FanDuel DFS NHL Strategy Advice: Tuesday (1/26)
With the first series of postponements behind us, the NHL is loaded up with thirteen games this evening. There will be a lot to choose from, so let’s get started.
Jack Hughes (NJD): $5,000 vs. PHI
Last year’s first overall pick got off to a slow start, recording just 21 points in 61 games. He looked overmatched by the size and physicality of the NHL. To his credit, it’s extremely rare for an 18-year-old to play a full NHL season. And boy, what a difference one year makes. Hughes came to camp this year having put on 14 pounds of muscle. As his body fills out, his game appears to be rounding out, too. Hughes is off to a great start with three goals and seven points in five games. With Nico Hischier still out of the lineup, Hughes will continue to center the top line and the top power-play unit. It helps that the Flyers will turn to their backup goaltender Brian Elliott to spell the recently struggling Carter Hart.
Bryan Rust (PIT): $5,500 at BOS
I will admit that it took me a long time to come around on Bryan Rust. When he broke out last season with 27 goals and 56 points, I kept telling myself that he was just another product of the wondrous Sidney Crosby. I was wrong. Bryan Rust has elite speed and can generate chances by himself. For those of us (me) that had expected a potential step backward this year, the 28-year-old has followed up his late breakout season with an early five-game point streak. That streak includes a game against the Rangers where Rust fired an unheard of 11 shots on goal. He’ll continue to skate on a dynamite line with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel, as well as the top power-play unit that features the same pair. I don’t see him slowing down any time soon.
Jesse Puljujarvi (EDM): $3,500 at WPG
Puljujarvi has had an eventful first few seasons in the NHL. He became unhappy with his role in Edmonton and subsequently left the Oilers for Europe a couple of years ago. Now he’s back, and he’s got a different mindset. He has said that he’s just happy to be playing on this team and in this league, and he’s willing to play any style of game required of him. The former fourth overall pick now finds himself riding shotgun alongside Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. With that promotion, his ice time increased from an average of 12 minutes up to 17:33. It’s an incredible opportunity for a player who we know has a lot of potential. Dave Tippett can change his mind at any time, but I am happy to take a shot at this price tag.
Matt Dumba (MIN): $4,100 vs LA
After scoring 14 goals in 32 games back in the 2018-19 season, I expected Dumba to take a step forward in 2020, and I thought he could even reach 20 goals. That didn’t happen. Dumba struggled to produce offense with just 24 points in 69 games. We can blame his dismal 3.6% shooting percentage, which is low even for a defenseman, for some of his ineffectiveness. We can also blame the lack of talent in Minnesota, something that has drastically changed over the last year or so. Minnesota found a star in Kevin Fiala, and they may have the rookie of the year on their hands with Kirill Kaprizov. Dumba has two goals and three points in six contests, and he always chips in with shots on goal and blocked shots. With the LA Kings and their 3.33 goals against per game in town, I like Dumba in this spot. He will continue to quarterback a power-play unit that runs at 7% efficiency. Positive regression there is inevitable.
Darcy Kuemper (ARI): $7,700 vs. ANH
Darcy Kuemper is an absolute star. Kuemper has maintained elite statistics despite playing for a subpar Coyotes team. He boasted a .928 save percentage and 2.22 goals against last season, following up a .925 and 2.33 the year prior. I’m not sure if people realize exactly how good this guy is. After a tough opening schedule with four games against Vegas, Arizona will welcome in an Anaheim Ducks team that scores just 1.83 goals per game, good for second to last in the NHL.