4 NHL FanDuel Studs to Target on 2/21/20
Spending up in any daily fantasy sport is how to get the superstars and the highest upside players in your lineup. In NHL DFS, it’s different than paying up in sports like NBA or NFL. Someone can be one of the highest-priced players at his position and put up a total dud of a performance, and paying that much for him would be a huge mistake. Let’s make sure we are paying up in the right spots when building our lineups tonight.
The week ends with a nice sized seven game slate, and some big star players to consider. Let's sort through the most expensive players and decide which ones make the most sense tonight.
Nathan MacKinnon, Center, Colorado Avalanche
FanDuel Salary: $8,600
Rather than being dragged down when his normal linemates aren't available, Nathan MacKinnon elevates anyone who plays with him. Andre Burakovsky has joined MacKinnon on the Colorado Avalanche's top line and has three goals in four games since doing so.
We saw this earlier in the year when both Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog went down, and MacKinnon kept scoring. Now with Rantanen out again, MacKinnon will keep chugging along as one of the league's best players. He's tied for second in points with 84 and third in shots on goal with 272, per NHL.com.
MacKinnon and the Avs will take on a struggling Anaheim Ducks team that sits second to last in the Western Conference. They allow the ninth most expected goals per 60 minutes in the league. The Avalanche's implied goal total is at 3.28, the fourth highest on the slate. Our projections at numberFire have MacKinnon as the highest-scoring center and second highest-scoring skater on the slate tonight. More often than not, you have to find some good reasons not to play him rather than finding reasons to justify playing him, and tonight there aren't many good reasons to not put him into your lineups.
David Pastrnak, Wing, Boston Bruins
FanDuel Salary: $9,000
The race for the most goals in the NHL is a tight one between Alex Ovechkin, Auston Matthews and David Pastrnak. Pasta and Matthews are tied right now with 43 each, and there's about 20 games to go for both of them. Pastrnak is fourth in the league with 22.76 shot attempts per 60 minutes, according to Natural Stat Trick. Pastrnak hasn't been just a shooter, either, as he has 41 assists, as well. Playing on a top line that can explode in any game certainly helps him upside.
The Boston Bruins face off against the Calgary Flames in what isn't an obvious great matchup, but there are some advantages to be had for Boston. Calgary has struggled defensively since Mark Giordano, last season's Norris trophy winner, went down with an injury. They've allowed 17 goals in their past four games, and those were all contests against teams outside of the playoffs. Now they have to face the team in first place in the league.
Pastrnak projects well, as he is our number-one ranked skater at any position. Pastrnak and company always have the potential to break a slate, so it's worth playing them in tournament lineups nearly every night.
Roman Josi, Defense, Nashville Predators
FanDuel Salary: $6,400
Roman Josi is a defenseman we have relied upon all season long. He's second in points and first in shots on goal for defensemen this season. He also plays the second most ice time per game out of all skaters. Josi hasn't scored a goal in his last 10 games, but because of his assists and shots on goal, he was able to produce double-digit FanDuel points in eight of those 10 games. Tonight's matchup could produce another big game for Josi.
The Nashville Predators are on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks in a game that has a 6.5-goal total. That's the highest total on the board tonight, and these teams have been playing in some high-scoring games. They both rank in the bottom 10 in goals allowed per game, but Nashville also is in the top 10 in goals scored per game. The Blackhawks allow the most shots on goal per game, at 35.3.
Josi is lapping the field in our projections for defensemen, as he is projected for four points more than the next closest blueliner. If you're paying up for a defenseman, Josi is your guy, as his floor/ceiling combination cannot be matched by anyone else at the position.
Semyon Varlamov, Goalie, New York Islanders
FanDuel Salary: $8,000
Semyon Varlamov has been fairly solid in his first season with the New York Islanders. He has a .918% save percentage and 9.00 goals saved above average. Overall he benefits from the Islanders' defensive structure, as they allow the seventh fewest goals per game.
Tonight, the matchup is about as good as it gets for a goalie. He will face the lowest-scoring team in the league, the Detroit Red Wings, who are averaging a minuscule 2.02 goals per game. The next lowest team is the Los Angeles Kings, and they average nearly a half-goal more per game. Varlamov and the Islanders are -290 favorites, so a win is fairly likely and a shutout is not out of the question.
Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.