Like Ron Burgundy when Baxter ate a whole wheel of cheese, I’m not even mad that last night’s GPP lineup didn’t cash.
I mean, the chalk hit with authority as the Maple Leafs’ big boys blew out the Sens while we didn’t get nearly enough from our defensemen.
After all, we had both Tim Stuetzle and Drake Batherson at less than 1% owned scoring goals. They also combined for seven shots on goal and Stuetzle added an assist to his ledger for good measure. That’s 26.4 FanDuel points at 0.8% owned while Batherson collected 16.8 points of his own at 0.6%.
Sidney Crosby and Viktor Olofsson scored goals at 6% owned or less, but with just five blocks a shot on goal combined from Rasmus Dahlin and Kris Letang on the blueline, it wasn’t going to be enough.
Couple in a Darcy Kuemper loss between the pipes and we were all be cooked. Again, we hit ownerships to a tee but the Sabres’ anemic offense cost us on this night, for the most part, while Jake Guentzel and Letang missing the scoresheet on four Penguins goals didn’t help matters, either.
The slate settles down to four games tonight, so let’s dial up an optimal lineup that should be able to work in both cash and GPP contests tonight with a lean towards GPPs.
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 19, 2021
C – Sean Monahan (CGY) – $6,500 vs. EDM
We’re fading the Oilers’ big boys in tonight’s Battle of Alberta, so while this lineup will be best served for GPPs, I like the Flames in this one.
Head coach Geoff Ward called out his club following a 5-1 beatdown at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks two nights back, and when that happens a lot of pressure gets put on the big boys to lead a bounce back effort, and while you can make an argument for Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk to be sure, I’m going with the team’s key cogs, beginning here with Monahan.
The 26-year-old pivot hasn’t had the best of seasons with 12 points in 16 games, but as I tend to do a lot, I’m going to hop on the regression train with this pick. At least, the positive regression train.
With just two goals on 36 shots this season, Monahan is shooting at just 5.6% for the season, a cool 9% under his 14.6% career mark. In fact, the dude hasn’t scored over his last 12 games and 21 shots. Sure, he’s not shooting the puck at sky-high rates, but here’s a three-time 30-goal man and a player that’s scored — or been on pace to score — art least 26 goals in each of the last six seasons. He’s never scored fewer than 22 goals in a season.
He’s still getting his reps down the middle alongside Johnny Gaudreau and his spot on the team’s No. 1 power play unit is secure, so let’s get him going in this lineup tonight.
C – Vincent Trocheck (CAR) – $5,500 vs. CHI
The Hurricanes are probably the most difficult team to stack in the league.
For instance, three of the four forwards on their top power play unit are their No. 1, 2 and 3 centers in Sebastian Aho, Trocheck and Jordan Staal. In other words, the 5v5 lines and power play units are all over the place, but I have a certain theory when it comes to their matchup tonight with Chicago.
Given that the Blackhawks rank last while allowing 33.8 shots per game this season, I simply wanted to get some high-volume shooters into this lineup while trying to keep some power play stacks together, and I think I’ve done just that.
Trocheck not only ranks second on the team with 41 shots on goal, but is enjoying a big bounce back season with seven goals and 14 points in 13 games. He’s shooting a little over his head at 17.1%, but after shooting at a tiny 6.3% rate in the 2018-19 season followed by a 7.8% mark last season, Trocheck was due for some serious positive regression when it came to the puck luck department this season.
We’re seeing the Trocheck of old here as he looks like the player that tallied 31 goals and 75 points with 287 shots in the 2017-18 season before a gruesome leg injury the following year set him back to be sure.
He’s the second-line center and resides on the top power play unit, so let’s look for the former Panther to connect again tonight.
W – Johnny Gaudreau (CGY) – $7,700 vs. EDM
Of course, here comes Johnny.
You’re not about to use Monahan without Gaudreau as they skate together at both even strength and on the Flames’ top power play unit, a group that came out hot but is just just 1 for 12 over their last four games while they now sit 15th with a 21.3% clip on the man advantage this season.
That said, it’s a group that will go up against an Oilers penalty kill that has regressed after ranking second in the league last season as Edmonton now sits 23rd with a 75% mark on the penalty kill this season and has allowed a power play marker in each of their last two games.
You can’t blame Johnny Hockey for what has mostly been a disappointing Flames season so far. He’s scored nine goals and 16 points in as many games with 39 shots on goal in that time. Like his center, Gaudreau isn’t the highest volume shooter around and his 23.1% shooting rate is both unsustainable and nearly double his 12.4% career mark, but with Monahan about to set sail on a goal-scoring binge, it’s okay if Gaudreau goes on a play-making binge as well.
I mean, the production has been about as consistent as you would hope. He’s yet to be held pointless in back-to-back games this season and he was held off the scoresheet in the loss in Vancouver on Wednesday. By my math, that would been he is due to get back on the scoresheet in this one as I’ll look for him to team up with Monahan in what will be a Flames mini-stack against the league’s 25th-ranked defense tonight.
W – Nino Niederreiter (CAR) – $4,700 vs. CHI
To me, the Trocheck/Niederreiter forward duo makes the most sense in this matchup. After all, the Swiss winger sits fourth on the team with 40 shots, but is also just three shots back of the team lead held by Andrei Svechnikov.
I’ll note that I won’t be using Svechnikov as he pairs with Jordan Staal at 5v5 and on the ‘Canes top power play unit, a player that has just 18 shots on the season and an astronomical 38.9% shooting rate. Given the severe goal-scoring regression on tap for Staal and the complete lack of shots (1.5 per game), I’m fading the talented young winger.
There’s been nothing wrong with Niederreiter’s goal-scoring abilities this season as he’s tallied seven goals on his 40 shots, but he also has just one assist in 14 games. He’s certainly not a play-maker by trade, but that total is going to rise in a hurry while we should also get him at quality ownership given that he lines up on the second power play unit. We’ll get exposure to both Hurricanes’ power play units in this lineup, for what it’s worth.
With the high shot volume alongside another shooter in Trocheck, I’ll look for this duo to give us a real nice floor tonight while I believe the ceiling could be quite high.
D – Dougie Hamilton (CAR) – $5,600 vs. CHI
Completing our three-man Hurricanes stack tonight is Hamilton who will reside on the top power play unit with Trocheck, but again, I’m here for the floor via shots on goal.
With this trio, we get three of the top four shooters on this Hurricanes team as Hamilton’s 41 shots are tied with Trocheck for second on the team, one shot ahead of the aforementioned Niederreiter. Hamilton has also been one of the highest-volume shooters in the NHL and especially among defensemen in recent seasons. He was on pace for a career-high 297 shots on goal last season before a broken leg limited him to 47 games a season ago, but his 751 shots over the previous three seasons not only ranked him 15th in the entire league but also second among defenseman behind only Brent Burns (952).
While we’re at it, his 48 goals in that same span also ranks him second behind Burns (57) and even after missing 25 games last season he still ranks second in defensemen goals over the last four seasons.
it was actually a bit of slow start for Hamilton this season as he didn’t score a goal across his first eight games, but he still has just one on the season. His resulting 2.4% shooting rate is miles under his 6.3% career mark, so expected more goals from the 27-year-old moving forward.
With 13 shots over his last three games and five shots in two of his last three, Hamilton is firing biscuits like it’s his day job at the moment, so we’ll see if one or two can find the back of the net tonight.
D – Neal Pionk (WPG) – $5,100 vs. VAN
Another team that allows plenty of shots on goal on this slate is the Vancouver Canucks as their 33.2 shots against per game ties them for 29th in the league, and like Chicago, their defensive metrics are among the worst in the league.
The Canucks enter this one ranked 30th with 3.60 goals against per game on the season and that’s despite a quality 82.3% penalty kill. I won’t be so much worried about the power play in this one, as the Canucks’ 5v5 metrics are horrible.
According to Natural Stat Trick, the Canucks rank dead last in scoring chances against/60, high-danger chances against/60 and expected goals against/60 at 5v5 action this season. Their 3.44 actual goals against/60 is well above their 2.69 expected mark, but man has this back end been brutalized by the opposition this season.
Paul Maurice knows more about his team than I do, but I have no idea why Pionk is not on the top power play unit. He is by far the team’s best offensive defenseman with two goals and 13 points in 16 games, and while he doesn’t shoot the puck a ton with 27 shots on the season, he did hammer one home in Wednesday’s loss in Edmonton.
The 25-year-old is one of the most underrated all-round defensemen in the game and his cross-category DFS production is going to make him a commodity in these circles for years to come.
UTIL – Kyle Connor (WPG) – $6,600 vs. VAN
I’m not exactly targeting the Canucks with shots on goal as I did with my Hurricanes stack as I had to find a unique angle with Carolina, but boy does this guy like to shoot.
Connor fired seven shots on goal Wednesday in Edmonton, upping his season total to 44 in 16 games on the season. I believe I mentioned when we rostered him on Wednesday that I expected him to shoot more, and he did just that while picking up an assist.
The helper kept his point-per-game total intact as he’s notched eight goals and 16 points in as many games while he’s notched four of his eight tallies on the Jets’ power play that sits 13th at 23.1% on the season.
That said, this is also a Jets offense that ranks seventh in the league with 3.44 goals per game and while the underlying metrics suggest they are scoring far more at 5v5 than they deserve, it’s extremely difficult to argue with the matchup in this one.
Over the last three-plus seasons, Connor’s 111 goals ranks second only to Alex Ovechkin’s 153 while his 702 shots on goal ranks sixth in that time. Those stats certainly bode well for his chances to get back into the goal column in a fantastic matchup tonight in Vancouver.
UTIL – Paul Stastny (WPG) – $5,000 vs. VAN
Like Pionk, Stastny doesn’t shoot the puck much. In fact, he is only averaging just 1.4 shots per game this season. It was to be expected given his recent history, but with the financials we have to work with and the matchup on deck, we’ll see if he can deliver some value tonight.
He’s certainly more of a GPP look given the low floor, and he’s not a big-time goal scorer as he’s been a play-maker by trade throughout his NHL career. His season has more or less been as expected so far with a decent three goals and nine points in 16 games with his 13% shooting rate right in line with his 12.5% career mark.
That said, Stastny continues to get first-unit power play reps alongside Connor and I have to believe Pionk makes his way back onto that group over a player in Josh Morrissey who is not an offensive-minded defensemen, at least not by trade.
He’s getting plenty of ice time at 17:35 per game this season and with his spot alongside Connor in all offensive situations, he simply made too much sense to use alongside the goal-scoring winger in this elite matchup tonight.
G – Chris Driedger (FLA) – $8,000 vs. DET
This is one of those plays that makes almost too much sense. However, I’ll simply plug Driedger in here as the top goaltending option on the slate and if anything goes awry, I’ll just tip my cap.
After all, Driedger is going up against a Red Wings offense that ranks 30th with 1.94 goals per game on the season, and one that has scored two goals or fewer in 13 of 18 games this season. The Wings are also coming off a 2-0 shutout loss to the Blackhawks.
Clearly, the matchup is elite. However, the Panthers have actually been one of the best defensive teams in the NHL this season, that’s if you believe the underlying metrics.
At 5v5 this season, the Panthers rank third in scoring chances against/60, second in high-danger chances against/60 and sixth in expected goals against/60. For what it’s worth, you might be interested to know the Red Wings rank first in high-danger chances against/60 and third in expected goals against/60. Maybe Thomas Greiss or Jonathan Bernier is a GPP look?
At any rate, Driedger has been excellent this season and is officially eating the lunch of the $10M man Sergei Bobrovsky whose Panthers struggles remain.
In seven starts this season, Driedger owns a 2.39 GAA and .924 Sv%, going 5-1-1 in the process. He’s actually allowed at least three goals in three straight including a loss to the Red Wings three outings back, but I mean, this matchup is just too good to pass up.
At the end of the day, there isn’t a safer option on the board, so let’s plug him in and not worry too much about it.