NHL Picks: Best Bets, DraftKings Fantasy Hockey DFS Cheat Sheet for April 21
We’ve got some nice player props to look at in games with weaker teams involved. Kevin Hayes comes into this game against Montreal averaging 3.7 SOG per game over his last 10 starts and faces a Montreal team that allows the third-most shots against in the league. At -120, his shots on the net prop look like excellent target overshoot with those odds. Pairing him with Sabers first line Jeff Skinner also makes sense to boost our comeback. Skinner has seemed revitalized lately and has had five or more shots on net in three of his last four outings. He is playing longer minutes and also faces a weaker team in New Jersey.
The Sabers are also a good Money Line target at solid odds. New Jersey comes home after a long five-game road trip and finds itself in a natural disappointment with nothing left to play. They’ve also lost four straight home games and face a Sabers team that has won two in a row on the road, including a 5-3 upset against Toronto. Buffalo’s offense has come alive a bit (they’ve scored three or more goals in five of their last seven games), and they probably have the toughest goalie. The Devils still lack a core group of players, which makes this Money Line look like a decent bet today.
Buffalo Sabers vs. New Jersey Devils
Tage Thompson ($6,800) – Jeff Skinner ($5,800) – Victor Olofsson ($3,500)
As we head towards the end of the NHL season, there will likely be a few tighter control games between playoff contenders and teams on the verge of clinching or losing a playoff berth. That won’t be the case today when the Sabers and Devils face off, two teams well out of the playoffs, both ranked in the bottom 10 in goals against per game.
Despite their issues at fullback, Buffalo’s front line has been great on fantasy ends lately, and they come in having scored nine points between them in their last three games. Tage Thompson has emerged as a legit high-end fantasy producer with eight goals in his last 10 games. The 24-year-old leads the Sabers front line and has been a nighttime force lately with a shooting percentage above 30% in his last 10 games.
Thompson was also helped by having two offensive threats to play in Skinner and Olofsson, both of whom are dangerous players when confident. Skinner is now 11 points in his last 10 games and has added a bit of playmaking to his game this year, which has helped make him and Thompson an effective unit. Sweden’s Victor Olofsson remains one of the best upside values in daily fantasy hockey at well under $4,000. He doesn’t see quite as much ice as his teammates, but he’s been shooting well over 20% in his last 10 games, and he has 11 points in that span. This line is cheap and will face a weak goaltender no matter who the Devils choose in their depth chart to shoot in the net today.
Superstar to target
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues vs. San Jose Sharks ($7,300)
The Blues eventually lost a game but that didn’t stop Vladimir Tarasenko from picking up two more points. The Russian winger has now racked up 20 points in his last 10 games and is averaging over 20.0 DKFP over that span. Despite the run, he’s only the eighth most expensive winger on the DraftKings roster today and gets a solid matchup against the Sharks.
San Jose has allowed four or more goals in four of its last seven games and hasn’t won against a quality team in more than two weeks. Tarasenko has also done most of his damage at even strength (only three of his last 20 points have come on the power play), so we shouldn’t worry too much about San Jose’s (the NHL’s third-best) penalty kill. Build around the Blues superstar today.
Andreas Athanasiou, Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks ($3,400)
The Kings are at home today in what is a huge game for their playoff chances. They sit as monster favorites -250 and with an implied goal tally of 4.1, so we’d have to watch their top six for some value. LA has several cheap forwards to choose from, but it’s Athanasiou who should be highest on our list when looking for valuable goals. The former Red Wing and Oiler has been terrific in the second half of the year and now plays front row for LA alongside Anze Kopitar.
Athanasiou has now had three or more shots on net in each of his last four games and has also scored five goals in his last 10 starts. The Blackhawks allow more than 33 shots against per game and also ranked in the bottom eight in shorthanded efficiency. That’s a positive for most Kings forwards, especially Athanasiou whose speed allows him to get more shots on net, and he’s seemed more confident lately.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs ($7,700)
We don’t see Vasilevskiy available at that kind of price very often, especially at home, so when we do, it’s incumbent on us to have interest. He’s coming off two straight bad starts, but the Tampa Bay goaltender has been solid at home this year, posting a .918 save percentage in 31 home starts. The Lightning have dropped a little in the standings, but they are still -125 favorites today on Toronto which is not guaranteed to have Auston Matthews in the line-up.
Matthews missed his last game. As the playoffs approach, don’t be shocked if they give him another night off. From a game theory perspective, the Leafs’ back-to-back bad games and specter of offense will likely give us very weak Tampa ownership today. Vasilevskiy will likely shine in any Tampa win, making him a high-value target well below 8k.
Value on defense
Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs ($4,300)
As mentioned above, don’t be afraid to grab a few pieces of Tampa Bay today. They are at home with a total of 3.7 implied goals and face Erik Kallgren in net who has produced a sub-.900 save percentage in four of his last five appearances. Sergachev has cooled off a bit after his hot midseason run, but he comes into this game still averaging 4.0 blocked shots + shots on goal in his last 10 starts.
The offensive defenseman still skates over 21 minutes most nights and averages 0.5 points per game. It also gives us cheaper exposure to the Tampa power play, which would love to gain momentum before the playoffs start in May. Sergachev is a good value pick for DFS and likely won’t be as targeted given the Lightning’s struggles lately.
Power play defenders
Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks at Minnesota Wild ($5,700)
This is a larger list, so we have plenty of defense payout options. That said, I still like riding the sub-6,000 salary of Quinn Hughes today, a power-play specialist who faces a weaker penalty from the Wild. Minnesota ranks in the bottom 10 in shorthanded efficiency, and they face a motivated Canucks offense that has scored on the power play in each of its last four games.
Hughes had eight points on his own in those games (four on the power play) and will continue to be great value under 6,000 as long as this Canucks offense keeps rolling (averaged 5.0 goals during their last five games). A Canucks power play stack, starting with Hughes, could be a good contrarian way to start rosters in the GPPs.
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