I felt last night’s FanDuel NHL DFS Picks were well-positioned to do some damage in GPPs heading into the slate. Once I saw final ownerships, my optimism grew even more, however the execution largely did not happen.
I mean, we got both Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson at less than two percent owned. They combined for nine shots on goal and a block, but could not get on the scoresheet in a 6-1 blowout loss to Tampa Bay that really hurt our chances. Roman Josi recorded three shots and three blocks himself.
We also got a goal from Filip Zadina at less than 6% owned and an assist from Dylan Larkin at less than 3% owned. That goal happened early, but unfortunately it was the lone goal on the night for the Red Wings.
Our three-man Golden Knights stack did okay with Jonathan Marchessault scoring a goal on four shots at about 6% owned, and both William Karlsson and Shea Theodore each notched a helper on the night.
Finally, Martin Jones earned a shootout win over the Kings, but allowed three goals on 27 shots in the process.
At the end of the day, the ownerships were excellent, but there wasn’t nearly enough production throughout the lineup.
Let’s get things turned around on tonight’s small two-game slate!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 10, 2021
C – Mika Zibanejad (NYR) – $6,200 vs. BOS
If you read these pieces often, you’ll know that I often target regression as part of my process as career norms are something we need to keep in mind when evaluating player and their upside.
In terms of positive regression, there might not be a player more deserving of more goals than the Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad.
I’m not going to use his career-year last season as the bar, but there’s no doubt a goal-scoring binge is en route for Zibanejad.
Entering this one tonight, Zibanejad has just one goal on the season despite averaging more than three shots per game with 35 shots across 11 contests. The resulting 2.9% shooting rate is not only laughable, but less than 1/4 of his 12.7% career mark. Among the 49 players with at least 35 shots on goal this season, only Jeff Carter and Rickard Rakell have just one goal alongside Zibanejad in that department.
Zibanejad erupted for 41 goals in just 57 games last season, but also had 57 over the previous two seasons combined while shooting at his exact career rate of 12.7% in that time.
Sure, maybe the Boston Bruins don’t exactly provide an elite matchup to get the regression kicked in, but in a lineup that’s more GPP-aimed, I’ll roll the dice on the talented Swede tonight.
C – John Tavares (TOR) – $7,100 vs. MON
There’s a rivalry matchup on tap tonight as two of the NHL’s best get together in Montreal as it’s the league-leading Maple Leafs against a Canadiens team nipping at their heels in the North Division.
The Canadiens’ defense ranks seventh on the season and the Maple Leafs’ eighth, but we’ll be targeting both as all four teams on this slate rank inside the league’s top nine in overall defense.
There was plenty of rust when these two teams last met on Opening Night back on January 13, but the end result was a 5-4 final for the Leafs with Tavares notching his second assist of the game on the OT winner along with a power play marker earlier in the game.
The power play has been where he’s done much of his damage this season, tallying four goals and six points on the man advantage with five goals and 12 points across 13 games overall. Tavares has also put plenty of pucks on goal with 36 shots in that time.
While the veteran pivot has been consistent in getting on the scoresheet, he has just one goal over his last seven games despite putting 14 shots on goal in that time. He and William Nylander haven’t been as effective at 5v5 as they would like to be, but the 2009 first-overall pick has been his usual consistent self nonetheless while the Canadiens are killing penalties at under 80% for the season.
Let’s look for Tavares to get back into the goal column for just the second time in eight games tonight.
W – Chris Kreider (NYR) – $5,600 vs. BOS
It’s been a fairly quiet season for Kreider so far as he’s been moved around the lineup a little bit, but it appears he should settle back into the top-line left wing spot alongside Zibanejad at 5v5 action this evening.
I mean, he’s scored four goals in 11 games this season which isn’t the worst total in the world, but those four tallies account for all four of his points on the season while he’s put just 23 shots on goal in 11 games. He’s not shooting as much so far in the early going as he has in years past, and his 17.4% shooting rate is actually above his 13.5% career mark.
At the end of the day, he’s in this lineup because of Zibanejad. If we’re going to bet on Zibanejad breaking out tonight in GPPs, rostering his left winger at 5v5 and on the team’s top power play unit is a good idea. Kreider is averaging a healthy 17:21 of ice time and appears to be scoring goals at his usual clip that’s seen him tally 20 goals — or produce at a 20-goal pace — in each of the last seven seasons.
Let’s see if he can help his center find his game in this one tonight.
W – Pavel Buchnevich (NYR) – $5,400 vs. BOS
He has to be the least talked about player on a talented Rangers forward group, but like Kreider, Buchnevich makes a ton of sense riding shotgun with Zibanejad in this one tonight.
He’s also been one of the team’s top producers so far this season. In fact, his eight points on the season trails only Artemi Panarin who is already running away with the team scoring lead with 15 points in 11 games. In the spirit of GPPs, we’ll be fading Panarin’s second line in this one tonight.
The 25-year-old is certainly an underrated player. He’s battled some injuries in his NHL career, but has tallied 155 points across 258 career games, good for a fine 0.60 point-per-game pace. He’s scored three goals on the season on 30 shots on goal, good for a 10% shooting rate that sits a little below his 12.7% career mark, interesting identical to Zibanejad’s.
That said, Buchnevich has scored just one goal over his last nine games despite putting 25 shots on goal in that time, good for a minuscule 4% shooting rate. I would think he’s due for some scoring moving forward, especially since he’s without a power play goal despite spending a good chunk of the season on the top unit, where he’s projected to skate tonight.
Add it up and we’ll look for the Rangers’ top line and top power play unit to break through despite a tough matchup tonight.
D – Morgan Rielly (TOR) – $5,300 vs. MON
We’ll get our Maple Leafs mini-stack out of the way here with Rielly who has more or less produced as expected as part of a high-octane Maple Leafs offense and power play unit this season.
With Wayne Simmonds out of the lineup at the moment, the Maple Leafs have put Tavares back onto the same power play unit as Rielly, not to mention the lethal Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner duo. Again, in the spirit of GPPs, we’ll fade that duo in this lineup despite how hot that duo is.
Rielly enters this one with two goals and 11 points in 13 games on the season to go along with 26 shots on goal. He’s logging plenty of ice time at 23:35 per game while he’s recorded five of his nine assists this season on a Maple Leafs power play that sits third in the league with a monster 36.6% clip on the season.
He’s the clear-cut top option in this Maple Leafs blueline and with Tavares moving to PP1 Rielly makes plenty of sense despite likely seeing some ownership tonight.
D – Shea Weber (MON) – $5,400 vs. TOR
The Maple Leafs have prevented goals at a quality rate since a rocky first two games to the season, but they’re probably in for some regression, at least at 5v5 action.
The Maple Leafs rank fourth with just 1.77 goals against per game at 5v5 this season, but also 23rd in expected goals against/60 with a mark of 2.29. It’s not astronomically higher than their actual mark, but they also rank 21st in scoring chances against/60 and 24th in high-danger chances against/60, so they are likely to slip in their even-strength defense a little bit moving forward.
The Habs are certainly scoring more than they deserve as their top-ranked 3.23 goals per/60 at 5v5 is well above their 2.46 expected mark, but we have a two-game slate here folks, so we have to go somewhere.
For his part, Weber has two goals and seven points in 12 games this season with 20 shots and 14 blocks to his credit. He’s skating on the team’s second power play unit, but the Leafs rank 23rd with a 75.5% penalty killing rate, so both Montreal power play units should get some looks in this one.
Look for Weber to use that cannon of a shot to produce on the man advantage or even strength tonight.
UTIL – Brendan Gallagher (MON) – $6,900 vs. TOR
Next man up in our three-man Habs stack is Gallagher who will skate with Weber on that second power play unit, but I’d imagine his production tonight comes at 5v5.
While he’s often skated on the Habs’ power play — mostly the second unit — but he hasn’t exactly been a big power play contributor in his career. He tallied a healthy 17 power play points in the 2017-18 season, but just seven the following year and five last season. He has one power play point — a goal — in 12 games this season.
That said, he has five total goals and seven points in those 12 games, but also a whopping 46 shots on goal as he continues to put a ton of pucks on goal. He cracked the 300-shot barrier two years back and was on pace for 314 last season in a normal, 82-game schedule. His 46 shots this season ranks him ninth in the league entering this one tonight while he ranks seventh since the start of the 2018-19 season.
For a team that should regress defensively moving forward, getting a player who puts a ton of pucks on goal is probably a good idea in this matchup tonight.
UTIL – Tomas Tatar (MON) – $5,800 vs. TOR
With Weber, Gallagher and Tatar, we get a PP2 stack in this one tonight and, of course, a 5v5 stack whenever Weber gets on the ice with the Tatar, Philip Danault, Gallagher line.
Last year’s Canadiens points leader, Tatar has notched three goals and seven points on the season across 12 games, but also with just 19 shots on goal in that time. His resulting 15.8% shooting rate is above his career rate of 13.1%, and would also represent the highest mark of his NHL career.
Still, he makes too much sense not to roster here. Tatar actually scored all three of his goals in the first two games of the season, but has failed to score on his 16 shots over his last 10 games. Again, it’s not a high total, but like others in this lineup, he’s certainly due after going 10 straight without a marker.
He also has just one assist over his last six games, but with Gallagher and Tatar in this lineup, we are getting the top-two possession players for the Habs in this lineup at 5v5 as the duo have combined with Danault to become the top possession and expected goals% line on the Canadiens this season.
G – Alexandar Georgiev (NYR) – $7,200 vs. BOS
Without a Bruin in this GPP lineup, the obvious choice in goal is Georgiev who is tonight’s confirmed starter for the blueshirts.
The Bruins’ offense has been solid this season in averaging 3.09 goals per game on the season, good for 14th league wide and once again deadly on the power play with a 33.3% clip on the season which puts them sixth in the league in that department.
At 5v5, however, they haven’t been great in ranking 21st in scoring chances for/60, 27th in high-danger chances for/60 and 20th in expected goals for/60.
For his part, it’s been a tough start for Georgiev who has posted a 3.27 GAA and .886 Sv% on the season, going just 1-2-1 in his four starts. He hasn’t started since taking a 5-4 overtime loss to the Penguins on January 30 as the superior play of rookie Igor Shesterkin has earned him the 1A role to this point, but perhaps the break can do the fellow Russian some good entering this one.
After all, he posted a season-opening shutout over the Islanders before struggling in each of his ensuing three outings. That said, this isn’t an elite Bruins offense but rather a solid one so far this season and one that was quieted in scoring just two goals their last time out in Philly.
We’ll see if Georgiev can bring some GPP value to this group tonight.