FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 12, 2021

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Man did we ever miss a big opportunity last night. We had some minuscule ownerships, but it doesn’t mean anything unless your guys get the job done and that was not the case.

Every single one of our players came in at less than 3% owned. Unfortunately, it was Aaron Ekblad and Brock Boeser who were largely the only players to take advantage as Ekblad notched a goal and an assist while Boeser scored his 10th of the season on four shots.

Otherwise, we picked up assists from Elias Pettersson, Filip Hronek and Aleksander Barkov, and Joonas Korpisalo allowed five goals on just 26 shots in a high-scoring affair in Chicago.

I believed we were in an excellent position to succeed on that slate, but such is the nature of GPPs. If you want to climb the GPP mountain, you’re going to have to take some big risks on some under owned players, and it just didn’t work out for us last night.

We’ll put that night behind us and move onto another small two-game slate on this Friday night!

FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 12, 2021

C – Mika Zibanejad (NYR) – $6,100 vs. BOS

I believe the definition of insanity — one of the many is repeatedly trying the same thing and expecting different results. Well, sign me up as I’m going with Zibanejad once again in this one tonight.

After putting three more shots on goal and not scoring in the team’s loss on Wednesday, Zibanejad’s shooting rate dropped to a cool 2.6% as he’s now put 39 shots on goal this season with just one to show for it. Only two players in the league have been unluckier than Zibanejad among the 39 that have put at least 39 shots on goal: Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes (a defenseman) and Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell. For what it’s worth, Rakell’s luck has been atrocious with just one goal on 49 shots.

For a guy that has shot at a 12.6% clip in his NHL career, there is some monstrous positive regression heading his way moving forward. Sure, the defensively-stout Bruins don’t exactly provide the best opportunity to see that regression kick in, but when we’re on a two-game slate I am willing to roll the dice.

He also has just three points in 12 games after posting 75 in just 57 games last season. Nothing could go wrong a season ago for the Swede, a campaign in which he enjoyed a five-goal night. Few saw such a slow start for the No. 1 center of the league’s fifth-ranked offense from last season, so while he may not be playing his best hockey, the hockey gods are going to get his fortune turned around sooner than later.

C – Nick Schmaltz (ARI) – $4,800 vs. STL

No one is going to confuse the Coyotes for a high-octane offense, but it certainly appears they should be scoring more than they have.

They current sit 22nd while averaging just 2.75 goals per game, but at 5v5, the ‘Yotes rank seventh in scoring chances for/60, fifth in high-danger chances for/60 and second (!!!) in expected goals for/60, as per Natural Stat Trick. Their 2.00 goals/60 at 5v5 this season is well under their 2.52 expected mark.

Again, the Blues are one of the better defensive teams in the NHL despite sitting 21st at the moment, but I believe there’s an opportunity for some offense in this one.

For his part, Schmaltz is skating as the team’s No. 1 center at 5v5 and resides on the team’s top power play unit. The Coyotes have actually been able to generate power play success this season, sitting at a 23.4% clip on the campaign.

Schmaltz is quietly putting together a real nice season, tallying five goals and 11 points in 12 games. That’s some excellent production from a player attached to a sub-$5K price tag, and while his shooting rate of 17.2% sits well above his 13.5% career mark, the price right now is too attractive to pass up.

We’ll see if Schmaltz can keep up his good work against the Blues as tonight marks the fifth consecutive game against St. Louis while he’s notched two goals and five points through the first four.

W – Chris Kreider (NYR) – $5,600 vs. BOS

From a goals perspective, Kreider has more or less been his usual self this season with four of them across 12 games, a 27-goal pace in a full 82-game campaign. His 16% shooting rate is also above his 13.4% career mark.

That said, those four goals account for his only four points of the season as he’s yet to record an assist, and that’s where Zibanejad comes in.

If your center at 5v5 and on the top power play unit is going to start scoring goals by the bushel, odds are you’re going to be involved in the action, likely racking up plenty of helpers in the process. After all, Kreider is a player that has produced points at a 0.60 points-per-game clip in his NHL career, and his 0.33 clip at the moment is about half of that numbers. If we go by the last four seasons, his clip increases to 0.68, so while he’s not racking up points with the best of em’, he’s a consistent producer with a pair of 28-goal seasons over his last four while he was on pace for 31 last season before the halt in action.

We’ll look for this Rangers top-line duo to turn around some slow starts tonight.

W – Conor Garland (ARI) – $5,300 vs. STL

It’s looking more and more like Garland is among the most underrated players in the league.

A fifth-round pick in 2015, Garland has pretty much done nothing but score goals since getting into the league in the 2018-19 season. He recorded 13 goals in just 47 games that season — a 23-goal pace — and added 22 in 68 games last season, good for a 27-goal pace. He’s taken his game to a new level this season, collecting five goals and 13 points in 12 games, but he also fired 47 shots on goal as well, tied for the 10th-most in the NHL alongside names such as Max Pacioretty, Dylan Larkin and Roman Josi and Viktor Arvidsson.

His current 10.6% shooting rate is actually below his 12.4% career mark at this point while he’s arguably been the best player in a series with the Blues that has seemingly been going on forever.

He’s recorded two goals, six points and 15 shots on goal over the last four games — all against St. Louis — while skating at least 17:54 in two of those four contests.

Let’s sit back and see if Garland can continue his torrid stretch in this one tonight.

D – Adam Fox (NYR) – $4,700 vs. BOS

I originally had Pavel Buchnevich in here for a three-man 5v5 and PP1 stack, but I’ll pivot to Fox given the makeup of the remainder of this lineup.

The second-year defenseman isn’t enduring any type of sophomore slump this season after a surprisingly strong rookie campaign that saw him tally eight goals and 42 points in 70 games. This season, he’s notched a goal and seven points in 12 games with 26 shots on goal, but he’s also blocked 30 shots on the season to rank him in a tie for seventh in the league so far. Among the top 10 shot-blockers, Fox’s seven points lead the group.

Clearly the cross-category production here is real nice. He should also score more goals moving forward with a 3.8% shooting rate that is well below the 6.4% mark he put forth last season. We’re still in a small sample with Fox as he’s played just 82 NHL games so far and we’ll see how the shooting rate goes moving forward, but a player with his skill set from the back end should absolutely see a shooting rate well above where it stands so far this season.

After a hot start, Fox has just two points — both assists — over his last seven games while he hasn’t scored a goal on his last 15 shots on goal. We’ll see if he can get things turned around tonight, hopefully on the power play where he’ll skate with Zibanejad and Kreider.

D – Charlie McAvoy (BOS) – $5,500 vs. NYR

While Brad Marchand scored the OT winner on Wednesday, the hero was actually McAvoy. The impressive young defender broke up a Rangers 2-on-1 before banking a pass off the boards, springing Marchand onto a breakaway that ended the game.

With Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara walking in free agency, the team’s No. 1 defenseman is now McAvoy despite still being just 23 years old and not turning 24 until next season. He’s taken the increased responsibility and ran with it so far, notching a goal and 11 points in 12 games while skating 24:28 on average per game. He still doesn’t shoot the puck much with just 23 shots in 12 games, but he also blocks plenty of shots with 21 on the season.

So, once again, it appears we have some fine cross-category production on tap on our blueline this evening. He’s coming off that OT assists on Wednesday, but also put four shots on goal for the second time in three games while also blocking three for the second consecutive outing.

McAvoy is also skating as the lone defenseman on a lethal Bruins top power play unit that has propelled them to a sixth-ranked 31.6% mark on the season, so let’s look for McAvoy to show up in a big way in the rematch tonight.

UTIL – Clayton Keller (ARI) – $6,200 vs. STL

I like Jacob Chychrun on the back end for the Coyotes tonight as he’s emerged as the team’s top defenseman this season, but instead I’ll grab a three-man 5v5 stack with Keller.

He’ll skate with Schmaltz and Garland on the team’s top line, but we’ll also get exposure to both power play units as Keller is skating on the second group for the time being.

The 22-year-old has had a nice start to the season with four goals and eight points in 12 games to go along with 30 shots on goal. Keller cracked the 200-shot barrier in his first two seasons in the league while he was on pace for 216 last season before the regular season was cut short.

The 22-year-old American hasn’t produced at the same level as he did in his rookie season over the last two seasons, however. He tallied 65 points as a rookie, but fell to 47 as a sophomore and was on pace for 52 last season. This season, he’s producing at a 55-point pace.

That said, he’s hot entering this one. After scoring two goals and three points in the first two games of the season, Keller recorded just one assist over his next eight. However, he’s recorded a goal and an assist in each of his last two games and has fired five shots on goal in that time while he skated a season-high 18:51 his last time out on Monday as part of the team’s shootout win.

Let’s look for the youngster to stay hot tonight.

UTIL – David Pastrnak (BOS) – $8,500 vs. NYR

We had plenty of salary to work with in this lineup, and why not roster Pastrnak who has been sensational after a late start to the season following offseason surgery.

Undergoing surgery in the offseason hurts your ability to train and prepare for the upcoming campaign, but that’s not the case here. The Czech sniper has notched five goals in as many games so far this season and has added three helpers for eight points in five contests while he’s averaging an even five shots per game so far.

The man known as Pasta tied Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead with 48 goals last season and recorded 95 points in just 70 games as well with 279 shots on goal. His 20% shooting rate right now is certainly on the high side given his career 14.8% mark, but he did shoot at 17.2% last season so I’m not sure a ton of shooting rate regression is in store, although some will be had.

He recorded a point in each of his first four games and scored all five of his goals in back-to-back games to open the month of February. That said, he was held off the scoresheet in Wednesday’s OT win but still put three shots on goal and skated more than 20 minutes in that one.

He was held pointless in back-to-back games just four times in 70 games last season, so odds are he hits the scoresheet tonight on Broadway.

G – Darcy Kuemper (ARI) – $8,100 vs. STL

Kuemper hasn’t been as good as he was last season, but that was always going to be tough given just how sensational he was a season ago.

Kuemper posted a 2.22 GAA and .928 Sv% last season, but keep in mind he also worked to a 2.33 GAA and .925 Sv% in the previous season across 55 outings. So far this season, he owns a 2.50 GAA and .913 Sv% across 10 outings, going 4-5-1 in the process.

While he’ll be just fine at the end of the day, this has more to do with the Blues’ offense than anything else.

The Blues are simply scoring far more goals than they deserve. Their NHL-high 3.21 goals/60 at 5v5 this season is astronomically higher than their 2.11 expected mark, which ranks 17th. PDO, a stat used to gauge how lucky/unlucky teams have been in scoring goals, has the Blues pegged as the NHL’s fourth-luckiest offense while they rank 20th in scoring chances/60 and 27th in high-danger chances/60 at 5v5.

I do see their tiny 11.4% power play rate getting better considering they ranked third in that department last season, but their even-strength offense is just about as unsustainable as it gets.

Kuemper is the proud owner of a .941 Sv% while rattling off back-to-back wins over the last two games against the Blues, so let’s look for him to keep an overachieving Blues offense quiet again tonight.

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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.

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