We have a weird NHL DFS slate today as there are games all day, but it’s a loaded five-game slate for our NHL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel. That slate starts in the late afternoon in the east, which means we may not get updates about lineups and injuries until near warm-ups. Stay tuned to our Slack channel for updates.
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Aleksander Barkov (FLA at SJ): DraftKings – $7,200; FanDuel – $7,100
The Sharks are going through it right now. Not only is the team underperforming this year, but they’ve now lost Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Erik Karlsson to injury, the latter two being of the season-ending variety. Beyond that, Evander Kane is out of the lineup due to suspension. This team is beyond depleted, which makes Florida a great target, but just keep in mind they’ll likely be popular.
That leaves Barclay Goodrow and Patrick Marleau as the likely shutdown combination for the Sharks. Now, Goodrow is a fine player, but there’s generally a reason a 26-year-old can’t get consistent top-six minutes until there is a rash of injuries, and Marleau is completely cooked. This is a great matchup for Barkov.
Florida’s top line has generated 4.25 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five this year, coming off a season where they generated 4.43. For reference, anything over 3.0 is a very good mark. To be over 4.2 in back-to-back seasons is otherworldly. It’s tough paying up that much for a road matchup, but I believe Barkov is fine to use as a one-off in any format.
Brayden Point (TB at COL): DraftKings – $6,700; FanDuel – $7,400
Though Brayden Point is having a down year compared to the 92 points he put up in 2018-19, he’s still on a point-per-game pace and is the center for one of the best trios in hockey. There’s still an excellent fantasy performer here.
Going into Colorado tonight means a very good matchup for Point and his line mates. Gabriel Landeskog’s defensive impacts have declined this year, but are still good and he’s been pushed down to the second line in favor of Andre Burakovsky. Burakovsky is a good offensive player, but is having the reverse season of Landeskog, as his defensive impacts have gotten worse. Colorado’s top line as currently constructed is allowing well over three expected goals against per 60 minutes. It’s still a small sample, but Miko Rantanen isn’t good defensively either so it makes sense that they’re struggling.
There are a lot of top-end options tonight at center and the hope is that makes people overlook Point and his line mates. His shot rate has gone down this year which means he isn’t a big cash game target. All the same, this is a great line in a great matchup, even if it’s on the road.
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Matthew Tkachuk (CGY vs. ANA): DraftKings – $6,000; FanDuel – $5,900
The line of Mangiapane-Backlund-Tkachuk has been a revelation for the Flames. The team has been struggling this year, but that trio has managed an expected goals rate of 2.7 per 60 minutes, well above average. They haven’t been sterling on defense in return, but that doesn’t matter for our purposes.
With the Ducks in town, it’s likely that the line of Mangiapane-Backlund-Tkachuk will be tasked with shutting down Getzlaf-Rakell-Shore from Anaheim. That line from the Ducks has atrocious defensive numbers, but in a sample far too small to glean anything. But even just Rakell-Getzlaf have bad defensive numbers this year, so it likely doesn’t matter too much who is on the other wing.
Matthew Tkachuk’s problem is his coach. The ice time numbers are all over the place: his last 10 contests include two games under 15 minutes, four games over 20 minutes and a bunch of games in between. That makes him hard to rely on for cash games. Hosting Anaheim should make the Flames popular targets, but hopefully people will gravitate towards the Johnny Gaudreau line. Regardless, Tkachuk is a fine one-off for tournaments.
Timo Meier (SJ vs. FLA): DraftKings – $5,500; FanDuel – $6,000
Last week in this column, we had Timo Meier’s line as a stack in San Jose’s game as the aforementioned injuries were starting to change the lineup around. At the time, we had a tiny sample to work with as far as line numbers are concerned. We have another week of data to add to it, and they’ve been very good; the line of Thornton-Meier-Labanc has scored 4.3 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five with an expected goals rate of 3.2. It’s the second number that is of importance here because it shows that the line scoring at a rate well above average isn’t a complete mirage. Their high actual goals rate is unsustainable, but it doesn’t mean they can’t sustain a high scoring rate regardless.
What’s curious is that with the Sharks’ injuries, Meier’s ice time hasn’t gone up much. However, the difference tonight would be that Evander Kane, a left winger, is out of the lineup. That should mean more ice time for Meier. It’s been a down year for the Swiss winger based on expectations, but even in a down year, he’s on pace for 27 goals and over 210 shots. It appears he’s finally found line mates with whom he has chemistry and that makes him a one-off target in any format tonight.
Shea Theodore (VGK vs. WSH): DraftKings – $5,600; FanDuel – $5,500
It’s worth noting how much Theodore’s ice time has increased over the season. In the team’s first 43 games through the end of December, he was playing 21:31 a night. For the month of January, that increased to 23:56, where it has stayed for the month of February (23:54). That ice time boost over the last month and a half has led to Theodore’s shot rate exploding from 2.65 per game to 3.44. In those 16 games over the last six weeks, he’s reached the shot bonus three times and fallen one shot short on four occasions. To boot, he has 16 points in those 16 contests. It’s been quite a run for Theodore.
Aside from the ice time increase in general, Theodore is seeing a lot more power play time as well. Over the last month, he’s seeing nearly two minutes more per game at five-on-four (3:36) than the next-closest defenseman (Nicolas Hague, 1:37). Not only is he anchoring the top unit, but he’s getting additional exposure on the second unit as well. Washington is the second-most penalized team in the NHL, which should mean lots of opportunities for Theodore and company.
Aaron Ekblad (FLA at SJ): DraftKings – $5,300; FanDuel – $4,400
As mentioned in the section on Barkov, this is a good matchup for the Panthers. The reason for Ekblad’s listing here specifically is his price on FanDuel. Typically, we see players pretty similar in price across the two sites, if not a bit more expensive on FanDuel because of the higher total salary. Seeing a player nearly $1,000 cheaper on that site is a mispricing. That is something to be aware of for a guy who plays 23 minutes a night.
Vegas Second Line of Pacioretty-Karlsson-Stone
It’s been a small sample with these three (about four games’ worth), but the numbers are other-worldly: over 96 shot attempts and 4.6 expected goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five. That’s honestly better than some power plays. Pacioretty and Stone have been able to support any center, so it is not surprising that they’re playing so well offensively with a good play maker. This line is simply playing too well to ignore right now, and with Washington in town, they should get lots of power play opportunities as well. Stack them up.
Islanders Second Line of Beauvillier-Nelson-Bailey
We used them last week when they were recommended on our video show and they’re going to be recommended again this week. Going into Arizona, they should avoid the top matchup (which isn’t overly difficult anyway), and since acquiring Taylor Hall, when Arizona’s top line is not on the ice, they’re allowing 2.65 expected goals against per 60 minutes. For reference, the worst expected goals against mark in the league as a team this season is the New York Rangers at 2.61. It’s a good matchup for the Islanders’ second line.
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