NHL Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 12/20/19
A good chunk of you played daily fantasy football this year, and I'd be willing to bet a significant portion of you have also tried out daily fantasy basketball and baseball. But hockey? Hockey?
It's time to give it a try over on FanDuel because it's a ton of fun.
Our analysis and projections can help you win. To help, let's take a look at some goalies, high-priced skaters, and lower-priced players to target for today's slate.
Goalies to Target
Mike Smith ($7,200): Smith hasn't been super consistent as of late, but he shouldn't see too much ownership tonight and is very cheap for a goalie. The minimum salary for a goalie is $7K; we have Smith at $7.2K, opening up plenty of salary. He has allowed two goals or more in nine-straight starts, but the last time he allowed only one goal was against this very Pittsburgh Penguins team. He piled up 51 saves and grabbed the win in that game on November 2nd.
As a home underdog against a good offense, most DFS players won't look toward him, but the volume of shots he should see brings him immense scoring upside. He is more of a tournament option, and with that cheaper salary, you should have the ability to pay up for multiple skaters over $7K if you utilize a bit of the value we have on tonight's slate.
John Tavares ($8,100): Tavares and the Toronto Maple Leafs hold a slate-high 3.55 implied goal, and we want to be targeting them in all formats for their date with the New York Rangers. Tavares is on the first forward line and the first power-play unit for Toronto -- both make great stacking options, as well -- giving us a solid floor and ceiling of points to capture tonight. Tavares is looking unbelievable right now, coming in with five real-world points and 21 shots in his last five games.
That should continue as the Rangers are among the weakest defensive teams in the league. New York is sitting in the bottom three of the league in Corsi Against (shot attempts allowed), expected goals against, and the number of High-Danger-Scoring-Chances per 60 minutes. This is legitimately one of the easiest matchups the Maple Leafs could have, and you want to be looking toward Tavares and his linemates -- Mitchell Marner ($7,400) or Zach Hyman ($4,400) -- in any spots you can afford them.
Leon Draisaitl ($8,800): After posting 50 goals last season, Draisaitl is nearly on pace -- 21 goals in 37 -- this season to match that production. He is one of the best options in NHL DFS, and tonight is no different. You can always look to pair him with Connor McDavid ($9,100), but they are one of most -- if not the most -- expensive two-man stacks in the entire league. The Edmonton Oilers come in as +105 home underdogs against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but you should still look to target them for a high floor and high ceiling of production.
Draisaitl now centers the second forward line for the Oilers, and with them being underdogs, they could be playing from behind and be forced to ramp up the offensive pressure. We saw the Oilers playing from behind the other night in their loss to the St. Louis Blues, which resulted in Draisaitl piling up eight shots on goal along with one assist. I'm rarely, if ever, worried about Draisaitl's production in any matchup.
Frank Vatrano ($3,700): Vatrano is up on the first forward line and the second power-play unit for the Florida Panthers, not something we normally see for a player under $4K. He screams value today and should be somewhat popular, even with this game against the Dallas Stars having only a 5.5 over/under. A 2.81 implied goal total for the Panthers isn't amazing, but if you are looking to pay up for the big-name skaters along with a decent goalie in your cash games, you will need some value elsewhere in your lineup.
It's not like Vatrano is a random punt play, either. He is contributing right now -- enough to make him worth the roster spot. He comes in with 12 shots and two points in his last five games, showing a bit of consistency. Those 12 shots are actually the second-most among the top-six forwards for the Panthers in that span.
Dmitry Orlov ($4,400): As I noted in the stacks article today that the Washington Capitals' top power-play stack is the ideal target tonight, but their second unit is viable, as well. That is where we find Orlov, who is a defender on the second pairing and owns a very reasonable price tag tonight. Over the past few weeks, we have seen Alex Ovechkin double shift and play on both power-play units. Why not have one of the top goal scorers of all-time play when he has the best chance to score even more often?
You could essentially use Orlov and other parts of the second power-play -- Jakub Vrana ($5,900) and Tom Wilson ($4,400) -- who are cheaper than the first unit and still get you exposure to Ovechkin. You might not get a massive ceiling from Orlov, but his 12 shots and six blocked shots in his last five games are a solid floor at his price point.