We had just a two-game NHL slate on Wednesday night, but the action picks right back up on Thursday with a 12-game slate on tap.
Let’s dive right in and see if we can line our pockets!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks & Breakdowns
C – Connor McDavid (EDM) – $8,800 vs. SJ
The Edmonton Oilers play host to the San Jose Sharks tonight on home ice and with James Neal likely out of the lineup again we actually have an opportunity to both grab Connor McDavid as the highest-priced player on the slate, but to also lower our average cost of the stack thanks to the cost-effectiveness of his linemates.
The matchup is certainly a good one tonight on home ice. The Oilers enter this one ranked 10th in the league with 3.40 goals per game at home on the season and their power play sits second with a 31% mark as well. While that power play has been dominant at home, I’m actually not concerned about using a power play stack tonight as the Sharks sit third with an 84.9% penalty kill on the road but also 27th with 3.05 goals against/60 on the road at 5v5, so most of the damage against them is at even strength as opposed to the power play. The Sharks also sit 26th with 3.50 goals against per game on the road as a whole, so this is certainly a nice matchup for McDavid and co.
For his part, McDavid sits second in the NHL – behind teammate Leon Draisaitl – with 79 points in 53 games on 172 shots, but he’s also been lights-out at home where he’s tallied 14 goals and 43 points in just 25 games to go along with 84 shots on goal in that time. He was held pointless in a shutout loss in Arizona on Tuesday and that marked the second time in three games he was held off the scoresheet. That’s an absolutely rarity for this guy and an offensive explosion could be in the cards for the world’s best player this evening.
C – Nathan MacKinnon (COL) – $8,700 vs. OTT
It’s not often you can grab the top two centers on the slate as part of three-man stacks but that’s what we were able to do tonight as MacKinnon and the Avalanche take on the Senators in Ottawa.
The Avalanche enter this one ranked fourth with 3.46 goals per game on the road this season and are coming off a six-goal blasting of the Sabres on Tuesday in Buffalo. Tonight, the matchup is even better against a Senators team that has struggled mightily of late and has been getting dominated at home. The good news for MacKinnon is that the Senators have allowed a ton of shots on goal of late and actually now sit 30th with 33.9 shots against per game at home on the season. They’ve also slipped to the middle of the pack in home defense after sitting in the top 10 earlier in the year.
The floor is exceptionally high for the MVP candidate tonight. MacKinnon enters this one with 30 goals and 73 points in 51 games on the campaign to go along with a whopping 236 shots on goal, good for the third-most in the NHL. It is not out of the realm of possibility to MacKinnon get upwards of eight or more shots on goal in this one., giving him a huge floor for this one. Interestingly, he was held to just one assist in the blowout of Buffalo on Tuesday and he’s only been involved in one of Colorado’s last nine goals. That too is rare for this guy, so I would expect MacKinnon to get back to leading the way against a struggling Ottawa team tonight.
W – Zack Kassian (EDM) – $4,200 vs. SJ
One of McDavid’s linemates is Kassian who will skate with him at 5v5 while Kassian gives us exposure to the seldomly-used second power play unit as well. He’s a great way to lower the average cost of our stack tonight and as noted, I’m not worried about the power play situation too much considering the Sharks’ dynamite penalty kill.
Kassian has done much of his damage at even strength this season and the Sharks have been on the wrong end of plenty of even strength offense themselves this season. The gritty winger is having a career-year that earned him a shiny new contract last week as he’s tallied 14 goals and 29 points in 48 games with those 29 points already tying a career-high set in the 2013-14 season with the Canucks. His 14 goals are just one shy of the career-high 15 he set just last season.
There is the fact that Kassian is shooting at 17.7% this season and well over his 12% career mark, but most of his goals are coming from in tight around the goal crease and skating with Connor McDavid is going to increase your shooting rate whether you like it or not. He too has favorable home splits for this one tonight where he’s tallied eight goals and 14 points in 21 games on the season while he’s also shooting the puck more often at home as well. I think this is a really good spot for Kassian to do some even-strength damage along with No.97 for this one tonight.
W – Josh Archibald (EDM) – $3,700 vs. SJ
Where the stack gets a whole lot cheaper is with Archibald as it appears he will be the guy to fill in for Neal on the team’ top line alongside McDavid and Kassian for this favorable home date with the Sharks tonight.
The 27-year-old isn’t exactly known for his offense, but he’s been a decent contributor of late in that department while he also scored a healthy 12 goals in 68 games with the low-scoring Coyotes in just 13:34 of average ice time just last season.
This time around, Archibald has tallied seven goals and 13 points in 44 games in just 12:43 of average ice time, but much of that production has come of late as he enters this one sporting a hot hand. Archibald has tallied six goals and six assists for 12 points over his last 16 games, and if you want to narrow it down he has notched four goals and seven points over his last eight games. He obviously didn’t record a point in Arizona in a shutout loss on Tuesday, so he was actually producing at a point-per-game pace for a seven-game span before that one.
He wasn’t even skating with McDavid for the entire time. For what it’s worth, Archibald has also been a threat on the penalty kill this season as he’s tallied a pair of shorthanded goals and three shorthanded points total, so perhaps some rare shorthanded bonus points could be in order. That said, the goal here is to have McDavid put a couple on his tape for tap ins in this one tonight.
W – Mikko Rantanen (COL) – $7,600 vs. BUF
Next man up in our three-man Avalanche stack is Rantanen who we rostered on Tuesday in Buffalo and he rewarded us with a goal, although like MacKinnon he was held to just a single point in that one as well.
He dealt with a long-term injury this season and while he came out strong in his return, Rantanen’s point-producing pace is off from last season when he tallied 87 points in just 74 games. This time around, he’s tallied 36 points in 35 games and just a hair of a point-per-game pace compared to last season’s 1.17 mark, and he’s actually shooting at a big 19.3% clip this season after a 16.1% mark last season. While his shooting rate is quite high this season, he’s actually a 16.1% career shooter, so I’m not too concerned with some big drop-off in that rate down the stretch.
Rantanen has been excellent on the power play where he’s scored seven of his 17 goals on the season while his splits are about dead-even with 17 points in 17 road games compared to 19 points in 18 home games. He isn’t shooting the puck much on the road, but considering the Senators are allowing a ton of shots recently, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see a boost in that department tonight. After going seven straight games without a goal, Rantanen now has scored in back-to-back games and I’ll look for that stick to stay hot in this one tonight.
W – Joel Farabee (PHI) – $3,500 vs. NJ
The Flyers get a wonderful home matchup tongiht against the Devils and while a full-blown Flyers stack is certainly work a look in this matchup, I am going to get my Flyers exposure at low cost and lower ownership than rostering the big boys.
I mean, it’s hard to argue with the matchups the Oilers and Avalanche have as well, but I feel real good about this lineup being suitable for all formats given the ownership we will see on some players but the reduced ownership on others that can also make it suitable for GPPs.
The Flyers are a dominant home team where they rank fifth with 3.62 goals per game this season while sitting 13th with a 22.8% mark on the power play as well. For their part, the Devils are tied for 27th with 3.65 goals against per game on the road and tied for 19th with a 77.8% mark on the penalty kill away from home, so there’s some damage to be done in this matchup tonight.
Enter Farabee who comes at a cheap cost but has massive value potential. The rookie forward has notched seven goals and 18 points in 43 games on 67 shots, but has been red-hot of late with four goals and six points over his last six games. He’s also put eight shots on goal over his last two games with a two-goal game in that time – coming at home against the Avalanche on Saturday. He’s going to skate on the second line with Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek while skating with that duo on the second power play unit as well where he’s notched a goal and an assist over his last five games, so look for him to deliver value in a dynamite home matchup tonight.
D – Cale Makar (COL) – $5,600 vs. OTT
Completing my three-man Avalanche stack is Makar who was also held in check despite the Avs scoring six goals in Buffalo on Tuesday as he registered just one assists in that one with just one shot on goal despite being a +3 in that one.
That said, he is enjoying one heck of a rookie season, one that has him on pace to win the Calder Trophy. Makar enter this one with 11 goals and 38 points in 43 games on the season, with that point total sitting just one behind Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes despite playing in 10 fewer games as he missed three weeks of action in December.
Makar has also been a beast on the power play where he will form a three-man stack with MacKinnon and Rantanen as he’s posted three goals and 15 point on the man advantage and is tied for ninth in that department among NHL defensemen. The 21-year-old hasn’t been quite as good on the road, but does have five goals and 18 points in 23 road games with 44 shots in that time.
The Avs are the NHL’s best overall offense and fourth-best road offense, but the bottom line here is that I believe they will bring plenty of offensive momentum heading into this one tonight after hanging six on the Sabres their last time out.
D – Travis Sanheim (PHI) – $3,900 vs. NJ
I’m not sure if Shayne Gostisbehere is going to get back into the lineup for this one tonight, and if he does it could cost Sanheim his spot on the team’s second power play unit, but for now I like the low-cost, low-owned stack that we could get here with him and Farabee in a favorable home matchup with the Devils.
Sanheim has quickly turned into a real nice defenseman at both ends of the ice as he has tallied seven goals and 16 points on the season with 87 shots and 53 blocks in 53 games despite skating just 20:11 per game. Just two of those 16 points have come on the power play and he hasn’t seen a ton of power play work until recently, but it’s nice to know that we have a contributor at the offensive end at 5v5 play as well. At just 22 years of age last season he tallied nine goals and 35 points in all 82 games and while he’s off that pace this season we can clearly tell he can chip in on offense as well.
Like most of his teammates, Sanheim owns much better splits at home as he has tallied five goals and 11 points in 26 home games compared to just two goals and five points in 27 road contests while he shoots the puck much more at home as well. If Gostisbehere gets back into the lineup and takes his power play spot we might have to consider him, but for now Sanheim looks like a real nice play at what should be lower ownership on a big slate.
G – Thomas Greiss (NYI) – $8,500 vs. LA
Completing this lineup tonight will be Greiss, although as of the time of this writing there aren’t many confirmed goaltenders across the league – including the Islanders – as they get set to take on the Kings.
Semyon Varlamov got the start and the win over the Stars on Tuesday, but it’s been Greiss who has been getting the lion’s share of starts of late as he’s been the better of the two goaltenders with Varlamov snapping a five-start losing streak just two nights ago. Therefore, I believe Barry Trotz will go back to Greiss for this one tonight.
If that’s the case, Greiss would enter this one sporting a 2.50 GAA and .922 Sv% on the season in 25 appearances, also posting a 2.39 GAA and .920 Sv% to go along with an 8-2-1 record at home in 11 starts and 12 appearances. Greiss stumbled in his first start of February in allowing four goals on 24 shots in a 4-3 OT loss to the Canucks, but posted a stellar 1.86 GAA and .945 Sv% in five appearances in the month of January.
Finally, the matchup tonight, in my opinion, is the best on the slate as the Kings are an excellent team to target with goalies. That’s because they allow the opportunity for plenty of saves as they rank first with 34 shots per game on the road, but also just 27th with 2.33 goals per game. As a result, Greiss could rack up plenty of saves but allowing minimal, if any offense in this one. Add in the Islanders at -190 to win this one on the moneyline tonight and I believe there is a ton of upside for Greiss to rack up a big score in this matchup tonight.