Each day I will be providing my recommended player picks for your FanDuel daily fantasy hockey lineups.
My FanDuel NHL Plays will be broken down by player positions, and will include picks for cash games (50/50s/double-ups/head-to-head) and GPPs (guaranteed prize pool tournaments).
Are you new to Daily Fantasy Hockey? Check out these strategies documents first for tips and recommendations to craft your winning FanDuel hockey lineups:
Following a busy Saturday that was filled with 10 games featuring 20 teams, Sunday brings us a slate of six games. With 12 teams in action, you should also note that four of those teams are playing on back-to-back nights (Blue Jackets, Maple Leafs, Blues and Panthers). If you are trying to choose between two players that you have projected to hit the same point target on a short slate, selecting the player who is not skating on back-to-back nights may be the better selection, but in hockey, I weight this contextual factor less than other sports, especially tonight with more than half of the teams in action playing their second game in two days. For the first time in months, there is just one primary slate on FanDuel today, with the first game set starting at 5:00 PM EST.
Make sure to check the RotoGrinders NHL Starting Goalies Page to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting prior to game time.
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins, $9,100 – With his price inexplicably dropping $400 since last Sunday, now is the time to buy low on Fleury. With two straight wins in a row over the Capitals on the road and the Panthers at home, Fleury and the Penguins take on the Blue Jackets, who have dropped four straight games and scored just a total of eight goals during those losses. Contrast that to the Penguins, who have won three in a row and scored an average of 4.33 goals per game during those wins. The one risk in starting a $9.1K netminder is that the Blue Jackets average just the fifth-fewest shots per game (28.4) and any time you are paying up for your goalie, you want to ensure he has a steady dose of fantasy points coming in on top of getting the win. However, compared to a team that allows a low number of shots per game, Pittsburgh is a league average team with respect to this category, as they are giving up 29.3 shots per game. That said, with the Pens coming off two straight wins, look for Crosby and company to score some goals tonight in support of MAF. The play here has more to do with the overall chances that the Penguins have to win the game and with a “win” on FD being weighted so heavily, start Fleury in your cash games, as he is the most likely netminder to earn the “W” on Sunday.
Writer’s Note: If Fleury does not get the start, pivot over to one of the cash game goalies listed below or roster Fleury’s backup, Thomas Greiss, for $6,900 and enjoy the savings. I prefer Holtby over Greiss in your cash games.
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, $8,000 – Your cash game lineups should start with rostering Stamkos as well as one of his linemates, Alex Killorn or Ryan Callahan. Of course, if you are stacking a line in your GPP lineups, grab this whole line (or swap in Jonathan Drouin, who plays with Stamkos on the power play, for Callahan to differentiate yourself further). As a lineup construction tip, and this may differ among players, in cash games, you should grab two skaters from a line just in case the line does not hit. As just the fifth-most expensive center on today’s slate, Stamkos comes into the game in Florida having scored goals in five of his last seven games in which he has registered a total of six goals and one assist. Moreover, with four powerplay goals in their last three games, the Lightning get a crack at the Panthers, who have given up two shorthanded goals in their last two games. In a game with a Vegas line that has not yet posted, look for the Lightning to put up three goals, with the Stamkos line figuring in at least one of those goals. At just $8,000, roster Stamkos now before his price jumps up into the $9K range.
Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins, $7,400 – With at least one goal in three straight games, Hornqvist is the top right wing play this afternoon. At $7.4K, you are hoping for at least one goal or two assists on top of a handful of shots, and you will receive that from the first line and first powerplay unit right winger, who skates with David Perron and Sidney Crosby during even strength time and with Chris Kunitz and Crosby on the NHL’s seventh-best powerplay unit that will take on a league average penalty kill unit. During the Pens’ current three-game winning streak, it has been primarily Hornqvist and his linemates who have been doing the damage for the team (along with Evgeni Malkin). With a total of 12 points in the team’s last three wins, Hornqvist and his linemates have accounted for an astonishing 37.5% of the total points accumulated. Lock in Hornqvist at one RW slot and pair him with Crosby for a strong core in your cash games.
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, $9,400 – Any time a team takes on the Maple Leafs, you must take notice of that offense and attack the team that is giving up the sixth-most goals per game (3.00 GA/GP). Ovechkin, who plays with the Capitals first line (with Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson) while the team in on even strength, also skates with John Carlson at the point on the team’s first powerplay unit, and that line will be firing on all cylinders against a Leafs team that has given up at one shorthanded goal in five straight games for a total of eight, yes, eight shorthanded goals. Ovie has just one goal in his last four games, but he has been averaging over 4.9 shots per game over his last ten games and he should shoot the puck a minimum of six times against the Maple Leafs, who give up the fourth-most shots per game (32.7 SA/GP). Look for the Capitals’ top power play unit as led by Ovechkin to record at least one power play goal. At just $9.4K on FD, Ovie is not cheap, but he should serve as a safe cash game play.
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins, $7,600 – If you opt to fade the Penguins forwards and go elsewhere, you can get exposure to a team that averages 2.84 goals per game (ninth-most in the NHL) against a team that is giving up 3.10 goals against per game (fifth-worst in the league) with Letang, who plays the point on the powerplay with Evgeni Malkin. At his current price tag, Letang is the most expensive D-man on the day, but he is the top defenseman overall play against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite his lack of offensive production against the Capitals on Wednesday, Letang has a total of six points over his last eight games. Currently tied for the most points in the NHL by a defenseman, Letang will quarterback a top seven powerplay unit against a team that is coming off a 5-2 loss to the Canadiens, who saw its top defensemen record two goals and three assists. With that stat in mind, even at his price, attack the Blue Jackets’ vulnerable defense with Letang.
Mike Green, Washington Capitals, $4,500 – As the heaviest posted favorite of the day with a -250 moneyline, the Capitals are skating on home ice against a visiting Maple Leafs team that, prior to winning two straight, had dropped their previous five games. Along with Alex Ovechkin, Green is at the point of the NHL’s second-best powerplay unit (23.3% conversion rate) and gets a shot against a league average penalty kill unity that has given up a shorthanded goal in five straight games. Although Green has been held off the scoresheet over his last four games, he should start off a fresh point streak today opposite the Leafs, who gave up two points to the Canandiens’ defensemen last night, three points to Flyers’ defensemen the game before, three points to the Jets’ D-men, and one point to the Hurricanes before that. The Leafs are clearly vulnerable to defensemen that profile like Green. That is, offensive-minded defensemen, who shoot the puck a ton, log heavy minutes (plus 23:30 ATOI) and have great success against the Leafs, and that trend should continue tonight.