Your level of success if you used last night’s FanDuel NHL DFS picks simply would have hinged on which cash contests you entered. I was right on the cash line in my games and while I managed to get across in most of my double-ups, there were a couple where I finished one or two spots out of the money.
We got some real nice production from the likes of Kasperi Kapanen and Jake Guentzel as that duo each scored a goal and an assist while Sidney Crosby’s four shots and a block was equivalent to an assist.
Connor McDavid scored a goal on two shots at massive ownership and Tyson Barrie added an assist. Unfortunately, Nils Hoglander and Alexander Edler missed the scoresheet last night, as did Jesse Puljujarvi for Edmonton.
Finally, Carey Price actually didn’t play poorly for much of the game against the Senators until a weak, game-tying goal in the third cost him his chances at a win, as did the officiating on the well-documented Brendan Gallagher disallowed goal.
Not a bad night at all, but we’ll look to make things easier tonight as we dive into this five-game main slate with some optimal picks!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 24, 2021
C – John Tavares (TOR) – $7,300 vs. CGY
The Maple Leafs and Flames get back together tonight in a rematch after Calgary shut out the high-octane Maple Leafs’ offense on Monday, but you’re not going to keep this group down long.
One of the stories circulating when it comes to the Maple Leafs is the lack of production from the Tavares-led second line of late. After Tavares came out of the gate red-hot with four goals in his first six games, he has just two goals over his last 14. He still has seven points in 10 February games, but the Leafs are certainly looking for more from their captain moving forward.
Of course, he’s due. He has just two goals on 27 shots in the month of February, good for a 7.4% shooting rate for the month. This guy is shooting 13.3% for his career at this point and has never been under 10.8% in the season, so some positive puck-luck regression is to be had moving forward.
This really has nothing to do with the Flames as they boast a decent defense and penalty kill, but also David Rittich is probably due for a clunker as he’s stopped 57 of 59 shots over his last two starts and while he stymied the Leafs on Monday, the 28-year-old has been inconsistent in his career and owns a career .908 Sv%, so look for Tavares and the Leafs to get back to business in this one.
C – Sean Monahan (CGY) – $6,500 vs. TOR
Keeping with the puck-luck theme, here’s a player that could very well have began a scoring streak after getting off the schneid with a tally as part of Monday’s win in Toronto.
Prior to that one, Monahan had recorded just two goals in 16 games for the season and was shooting at just 5.6%. After the goal, his 7.9% shooting rate remains miles under his 14.7% career mark, so there is plenty of positive goal-scoring regression to be had moving forward.
This is a guy that has scored 30 or more goals three times in his seven-year NHL career and has never scored fewer than 22 in a season. If go by his goals per game prior to this season, his 0.36 mark would give him six goals through 17 games for this season compared to the three he’s actually scored so far. He’s not exactly peppering the opposition with shots with just 38 in those 17 games, but nonetheless he’s due for a goal-scoring binge at some point.
Monahan added an assist in Monday’s win and now has 14 points in 17 games, so while the Flames need him scoring more, it’s not as if he hasn’t been productive at all this season.
With five points over his last five games, we’ll look for the Flames’ top center to keep up the good work while finding the back of the net again in this one.
W – William Nylander (TOR) – $5,900 vs. CGY
Like Tavares, Nylander has been in the doghouse of Leafs Nation as of late given his general lack of production after coming out of the gates hot.
Nylander will skate with Tavares on that second line as well as the second power play unit, or the 1B unit given the talent on both groups. It’s a Maple Leafs power play that has clicked at a 33.3% clip that sits in a three-way tie for the best mark in the league, after all, and following a rare off night that saw the Leafs’ man advantage go 0 for 7, we’ll look for them to get back on track in the rematch.
For the season, Nylander has notched five goals and 14 points in 20 games with 37 shots on goal. However, he has just one goal and five points in 10 February games while he’s hit the scoresheet just twice in those 10 games with his five points coming via a pair of multi-point efforts.
For a player that is shooting at 11.4% for his career, Nylander’s 6.3% shooting rate for the month of February should get turned around in short order. Like Monahan, Nylander isn’t exactly piling up the shots on goal with just 16 shots over his last 10, but the numbers still don’t lie.
He’s one of the elite possession players in all of hockey as well, posting a 57.14% high-danger scoring chance share when on the ice this season as well as a 54.90% expected goal share when on the ice as well.
We’ll look for this duo to get back on track after some rough outings this month.
W – Johnny Gaudreau (CGY) – $7,500 vs. TOR
Of course, we’re not going to roster Monahan without his partner in crime in the form of Johnny Hockey.
Gaudreau has had as real nice season, posting nine goals and 18 points in as many games while putting 43 shots on goal in that time. He’s also been dynamite on the Flames’ power play, notching four goals and eight points on a man advantage that was the difference on Monday as the Flames went 2 for 5 on the power play in that one.
He too doesn’t exactly shoot the puck at an eye-popping rate, and truth be told his 20.9% shooting rate is going to continue to decline given his 12.4% career mark and the fact he’s never finished a season above 14.7%.
Still, if we believe it’s time for Monahan’s goal-scoring binge at this point, getting his winger that rides shotgun to him at both 5v5 and on the Flames’ top power play unit is probably a good idea, even if the duo sees some ownership tonight.
After all, while the Maple Leafs rank 10th in overall defense, they’re 17th on the penalty kill, 20th in high-danger chances against at 5v5 and 21st in expected goals against at 5v5 as well, as per Natural Stat Trick.
Add in Michael Hutchinson’s second straight start with Freddy Andersen nursing a minor injury and the Flames should be able to generate some offense in this one tonight.
D – Rasmus Andersson (CGY) – $4,500 vs. TOR
If we think the Flames’ power play can stay hot in this one against a mediocre Maple Leafs’ penalty kill, then we should certainly be using Andersson over a player like Sam Bennett, the latter of whom scored a goal while skating with Gaudreau and Monahan on Monday.
Andersson has reclaimed his spot as the lone defensemen on Calgary’s top power play unit after youngster Juuso Valimaki was given his opportunity for a couple of games. After all, the right-shot Swede has had a nice year in which he’s tallied three goals and 12 points in 19 games with a goal and five points on that man advantage.
He was a factor on Monday, recording a pair of helpers as part of his 24:25 of ice time in that one, the third consecutive game in which he has skated at least 24:02 while he has three points in as many games during that stretch. Andersson was demoted to 19:31 and 17:11 in his two games prior to this productive three-game stretch.
With the confidence riding high at the moment, there’s no reason not to like Andersson’s opportunity with the big boys this evening.
D – Drew Doughty (LA) – $6,300 vs. STL
Boy are the St. Louis Blues beat up at the moment.
On the blueline, they’re missing No. 1 defenseman Colton Parayko while veteran Carl Gunnarsson suffered a season-ending knee injury his last time out. Add in injuries to forwards such as Tyler Bozak, Jaden Schwartz, Robert Thomas, Ivan Barbashev and, of course, Vladimir Tarasenko and the Blues are missing plenty of key contributors that could help tilt the ice in the Kings’ favor tonight.
The Kings are a risky stack in my opinion, however, given the fact they rank dead last in terms of expected goals for%, scoring chances for% and high-danger chances for%, but I’m willing to take on some high-floor players capable of taking advantage of this battered Blues club.
Enter Doughty who is having a nice season with four goals and 15 points in 17 games on the season while also putting 31 shots on goal and blocking another 27 shots to boot. That’s the type of cross-category production that brings a high floor to the table and it makes sense as to why he’s the highest-priced rearguard on the slate.
His shooting rate of 12.9% is unsustainable, but I’ll still look for the Kings’ No. 1 defenseman to enjoy another productive night tonight.
UTIL – Jeff Carter (LA) – $4,400 vs. STL
To me, Carter could be the steal of the slate at this price.
The veteran goal-scorer has tallied just three goals on the season, but Carter has also taken 53 shots. His resulting 5.7% shooting rate is well under his 11.2% career mark and even with shooting rates of 7.5% and 9.3% over his last two seasons, Carter is another player due to score more goals moving forward from positive shooting rate regression alone.
In fact, the regression has already kicked in. After scoring just one goal in his first 12 games, Carter has two over his last five while he’s actually notched one point in each of his last five contests with the Kings winning all five of those games to make some unexpected noise in the West Division.
Like many of his teammates, his underlying metrics are quite poor, but I’ll certainly look to grab some value out of a high-shot volume player with plenty of positive goal-scoring regression on the horizon.
UTIL – Adrian Kempe (LA) – $4,400 vs. STL
Completing our three-man Kings stack is Kempe who will skate with Carter on the team’s second line, but also with Doughty on the team’s top power play unit while we’ll get exposure to both groups with Carter currently on the second unit.
It’s been a productive Kings power play that ranks 11th at 25% for the season, but we’ll also be targeting a struggling Blues penalty kill that ranks 26th at just 73.5% for the season. Without Parayko and Gunnarsson, that group isn’t likely to improve a whole lot with a watered-down back end at the moment.
For his part, Kempe has notched four goals and 10 points in 17 games with a healthy 46 shots on goal. He’s been productive on the power play, nothing a goal and six of his 10 points on the man advantage while he’s averaging 17:11 of ice time this season on that second line.
He certainly hasn’t had much luck of late, either. Kempe has just one goal over his last 12 games despite putting plenty of pucks on goal in that time. Kempe has recorded at least four shots on goal in four of his last seven games and at least five in three of the seven. He has a goal and four points in that stretch, but his minuscule 4.2% shooting rate for this month is due to climb drastically at some point.
Their offense is likely to regress moving forward, but I like their chances on the power play in this one while the matchup is vastly improved given the whack of injuries to this Blues team.
G – Darcy Kuemper (ARI) – $8,200 vs. ANH
For what it’s worth I like Igor Shesterkin as a GPP look, but I’m not going to leave more than $1,000 on the table, so I’ll pivot to Kuemper whose matchup is far superior.
The big netminder will take on a Ducks team that sits 30th with 1.89 goals per game on the season with an 8.9% power play that also sits 30th league wide. Anaheim did score three in a losing effort in Arizona on Monday, but also scored two goals or less in each of their previous four games.
Kuemper hasn’t been as sensational as he was last season while crafting a 2.22 GAA and .928 Sv%, but he’s been solid in posting a 2.33 GAA and .916 Sv% in 15 outings, but has gone just 6-7-2 given the lack of offensive support.
He’s enjoying a productive month that’s seen him work to a 2.24 GAA and .920 Sv% in eight games with four wins in that stretch.
The lack of goal support is concerning if we want the win tonight, but as far as matchups go, Kuemper should be able to keep this anemic Ducks offense at bay this evening.