Welcome back to the FanDuel NHL Blue Line Power Plays column. This is the Thursday, March 15th edition. We’re a daily fantasy hockey column focused on top FanDuel NHL plays for your lineups each day.
In a word, DFS NHL has been terrible lately. Many of the season-long top plays haven’t consistently provided the type of production we’re used to in our FanDuel NHL lineups, and as the season morphs into the playoffs, or teams transitioning into the off-season, we’re seeing obscure players rise to the occasion and land top points on cheap salaries.
In a way, this is still an exciting time to build an NHL DFS optimal lineup. But it’s very difficult to identify some of the top picks right now. A good example, last night Rangers net-minder Alexander Georgiev ($7,300) provided 29.6 FanDuel NHL points on a cheap salary with 37 saves an a win.
The Rangers hosted the Penguins, and were a surprise 4-3 win against one of the hotter teams in hockey right now. Most FanDuel NHL players only used Georgiev to plug in a slew of expensive top players at the other positions, and were lucky to get another nearly 30 points from Alexander.
Identifying plays like that will continue to be difficult. However, as we’ve noticed last season, a pattern typically still emerges, and you’re able to build consistently strong FanDuel NHL lineups again. With that in mind, here’s a look at the NHL schedule for Thursday, March 15th:
Maple Leafs at Sabres (7pm ET)
Capitals at Islanders (7pm ET)
Blue Jackets at Flyers (7pm ET)
Penguins at Canadiens (7:30pm ET NBC SN)
Bruins at Panthers (7:30pm ET)
Avalanche at Blues (8pm ET)
Blackhawks at Jets (8pm ET)
Predators at Coyotes (10pm ET)
Red Wings at Kings (10pm ET NBC SN)
The NHL will be competing with March Madness tonight, but with nine games and 18 teams on the ice tonight, we’ll experience some of the hockey madness Thursday night as well. Jack Eichel is pushing himself to get back on the ice for a game, but he’s been ruled out against the Maple Leafs, in Buffalo. Still, we’ve seen great value from that offense, even with Eichel out of the lineup. And the Leafs are in play as well.
The Caps and Islanders has the potential to be a high-scoring game. Alex Ovechkin just scored his 600th goal of his career, this week, and we expect Ovi to be riding high against a terrible offense in Brooklyn, N.Y. But the Caps have struggled to defend the puck as well, and the Isles offense has been difficult to stop this season.
The Flyers and Penguins offenses both have a decent match up to target. And the Panthers and Bruins could pile up a lot of goals in Florida tonight. The Avs are a good team at home, but struggle on the road, opening the door for a potential mid-salary range play at goalie, in Saint Louis.
Finally, the Jets have an ideal match up on home ice, and the Predators likely continue to role against the young Coyotes team in Arizona. But the night will end in Los Angeles, where Anze Kopitar look to continue to roll over a Red Wings team giving up way too many goals lately.
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: March 15th
There is a long list of expensive top center plays for FanDuel NHL lineups tonight. Evgeni Malkin ($9,300) is the most expensive center, but with the high-likelihood of Malkin getting 20+ FanDuel NHL points again tonight, he’s 2.1x+ value and still a great pick tonight. We’ll likely go with Malkin in some cash lineups, but his salary does cap your ability to pick another top center, and you’ll be limited at the winger position.
We prefer to find other cheaper 2x value picks at the center position, and love Ryan O’Reilly ($6,000) on home ice against the Maple Leafs and Riley Nash ($5,700) leading the Bruins third line against the Panthers in Florida. This combo should yield at least 25-30 FanDuel NHL points, as a floor, on just $11,700 salary, or only $2,400 more expensive than just the Malkin pick.
O’Reilly has filled in nicely for the Sabres top line, with Eichel off the ice again tonight. While Ryan is consistently providing goals and assists four double-digit points each night, he’s also spending 20 to 25 minutes of his time on the ice, piling up shots and blocked shot for close to ten FanDuel NHL points without a goal or assist. With scoring tonight, he will land over 20 points.
Nash may only be on the Bruins third line, but he’s also getting 15 to 20 minutes of time on the ice, and has two goals and six assists in the Bruins last seven games. On a modest night, we’d at least expect eight FanDuel NHL points from Riley, but with any scoring he’s closer to 20 points tonight.
If you really need some value at the center pick, especially with Malkin as a potential pick in your lineup, Kyle Brodziak ($3,600) is a very cheap second line leader for the Blues on home ice tonight. The Blues have the Avalanche in town. While the Avs are having a great season, they’ve performed poorly on the road lately. This is a sneaky eight to 15 FanDuel NHL points on a dirt-cheap salary.
If you’re not quite sold on these top four picks, or need additional options because the math isn’t working for your lineup, also consider Anze Kopitar ($7,500), Jeff Carter ($6,500), and Kyle Turris ($5,000).
Now let’s take a look at the wings we want to stack along with our centers…
Top FanDuel NHL Wings: March 15th
With nine games and 18 teams on the ice tonight, the multiple top options at the winger position reduces the chalky impact to lineups. However, we’re expecting the chalk to hit Alex Ovechkin ($9,000) and Brad Marchand ($8,400). Both are great, but expensive, plays tonight. Ovi is coming off his 600th goal game, and Marchand is red-hot right now scoring between 20 and 60 FanDuel NHL points over the last four games.
You could, or should, play either but to fade the chalk consider Patrik Laine ($8,300). As odd as that may sound, Laine only had an assist against the hot Predators in Nashville on Tuesday, breaking his six-game goal scoring streak.
With other options like Ovi and Marchand on the board, it’s entirely possible many FanDuel NHL players are sick of Patrik and fade him tonight. With the Blackhawks in Winnipeg tonight, we think fading Laine is a mistake as his scoring streak is very likely to continue.
Another Marchand fade, but action to stay in the Bruins offense tonight, is grabbing a cheaper David Pastrnak ($7,500). Pasta had an incredible Tuesday night against the Hurricanes, scoring a hat-trick, including a power play goal, on six shots and added an assist for 54.1 FanDuel NHL points.
Another cheaper pick at winger, but also a possible play with Laine, is Viktor Arvidsson ($7,000). Relative quiet most of the season, Arvidsson has been red-hot over the last month. With four goals and four assist in the last seven games, Viktor is also piling up shots on goal and blocked shots for a consistent 20+ FanDuel NHL point play. In Arizona, we expect Viktor to have another productive night.
For better value, we love mid-salary range Sabres winger Sam Reinhart ($5,300) who’s been on a role over the last two months. Also, Tanner Pearson ($4,400) is a great stand-alone or stack with Kopitar with a goal in each of the last two games. And Brian Gionta ($3,800) has quietly provided two goals and four assists in the last seven games. Gionta also piled up seven shots on just 14 minutes of ice time in Chicago on Sunday.
Top FanDuel NHL Defense: March 15th
At the defense position, there is too many great plays to go cheap at the position tonight. If you can afford him, Seth Jones ($6,100) playing at another level right now. He had to leave the game due to an injury on Monday, but Jones still had a power play goal and assist, along with three shots on goal and two block shots for 29 FanDuel NHL points against the Habs. In his last three games, Seth has four goals and four assist, along with 14 shots on goal and five blocked shots.
Another red-hot productive defense man is Avalanche top-liner Tyson Barrie ($5,900). Missing a good part of the season due to an injury, Barrie has quietly re-emerged as one of the best DFS NHL plays at the defense position. Tyson has a goal or assist in seven straight games, a total of four goals and six assists during that time.
Not as consistently dominate as Jones or Barrie right now, John Carlson ($5,800) is also having a good calendar year 2018 in the NHL right now. Carlson has an assist in each of the last two games and five assists and one goal in the last seven games. With the match up against the Isles in New York tonight, John likely gets onto the scoring stat sheet again tonight.
With the Predators in Arizona tonight, and their top three defenders consistently providing value, we love Roman Josi ($6,700) and Ryan Ellis ($5,700) from the Preds ton line and P.K. Subban ($5,300) leading the second lines. Subban is your best shot at a goal in the position, but Josi is a lock for double-digit points and nearly provides 20 points per night lately. But Ellis is the best value right now, putting up Roman-like points on a cheaper salary.
Top FanDuel NHL Goalies: March 15th
With so many games scheduled, picking a goalie can be overwhelming tonight. But there are some obvious plays. Pekka Rinne ($9,300) is very expensive, but he’s also a lock for a win, and with the Yotes playing better offense lately, Rinne should pile up saves.
While the Panthers offense is tremendous, especially in Florida, Tuukka Rask ($8,800) is playing better than any other goalie right now. Rask would be more expensive if it wasn’t for the match up, but that dip in salary creates a value opportunity as Rask has a solid shot at 30+ FanDuel NHL points with so many shots on goal from the Panthers tonight.
Jonathan Quick ($8,800) is another lock for a win, and after shutting out the Canucks on Monday, Quick will be chalky tonight. Connor Hellebuyck ($8,500) is a cheaper and less chalky win pick against the Blackhawks on home ice tonight, but we’d rather take on some risk and save some money with Philipp Grubauer ($8,200) tonight.
Jake Allen ($8,100) is another solid play on home ice, but if you need greater value, consider Petr Mrazek ($7,700) in a must-win for the Flyers on home ice tonight. So, after reviewing all of our favorite options, here’s an example of a lineup we put together for Thursday, March 15th:
C O’Reilly (BUF $6,000)
C Nash (BOS $5,700)
W Laine (WPG $8,300)
W Arvidsson (NSH $7,000)
W Pearson (LA $4,400)
W Gionta (BOS $3,800)
D Barrie ($5,900)
D Ellis ($5,700)
G Grubauer (WAS $8,200)
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.
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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!