I was very tempted to play strictly cash games but decided to release a GPP lineup last night, which cost my valued readers as our low-owned picks couldn’t push us across the cash lines.
The Dylan Larkin/Filip Zadina combination hurt us again as the Wings once again struggled to score goals and were shut out 2-0 by Kevin Lankinen and the Chicago Blackhawks. I had both players under 6% owned.
Both Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat were between 20 and 25% owned last night, and they combined for the team’s empty-netter with DeBrincat scoring the goal while the duo combined for nine shots on goal in a solid effort.
Our three-man Jets stack got solid production from Neal Pionk and Kyle Connor. Pionk scored one of the team’s two goals while Connor assisted on the other. Connor also fired seven shots on goal while Pionk added two shots and three blocks as part of a productive night. Unfortunately, Paul Stastny couldn’t follow suit despite putting four shots on goal.
Our one-off defenseman Thomas Chabot recorded just one shot on goal in a wildly disappointing result.
Finally, the extremely low-owned Connor Hellebuyck allowed two quick first-period goals which presented a tough mountain to climb for both him and his team and while he allowed just one goal the rest of the way, his 9.6 FanDuel points left plenty to be desired.
The chalk unfortunately hit with authority last night as we’ll move onto some more GPP-aimed picks and look to get of a slide we’ve been one for a few days now.
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks – February 18, 2021
C – Sidney Crosby (PIT) – $7,700 vs. NYI
The Penguins’ offense has been a bit of a disappointment this season as their 2.93 goals per game for the season ranks them 16th in the league, but even more disappointing has been their power play that has clicked at just 14.3% on the season, good for a share of 24th in the league alongside the New Jersey Devils.
Things don’t figure to get much easier against an Islanders team that ranks fourth with just 2.20 goals against per game with the underlying metrics there to support their excellent work so far, but the Pens have scored three regulation goals in each of their two games against the Isles this season and I’ll look to sneak Crosby into this matchup at low ownership in a tough matchup.
That power play has to get going. The advanced metrics suggest their power play has indeed been subpar, but the talent level on board and their track record suggests a turnaround.
For his part, Crosby has tallied five goals and 12 points in 14 games on the season, a slow start by his standards and he would tell you so. He did have a three-game point streak snapped his last time out in Washington, and he’s only been held pointless in back-to-back games on one occasion so far this season.
He’s had a down year on a Penguins team that needs a jolt, but I see an opportunity to get one of the league’s best into this lineup at what I believe will be low ownership in a tough matchup tonight.
C – Jack Eichel (BUF) – $7,400 vs. WSH
Once again, I believe we can sneak a superstar into this lineup at lower ownership as Eichel and his struggling Sabres take on the Washington Capitals tonight in D.C.
Following a 14-day break due to quarantine, the Sabres scored just one goal in back-to-back losses to the Islanders while Eichel was held pointless with just three shots on goal in that time. However, the matchup here is actually quite nice.
The Capitals will enter this one in a tie for 27th with 3.57 goals against per game on the season while rookie netminder Vitek Vanecek has predictably regressed after a hot start to his NHL career. Over five February outings, Vanecek has posted a 3.51 GAA and .885 Sv% with just one win in that time, so we’ll target him and this Capitals back end tonight.
For the season, Eichel has just two goals but 11 points in 12 games. He’s an extremely high-volume shooter, however, putting 42 shots on goal in that time while his tiny 4.8% shooting rate is in for major positive regression given his 10.7% career mark.
You just don’t keep guys like Eichel quiet for very long and while the Sabres’ offense is struggling this season, look for the captain to get his troops going in a favorable matchup tonight.
W – Jake Guentzel (PIT) – $7,100 vs. NYI
It’s been a solid if unspectacular start to the season for Guentzel, the former 40-goal scorer who was on pace for a second consecutive 40-goal campaign before a shoulder injury cost him the remainder of the shortened 2019-20 regular season.
Guentzel has notched five goals and 12 points in 14 games with 35 shots in that time. His 14.3% shooting rate is actually below the high career bar of 16.1% and he’s notched just three points on a scuffling power play so far.
While we could could pivot to the team’s second line featuring the severely struggling Evgeni Malkin, I’ve decided to go with the team’s top two possession players in Crosby and Guentzel.
At 5v5, Crosby and Guentzel rank 1-2 on the team in Corsi For%, while both sport Scoring Chances For% of at least 59.22% and expected goals% of at least 56.53%. Winger Bryan Rust is also up there with his excellent underlying metrics, but I believe we’ll get Guentzel at lower ownership given the higher cost.
I mean, over the three seasons prior to this one, Guentzel’s 82 goals ranks him 10th among left-winger despite playing far fewer games than the players ahead of him on that list. If we give him his goals pace of 35 in a 70-game season last year, his 97 goals over the last three seasons would rank him third among left wingers in that time behind only Alex Ovechkin (148), Kyle Connor (103) and Brad Marchand (98).
Since entering the league he’s been one of the premier goal-scorers at his position and I’ll look for him to break through despite the tough matchup tonight.
W – Viktor Olofsson (BUF) – $6,600 vs. WSH
With just one goal on the season and zero over his last 11 games, you would think Taylor Hall is due to pot one sooner than later. That said, with Hall skating with Eric Staal on the team’s second line at 5v5, I’ll opt for the three-man 5v5 and PP1 stack and grab Olofsson who is probably having the best season among Sabres forwards.
The sophomore has notched five goals and 11 points in 12 games this season to go along with 36 shots on goal. Now, he’s been an absolute machine on the power play where he’s tallied four of his five goals and nine of his 11 points, but that’s just fine with me given the small incentive to roster power-play producers at FanDuel.
In fact, Olofsson was responsible for the team’s only goal over the two games since the two-week break — a power play marker — while he put three shots on goal in each of those losses to the Islanders.
Olofsson doesn’t rank among the team’s leaders in man advanced numbers, but he’s on the positive side of the ledger thanks in large part to skating with Eichel at 5v5, and while Hall is a solid play here given his lack of production of late, I still want to expose myself as much to Eichel as possible so I’ll roll with the 25-year-old Olofsson this evening.
D – Kris Letang (PIT) – $6,600 vs. NYI
At 33 years old and with plenty of miles on his oft-injured body, Letang remains a solid cross-category producer, but I’m waiting for him to break through in the goals scored column at the moment.
Letang has notched seven assists in 13 games on the season, but has yet to score despite putting 28 shots on goal in that time. He’s also logging 24:45 of ice time per game on the season and has blocked another 17 shots to boot.
He also had a three-game point streak snapped on Tuesday in Washington after recording four helpers over a three-game span. Over his last three, however, the veteran has notched three assists, seven shots and six blocks, so there’s still plenty to like about the former third-round bargain.
When the Penguins’ power play inevitably gets going, Letang will be at the forefront. Over the previous six seasons, he ranks seventh among defensemen in power play points and 13th in power play goals by a defenseman.
At the end of the day, he remains one of the premier offensive defensemen in the game and should be in the goal column sooner than later.
D – Rasmus Dahlin (BUF) – $4,600 vs. WSH
We’ll complete a three-man Sabres stack here with Dahlin who has remained productive despite the Sabres’ lack of offense on the season.
The 2018 No. 1 overall pick has notched a goal and three assists on the season — all coming on the power play — with 34 shots on goal in 12 games. While that may not seem like much, all of that production has come over the last six games while Dahlin has skated in excess of 25 minutes in each of the team’s two games since returning from the aforementioned quarantine.
We knew the production was on its way considering the 20-year-old went pointless through his first six games of the season. After all, he notched an excellent 44 points in 82 games as an 18-year-old rookie while he connected for 40 points in just 59 games as a 19-year-old sophomore a season ago. I believed this could be the season he works his way into the Norris Trophy discussion, and while another disappointing Sabres season could cost him, it certainly appear he’s turning it around while his 2.9% shooting rate sits under his 4.7% career mark, so perhaps some positive goal-scoring regression could be on the horizon.
The Sabres’ power play has clicked at a fifth-ranked 30.2% mark on the season, so getting a three-man PP1 stack into this lineup is not the worst idea in the world.
UTIL – Drake Batherson (OTT) – $3,900 vs. TOR
After a wild 6-5 Senators come-from-behind win on Monday, the Maple Leafs and Senators played a much quieter game on Wednesday in a 2-1 Leafs win, but the Sens played well and certainly out-changed the Leafs early in that one while I believe more offense is on the horizon for the visitors tonight.
With Frederik Andersen having made his 10th consecutive start last night, third-string netminder Michael Hutchinson figures to see his first game action since last year’s playoffs when he was with the Colorado Avalanche. While he played well for the Avs, Hutchinson posted a 3.66 GAA And .886 Sv% in 15 appearances with the Leafs last season before they traded him to Colorado, and given the extended lack of game action for the 30-year-old, there could be plenty of rust on the tools in this one.
For his part, Batherson has notched two goals and seven points in 18 games, but has also fired 40 shots on goal and owns a tiny 5% shooting rate that is certainly due to rise moving forward. He sports excellent vision that had him producing at a point-per-game pace in the minors last season while he’s notched a goal and five points on the power play this season.
Batherson scored a goal in the comeback win on Monday, so let’s see if he can continue that positive shooting-rate regression in this one tonight.
UTIL – Tim Stuetzle (OTT) – $3,800 vs. TOR
After being used like an 18-year-old rookie early in the season, Stuetzle has been seeing a major increase in his minutes of late.
The 2020 No. 3 overall pick has skated at least 16:09 in six of his last seven games while he led all Senators forwards with 19:41 of ice time in the win on Monday in which he notched an assist.
The increase in ice time hasn’t exactly led to a ton of production from the rookie as Stuetzle’s assist on Monday is his lone point over his last seven contests, although he’s remained a factor when on the ice and has still put 17 shots on goal in that time.
For the season, the German has notched four goals and seven points in 15 games to go along with 27 shots on goal. He’s scored two of his four tallies on the power play where he skates on the top unit, and while Batherson resides on the second group, the duo will skate on the flanks of Derek Stepan on the team’s third line for this one tonight.
The talent is certainly there. Stuetzle took home top forwards honors at the 2021 World Juniors despite playing for an undermanned German club while he played pro last season in his native Germany, likely giving him a leg up on his NHL start.
We’ll see if the Batherson/Stuetzle duo can combine for some low-owned offense at valuable price tags tonight.
G – Darcy Kuemper (ARI) – $8,000 vs. LA
The Coyotes finally get an opponent not named the St. Louis Blues after the two teams played seven straight games against one another with the ‘Yotes coming out on top in that playoff-type series.
Kuemper was a big reason why, however, as he has earned victories in three of his last four outings and has been on fire of late, turning in a .949 Sv% in that time while allowing two goals or less in three of those four starts. Additionally, he’s coming off a shutout in which he turned aside all 24 Blues shots he faced on Monday.
After a month of January in which he posted a 2.44 GAA and .910 Sv%, Kuemper owns a 2.00 GAA and .932 Sv% for the month of February while he’s turned in a stout 1.58 GAA and .940 Sv% across his seven outings at home so far this season.
The matchup here is also fantastic. Kuemper takes on a Kings offense that ranks 13th with 3.14 goals per game, but also one that ranks last in scoring chances for/60, last in high-danger chances for/60 and 30th in expected goals for/60 at 5v5 this season.
The Kings are scoring over their heads so far this season, and the red-hot Kuemper and a solid Coyotes back end should present the matchup that cools them off in this one tonight.