FanDuel NHL Lineup Advice: Thursday (3/16)

Mar 16, 2017

John Tavares should capitalize on a prime matchup Thursday

Hold onto your hat as we have a large 12-game slate on our hands tonight. At first glance there are not many matchups that open your eyes as irresistible, however, a little bit of digging can reveal opportunities for exploitation. Let’s go ahead and craft a lineup that can cash out in tonight’s massive slate.

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Center

John Tavares (NYI): $8,300 vs. WPG
Tavares was somehow left off the scoresheet in Monday’s high-flying 8-4 loss to the Hurricanes, but he managed to bag the overtime winner one night later in Carolina to get back on the board. I fully expect the Islanders’ number one pivot to carry that momentum into tonight’s contest at home against the Jets. Winnipeg is one of the worst defensive teams in the league, ranking 28th with 3.19 goals against per game and having that number slip to 3.26 on the road. That’s certainly good news for an Islanders club that is one of the highest scoring home teams in the league with 3.31 goals per game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Only the Capitals and Penguins have scored more time at home than the Islanders have and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Johnny T add to his 59 points and 230 shots for the season in this favorable matchup this evening.

Brayden Point (TB): $4,200 vs. TOR
Point was thrust into the number one center spot for the Lighting when Tyler Johnson went down with an injury and the rookie has taken the role and simply ran away with it. After going six straight games without a goal, Point now has three tallies over his last two games while throwing six shots on goal and skating at least 21 minutes in each content. He centers one of the league’s most productive players in Nikita Kucherov at both 5v5 and on the power play where the Lightning click at a solid 23.6% at home, good for fifth in the league. Point has had an eventful rookie season as he has dealt with injuries while moving all over John Cooper’s lineup, but with 27 points and 91 shots in 55 games Point has excelled and that hasn’t been more evident than it has been over the last two games. Ride the rookie while he is hot and very reasonably priced.

Wing

Josh Bailey (NYI): $5,300 vs. WPG
This was an easy call to include Tavares’ 5v5 and power play winger in this lineup. It’s been a career year for Bailey as he enters play boasting 49 points and 154 shots in 69 games while skating an average of 18:54 a night, all of which are easily career highs for the veteran. While plenty of thanks can be given to Tavares here, the fact is Bailey is playing with more confidence than ever and that should prove fruitful in his matchup against the visiting Jets tonight. Winnipeg has surrendered 18 goals over their last four games (4.5/game) and exactly five in each of their last two road games. Roll the Tavares-Bailey combo with confidence tonight.

Nikita Kucherov (TB): $8,100 vs. TOR
If you are going with Point at the center position tonight Kucherov is simply a must-have on the wing. Kucherov ranks ninth in the league with 69 points on the season, however, his 1.11 points per game ranks third among players with at least 18 games played this season. He and Point have connected for some serious offense lately with Kucherov grabbing six points over his last four games while taking 3.75 shots per game over that stretch. The Lightning will take on an unreliable Maple Leafs defense tonight who are coming off a 7-2 shellacking at the hands of the Panthers on Tuesday night. Kucherov is easily the go-to guy up front for the Lightning and he and Point could very well click for some more offense in a favorable matchup this evening.

Jamie Benn (DAL): $8,100 vs. VAN
After rattling off seven straight games with at least a point Benn has been held off the scoresheet for three consecutive games. However, players of Benn’s caliber don’t stay quiet long and he should be able to start a new streak in Vancouver tonight. Some may think it’s been an off year for Benn, but upon further review, Benn has 63 points on the season in 65 games as his 0.97 points per game ties him with linemate Tyler Seguin for 14th in the league. He doesn’t shoot the puck as much as Seguin, however, he does have 173 shots on the season while playing on the power play and penalty kill, affording him an average of 19:41 of ice time per game this season. It won’t be long before the western Canada native gets back to his goal-scoring ways.

Reid Boucher (VAN): $3,400 vs. DAL
Tonight’s value play up front, Boucher has a solid home matchup against a brutal Stars defense tonight. Dallas ranks dead-last with 3.73 goals against per game on the road this season and kills penalties at a 72.3% clip on the road, also last in the league. Boucher lines up on the Canucks’ second line tonight alongside leading scorer Bo Horvat while also flanking Horvat on the second unit power play as well. Of course his five points in 26 games this year won’t stand out at you, but he has a solid 46 shots in those 26 games and has taken five shots in two of his last three games while scoring a goal in that stretch. There aren’t many players in this price range with a matchup as favorable as Boucher’s tonight so he makes for an appealing value play as a result.

Defense

Victor Hedman (TB): $6,600 vs. TOR
If it were any other year Hedman could very well be your Norris Trophy winner, but Brent Burns has that honor all but solidified in San Jose. Nonetheless, Hedman has been outstanding this season to the tune of 59 points on 140 shots and 110 blocks across 66 games. Those 59 points rank him third in the NHL among defensemen while his 27 points on the power play are tops among all blueliners in the league. He has four points over his last four games and is the lone defenseman on Tampa Bay’s top power play unit. He should be productive once again against the visiting Maple Leafs tonight.

Stephen Johns (DAL): $3,200 vs. VAN
Johns has had a nice season in his first full campaign in the NHL. He has been a healthy scratch at times but has been productive when in the lineup. Johns has nine points in 53 games this season, but he also has 80 shots and 115 blocks in that span. He currently lines up on the Stars’ second defensive pairing and has seen power play minutes at times. If you are looking for value on the blueline Johns’ peripherals indicate he could be a good choice for tonight’s contest against the Canucks.

Goalie

Darcy Kuemper (MIN): $7,800 vs. CAR
While not the most obvious candidate in goal, Kuemper could be a nice play tonight especially in GPP formats. Kuemper will take on the Hurricanes tonight on the road as Carolina is one of the least productive scoring teams in the league. They score just 2.54 goals per game which rank 21st and they are also one of the least productive scoring teams at home with just 2.70 goals per game at PNC Arena. The Wild are a solid defensive group no matter who is in goal as they give up just 2.71 goals per game away from home while killing off a solid 81.4% of their penalties in such scenarios. Kuemper is a solid mid-priced goalie tonight who could be a sneaky play on the road this evening.

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Kemper is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Kemper, check out his site www.doubleupsports.com and follow him @KemperDoubleUp.

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