FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – March 12, 2021

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It was a tough night for GPPs as plenty of goal-scoring around the league made it difficult to cash, and while we had the right idea with our picks in terms of the teams and matchups we targeted, we were on the outside looking in.

It was more of an optimal lineup that could fit in both cash and GPPs, and when Vincent Trocheck was announced as a scratch due to an undisclosed injury, the addition of Sebastian Aho in his stead increased ownership. Unfortunately, Aho didn’t produce, but we did get a goal and three shots from Martin Necas while Nino Niederreiter notched an assist and a shot on goal as the ‘Canes predictably routed the Predators by a 5-1 final.

We were also correct in using the Caps against the Flyers, and we the big boys at low ownership. Alex Ovechkin scored a goal on seven shots at about 6.5% owned while John Carlson also scored a goal on one of his five shots at less than 4% owned. A big dagger in our lineup was the goose egg we received from No. 1 center Nicklas Backstrom despite the Capitals hanging five on the Flyers. That zero set us back big-time.

Of course, a quiet night from our Matthew Tkachuk/Rasmus Andersson mini-stack did us in. The Flames scored just two goals on the night and both came off the stick of Josh Leivo in the Flames’ 2-1 win over the Habs.

With the addition of Aho, I had to find a cheaper goalie than Ilya Samsonov, and I went with Jacob Markstrom of the Flames who turned aside 17 shots in a winning effort. For his part, Samsonov had a fine night as he stopped 30 of 33 shots, also in a winning effort.

We hit some plays there, but we weren’t going anywhere with 4.8 combined FanDuel points from our two centers.

Let’s get things turned around with some GPP-aimed picks for this five-game Friday night slate!

FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – March 12, 2021

C – Anze Kopitar (LA) – $7,800 vs. COL

Sure, the heavily-favored Avs are likely to win this one tonight, but let’s analyze this matchup for a second.

The Avalanche enter this one ranked fifth in both overall defense with 2.46 goals against per game and on the penalty kill at 85.9%. While we don’t have final decisions on some of these guys, their back end is absolutely ravaged with injuries. Missing from that back is Cale Makar, Erik Johnson, Bowen Byram and Connor Timmins. The would leave Ryan Graves, Samuel Girard and Devon Toews as the three healthy, top-six member of the blueline at the moment. At this time it appears Timmins is the lone member of the injured list that could possibly return tonight.

Also, let’s keep in mind the Kings’ offense is white-hot entering this one after scoring five goals in each of their last two games with an average of 4.67 goals per game over their last three. L.A. also ranks 14th in overall offense with 3.08 goals per game on the season and sixth on the power play with a healthy 27.5% clip.

I can see an avenue where the Kings could continue to generate offense in this one, and I’ll start with their offensive leader.

Kopitar has tallied seven goals and 31 points in 25 games this season to go along with 56 shots on goal. The long-time Kings pivot has also notched a whopping 19 points on the power play this season to put him second only to Connor McDavid’s 20 across the league.

I mean, the dude is producing out of this world and should be getting more credit, but for tonight we’ll look for him to connect at what I expect to be lowered ownership.

C – Tomas Hertl (SJ) – $5,700 vs. ANH

Hertl has gotten some practise time under his belt since he was removed from the NHL’s protocol list, and it appears he is on track to play in his first game since February 22 in this one tonight. If he does, he’s entering a fabulous matchup.

The Ducks just allowed five goals in each of their last two games to the Kings and goaltender John Gibson is struggling terribly at the moment. Gibson owns a 4.00 GAA and .868 Sv% in five March outings, and if Ryan Miller gives him a breather tonight, he’ll carry an uninspiring 3.13 GAA and .891 Sv% into action.

The Sharks are a subpar offense and power play, but this is a good time to target these Ducks, not only due to their recent defensive woes, but also due to the fact they rank 26th in scoring chances against/60, 29th in high-danger chances against/60 and 27th in expected goals against/60 at 5v5 this season, according to Natural Stat Trick.

For his part, Hertl has a solid 11 points in his 17 games on the season, and while he doesn’t shoot the puck much with 33 shots in that time, he’s a factor on the power play where he’s scored three goals and five points in those 17 contests while averaging more than 19 minutes per night.

He’s the team’s second-line center behind Logan Couture, but we’ll pivot down for lower ownership for a well-rested Hertl tonight.

W – Alex Iafallo (LA) – $4,800 vs. COL

Dustin Brown is leading the Kings with 13 goals, but he’s also doing so while shooting at an unsustainable 20% clip. Therefore, my lone Kings winger in this lineup is going to be the cheaper (and probably lesser owned) Iafallo who also flanks Kopitar on the Kings’ top line and top power play unit.

He’s had a nice season with six goals and 16 points in 25 games to go along with a solid 53 shots on goal. He’s contributed three goals and five points on the power play, but he’s also logging huge minutes in the form of 19:57 per game given the fact he skates with Kopitar in all offensive situations.

I like the fact that Iafallo snapped an eight-game goal drought with a tally in Anaheim on Wednesday as it’s quite possible that a nice little stretch of goal-scoring has begun and with the way his center his producing, it’s not out of the question that he can find the net on multiple occasions tonight.

Given the big-time minutes in the best possible spot in the lineup, Iafallo looks to be a fine play this evening at what I presume will be very low ownership.

W – Timo Meier (SJ) – $5,500 vs. ANH

Next man in our three-man Sharks stack is Meier who will line up with Hertl on that second line while also skating with him on one of the two Sharks’ power play units. San Jose has spread the wealth on those units, so I’m not exactly seeing a PP1 or PP2, although I suppose whatever unit Couture skates on is considered the top group.

Nonetheless, we have a real good hockey player here. Meier has recorded at least 21 goals in all three of his full NHL seasons so far and cracked the 30-goal plateau in the 2018-19 campaign. He was on pace for 26 tallies last season before the plug was pulled on the final 12 games of the Sharks’ regular season, and he did so as part of one of the league’s weakest offenses.

He hasn’t been at his best this season with just four goals in 21 games, but he’s also averaging more than three shots per game with 64 shots on the season and a shooting rate of 6.3% that is not only well under his 9.9% career mark, but also well under his 11.6% mark he accumulated over the last two seasons.

He has goals in just one of his last 10 games — a two-goal effort three four games back — so he’s due to get back on the scoreboard and this is a fine matchup for that positive goal-scoring regression to kick in.

D – Drew Doughty (LA) – $6,400 vs. COL

Despite the tough matchup in Colorado, I believe Doughty is a player that will still see ownership on this slate given the kind of year he’s having and his cross-category production that he brings to the table.

Written off by many prior to the season, Doughty has responded with six goals and 22 points in 25 games to go along with 43 shots and another 36 blocked shots to boot.

Like Kopitar, he’s been an absolute monster on the power play where he’s recorded four of his six goals and 14 of his 22 points, ranking second in the NHL with those 14 power-play points behind only Victor Hedman and his 15.

He’s also on fire at the moment. Over his last six games, Doughty has scored a goal with five assists with all but one of those six points coming via the power play.

Finally, the 31-year-old ranks second in the NHL in ice time with 26:24 per game, so let’s look for the Kings’ No. 1 blueliner to continue to deliver fabulous results in this one tonight.

D – Brent Burns (SJ) – $6,200 vs. ANH

Completing our three-man Sharks stack tonight is Burns who actually forms a three-man “PP2” stack as Erik Karlsson is the lone defender on that top unit with Couture.

He’s not the same point-producer, monster shot-volume player he was a few years back, but his work is certainly nothing to scoff at.

For the season, the bearded Burns has tallied five goals and 12 points in 23 games on the season to go along with 64 shots and another 32 blocks as well. His power-play production has slipped dramatically this season with just four man-advantage points on the campaign in those 23 games, putting him on pace for 14 power-play points in a full 82-game season, which would be his lowest mark in a full season since the 2006-07 season when he was a winger/defenseman with the Minnesota Wild.

That said, guess who the only player averaging more ice time than Doughty is? Correct, Burns is averaging an insane 27:05 of ice time per game this season, a cool 41 seconds clear of doughty. If he’s going to be on the ice for nearly half the game against this battered and weak Ducks defense, I’m willing to wager that Burns gets his name on the scoresheet while delivering on his solid peripherals tonight.

UTIL – Vladimir Tarasenko (STL) – $6,800 vs. VGK

Honestly, I like the Sens as a GPP look here too and Brady Tkachuk makes sense in this spot at a cheaper price, but I like we could slip Tarasenko into this lineup here at low ownership in what I believe is a sneaky-good matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights.

For one, the Blues won’t face their old friend Alex Pietrangelo as he returned to Vegas to be evaluated for an upper-body injury while the sensational Marc-Andre Fleury has entered the NHL’s protocols. With Robin Lehner on an AHL conditioning loan at the moment, it looks like third-string netminder Oscar Dansk will be between the pipes for the road side tonight.

Dansk has put forth some quality AHL numbers for this career, but owns a 3.10 GAA and .906 Sv% in six NHL games and allowed four goals to the Sharks in San Jose exactly one week back in his lone NHL start of this season. Add in the six goals he surrendered to the Flyers in his lone NHL action last season and Dansk has posted an .848 Sv% over his last two NHL games. Without their No. 1 defenseman in front of him, Vegas could be vulnerable here.

Tarasenko has missed plenty of time over the last two seasons due to shoulder surgeries, but has an assist and five shots in his two games this season. Of course, be’s been a perennial 30-goal scorer in his NHL career and a guy who puts plenty of rubber on goal, even cracking the 300-shot barrier in the 2017-18 season.

On the top line and top power play unit, we’ll see if he can bag his first goal in a very long time in this one tonight.

UTIL – Jordan Kyrou (STL) – $4,500 vs. VGK

Completing our Blues mini-stack here is Kyrou who will skate with Tarasenko on the team’s top line while giving us exposure to the team’s second power play unit for this one. The Golden Knights rank third on the PK and the Blues 20th on the PP, but without Pietrangelo and considering the goaltending situation, along with the fact the Blues have a power-play goal in each of their last five games with a 46.7% clip in that time, I’m liking their chances on the PP tonight.

Kyrou has broke through at the NHL level this season, posting eight goals and 20 points in 26 games with a solid 53 shots on goal. He had 12 points in 44 NHL games prior to this season despite some excellent AHL numbers.

The 22-year-old has indeed cooled off some after a blistering start to the season and is riding a three-game pointless streak into this one, but given his spot on the top line and how hot this Blues power play is, look for Kyrou to get back on the scoresheet in this one tonight.

G – Devan Dubnyk (SJ) – $6,900 vs. ANH

We don’t have a confirmed starter for the Sharks as of yet, but I’ll be rolling with whoever starts for San Jose whether it be Dubnyk or even the struggling (again) Martin Jones.

Although Jones’ 15 starts towers over Dubnyk’s eight, Dubnyk has been the better goaltender on the season and of late. Now, that’s not to say he’s having a good season as Dubnyk enters this one sporting an ugly 3.34 GAA and .893 Sv% in eight starts (12 appearances) and has gone just 2-5-2 on the campaign as well.

That said, there aren’t many better matchups than this one. The Ducks scored 11 goals while going on a modest two-game win streak earlier in the week, but were cooled off by Kings third-string netminder Troy Grosenick their last time out, managing just one goal against a netminder that hadn’t played an NHL game since 2014, all due to respect to Grosenick of course, who was excellent in that one.

For the season, the Ducks rank 29th with just 2.26 goals per game and 28th with a 12.5% clip on the power play, so yes indeed this is a fine matchup for whatever Sharks goaltender gets the nod tonight.

Yes, I realize the Sharks are one of the weakest defensive teams in the league, they yield plenty of chances and neither of these netminders have been any good. But this is a major GPP lineup and I believe whoever starts will get enough goal support to earn the win, so let’s see what these guys can do — whether it be Dubnyk or Jones — in this favorable matchup 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.