FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 2, 2021

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Our picks came on a bit late last night, but the slow start cost us as we missed out on plenty of the early-scoring action.

Man, this Lafreniere kid is killing me. He’s going to break out at some point and Pittsburgh’s defense was absolutely ravaged in last night’s game, but he managed just one shot on goal while his center, Mika Zibanejad, had three. It’s very unfortunate too because I had Lafreniere in a wonderful matchup at less than 2% owned. Artemi Panarin managed to dominate, however, notching a goal and two helpers in the team’s 3-1 win.

Our three-man Flames stack produced a little bit, with Elias Lindholm tallying two assists, two shots and two blocks. Matthew Tkachuk recorded an assist and two shots, but Rasmus Andersson notched just one shot and a pair of blocks.

Our Predators mini-stack actually did well at low ownership. Mikhail Granlund’s hot start continued with a goal, three shots and a block while Roman Josi notched an assist and a shot on goal. Not ground-breaking production from Josi, but Granlund’s production came at less than 2% owned.

Finally, we got a decent effort from Jacob Markstrom who turned aside 25 of 28 regulation and overtime shots, but ended up with the win via the shootout.

At the end of the day, we missed out on too much scoring from the Lightning as well as the Montreal Canadiens as ducking that ownership didn’t work out on this night.

Let’s get back across the cash line — in cash games — on tonight’s eight-game main slate!

*Line combinations courtesy of Daily Faceoff
**Advanced metrics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick

FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 2, 2021

C – Connor McDavid (EDM) – $9,000 vs. OTT

If you had been living under a rock earlier in the week, you missed a five-point effort from Connor McDavid who notched a foal and four assists in Sunday’s 8-5 victory over these lowly Ottawa Senators.

This defense is actually worse than even I expected. The Sens currently sit dead last with 4.89 goals per game on the season, more than a full goal worse than the 30th-ranked Sharks (3.88) Their 68.4% penalty kill sits 28th and many of their advanced metrics tell us they pretty much deserve their league-worst defensive figure.

The Sens sit 29th in terms of scoring chances against/60, 25th in high-danger chances against/60 and 30th in expected goals against/60 at 5v5. Now, their 4.22 actual goals against/60 at 5v5 is much higher than their 2.68 expected mark, but let’s be real here.

This Senators back end cannot contain McDavid who is playing at a level maybe we haven’t even seen from him before. He’s now recorded eight goals and 22 points in 11 games on the season with 43 shots on goal to boot. He’s also notched three goals and 10 power play points on the year to boot.

Making matters worse, Sens No. 1 blueliner Thomas Chabot is questionable for this one tonight, and we saw what happened when he wasn’t in the lineup on Sunday.

Any cash line is incomplete without 97 tonight.

C – Leon Draisaitl (EDM) – $8,700 vs. OTT

Connor McDavid’s five points on Sunday didn’t even lead the team. That distinction belonged to Draisaitl who notched six assists on the evening.

The reigning Art Ross Trophy winner is making another bid for the award despite McDavid’s brilliance, notching six goals and 21 points in his 11 games this season with 30 shots on goal as well. The big German has tallied four goals and nine points on the season as well.

He doesn’t shoot as much as McDavid, but the power play is largely built around a one-timer to Draisaitl on his off wing and he’s made good on some of those setups from McDavid so far this season. A year after the Oilers led the NHL in power play efficiency, they are tied for eighth at the moment, but have also been white-hot on the man advantage over their last four games, going a cool 9 for 18 in that time and 4 for 5 in Sunday’s outburst against these Sens.

Not only is Chabot questionable, but another top-six d-man in Christian Wolanin is out for a couple weeks while the likes of Nikita Zaitsev, Braydon Coburn and Erik Gudbranson are in for top-four minutes tonight. The footspeed of Coburn and Gudbranson simply does not allow them to contain 97 or 29 in Edmonton, so getting both of these elite talents into this lineup is a very good idea.

W – Jesse Puljujarvi (EDM) – $3,500 vs. OTT

Getting a Connor McDavid winger into your lineup in this matchup at $3,500 is a no-brainer. I don’t care who it is. It could be me and I’d be rostering myself at this point.

It looks like Puljujarvi will indeed get the right wing minutes at 5v5 alongside McDavid and he’ll get some second-unit power play reps as well.

Through 11 games this season, the 22-year-old is without a goal despite taking a healthy 27 shots on goal so far. Right away, I’d suggest that 0% shooting rate is due to regress positively, especially when you have McDavid as your center. He also has just two assists on the season, but he’s played much better than his stat line suggests.

He’s only played with McDavid for a few games, but his on-ice Corsi For% is fourth on the team at 53.02% (better than Draisaitl) and he ranks second only to McDavid with an expected goal share of 62.91% when he’s on the ice at 5v5 this season. Again, he’s played with McDavid for three games of the 11 he’s skated in. He was moved off the top line in Saturday’s OT win over the Leafs and almost skated just 11:28 in Sunday’s win over these Sens.

However, he’s back with McDavid and this price is too ridiculously low to not get him in here as a much-needed salary reliever as a result.

W – Matthew Tkachuk (CGY) – $6,100 vs. WPG

Targeting the Jets has paid dividends this season regardless, but targeting that weak defense in a back-to-back situation with backup Laurent Brossoit likely to go in this one is an even better idea.

Brossoit’s .911 Sv% in his two outings isn’t bad from a personal standpoint, but his 3.46 GAA is as the Jets have allowed 39.5 shots per game between the two games he’s started this season, allowing seven goals in that time.

The Jets are tied for 21st with 3.11 goals against per game on the season and rank 24th with a 75% penalty kill so far. However, at 5v5, they rank 25th in scoring chances against/60, 30th in high-danger chances against/60 and 26th in expected goals against/60 this season.

As a result, it appears the Jets may even be a little fortunate to sit in a share of 21st in overall defense, but the PK is not helping matters.

For his part, Tkachuk notched his sixth points in eight games last night and he’s put 30 shots on goal this season as well. Once again, I want top-six Flames exposure and PP1 exposure, and with Tkachuk and the remainder of the Flames in this stack, I get both of those without paying the top-tier prices for the likes of Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.

With Tkachuk and Lindholm ranking first and fourth on the team in on-ice Corsi For% at 5v5, it appears it’s a worthy fade of the top guys and we’ll slide down to this duo again tonight.

D – Rasmus Andersson (CGY) – $4,500 vs. WPG

He let us down last night, but he also drops $200 to $4,500 tonight and that just means additional value for when he gets back on the scoresheet in this one.

The 24-year-old blueliner has supplanted Mark Giordano on the team’s top power play unit this season where he’s tallied a goal and three points on the season. Overall, he’s notched two goals, five points, 15 shots and 16 blocked shots in his eight games this season. That’s some real solid cross-category production for a guy listed at this price tag in a favorable matchup.

The one thing that is interesting to note with Andersson is that his on-ice advanced metrics are quite poor, as are Giordano’s. That said, the price tag and the spot on the top power play unit are the two main reasons he is in this lineup as he looks to take over as the team’s No. 1 defenseman as Giordano moves into his later 30s.

I’m pumped to get such a reasonably priced Flames stack into this lineup again tonight.

D – Jacob Slavin (CAR) – $4,200 vs. CHI

Slavin and some other Hurricanes players have only played a few games this season as they were placed on the NHL’s protocol list, however head coach Rod Brind’Amour said he hopes to be getting a whole bunch of bodies back into the lineup for tonight’s matchup in Chicago, including Slavin. So, for now, we’ll pencil him into this lineup and keep an eye on news as it comes out (follow me on Twitter @BKemp17 for updates).

The matchup with the Blackhawks is a very, very good one. The Blackhawks have settled down defensively — on the surface — since Kevin Lankinen has taken over in goal, and the team is tied for 18th with 3.00 goals per game as a result. However, they also rank 29th in allowing 33.5 shots per game on the season and Carolina ranks second with 33.2 shots per game this season.

At 5v5, the Blackhawks rank 27th in scoring chances against/60, 18th in high-danger chances against/60 and 22nd in expected goals against/60. Their penalty kill has been mediocre at 18th with a 78.4% clip on the season.

For his part, Slavin has one assist in his three games, and he last played on January 18. That said, he also had five shots on goal and six blocked shots as well.

Last season, he notched six goals, 36 points, 145 shots and 107 blocked shots in 68 games played. He’s turning into a cross-category beast and I’ll look for him to return to that form in a fantastic matchup tonight in Chicago.

UTIL – Elias Lindholm (CGY) – $5,800 vs. WPG

Lindholm certainly wasn’t the problem in falling short of cash lines last night as the Flames second-line center tallied two helpers, two shots and two blocks on the night. That continues a hot start for the 26-year-old who has now notched two goals and 10 points in eight ames on the season with 20 shots on goal. He’s also recorded a goal and six assists as part of a Flames power play that ranks 10th at 27.8% on the season.

As noted briefly in the Tkachuk section above, Lindholm has some dynamite advanced metrics at 5v5.

He ranks fourth on the teams with an on-ice Corsi For% of 58.43%, fifth with an expected goals for rate of 59.45% and fourth with a scoring chance share of 60.71%. Tkachuk is ahead of him in all of those categories, meaning this duo has vastly outplayed and out-chanced their opponents at 5v5 while on the ice this season.

Against a Jets team that boasts suspect defensive numbers and a suspect personnel on the whole, I’ll look for a big showing from these Flames tonight.

UTIL – Vincent Trocheck (CAR) – $4,800 vs. CHI

Trocheck completes a Hurricanes mini-stack tonight in Chicago, and to be honest he’s one of my favorite looks on this slate.

Trocheck hasn’t been the same player since he crashed into the boards and broke his ankle in the 2018-19 season while with the Florida Panthers. In the 2017-18 season he produced at an elite fantasy level, tallying 31 goals, 75 points and 287 shots on goal in 82 games. In 55 games the following year, he produced at a 51-point, 236-shot pace across 82 games and last season he produced at a 50-point, 186-shot pace between the Panthers and ‘Canes.

This season, however, he looks to be in his old form, tallying four goals and six points on 19 shots in six games while tallying two goals and three points as part of a Hurricanes’ top power play unit that has them sitting 11th with a 26.9% clip in the early going. He’s simply playing with plenty of confidence as far as the eye test goes.

Trocheck is also putting forth fantastic advanced metrics. At 5v5, he sports a 59.31% Corsi For%, a 62.31% expected goals for% and a 60% scoring chance share%. Doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.

Given the Blackhawks’ inability to prevent shots and scoring chances, Trocheck looks like a mighty fine play with a major ceiling in this matchup.

G – James Reimer (CAR) – $8,300 vs. CHI

I obviously like the Hurricanes in this matchup and there’s no secret as to why.

The Hurricanes enter this one ranked first with just 1.67 goals against per game on the season and second with a 91.3% penalty kill in their six-game sample.

Their 5v5 advanced metrics aren’t great, but this is a watered down Blackhawks offense that has very little outside of Patrik Kane, Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome. Alex DeBrincat remains in protocol, but the team is also without Kirby Dach and Alex Nylander for the season while Jonathan Toews remains out indefinitely with an illness.

As a result, the ‘Hawks sit 22nd with just 2.60 goals per game on the season and their power play, while at 33.3% on the season, has cooled off to the tune of an 11.1% clip over their last three games (1 for 9). The Blackhawks have also averaged just 1.75 goals per game over their last four.

For his part, Reimer has enjoyed a nice season so far, albeit in a three-appearance sample, posting a 1.99 GAA and .918 Sv%, going 3-0-0 in the process. He’s going to be in for plenty of work moving forward with Petr Mrazek out for what sounds like a potential long-term ailment.

The Hurricanes are currently listed as -152 moneyline favorites in this one, so there’s an element of safety to like here while it looks like a fantastic opportunity for Reimer to notch his fourth straight victory 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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