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NHL DFS Picks & Stacks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups | Vegas Golden Knights & Mikko Rantanen 3/10/22

Michael Clifford

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Free NHL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel Fantasy hockey and NHL lineups tonight Wednesday 2/16/22

It is a gargantuan 13-game slate tonight as nearly the entire league is in play. That means fans have to narrow down their search for NHL DFS picks considerably, and this article is here to help. As always, our subscribers should check in the Discord for line updates, as there are sure to be many on a slate this large. There are also NHL Player Rankings free for anyone to view on our site here.

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NHL DFS Picks Today, Top Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays

Center

Patrice Bergeron (BOS vs. CHI): DraftKings – $6,800 | FanDuel – $6,900

The top-end Bruins players have seen a price decrease on DraftKings over the last few weeks. It seems one reason for that was a drop in ice time, as Patrice Bergeron skated 17 minutes a night from late January through the end of February. That will usually drive price down, but he has been back over 18 minutes a night in each of his last two games. One of those went to overtime, but it still shows the team is willing to use him heavily, if not every night.

Chicago coming to town is a good matchup for Bergeron and his linemates. They will face a Chicago top line allowing 2.8 expected goals against per 60 minutes and that is well below average defensively. The penalty kill is middle-of-the-road at best over the last six weeks and that is another point in favor of Bergeron as an important PP contributor. On top of all that, he provides a high peripheral floor with nearly four shots per game on the season.

Given the matchups for some other elite centers tonight, Bergeron may not be a cash game target for this slate. In tournaments, though, he has tremendous upside in this matchup, as do his linemates.

Ryan Strome (NYR at STL): DraftKings – $4,000 | FanDuel – $5,700

Going into St. Louis is typically a very tough matchup. The advantage here for Ryan Strome is that he will avoid the shutdown line from St. Louis, and that is very important when facing this team. That shutdown line really slows the game down and that is not great for this Rangers team. Conversely, the second and third lines from St. Louis are much more forgiving defensively. With the top line off the ice this season, the Blues allow roughly 35% more expected goals, and more than double the actual goals. That is why avoiding the top line matchup is important for Strome and his colleagues.

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The home team has a very good penalty kill but poor goaltending has been an issue. Also an issue is that over the last six weeks, they are among the 10 teams with the most time short-handed. While Strome is not a focal point of the top power play unit, the Rangers do have a great power play, and he is on the top quintet. That does matter here.

This is not a cash game option for various reasons, but tournament players should take note of Strome and that Rangers second line.

Winger

Mikko Rantanen (COL at CAR): DraftKings – $7,100 | FanDuel – $8,500

Carolina has left their star-studded top line together, and believe it or not, the Hurricanes are running that trio into the opponent’s top line. As great as the Hurricanes’s top trio is, they do allow 2.9 expected goals against in return defensively, and that is nowhere near good enough. They can be very porous when they are not generating offense and that is what makes Mikko Rantanen a target tonight.

It has been nearly a month since Rantanen skated under 19 minutes in a game (last time was 18:20 on February 13th). In the 12 games of that span, he is averaging 21:50 a night, 3.5 shots per game and a point per game, and there is reason to believe the Avalanche are getting a bit unlucky shooting percentage-wise. In other words, Rantanen has performed like a top-end winger for a month now and that is while getting unlucky. Carolina is a tough matchup in general, but the top line is not, in particular.

Using a player of this price on the road in cash games without being a massive volume shooter is a lot to ask. In tournaments, though, Rantanen and the entire top line should be strongly considered.

Jesper Bratt (NJ vs. WPG): DraftKings – $5,300 | FanDuel – $7,000

One of the quieter point-per-game performances this year belongs to Jesper Bratt, with 54 in 52 contests. A couple of reasons why he is not a completely reliable fantasy option, though, are shot volume and ice time concern. He is at 2.7 shots per game, which is fine but not elite by any stretch, and his last 10 games have seen three contests of him skating under 15 minutes and three of him skating more than 18 minutes. There is a chasm of difference between getting 14:30 a night in ice time and 18:30 a night, and that wild variance is what makes him unreliable for cash games, and in fantasy in general.

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Of course, it is that unreliability that makes him a tournament option. As part of New Jersey’s checking line, he will be sent out against Winnipeg’s top line, a line allowing even more expected goals than the aforementioned Carolina top line. They are also allowing a lot of actual goals, too (3.7 per 60 minutes), so this is just a great matchup for Bratt tonight.

Nico Hischier, Bratt’s center, may not play but Bratt has been great this year regardless of center. He at least warrants some one-off consideration in GPPs considering his reasonable cost and high upside.

Arthur Kaliyev (LA vs. SJ): DraftKings – $2,500 | $4,400

Arthur Kaliyev may not get as much ink as the rest of the rookies, but he has survived his first year in the league while being stuck largely on the fourth line. As what appears to be a future 30-goal scorer, he has clearly not been given linemates to help him flourish offensively. He could still threaten 20 goals this year with a bit of luck over the final seven weeks of the season. His 2.7 shots per game since the start of February is not high, per se, but that was also with 12:13 in TOI a night. Noting that is important because…

That all changes today. With some injuries affecting the lineup and recent line changes made, Kaliyev has been moved to the top line with Anze Kopitar. That should lead to more even-strength ice time. Whether that leads to top power play minutes as well remains to be seen, but just top-line billing is a big improvement for Kaliyev, both in terms of ice time and linemate improvement.

At his price, the rookie winger is just fine as a one-off in all formats here tonight. Of course, he is just fine to use in a line stack for tournaments as well.


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Defensemen

Noah Dobson (NYI vs. CBJ): DraftKings – $6,000 | FanDuel – $6,400

In town tonight is a Columbus team that is in the bottom-10 of the league by goals allowed and bottom-5 by expected goals allowed at 5-on-5 these last six weeks. That is a great matchup for this Islanders team and Noah Dobson.

On the season, Dobson is averaging 2.6 shots per game and just a shade shy of two blocks per game. His peripheral floor is very high and that is why his price is where it is. On DraftKings at least, those peripherals are very important to his overall value.

Dobson is also having a good production season, pacing for over 48 points on the year, and that Is on a very bad Islanders team. There is no shortage of top-end defensive options tonight, but Dobson is sure to get overlooked because of his team, and that is what makes him a target in tournaments tonight.

Dysin Mayo (ARI at TOR): DraftKings – $ 3,100 | FanDuel – $4,000

This is a play more suited for DraftKings than FanDuel, given the importance of peripherals like blocked shots.

Going into Toronto is a good matchup for a shot-blocker like Dysin Mayo. The Leafs are top five by shot attempts generated at 5-on-5 over the last six weeks, and Mayo is averaging nearly two blocks per game. In that same span, the Coyotes are allowing the second-most shot attempts in the league. It seems he is very much a threat for the shot-block bonus on DraftKings tonight and any point production beyond that would make him a significant contributor tonight.

For a cheap defenseman on FanDuel that is less reliant on peripherals, both Timothy Liljegren (TOR – $4,100) and Gustav Forsling (FLA – $4,000) should be considered tonight.

Goalie

Igor Shesterkin (NYR at STL): DraftKings – $7,300 | FanDuel – $8,400

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, but there are many indications from this season and his two years prior that Igor Shesterkin is the best goalie in the NHL, if not at least among the top few. Things like overall save percentage and high-danger save percentage point in that direction.

The other note here is that DraftKings priced up a bunch of goalies tonight for some reason. It is an aberration of what they have done all year, as there are several goalies at or near $9,000 tonight. Shesterkin has shot volume concerns but those are easy to swallow for a goalie that is roaring towards a Vezina Trophy as the top goalie in the league, and priced nearly 20% cheaper than the highest-priced options tonight.

For a cheaper road goalie on FanDuel, Robin Lehner (VGK – $7,600) is also in consideration.

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VGK1: Eichel – Pacioretty – Marchessault

The narrative here will be the return of Jack Eichel to Buffalo, but that hides the fact that this is just a good matchup for his line. Buffalo is a bottom-5 team by expected goals against at 5-on-5 these last six weeks. Conversely, the duo of Eichel and Max Pacioretty are generating 33 scoring chances per 60 minutes in their time together, a very good offensive number. The matchup is good at all strengths and with Jonathan Marchessault on the top line now, the trio is fully correlated on the power play.

LA1: Kopitar – Kempe – Kaliyev

As alluded to in the section on Kaliyev, a big reason for appearing here is the price. None of the players on this line are overly expensive and Kaliyev’s price brings the average cost per player down considerably. The Sharks are in town tonight and they should be welcoming Erik Karlsson back to the lineup. All the same, this team has been, arguably, the worst defensive team in the league going back to January, and Karlsson will not fix all that in one game. A top line being priced down where the Kings are brings them in play tonight and the matchup is a bonus.

*Additional Stats from Natural Stat Trick


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The DFS hockey projections model was created and is maintained by Alex Baker and Jake Hari. The DFS hockey rankings for fantasy points and value are derived directly from Alex's own daily fantasy hockey projections. Initial NHL DFS ownership projections today for main slates will be posted daily by 4 p.m. Find more NHL DFS stats and NHL DFS strategy as well as the best DFS NHL lineups.

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