January 7th - NHL DFS Picks

This is my first blog here and I’ve been playing NHL DFS for almost 2 years now. We’ll see if I continue to do it based on if people enjoy it. Hopefully we can get NHL DFS to grow in the process and get a Live Final next year that is a little more exciting than $200k in Vegas.


After what I predicted would be an extremely high scoring night, it was high scoring but not necessarily in the way in which I was expecting. Tonight, it will be a lot more tame with only 4 games on the slate, and it’s not a very sexy slate at that, either. So let’s get in to these games and see if we can unearth some solid plays.

This is probably going to be mine and likely the industries most targeted game tonight. The Leafs have been playing like junk and the Caps have 2 of the most dynamic players in the league. The Leafs fired Randy Carlyle (WOOT!) yesterday morning, so it is tough to predict what we will see from them tonight. Will they come out firing, inspired with something to prove? The 2 assistant coaches have taken over in the interim so it is not a new coach they are looking to impress, or win for. It is just themselves and the fans they need to do something for. Is that enough for this team to show up tonight after a long road trip? I don’t know. They have some injuries so their depth is lackluster, but that is not an excuse.

Honestly, I don’t think stacking this game is a terrible idea. I really like Ovy/Backstrom tonight and once you see Ovechkin’s career numbers vs. Toronto, you’ll probably be all over him too. In 34 games he has 27 goals and 49 points. Not that it matters, but that would be 65 goals and 118 points if he played Toronto for 82 games in a season. Ridiculous. So needless to say, he’s always got their number. You might as well pair him with Backstrom because although his numbers vs. Toronto aren’t nearly as great, he’s still Ovy’s centre and an elite talent at that. Load them up with Mike Green who shares the PP with them and you’re golden. It looks like Andre Burakovsky might be lined up to play with them tonight, so that is a great salary saver to consider. Another play I really like doing is using the 4 forwards on PP1: Ovy, Backstrom, Brouwer, Johansson. You get massive PP exposure and 2 guys on each of the top 2 ES lines.

On the Leafs side of things, who knows which team shows up. Washington is not as high-flying as in years past as Trotz has locked things up a bit defensively. Sure, Ovy still likes to roam free but we won’t see back-and-forth chances like when the Leafs face Dallas or something. JvR-Bozak-Kessel have been reunited and are the only forwards I’d consider tonight as the other lines are dumpster fires. Consider Franson or possibly Phaneuf on D for their PP if you think they are going to score a few goals.

Goalies: Avoid both. This game should see some goals.

This a game I cannot seem to get a feel for. I think I like the Pens a lot and believe Crosby/Perron could see some exciting times together. Both are creative players and despite what many thing, Perron is not afraid to go in to the corners and gets a surprising number of hits considering his reputation of being soft. I don’t really get why Kunitz is on line 3 instead of playing with Malkin. Is Spaling really worth playing with Malkin? Ridiculous. I don’t get it, but what do I know. The PP is still as potent as ever with Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz, Perron and Letang. Use any and all of them on DraftKings and up to any 4 that you like on FanDuel. Boston is a shell of their former self this season and I see no reason why you should not load up on Pittsburgh tonight.

On the flip side, Boston is not a team I want much exposure to tonight. They are OK, but Fleury has been playing great and just don’t expect much from Boston any more. As per usual, when I recommend some Boston players, it’ll be my 2 boys: Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. If you want to use the others, that’s fine, but these 2 always come in way cheaper than they should and put up almost as many points as those that’ll cost from $1k-$3k more to use.

Goalies: I don’t mind Fleury tonight. I would not use Rask (or whoever starts).

It’s funny, when you expect Detroit to dominate a team, they really don’t get as many shots as you would expect them to. They are such a puck possession team, that they are rarely going to fire off 40 shots on goal. They’ll get their 28-32 typically and hope for the best. Last night they had 41 shots, but that was against the worst defensive team in the NHL. Tonight they are in Calgary, typically a good thing. But facing off against Mark Giordano is typically a bad thing. I always hesitate to take top lines against Calgary when they are at home because Gio is an elite shutdown dman in the NHL. His numbers last year were incredible (Astukas might have readily available numbers). Ignoring the personal comments and Flamesfan bias, this article from last season has some numbers that back up his eliteness: http://flamesnation.ca/2014/3/17/is-mark-giordano-a-norris-candidate

So, that is why I’m not really on Detroit tonight. And their scoring is spread out so much that it is sometimes impossible to predict. I would normally expect Datsyuk to be up against Gio, but the Zetterberg/Abdelkader/Nyquist line has much more offence to them then Weiss/Datsyuk/Helm, so I figure they’ll let Datsyuk do his thing with 2 less than stellar linemates while Gio and Brodie shut down the Zetterberg line. Look to see if Detroit changes their lines tonight on the tail end of a B2B to try and combat this.

Calgary is off-limits for me tonight, too. It’s tough to eliminate so many teams on a 4-game slate, but it’s not a sexy set of games and taking anybody vs. Detroit is torture. They play a slow game, do not allow shots, and shut down bad teams like Calgary. This game will likely end up in a 2-1 snoozefest. I’ll pass. Vegas set the O/U at 5.5 so maybe they think Detroit on the B2B will be sloppy and open up for some goals. I don’t see it, but I’m not Vegas.

Goalies: I don’t hate either side of things. This game will be close because of Detroit being on Game 2 of a B2B and because I expect it to be a close, low scoring game, I think Mrazek and Ramo are both okay to use tonight.

Bruce, please give us Bryzgalov tonight. Please. I always like having the late game hammer, but tonight I don’t know how much I love it. Perry/Getzlaf are always in play. Tonight should be no different, but I prefer Pittsburgh and Washington and you’ll be paying up to use those guys. So it’s tough to justify the Ducks in an average match-up. Throw in Vatanen to top off the PP and that’s about all I’d want from the Ducks tonight.

If Bryzgalov plays, give me all of the Rangers. Stack them up. With Andersen in net, I am less likely to use them. The Ducks points are not really indicitive of their play, as they lead the league in 1 goal wins. At some point, their luck will run out and they’ll start losing these 1 goal games and fall back where they belong in the 4th spot in the West or so. Much like the Ducks, I don’t really like the Rangers tonight because there are better options. If you’re just playing 1 lineup, it’s tough to play these guys. They do have 2 line worth using with Nash-Brassard-Zuccarello or Kreider-Stepan-St. Louis, so there are options. Despite the perception that they are an elite team, they are tied for the 11th most GA in the NHL and only have a +5 goal differential on the season. That’s not too great and the more I look in to things, the more I might consider using some Rangers. Which line though? I would expect Boudreau to try his best to avoid the Stepan line with Getzlaf’s line, and line them up against anybody else whereas Vigneault will be trying his best to put the Stepan line out against the Getzlaf line at any opportunity. So with that in mind, I think using Nash and his linemates is a legit play tonight.

Goalies: Not really interested in either tonight. Maybe Lundqvist if you’re really high on the Rangers, but any goalie facing Getzlaf/Perry is a risk.

So overall, I think my teams in order are: Washington, Pittsburgh, NY Rangers. Goaltenders I feel a REALLY tough tonight. Fleury if I’m paying up, Mrazek if I’m going cheap.

About the Author

  • Ryan Sheppard (donkshow)

  • Ryan Sheppard aka “donkshow” was born and raised just outside of Toronto and has been a diehard Leafs fan since day one. He has his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, but is currently working as a Graphic Designer. In 2013 he started playing daily fantasy sports – exclusively NHL. Since then he has branched out into MLB, NFL, NBA and PGA.


  • tratow

    • 2015 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    Great read as usual, glad to see you making the jump with your writing and making it a little more visible!!

  • donkshow

    Thanks tratow.

    An update to the Leafs lines:

    Winnik – Kadri – Kessel
    JvR – Bozak – Santorelli

    I like both lines to be honest but I’d prefer the Kadri/Kessel pairing if I had to choose.

  • donkshow

    I was trying to edit the blog to fix some things, but as of now that is not working.

    Detroit lines were rumoured to be what I posted above, but in fact they never came to be. The lines remained:
    Zetterberg – Datsyuk – Abdelkader
    Tatar – Sheahan – Nyquist
    Franzen – Helm – Weiss

  • ranoa513

    This is great donk! Thanks for writing this up.

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