There is a massive 11-game slate on the docket tonight, which gives us a monster player pool to make our NHL DFS picks from. This article will be focusing on a few of the best options from each position based on Alex “Awesemo” Baker’s expert projections and Top Stacks Tool for fantasy hockey lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel. Let’s get to it.
As always, be sure to check our Premium Slack chat for news, notes and lineup updates leading up until lock.
NHL DFS Picks & Top Stacks for DraftKings & FanDuel
NHL DFS Picks: Center
Mika Zibanejad (NYR at PHI)
DraftKings – $7,500
FanDuel – $7,300
There was an interesting change in Philadelphia’s deployments over the last two games: Sean Couturier has been kept away from the opposition’s top line. This is being done, in aa likelihood, because Couturier is going through a hip injury of some level of severity. That takes matchup concerns out of play for Zibanejad here tonight, and that 6-point game was only a week ago.
Do not expect 6 points from Zibanejad here tonight, but since that outburst, he has 11 shots in three games, playing 22 minutes a night. That level of ice time brings any forward into focus for us, and with Couturier being injured, that is another point in Zibanejad’s favor tonight. He line has climbed from a 46.7% expected goal share over the first six weeks of play to over 52% in March. Zibanejad is probably best used as part of a line stack but is fine by himself in tournaments.
Carl Soderberg (CHI vs. FLA)
DraftKings – $3,800
FanDuel – $3,200
Out of the gate this seems like a better selection on FanDuel than DraftKings. The price alone creates that distinction, being near the min on FanDuel compared to well over on DraftKings.
The real focus here is the Chicago power play. Aleksander Barkov will be missing this game due to injury, and he has been Florida’s best penalty-killing forward this year by on-ice expected goals against. Soderberg, stapled to Chicago’s top power-play unit, is a natural target then.
The issue with Soderberg is that his ice time has been falling off. He was near 18 minutes a game through his first half-dozen March contests, but that has fallen to 14 minutes a game over his last four contests as the team has gotten a bit healthier. This pushes Soderberg to tournament one-off territory for me.
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NHL DFS Picks: Winger
William Nylander (TOR at OTT)
DraftKings – $5,900
FanDuel – $6,300
In a full season Nylander would be on pace for over 30 goals, over 60 points and over 200 shots. There seems to be some sort of narrative that he’s struggling this year, and while we can quibble about the definition of “struggling,” it’s clear he has still been very good.
Today Toronto heads into Ottawa, and though the Senators aren’t a doormat, they are still a bottom-10 team by goals against this month.
One of the big reasons for using Nylander is that the team has started to use a heavily loaded top power-play unit more lately, especially since the wrist injury to Auston Matthews. That much talent going against a middle-of-the-road penalty kill should find some success.
By my own personal observation, Alex Galchenyuk has mixed in well on this Toronto second line with Nylander, and that kind of stability should only help both in their production pursuits.
Jakub Vrana (WSH vs NJ)
DraftKings – $5,400
FanDuel – $4,500
This is another instance where I want to point out how much cheaper Vrana is over on FanDuel than DraftKings. That should factor in when deciding who to use tonight.
Vrana is flat out one of the most frustrating players in NHL DFS. His per-60 production rates over the last few years are truly among the elite in the NHL — higher points rate than Nathan MacKinnon, higher goals rate than Nikita Kucherov and Max Pacioretty — yet he’s still averaging under 15 minutes a night. It really is brutal watching this happen.
On the upside, Vrana is still on the top power-play unit and the Devils are in town tonight, and that means Vrana is playing a bottom-10 penalty kill by expected goals on the penalty kill the last month. He has game-breaking skills, and, at the very least, he’ll be in the top six and on the top power-play unit. Even if the ice time isn’t there, he’ll have good to great linemates. That means something. Vrana is fine to use in any format tonight but is likely best used as a one-off in tournaments.
Calle Jarnkrok (NSH vs. DET)
DraftKings – $4,000
FanDuel – $3,500
Hey, here is another guy that is much cheaper on FanDuel than DraftKings! It seems like a good night to be on FanDuel if you like value.
These two teams faced off a couple days ago, and Jarnkrok’s line saw the majority of their minutes come against Detroit’s third line of Luke Glendening, Adam Erne and Darren Helm. That third line has not been good, posting 2.6 expected goals against and a 45% expected goal share this year. It isn’t really surprising a team with little forward depth can’t put together a good third line. Jarnkrok and company had the run of play in that game and should again in this one.
As Jarnkrok’s role on the second line has solidified, so has his ice time. He has cracked 16 minutes in four straight games and 18 in his last two, popping a couple goals and reaching the shot bonus once along the way. Nashville should carry some ownership tonight, but the further down the lineup we go the less ownership there should be, and Jarnkrok has a great matchup.
[osBestBetsSingleGameOdds league=”nhl” date=”03/25/2021″ team=”blackhawks”]
NHL DFS Picks: Defense
Nikita Zaitsev (OTT vs. TOR)
DraftKings – $3,700
FanDuel – $3,700
One of the league’s premier shot blockers, Zaitsev has averaged over two per game this season. He has also gained over 1:30 in ice time per game over his last five contests compared to his first 30, and more ice time for a shot blocker is a great thing.
Over the last few weeks, Toronto is fifth in shots per 60 minutes at all strengths while Ottawa is 24th in shots allowed. That gives Zaitsev plenty of opportunities to step in front of some shots and rack up that shot bonus. Anything else he can give us is a bonus.
K’Andre Miller (NYR at PHI)
DraftKings – $2,700
FanDuel – $3,600
I hesitate to include two players from the same team in this column, particularly on such a large slate, but it would be almost negligence to not mention Miller here. He has had a great rookie season despite the unevenness of the team, posting 7 points and about 1.3 blocks per game. He is not elite by any stretch, but he has been good for a rookie.
What is important for Miller is that he’s playing on the top pair with Adam Fox. That means the two should get the run of play at five-on-five, which should provide a healthy amount of minutes for Miller. That he’s priced near the minimum on both sites makes him a target as a one-off in any format tonight, particularly now that he’s getting some secondary power-play minutes.
Anton Forsberg (OTT vs. TOR)
DraftKings – $6,500
FanDuel – $6,500
This is a bit tenuous. Filip Gustavsson started yesterday and twice in the last three days. The assumption is he won’t go again tonight, but there is a chance he will. If he doesn’t, it will be one of Forsberg or Marcus Hogberg. Both Hogberg and Forsberg are $6,500 on DraftKings and FanDuel, and we love cheap goalies that should face volume; it doesn’t come much cheaper than a $6,500 goalie. Just watch goalie confirmations.
NYR1: Kreider – Zibanejad – Buchnevich
As was probably made evident in the section on Zibanejad, this is a good spot for the Rangers, one that is better than it appears on the surface. They are somewhat expensive, coming in over $19,000 on DraftKings, but that likely will keep their ownership in check for us. The Flyers have a bottom-10 penalty kill over the last three weeks, and that’s only more good news.
CHI1: DeBrincat – Suter – Kane
Barkov being out for the Panthers tonight likely puts Chicago on the radar of many tonight, and that makes their ownership an issue. While the Blackhawks have fallen off in March, the top line is still scoring over three goals per 60 minutes, a testament to the sheer amount of skill there. With no shutdown line to worry about for tonight’s contest, Chicago’s top trio should at least be on the radar for GPP stacking.
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