Last night’s FanDuel NHL DFS picks got some production but in the end it just wasn’t enough to get us into the money.
The Maple Leafs three-man stack we released was solid in combining for a goal and two helpers – each member notching a point – but also with just five shots between the three players and three blocks as well.
Our three-man Senators stack was the disappointing one as we missed out on a ton of value upside here. Brady Tkachuk’s assist was the lone point on the evening while he tallied four shots as well. However, Anthony Duclair and Thomas Chabot combined for just five shots and a block.
Tyler Seguin managed an assist but just one shot as a one-off while Carl Hagelin – who didn’t end up taking Alex Ovechkin’s spot on the top line – managed to give us plenty of value with an assist, six shots on goal and a block to boot.
Finally, we also received notable production from goaltender Marcus Hogberg despite taking a 4-3 shootout loss. That’s because Hogberg saw a ton of rubber and made 50 saves on 53 shots, but allowed two goals in the shootout in the losing effort.
Our production was spread throughout the lineup, but that Senators stack really hurt us and cost us dearly on this night.
Let’s turn our attention to tonight’s mini two-game slate and see if we can get back into the money!
C – Jack Eichel (BUF) – $9,100 vs. OTT
The Sabres and Senators get together tonight in Buffalo in an Atlantic Division rivalry matchup and the advantage here goes to the hometown Sabres as the Senators played last night and are being vastly outplayed of late. While Ottawa’s play on home ice has been terrible of late, their play on the road has been terrible all season long. The Senators enter this one ranked 29th with 3.79 goals against per game on the road this season and have averaged 46 shots against per game over their last three. With the team playing its second game in as many nights, I’m not so sure that number will fall too much in this one. At the very least, it will give Eichel a change to rack up an epic fantasy total tongiht as he loves to shoot the puck and is enjoying an MVP-caliber season despite his team’s overall struggles. Eichel enters this one with 28 goals and 62 points in 48 games on the season to go along with 163 shots on goal. Furthermore, he’s been absolutely dominant at home, posting 20 goals and 38 points in 23 games to go along with 86 shots on goal. On this two-game slate, it’s probably best to roster Eichel regardless of format as a fade of Eichel could single-handedly knock you out of the money this evening.
C – Brayden Schenn (STL) – $5,700 vs. CGY
The Blues are another team that played last night as they took a 3-1 loss in Vancouver. It wasn’t the way the best in the west wanted to get their second-half started, but I don’t mind their chances against this Flames team tonight. The Flames won’t be a playoff team in my opinion and I have a gut feeling that the Blues are going to generate plenty of offense in this one. St. Louis – despite missing star winger Vladimir Tarasenko for much of the season – enters this one ranked 13th with 3.04 goals per game on the road this season, but more impressive is the fact that they sit second with a 27.8% mark on the power play away from home as well. As a result, I am going to be firing up a three-man power play stack in this one and a four-man Blues stack overall. Enter Schenn who has notched 17 goals on the season in 50 games to match his total from 72 games a season ago while adding 24 helpers for 41 points in 50 games on 103 shots on goal. His current 16.5% shooting rate is well above his 12.7% career mark, but he’s a weapon on the power play with seven goals and 15 points there this season, so I want him in this lineup considering the Blues’ work on the man advantage away from home this season.
W – Sam Reinhart (BUF) – $5,400 vs. OTT
Next man up in our three-man Sabres stack is Reinhart who will skate with Eichel on the Sabres’ top line and their top power play unit as well. Flanking Eichel during his MVP-caliber season has obviously benefited Reinhart in a big way as the 24-year-old is on a career-high points pace as he’s notched 17 goals and 41 points in 49 games on the season – a 69-point pace which would narrowly edge his previous career-high of 65 set just last season. Like Schenn, Reinhart is another player shooting well above his career rate as his 17.2% mark on the season towers over his 12.8% career mark, but with the way Eichel is playing there’s no reason to believe that Reinhart’s fantasy production is going to plummet. I would be more concerned about a drop in shooting percentage for a third-line player that isn’t playing with star talent, but that’s certainly not the case here. Like Eichel, Reinhart has some favorable home splits for this one tonight as he’s tallied 11 goals and 24 points in 23 home games compared to six goals and 17 points across 26 road contests. He’s also shooting the puck more at home as well, so it’s a straight-forward decision to get him into this lineup tonight.
W – Jeff Skinner (BUF) – $6,400 vs. OTT
Skinner makes his much-anticipated return to the lineup tonight after missing the Sabres’ last 10 games with an upper-body injury. Skinner wasn’t having a great season prior to getting injured as he had just 11 goals and 19 points in 39 games, well off his 40-goal, 63-shot pace from his first season in Buffalo, and the spotlight was shining brightly on him as the Sabres gave him a massive contract in excess of $9M annually this past offseason to reward him for the 40 tallies. That said, while he’s had a tough season to this point, I love this play for many reasons and it’s not because of Eichel as Skinner is projected to skate on the second line and second power play unit in this one. First, Skinner’s 8.6% shooting rate on the season is well below his 11.1% mark, so I’d expect that to regress positively moving forward. Second, Skinner was in a big drought prior to getting hurt, going 11 straight games without scoring a goal and missing on his last 26 shots in that time. Finally, and most importantly, Skinner is a shot-on-goal machine with 128 shots in just 39 games (3.3 per game) and has posted at least 268 shots in each of the last three seasons, although the injury will snap that streak this season. With how many shots the Senators have allowed of late, Skinner has the chance to post a massive shot total and combined with his positive goal-scoring regression, is primed for a big return to the lineup tonight.
W – Jaden Schwartz (STL) – $5,700 vs. CGY
Next man up in my four-man Blues stack is Schwartz who will skate alongside Schenn at 5v5 and on the Blues’ top power play unit for this one. It’s been a real good season for Schwartz and the hockey gods are back on his side after a successful playoff run en route to the Stanley Cup last spring. Last season, Schwartz scored just 11 goals on 183 regular-season shots, good for a minuscule 6% shooting percentage. We knew positive shooting rate regression was due, and he saw that in the postseason with 12 goals on 63 shots, good for a 19% mark. The shooting rate has continued to normalize this season as he’s scored 16 goals on 116 shots on goal, good for a 13.8% clip that is much more in line with his 12.4% career mark. Like Schenn, Schwartz has been real good on the power play, as well. In fact, he sports identical power play numbers to him in the form of seven goals and 15 points on the man advantage this season. If we are rostering Schenn in this lineup tongiht it’s a no-brainer to ride with Schwartz to his left in all offensive situations.
W – Jordan Kyrou (STL) – $3,200 vs. CGY
Next man up in the four-man Blues stack is Kyrou who comes at a value cost in this one. I love the value potential here as Kyrou is projected to skate with Schenn and Schwartz on the Blues’ top line, although he’s not likely to see any time on the man advantage in this one. Still, given the skill level here, I have no choice but to be encouraged about the value potential. He was injured earlier in the season and began the year in the AHL, but it didn’t take too long to get the call back to the Blues as he notched nine goals and 15 points in 16 AHL games after tallying 16 goals and 43 points in 47 AHL games last season. Keep in mind this kid is just 21 years old and scored 39 goals and 109 points in just 56 OHL games in his final season of junior. Now, the Blues have been trying to get him going by putting him on the team’s top line, or one of the two top lines, but he’s responded with just two goals and four points in 13 games and is without a point in each of his last four games and has served as a healthy scratch as well. He got back into the lineup last night and recorded three shots in 11:31 of ice time, perhaps an encouraging outing for the youngster. Make sure he’s in the lineup tonight before lock, but I like the value potential if he is.
D – Alex Pietrangelo (STL) – $6,700 vs. CGY
Completing this four-man Blues stack is Pietrangelo who is one of the best cross-category-producing defensemen in the NHL this season and is a must for what I believe is a cash-oriented lineup tongiht although I would get this lineup into some head-to-head contests as well. Nonetheless, there’s not much to dislike about the season the Blues’ captain is putting together as Pietrangelo has tallied 13 goals and 40 points in 50 games on the season, but is also bringing some serious peripheral numbers with him in the form of 157 shots on goal and another 62 blocked shots as well. I’m pretty excited for this power play to get to work tonight as Schenn, Schwartz and Pietrangelo have been dynamite on that man advantage, but this guy has been the best of the bunch with five goals and 20 points on the power play this season. He’s logging big minutes this season with his 24:10 of average ice time ranking 14th in the league and he’s certainly made good use of those minutes here this season. If the Blues can somehow find a way to blowout the Flames in this one tonight, this lineup is set for a big evening.
D – Noah Hanifin (CGY) – $4,700 vs. STL
We need exposure to a third team in this lineup and Hanifin falls right into our lap at this price and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t use him as a one-off. For one, the Blues’ defense goes from fourth in the league with 2.28 goals against per game at home all the way to 15th with 3.08 goals against per game on the road, so there’s some room for the Flames to produce tonight, I just didn’t want too much Flames exposure considering it’s Jordan Binnington going in this one and the Flames’ offense has struggled for much of the season. Nonetheless, while Hanifin has had a decent offense season in tallying five goals – including one in his most recent game – and 14 points in 50 games, I like the peripherals he brings to the table and I am at least hoping he can find way to contribute in those areas tonight. He’s put a solid 99 shots on goal in his 50 games – ever so close to two per game, on average – but he’s also blocked a very healthy 76 shots on the season as well. There’s also the fact that Hanifin is getting reps on the team’s second power play unit these days where he’s tallied four of his 14 points on the season. With a goal and seven shots over his last two games, perhaps Hanifin can keep producing at what should be lower ownership despite the tiny slate.
G – Linus Ullmark (BUF) – $8,100 vs. OTT
Ullmark has taken the starting job in Buffalo and ran with it and I like what he brings to the table in this matchup tonight against the Senators. Ottawa enters this one ranked 27th with 2.29 goals per game on the road this season, but at least they improve to 20th in shots per game on the road (29.5), so it at least gives Ullmark a chance to get some saves under his belt. However, I’m more looking at the safety aspect here and the win/shutout upside for a goaltender that’s played very well of late. The Sabres have played better recently in winning three of their last four and the lone loss was a 2-1 loss in Nashville prior to the break. Ullmark was excellent in that one, turning aside 35 of 37 shots (.946 Sv%) in what continued to be a brilliant month of January. For the month, Ullmark has gone 5-2-0 while posting a 2.00 GAA and .932 Sv% across seven starts. He’s been sold on the road in posting a 2.84 GAA and .911 Sv% for the season and the Sabres currently sit as big -200 favorites to win this one on the moneyline tonight. The Sens have lost 10 of 11 and are getting vastly outplayed these days, so I’ll look for the Sabres to take it to them tonight will looking for Ullmark to shut the door at the other end of the ice.