FanDuel DFS NHL – Monday 12/31/18


We close out 2018 with an eight-game slate tonight on FanDuel. The Kings are the only team skating in the second half of a back-to-back as they find themselves in Denver. Carey Price remains on injured reserve, so expect Antti Niemi to get the nod for Montreal once again. The Canadiens have been scoring plenty of goals in recent games, but Niemi is good for at least three goals against, which makes Dallas an interesting target. This is especially true since Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were both called out recently. The two combined for just one assist the other night, so tonight presents a great opportunity for them to come up with better performances.

TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE
OTT @ CBJ – 7:00pm EST
NYR @ STL – 7:00pm EST
FLA @ DET – 7:30pm EST
LAK @ COL – 8:00pm EST
TBL @ ANA – 8:00pm EST
MTL @ DAL – 8:30pm EST
SJS @ CGY – 9:00pm EST
WPG @ EDM – 9:00pm EST


Center

Connor McDavid ($9,200), Nathan MacKinnon ($8,600), Dylan Larkin ($6,700)

There are a lot of great centers on tonight’s slate, but three of my favorite plays are listed above. The first is Connor McDavid ($9,200), who has recorded three consecutive multi-point efforts, scoring two goals and seven points in his last three games. He has been equally strong at home as he has been on the road this year, and he has six points in two games against the Jets. McDavid is averaging 20.5 fantasy points per game this season.

Nathan MacKinnon ($8,600) continues to excel on Colorado’s top line. It remains to be seen if Matt Nieto will remain on the top line, though Gabriel Landeskog did play much of the game with MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen the other night. Mac has recorded 14 shots in his last two games and has points in three straight games and in 10 out of his last 11, collecting four goals and 15 points in that time. He is averaging 22.3 fantasy points per game.

Perhaps my favorite play, however, is Dylan Larkin ($6,700), who continues to fly under the radar despite putting up points in 13 games in a row. He has scored seven goals and 16 points in that stretch. While he hasn’t had many huge performances, he’s been one of the more consistent DFS forwards for weeks now, and tonight’s matchup is a favorable at home against the Panthers. Larkin is averaging 16.8 fantasy points per game this season; he has three points in two games against the Panthers.

Also consider: Steven Stamkos ($8,400), Mark Scheifele ($8,200), Brayden Point ($7,700), Tyler Seguin ($7,500), Sean Monahan ($7,300), Mika Zibanejad ($6,500), Kevin Hayes ($5,800), J.T. Compher ($4,800), Anthony Cirelli ($3,800), Radek Faksa ($3,700), Mark Jankowski ($3,300), Henrik Borgstrom ($3,300)


Winger

Nikita Kucherov ($9,000), Alexander Radulov ($6,400), Ondrej Kase ($4,300), Ty Rattie ($3,600)N

No one is hotter right now than Nikita Kucherov ($9,000), who is riding a 10-game point streak but who has points in 20 out of his last 21 games, racking up 11 goals and 45 points in that stretch. Forty-five points! Needless to say, Kucherov is on fire. He skates on Tampa Bay’s second line and first power-play unit and is averaging 20.1 fantasy points per game. He has recorded five straight multi-point games, scoring four goals and 15 points in his last five games for 25.3, 46.1, 49.3, 22.4 and 28 fantasy points, respectively.

Alexander Radulov ($6,400) has a meaningful matchup tonight as he takes on his former team. He scored a goal against Montreal earlier this year when he mysteriously returned from injury just for that game before missing another two weeks of action. Radulov is coming off a two-goal performance in which he earned 32.5 fantasy points. While the top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Radulov has been split up, Radulov is still on the top line and top power-play unit. He is averaging 16.9 fantasy points per game this season and generally provides a solid floor. He has eight points in his last seven games.

Ondrej Kase ($4,300) has become one of my top DFS plays, and he’s one of the few players that I use in at least one lineup every single time he is on the slate. Though he had a stretch of three games in which he didn’t manage more than four shots on goal, he has been very reliable for the rest of the year and is capable of putting up multiple goals. More importantly, he offers a fairly stable floor with his high shot volume (averaging nearly 3.4 shots per game). Kase skates on the Ducks’ first line and first power-play unit and could go up against a goalie who has given up 10 goals in his last two appearances. Kase is coming off a two-goal performance in which he earned 30.4 fantasy points, and he is averaging 14.5 fantasy points per game this season.

Another solid value play on tonight’s slate is Ty Rattie ($3,600), who is back on the Oilers’ top line with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. He tallied three assists the other day against San Jose, earning 30.4 fantasy points in the effort.

Speaking of Leon Draisaitl ($7,100), he is also worth considering. He has goals in three straight games and back-to-back games with a goal and an assist. He skates on the Oilers’ top line and top power-play unit and is averaging 15.5 fantasy points per game this season. Draisaitl has four assists in two games against Winnipeg this year.

There are additional options worthy of consideration (many of which are listed below). However, one option that stands out in particular is Columbus’ Cam Atkinson ($7,400). Atkinson has a very favorable matchup against a third-string goaltender in Marcus Hogberg. Though Atkinson’s point production has slowed in recent games, there’s always a chance he’ll explode for two or three goals, and he also offers a solid floor (recording at least eight fantasy points in nine straight games). He skates on the Blue Jackets’ first line and first power-play unit and is averaging 18.2 fantasy points per game this season.

I also like Tomas Hertl ($5,500), who has goals in three straight games. He is skating on San Jose’s third line, so he should be able to avoid the road matchup against the Mikael Backlund line, which will allow him to have some room on the ice and potentially extend his scoring streak against David Rittich and the Flames.

Also consider: Johnny Gaudreau ($8,400), Mikko Rantanen ($8,000), Jamie Benn ($7,200), Jonathan Huberdeau ($7,000), Chris Kreider ($6,500), Mike Hoffman ($6,400), Tomas Tatar ($6,400), Tyler Johnson ($6,200), Elias Lindholm ($5,900), David Perron ($4,500), Alex Iafallo ($4,500), Andrew Shaw ($4,100), Jesper Fast ($3,700), Oliver Bjorkstrand ($3,700), Matt Nieto ($3,300), Robby Fabbri ($3,000)


Defense

Erik Karlsson ($7,400), Zach Werenski ($5,000), Darnell Nurse ($4,600), Joe Morrow ($3,500)

Erik Karlsson ($7,400) had his eight-game point streak interrupted by a two-game suspension, but he came back with a vengeance the other day, picking up four points to extend his streak to nine games. He now has one goal and 14 points in his last nine games, earning 42.4, 22.4, 13.3, 19.2, 22.9, 11.2, 20.8, 17.6 and 35.2 fantasy points, respectively. Karlsson could be back on the Sharks’ second power-play unit, but he made the most of his 18 minutes of ice time the other day, which is 5-9 minutes shy of his typical usage.

For the first time this season, Zach Werenski ($5,000) is a highlighted play. Usually Seth Jones ($5,900) is my go-to blueliner from the Blue Jackets, but Werenski has been more productive of late, recording a point in four straight games. He does not offer the same peripheral stat coverage as Jones, but he has two goals and four points in his last four games and is on the top power-play unit with Jones, Cam Atkinson, Artemi Panarin and Pierre-Luc DuBois, putting him in a great spot for a productive game. He also has a favorable matchup tonight against the visiting Senators, which doesn’t hurt.


Darnell Nurse ($4,600) likely will continue to be a very popular play in cash contests. He skates on Edmonton’s top power-play unit and is reasonably-priced given his recent production. Nurse has at least a point in six out of his last eight games, though he has just two in his last four games. That being said, he has earned 3.2, 14.9, 19.7, 3.2, 11.2, 22.4, 23.2, 34.9, 8, 28 and 12.8 fantasy points in his last 11 games, respectively.

The true value on the slate, however, could be Joe Morrow ($3,500), who appears to have taken over for Dustin Byfuglien on the Jets’ top power-play unit. This is ABSOLUTELY something you need to check prior to lock, since there’s certainly a good chance this was a mistake online or a fluke in practice. That being said, if you can get someone for $3,500 who offers exposure to Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine, sign me up.

Also consider the fact that Maxime Lajoie ($3,600) is back on Ottawa’s top power-play unit with the absence of the injured Thomas Chabot.

Also consider: Brent Burns ($7,200), Seth Jones ($5,900), Alex Pietrangelo ($5,000), Jeff Petry ($4,600), Jake Muzzin ($4,300), Brandon Montour ($4,100), Anton Stralman ($4,000), Dennis Cholowski ($3,700), Jordie Benn ($3,600), Mikhail Sergachev ($3,600), Maxime Lajoie ($3,600)


Goalie

Sergei Bobrovsky ($8,600) and the Blue Jackets will finish up 2018 with a home game against the Senators, who will have Marcus Hogberg in net. Hogberg gave up three goals on 24 shots the other night against Washington, and tonight could be a tough test for him. Though Bobrovsky hasn’t exactly been reliable, and though I don’t usually like going up against Ottawa, the Senators are not as strong on the road as they are on home ice. Plus, Bobrovsky should have legitimate ownership in cash contests tonight, which makes him an interesting play.

Another popular play could be Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov ($8,300). Varly hasn’t been good in recent games, but he and the Avs are favored against the visiting Kings, who played last night in Vegas. Varlamov defeated the Kings earlier this season, making 33 saves and coming away with 26.4 fantasy points in Los Angeles. That being said, he has earned 15.2, 1.6, 26.4, 0, -5.6 and -3.2 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively, which is a brutal stretch.

Another potential option who carries risk is Ben Bishop ($8,700). Usually, I am all for targeting Antti Niemi, but the Canadiens have scored 10 goals in their last two games, which makes me somewhat hesitant.

If you want a decent shot at a win, Andrei Vasilevskiy ($9,100) might be the safest play. He’s on the road in Anaheim and has given up 10 goals in his last two games, but he’s also gone 5-0-1 in six starts since returning to the lineup from a lower-body injury. Plus, John Gibson has lost four games in a row.

Any potential value plays will have to be determined once goalie confirmations are announced.



Featured image credit: Roy K. Miller-Icon Sportswire

Fantasy Hockey

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