP unit. At $5,000, Comeau provides cheap exposure to a top offense tonight against a poor puck control team.
Mark Streit, Philadelphia Flyers, $4,800 – In what should be a bounceback game for the high-powered Philadelphia Flyers’ offense, the team will need a solid performance by its top defenseman, who will be asked to rush the puck through the defensive style of hockey that the Florida Panthers often play. What teams have been using against the Panthers is the strategy of gaining the redline and then using a strong forecheck to beat their defensive system. With an average of 3.25 FDP per game over his last six games and at least one point per game in five of those games, Streit is one of the most safe plays at one of your D slots as he should connect with at least one point as a top five PP unit against a below average PK unit.
Christian Ehrhoff, Pittsburgh Penguins, $4,200 – The suggested play has more to do with Ehrhoff’s current price point and the thin position tonight than it does about his recent performance. Kris Letang is the quarterback on the Penguins’ deadly power play, but Ehrhoff is paired with Letang on that unit that faces an Avalanche team that has given up three short-handed goals over the past two games against one great PP unit (the Blues) and one below average PP unit (the Jets). With an average of 3.2 FDP per game over his last five games, at just $4,200, Ehrhoff is a sound investment if you need to save money at one of your defense slots. Moreover, he does provide cheap exposure to the Penguins’ 2nd best PP unit and Ehrhoff should be in line for at least one helper and a +1.