My FanDuel NHL DFS Picks are hot this week and last night was no exception.
I stacked the Hurricanes’ first line and top power play unit, and it was the right call. Sebastian Aho tallied two goals and an assist, Teuvo Teravainen racked up two helpers and Andrei Svechnikov added an assist while each member of the stack recorded three shots on goal.
Our three-man Maple Leafs stack also hit, although only two of the three produced. The Leafs scored just two goals in a 2-1 win, but both came from our stack as William Nylander and Auston Matthews scored goals while that duo combined for a whopping 11 shots on goal. Unfortunately, all Tyson Barrie brought to the table was one shot on goal.
Finally, one half of our Ducks mini-stack delivered value as Michael Del Zotto registered an assist and two blocked shots, but unfortunately Sonny Milano notched just one shot on goal.
Our risk in goal also paid off. Frederik Andersen was sharp in turning aside 32 of 33 Lightning shots en route to that 2-1 win, giving us a nice performance at low ownership.
Now, let’s turn our attention to this five-game Wednesday night slate!
FanDuel NHL DFS Picks & Breakdowns
C – Anze Kopitar (LA) – $7,700 vs. OTT
The Los Angeles Kings are by no means a high-octane offense, but the visiting Senators are by no means a quality defense on the road, so I believe the Kings can get some offense going in this one tonight coming off a three-goal effort over the Colorado Avalanche, the second-best road defense in the NHL at the time.
Indeed, the Kings enter this one tonight tied for 26th with 2.73 goals per game on home ice this season, but they will take on a Senators road defense that ranks 30th with 3.73 goals against per game on the road. Furthermore, not only did the Sens play last night, they were throttled by the low-scoring Anaheim Ducks last night, a team that sat second-last in home offense entering that one as the Ducks hung five goals on Ottawa just 24 hours ago.
As a result, I think some Kings exposure is in the cards tonight, especially on a slate that doesn’t boast many must-have stacking options, regardless of format.
Despite Los Angeles struggling for offense for much of the season, Kopitar himself has had a solid year in posting 21 goals and 62 points in 69 games, although he’s not shooting the puck a ton these days with just 134 shots on goal on the season. Nonetheless, he is racking up huge minutes with 21:02 per game while skating in all situations for head coach Todd McLellan, so let’s kick off our lineup tonight with the 32-year-old.
C – J.T. Compher (COL) – $4,700 vs. NYR
If you want to see a banged-up offense, take a look at the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avs will be without Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri, Matt Calvert and Colin Wilson for this one tonight while Andre Burakovsky could return to the lineup tonight, this is a shell of the Avs’ full lineup as they host the New York Rangers tongiht.
That said, injuries open up opportunities for others and I think there’s an opportunity to grab some low-cost exposure to the Avs against a not-so-great Rangers defense tonight. The Avs are a potent offense – albeit mostly due to the injured players mentioned above. Regardless, they rank third with 3.63 goals per game at home this season and the Rangers will enter this one ranked right in the middle of the pack in a tie for 16th with 3.06 goals against per game on the season, while early goalie projections put either Alexandar Georgiev or Henrik Lundqvist in the crease as opposed to rookie sensation Igor Shesterkin.
For his part, Compher as notched 10 goals and 30 points in 66 games to go along with 104 shots on goal. That said, he’s going to get second line and top power play unit reps for this one tonight, so the opportunity to produce is certainly an increased one.
The cost is low and the opportunity is high, a nice combination for the 24-year-old center to get something done on offense tonight.
W – Dustin Brown (LA) – $5,300 vs. OTT
Next man up in our three-man Kings stack is Brown who lines up alongside Kopitar on the Kings top line as well as the top power play unit for the matchup against the struggling Senators.
The 35-year-old Brown has seen his production bounce back after a few tough seasons, but this year has been somewhere in between. He hasn’t been great, but not terrible whatsoever in posting 17 goals and 35 points in 65 games, but he’s also bringing a solid floor to the table in the form of 162 shots on goal as well.
The good news for this one tonight is that all of those figures get a boost on home ice where this one will take place tonight. Brown has tallied 10 goals and 21 points in 31 home games this season compared to seven goals and 14 points in 34 road contests. He’s also put four more shots on goal at home despite skating in three fewer games than on the road. That said, one thing that stands out to me is that Brown is yet to recorded a single point on the power play on home ice despite skating on the top unit for much of the season. Perhaps the visiting Senators and their 29th-ranked 72.4% mark on the penalty kill away from home can solve that problem.
Brown has actually been productive with seven goals and 11 points over his last 12 games, so we’re getting him with a hot hand in this one. He’s also put 13 shots on goal over his last four games.
Riding shotgun alongside Kopitar in all offensive situations should give him some looks given the matchup on hand.
W – Alex Iafallo (LA) – $5,200 vs. OTT
Completing our three-man Kings stack in a hurry is Iafallo who will skate with Kopitar and Brown on the team’s top line and top power play unit for this one tonight.
Kings fans should be delighted with the improvements Iafallo has made in his young NHL career to this point. Somewhat of a late bloomer, Iafallo registered nine goals and 25 points in his rookie season, progressed to 15 goals and 33 points in his sophomore season and now has 17 goals and 43 points this season, his third in the league. That would be precisely the type of steps you would want from a young player as he’s already sailed past previous career-highs and still has 13 games left to play this season.
Like his linemate Brown, Iafallo has also been on a tear of late. He;’s notched two goals and five points over his last four games and and this comes after going 10 straight games without tallying a goal. To me, that’s important because cold streaks are often followed by hot streaks and we have Iafallo certainly riding a hot streak into this one tonight. Add in the favorable home matchup and this is a pretty easy call to stack alongside his 5v5 and PP1 linemates this evening.
W – Tyson Jost (COL) – $3,700 vs. NYR
Continuing with our three-man Avalanche stack here is Jost who is a very easy decision to use alongside Compher for this one tonight considering he skates with the young pivot at 5v5 and on the Avs’ top power play unit.
I just mentioned above that Iafallo has taken the steps forward you’d like to see from a young player, but that isn’t the case with Jost. Jost tallied 12 goals and 22 points in the 2017-18 season and two years later he has seven goals and 22 points in 66 games this season. Now, he’s been hit with some bad luck this season in the goal-scoring department as he’s tallied those seven goals on 113 shots on goal, and while it’s not a high shot total, that results in a tiny 6.2% shooting rate. He’s never shot at a high rate, but that’s still well below his 8.9% career mark.
That being said, this play here is about the opportunity at hand against a so-so Rangers road defense tonight. Jost is averaging 12:44 of ice time this season, but he’s seen that number skyrocket over the last little while and he skated 19:18 in his last game and at least 17:32 in six straight games entering this one tonight. With the massive amount of injuries to this forward group, you can bet that head coach Jared Bednar is going to lean heavily on this Compher/Jost duo to keep the team’s offensive game intact.
He’s been held pointless in three straight, but he did notch two goals and six points in a five-game stretch before that, so let’s look for a new hot stretch to begin tonight.
W – Patrick Kane (CHI) – $7,900 vs. SJ
It’s a little bit of a quirky lineup in the sense that my stacks didn’t cost me a whole lot, so I had a ton of leftover salary. That said, why not put that extra dough to good use with some superstar talent, beginning here with Kane.
The veteran winger is once again enjoying a monster season, tallying 31 goals and 82 points in just 69 games to go along with a whopping 264 shots on goal in that time. Getting his third career 100-point season might be a tall task, but Kane is one of the most reliable producers in DFS these days and it makes sense to get him in this lineup and get ourselves a solid floor in the process.
The ‘Hawks aren’t a high-octane offense like we’ve seen in year’s past, but the matchup tonight is a good one. The Blackhawks take on a Sharks team that is depleted both due to injury and trades during a wildly disappointing season, and also one that has struggled defensively to be sure as they sit 21st with 3.30 goals against per game. They’ve actually been very good on the penalty kill, but their even-strength defense is among the worst in the NHL.
He’s going to see some ownership to be sure, but this is more of an optimal lineup, so don’t hesitate to get exposure to the elite skill level of Kane tonight.
D – Cale Makar (COL) – $5,600 vs. NYR
While the Avalanche haven’t had any luck with injuries, they do get some positive news on that front tonight as Rookie of the Year candidate Cale Makar makes his return to the lineup after last playing on February 29th in Nashville.
This is the second time he’s been hurt this season and while Quinn Hughes in Vancouver might have jumped ahead of him in the Calder Trophy race, this guy has been a force when on the ice.
At the ripe old age of just 21, Makar has been a monster in posting 12 goals and 47 points in his 56 games played while also being a force on the power play where he’s notched four goals and 17 points on the season. His 10.1% shooting rate might be a little high for a defenseman, he hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down despite battling his most recent injury.
Of course, Makar skates on the team’s top power play unit, giving us a PP1 stack with the Avs in this one, and a cheap one at that.
D – Brent Burns (SJ) – $6,500 vs. CHI
I mentioned in the Kane section that I had a ton of leftover money and some of that money is going to be used on Burns who also brings a real nice floor to the table in a road matchup with the Blackhawks.
At 35 years of age at this point, he’s not the same near point-per-game player that we’ve seen in recent years, but that’s not to say that he is no longer productive, either. Burns will enter this one with 12 goals and 45 points in 69 games this season – big numbers for a blueliner – but he’s also fired a whopping 222 shots on goal with five goals and 17 points on the power play as well. Keep in mind that power play production is pretty good considering he’s been relegated to the team’s second power play unit at times this season.
Burns also gets a nice matchup in Chicago. The Blackhawks aren’t a terrible home defense, but they still sit 17th with 2.97 goals against per game at home this season despite a strong penalty kill, so their 5v5 defense has also struggled to be sure.
Getting Burns into this optimal lineup certainly boosts the foundation alongside the likes of Kane, so we could certainly use this one in head-to-head matchups as well.
G – Pavel Francouz (COL) – $8,400 vs. NYR
You could probably view this one as a GPP-type play as the Avalanche play host to the streaking Rangers.
The Rangers have a real good offense that will enter this one ranked third with 3.27 goals per game, a number that will scare off much of the public and will have Francouz seeing lower ownership as a result.
While he’s been better on the road and struggled a little bit of late, I have faith in the 29-year-old rookie. After all, he’s worked to a 2.43 GAA and .922 Sv% on the season and it’s not like he’s been terrible at home where he’s posted a 2.84 GAA and .905 Sv% on the season. Now, Francouz was blasted in three straight starts and owns a ghastly 3.70 GAA and .868 Sv% in four March outings, but he’s also coming off his best outing for the month when he turned aside 32 of 35 shots (.914 Sv%) in Los Angeles his last time out.
Goal support could be an issue in this one, but considering the ownership level I am assuming with Francouz tonight, I think a strong outing will really benefit lineups, although he’s probably reserved mostly for GPPs as there are superior cash goaltenders out there.