Welcome back to FanDuel NHL Blue Line Power Plays. This is the Tuesday, January 2nd 2018 edition. We’re a daily fantasy hockey column focused on top FanDuel NHL plays for your lineups each day.
The new year started out well for the National Hockey League. The Sabres traveled to Queens, NY to play the Rangers in Citi Field for the 2018 Winter Classic on January 1st. The game was exciting, with a 2-2 result after three periods. Finally in overtime, J.T. Miller knocked the puck in for the game-winning goal, with helpers from Kevin Shattenkirk and Mats Zuccarello.
So with one game down, we move into a heavy slate of games on Tuesday night, the second night of hockey in 2018. Here’s a look at the NHL schedule for Tuesday, January 2nd 2018:
Lightning at Maple Leafs (7pm ET)
Bruins at Islanders (7pm ET)
Penguins at Flyers (7pm ET NBC Sports Network)
Capitals at Hurricanes (7pm ET)
Sharks at Canadiens (7:30pm ET)
Devils at Blues (8pm ET)
Panthers at Wild (8pm ET)
Blue Jackets at Stars (8:30pm ET)
Jets at Avalanche (9pm ET)
Kings at Oilers (9:30pm ET NBC Sports Network)
Ducks at Canucks (10pm ET)
Predators at Golden Knights (10pm ET)
With 12 games for the FanDuel NHL Main slate on Tuesday night, there is a massive amount of options at each position. Picking tonight’s lineups will be overwhelming, and you really have many combinations of possible winning lineups for tonight.
Also, with so many games on the slate, there is bound to be several good match ups. The Flyers are hosting the Penguins, and the game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network. The Flyers/Penguins rivalry is often tricky to gauge, with emotions taking over. But on paper, the two teams are evenly matched, and there may be some opportunities to exploit.
Another game that appears to be evenly matched is the second game on NBC SN tonight, the Predators traveling to Vegas to take on the red-hot Golden Knights. The Knights are a brand new team in the NHL, and they have shocked many by playing at a top-tier level during the inaugural season.
Vegas appears to be a legit Stanley Cup contender now, and the’re hosting a Predators team who fell just short of beating the Penguins for the Stanley Cup last season. It’s a challenging game to target, but we like some of the options in that contest tonight.
As always, we’ll look to update our picks and final lineups prior to lock on our twitter account @FantasyCPR so make sure to give us a follow for all the late breaking lineup news.
Now let’s start building our NHL DFS optimal lineup by looking at the top centers for this slate…
Top FanDuel NHL Centers: Jan 2nd
There is a long list of great picks at each position today. We’re likely going to miss some, and are intentionally ignoring some picks we think could do well, but have more risk than those we’ve chosen. With that said, let’s start off with a fade.
While Connor McDavid ($9,000) had some hot games over the last two weeks, he’s also had some flat games, paying around $9,000 for less than ten points. With a home match up tonight, he may be tempting to pick. But we don’t like his match up against the Kings, who give up only 2.45 goals per game away from home, fourth best in the NHL. Fade McDavid today, there’s just too many better options on the board.
Tuukka Rask is confirmed in goal tonight, and Rask and the Bruins are hot. So there’s some risk targeting the Islanders offense. But John Tavares ($8,800) is leading the most offensively productive line in hockey. Regardless of the match up, you should consider Tavares a top pick tonight.
The Maple Leafs defense has been better this season, but Frederik Andersen is leading the NHL in saves, not just because he’s a good goalie but he’s also taking a large amount of shots on goal each game. That bodes well for the Lightning and Steven Stamkos ($8,600).
We’ve been a fan of Nathan MacKinnon ($7,800) over the last week, and that continues tonight. MacKinnon has been somewhat inconsistent, but when hot he’s rolling.
In mid-December against the Lightning, Nathan piled up three points, two goals and an assist. One of those goals was a power play goal, and with an additional seven shots on goal, MacKinnon had an awesome 43.7 FanDuel NHL points against a great Lightning team on home ice.
In his last two games, MacKinning has five assists and a goal, averaging over 30 FanDuel NHL points-per-game. Tonight, the Avs have a touch match up against the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck has been a tough net-minder to navigate around this season. But Nathan and the Avs are playing well on home ice, and he’s worth a top center pick tonight.
Matching the Ducks 2.74 goals-per-game away from home ice to Vancouver’s allowing 3.33 goals-per-game on home ice, fifth worst in the NHL, means Ryan Getzlaf ($7,400) is another top play at center tonight. Also, Getzlaf has been red-hot in December.
In seven of his last games, Ryan has at least ten or more FanDuel NHL points. In the Ducks last five games, Getzlaf has an incredible nine assists. Tonight, Ryan should be on the high-end of his 14.43 average FanDuel NHL points-per-game.
Like Getzlaf, Aleksander Barkov ($6,900) has been consistently hot over the last three weeks, with the exception of only one game. Barkov isn’t exceeding 20 FanDuel NHL points often, but with five to seven shots each game, along with several assists, and over 20 minutes of ice time, Aleksander is easily piling up over ten points each game. The Wild are tough to beat on home ice, but the Pahters are smoking right now!
Sean Couturier ($6,600) continues to see changes to his wing-mates throughout the season, but regardless of the changes, Couturier remains one of the most productive centers in the NHL. Over the last five games, Sean has three goals and three assists, including a three point result against a tough Lightning team in Tampa last weekend.
Tonight, the Flyers host the current Stanley Cup champions. But the Penguins have been struggling significantly on road ice. Giving up 3.57 goals-per-game away from home, the Penguins are the second worst in the NHL. This bodes well for a very productive top line of the Flyers.
All of these picks may seem expensive. But there’s too much value in each pick to ignore them. Also, thanks to streaking skaters, goaltenders, and some line movement across the NHL, we have plenty of opportunity to grab value in other positions. Now let’s take a look at the wings we want to stack along with our centers…
Top FanDuel NHL Wings: Jan 2nd
Like we did with the center picks, we’re going to start off our winger conversation with an immediate top-pick fade. It generally sounds stupid to fade Alex Ovechkin ($8,600). The NHL’s perpetual top goal scorer now has 24 goals on the season, second in the NHL.
But the Caps are traveling to Charlotte, NC to play Cam Ward and the Hurricanes. Ward has been red-hot since return to the ice, and paying $8,600 against Ward just doesn’t make sense. There are too many other great picks available.
Instead of Ovechkin, it makes more sense to plug in Nikita Kucherov ($9,100), who should have a solid shot at over 20 FanDuel NHL points against a tattered Maple Leafs defense.
They’re no longer on the same line, but with the Penguins giving up so many goals on the road, Jakub Voracek ($7,600) and Claude Giroux ($7,400) are great, and affordable, stacks with Couturier. Also, while the Islanders are scoring more goals than any other NHL team, they’re also giving up 3.28 per game at home, sixth worst in the NHL. That bodes well for Bruins picks like Brad Marchand ($7,600) and David Pastrnak ($7,200).
The Blue Jackets struggled in December, and trotted a new top line out on the ice during practice yesterday. Pierre-Luc Dubois ($5,700) has been playing very well at center lately, and with Artemi Panarin ($7,500) and Nick Foligno ($5,000). Panarin is the only, of the three, listed as a winger by FanDuel. Foligno and Dubois are each listed under center, and could be great value picks. But of the three, Panarin is the most likely to score goals.
We mentioned Getzlaf and the great match up the Ducks have on road ice tonight. Another top-liner from the Ducks to target, but at wing, is Rickard Rakell ($6,500). Over the last five games, Rakell has 16+ FanDuel NHL points in each game. Rickard has six goals since December 21st, including another two assists. Rakell is nearly a must have in all lineups.
Another red-hot skater, but doing so quietly on the Bolts second line, is Tyler Johnson ($5,500). How the 27-year-old is only $5,500 is amazing. He’s averaging almost 12 FanDuel NHL points-per-game this year, but over the last month, Johnson has been one of the top producing wings in the NHL.
In the Bolts twelve games of December, Tyler had double digit FanDuel NHL points in eleven of those games. The on game under ten points, was still an eight point result because of an assist and no other offense registered. In fact, Johnson has a goal or assist registered in all twelve games played in December. At this salary and with this match up, Johnson is another must-have in all lineups and all formats.
Finally, looking back at the Flyers match up and line combination changes, there is a sneaky value pick. Travis Konecny ($3,600) is a speedy 20-year old Canadian who the Flyers hope could build into a superstar role some day. Most of this season, Travis has hung around the Flyers third line.
But recently, Flyers head coach David Hakstol moved Konecny to their top play, playing with Couturier and Giroux. Sean and Claude have a combined 82 points in just 38 games. With more time on the ice over the last two games, Travis registered three assists. Tonight, in a potential offensive advantage for the Flyers, Konecny could score over 20 FanDuel NHL points on a very cheap salary.
Top FanDuel NHL Defenders: Jan 2nd
Affordability is a problem, again, at the defense position. Our two favorite picks, Brent Burns ($7,300) and Victor Hedman ($6,300) are expensive for the position and present salary problem if we pick both. The Sharks are in Montreal tonight, and the Bolts are in Toronto. Both Canadian teams are struggled to defend the net at home, each in the bottom 15 in goals against average per game at home.
Hedman is a great pick and you’re saving $1K salary. But Burns and the Sharks are finally demonstrating consistently solid offensive performance. Burns has a 15.2 FanDuel NHL point-per-game average, but over the last month his average has been closer to 20 per game. Between the two, we’re going to try to use the value identified in the other positions and pay up for Burnsy. But Hedman could be as good a pick tonight.
We like the Flyers odds of scoring tonight, and sharp-shooting top line D-man Shayne Gostisbehere ($5,800) is another better value at defense. Over the last seven games, Ghost only has one result below eleven FanDuel NHL points. Also, Shayne has four goals and three assists over the last eight games. Tonight, Gostisbehere’s roll should continue.
Like Ghost, Alex Pietrangelo ($5,800) has been consistently providing well over ten points per game over the last three weeks. We don’t love the match up against the Devils, but Alex is on home ice, and is as hot as anyone else lately. Another match up we hate, but someone we can’t ignore is P.K. Subban ($5,700).
Subban is logging around 25 minutes of ice time each game, and is emerging into a more offensively focused role for the Predators. We absolutely hate the match up, which we’ll get to in a minute, but if you’re fading the Golden Knights, or want to hedge that bet tonight, Subban is your best move.
Finally, sticking with the same Predators and Golden Knights game in Vegas, Shea Theodore ($3,800) is a great potential value pick on Tuesday night. Shea sees between 17 to 20 minutes of ice time for one of the leagues top teams right now. Over the last six games, Theodore has quietly piled up two goals and five assists, and is averaging over 20 FanDuel NHL points-per-game. Stacking with Hedman or Burns is a great way to use Theodore’s value.
Top FanDuel NHL Goalies: Jan 2nd
Finding a great goalie tonight is easy. Picking the best goalie with the best value is difficult. We don’t like going after Braden Holtby ($9,300) and the hot Washington Capitals, but Cam Ward ($7,600). It’s a risky move to pick Ward, but he’s won ten of his 14 starts this season, and is only giving up 2.53 goals per game.
Also, we consistently mentioned the great match up the Flyers offense has against the Penguins. Ideally, we’d like to avoid a mediocre team against the current Stanley Cup champions. But the Penguins are trotting Tristan Jarry ($7,900) to defend the goal against the Flyers tonight, and Brian Elliott ($8,000) has been tremendous over 14 straight starts.
With the right match ups, Pekka Rinne ($8,400) has been one of our favorite goaltenders, but not tonight. In stead, we’re going to grab the Vegas Golden Knight’s veteran net-minder Marc-Andre Fleury ($7,900). Since returning to the ice in Mid-December, Fleury has been amazing.
In his last five starts, Marc-Andre is 4-0-1, with 24 to 35 saves per game, and an average of around 30 FanDuel NHL points-per-game. Even more impressive, he has tended net against the Hurricanes, Penguins, Lightening, Capitals, and Kings. Most of those teams are currently in the hottest part of their season.
Tonight, Fleury faces another tough team, the Stanley Cup runner-up Predators. The Preds are scoring around 2.8 goals per game away from home. But the Knights are only allowing 2.32 goals per game on Vegas ice, sixth best in the NHL. If Fleury stays hot tonight, his value creates multiple opportunities at each position tonight, and he’s a great play for cash or GPP games.
So, after reviewing all of our favorite options, here’s an example of a lineup we put together for Tuesday, January 2nd:
C Barkov (FLA $6,900)
C Couturier (PHI $6,600)
W Marchessault (VGK $6,700)
W Rakell (ANH $6,500)
W Johnson (TB $5,500)
W Konecny (PHI $3,600)
D Burns (SJ $7,300)
D Theodore (VGK $3,800)
G Fleury (VGK $7,900)
Note: This is a recommended lineup after discussing our top options for the week. You should use this as a guide, and provide your own input when building FanDuel NHL lineups. We are not telling you, or selling you, to use this lineup.
Best of luck in your FanDuel NHL contests and stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for all your DFS news and analysis across NHL, NBA, EPL, and NFL this fall!