We have a smaller four-game main slate on tap tonight, and keep in mind it’s a 6 pm ET lock as the Sharks and Leafs get started a little earlier than usual this evening.
With that in mind, let’s dial up some FanDuel NHL DFS Picks and see if we can pad those bankrolls heading into the weekend!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – October 22, 2021
C – Patrice Bergeron (BOS) – $7,000 vs. BUF
Perhaps you can slide this lineup into some GPPs tonight as I’m actually not going to use the Edmonton Oilers and their big boys as their matchup in Vegas is not as ideal as that of the Bruins’ top line in Buffalo. It’s usually a sin to fade McDavid and co. in cash games and Vegas has yielded 12 goals in three games, but this Bruins group has a nice opportunity in front of them tonight.
Sure, the Sabres have allowed all of 1.33 goals per game on the season so far, but how long is that going to last? Forty-year-old Craig Anderson has turned in a 1.50 GAA and .954 Sv% in two starts while saving in excess of 2.60 goals above average in the season’s infancy, but this back end and Anderson just have major regression written all over them in this young season.
This Bruins top line should be able to deliver said regression. For his part, Bergeron has been quiet and pointless through two games while putting just four shots on goal in that time. That said, this guy has brought a big floor to the table throughout his NHL career as he tallied 23 goals and 48 points in 54 games last season, but also fired a whopping 182 shots on goal. He’s even reached as many as 302 shots in a single season back in the 2016-17 campaign.
If you’re looking to use an optimal lineup suitable for both cash and GPPs tonight, a fade of Edmonton while picking up the Bruins is a good idea.
C – John Tavares (TOR) – $7,400 vs. SJ
The Sharks, like the Sabres, have been inexplicably solid on the back end so far this season, surrendering just 1.33 goals per game themselves, or four goals through the season’s first three games. They’re also fourth in expected goals against/60, so it would appear they have been deserving of their fate so far this season.
However, this is largely the same blueline that ranked among the worst in the NHL in preventing chances last season. This also has plenty to do with a Maple Leafs team that is ready to explode offensively.
Despite sitting second in the NHL in terms of high-danger chances for/60 and third in expected goals for/60 at 5v5, they’re tied for 26th in overall offense while scoring just eight goals in four games. Tavares has been snake-bitten to start the season with zero goals and two helpers in those four games, but he’s also fired a whopping 15 shots on goal in that time, good for 21st in the league so far.
The Leafs owns a near-55% expected goals for share at 5v5 with Tavares on the ice and the team has created more than 59% of the high-danger chances with him on the ice as well. He’s been involved, but just hasn’t found a way to bulge the twice as of yet.
The Sharks are another team set to regress defensively and the Leafs are due to explode offensively, a nice recipe for success this evening.
W – Brad Marchand (BOS) – $8,700 vs. BUF
While Bergeron is off to a slow start in the season’s very early stages, that has not been the case for Marchand.
The lightning rod opened his season with two goals on five shots in a win over the Stars before adding another goal on two shots in a loss to the Flyers. That’s three goals on seven shots through two games, production we’ll gladly take into this lineup tonight.
Brad Marchand ties things up.
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 21, 2021
It’s extremely early and the season’s just two games old for the Bruins, but one of the most mind-blowing stats I’ve seen so far this season is the Bergeron/Marchand/Pastrnak trio collecting 100% of the high-danger chances when they’ve been on the ice at 5v5. All three players have a 100% high-danger chances share at 5v5 this season.
They’re all over 72% in terms of expected goals share at 5v5 as well, with Marchand the lowest at a cool 72.25%. While it’s paid off for Marchand with all three of his goals coming at 5v5, this certainly bodes well for a Bergeron breakout in this one tonight as well.
Here’s a guy that recorded 29 goals and 69 points in just 53 games last season to go along with 143 shots on goal. He might not shoot the puck quite as much as other stars in this league, but he’s an efficient scorer at 16.2% for his career and has an early-season knack for the net this time around with a sky-high 42.9% mark in the early going.
W – David Pastrnak (BOS) – $8,200 vs. BUF
Completing this three-man Bruins stack is Pastrnak who comes in notably cheaper than his linemate Marchand but brings a ton of goal-scoring upside to the table tonight.
You could probably say he’s due to find the back of the net despite playing in just two games this season as he’s fired nine shots on goal in that time but has been held outside of the goal column. He does have two assists on the young season, but for a guy that’s scored 68 goals over his last 118 games, he’s pretty much been a goal every other game guy over the last three seasons.
Maybe his injury-shortened 2020-21 season wasn’t his best with 20 goals and 48 points in 48 games, Pastrnak has tallied 106 goals and 224 points over the last three seasons spanning 184 games, so the guy has been well over a point-per-game for quite some time now and I would certainly expect him to bet that player again this time around.
In Bergeron and Pastrnak, we have two goalless players who put the puck on net a ton. Credit the Sabres who have played solid D against all odds in the early stages, but they did yield 10 high-danger chances to the Canucks their last time out, exceeding their total from their first two games combined.
Perhaps the regression has already kicked in, but you have to like the floor and sky-high ceilings this Bruins threesome brings to the table.
D – Rasmus Sandin (TOR) – $3,500 vs. SJ
We needed to lower costs somewhere in this lineup and Sandin is a great way to do that as he’s been excellent so far this season.
The 21-year-old Swede has recorded two assists in four games, but he’s also put a healthy nine shots on goal in that time. While that’s solid production, it’s his underlying metrics that are most impressive and lead to the Leafs generating a ton of opportunities with him on the ice.
In fact, Sandin’s 72.61% expected goals share if the best on the team outside of Auston Matthews who has played in just one game. That said, Sandin’s massive 82.76% high-danger chances share when on the ice at 5v5 is by far the best number on the team. The top two players on the team in terms of expected goals for/60 at 5v5 this season is Tavares at 3.94 and Sandin right behind him at 3.93.
Of course, this means little to our DFS lineups if the puck doesn’t go in, but these are excellent and elite indicators of future performance. Sandin has just one goal and 14 points in his 41 career regular-season NHL games, but did produce in the minors with 15 points in 21 AHL games in the 2019-20 season at the age of 19.
The 2018 first-round pick is off to a flying start and should see the points go his way moving forward.
D – Esa Lindell (DAL) – $3,600 vs. LA
We’re going to cheap on the back end tonight but Lindell brings a solid floor to the table from a peripheral standpoint even if he’s not the most gifted offensive defenseman around.
With John Klingberg out, Lindell is part of one of the Stars’ two power play units as they’ve spread out the talent among the two groups in the early going. That’s a good start, but Lindell brings real solid peripherals to the table and is still capable of chipping in at the offensive end of the ice.
Through four games, Lindell has put a hefty 14 shots on goal and blocked another six. He recorded an even 100 shots and 104 blocks in just 56 games last season, but has more or less averaged two blocks per game over the last three seasons.
This is a guy that’s also scored as many as 11 goals in a season, his last full season in 2018-19. He recored 32 points in 82 games that year with 132 shots and 161 blocks, showing the type of cross-category upside he can bring to the table. He’s coming off five goals and 16 points in his 56 games a season ago.
Unlike every other player in this lineup, he doesn’t boast positive underlying data through four games, but I like the floor he brings to the table for cash games, but also the power play time at low ownership in GPPs as well.
UTIL – Michael Bunting (TOR) – $4,300 vs. SJ
Bunting is putting forth strong early returns for the Leafs after impressing in a small sample last year with the Arizona Coyotes.
Bunting tallied a healthy 10 goals in just 21 games with the anemic Coyotes offense last season, but has thrived with a much more skilled Maple Leafs group with two goals and three points on a quality 14 shots through four games this season. Bunting has averaged just 14:12 of ice time so far this season, but he’s a part of the team’s second power play unit with Sandin while skating to Tavares’ left at 5v5 action.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 17, 2021
Like his stackmates here, Bunting’s underlying data is exceedingly strong. He’s turned in a high-danger chances share of nearly 61% while working to an expected goals share of more than 66% when on the ice at 5v5 this season. William Nylander is the third payer on the Leafs’ second line and he’s off to a blazing start to his season, so certainly consider him as well, but the salary just didn’t fit here with the Bruins trio above.
He’s quickly becoming a fan favorite in his new digs and bringing plenty of DFS value to the table at this price.
UTIL – Jacob Peterson (DAL) – $3,600 vs. LA
Completing a Stars mini-stack here is Peterson who will skate on the same power-play unit as Lindell for this one tonight.
Peterson has climbed all the way from being a fifth-round pick back in the 2017 draft to the show in fairly short order, but spent last season in his native Sweden where he tallied 14 goals and 33 points in 46 games in the country’s top professional league.
He also scored in his NHL debut and has put seven shots on goal in a healthy 15:55 of average ice time so far this season, but it’s his spot in the lineup that’s most attractive here. I noted he’s going to get some power-play minutes tonight, but Peterson is also lining up with Roope Hintz and Alexander Radulov at 5v5, a real nice spot to be considering the offensive talent on board there with Hintz perhaps being the team’s best offensive player while averaging more than a point-per-game a season ago.
That’s been an excellent line from an analytical standpoint at 5v5 this season. Hintz has been the team’s best player from that angle this season and Peterson checks in with a 68% high-danger chance share and a 66.41% expected goals for share at 5v5, the second-best mark on the team next to Hintz’s 71% clip.
Clearly, this line is driving play and when you add in the power play time we have some notable upside here at a low cost.
G – Linus Ullmark (BOS) – $8,200 vs. BUF
Ullmark returns to his old stomping grounds for this one tonight as he makes his season debut for the Bruins after signing a free-agent deal with Boston in the summer.
It wasn’t a great showing for the former Sabre as he went 0-3 with a 3.90 GAA and .839 Sv% in early October, and the first two starts of the team’s season went to Jeremy Swayman as a result. However, despite dealing with many injuries so far in his NHL career Ullmark has been rather productive of late.
Playing behind a free-falling Sabres team last season, Ullmark managed a 2.63 GAA and .917 Sv% across 20 games while saving 5.5 goals above average in that time. He actually went 9-6-3 on a Sabres team that finished dead last in the NHL a season ago.
Pre-season results aside, it he’ll have every opportunity for a big season with a Bruins team that’s annually among the best defensive clubs in the game. Boston already ranks first by a mile in terms of high-danger chances against/60 and fifth in expected goals against/60, not a big surprise to be honest.
Buffalo is off to a surprisingly-hot start in many aspects and they’ve averaged 3.67 goals per game in three games — scoring five twice — but should be quieted by this Bruins back end in this one tonight.