DraftKings DFS NHL Strategy Advice: Saturday (2/20)
This NHL season has provided plenty of action within its unique divisional realignment, creating tense new rivalries and adaptive game plans due to familiarity within the four new divisions. With an epic 12-game slate scheduled for Saturday, there’s plenty of opportunities to find value players that can help you build a winning lineup. Here are a few players to target on a jam-packed day in the NHL.
Jonathan Marchessault (VGK): $4,800 at COL
Scoring a goal on four shots against the Avalanche in his previous game, Jonathan Marchessault was near the net early and often to generate some offensive burst. The 30-year old center has 36 shots on the season and nine across his last week of play, resulting in two goals while averaging 17:15 on the ice. Playing on the second-line between William Karlson and Reilly Smith will allow Marchessault to place himself in advantageous situations offensively, an example of how the Golden Knights have assembled such a talented roster in their brief existence as an NHL franchise. Earning extra minutes on Vegas’ second power-play unit, Marchessault could break his two-week streak of zero assists against a familiar foe in Colorado, as the teams will play their third consecutive game against each other on Saturday. If the Avalanche opts to rest star goaltender Philip Grubauer, Marchessault could be in line for even greater production than expected.
Patrik Laine (CBJ): $6,700 vs. NSH
Patrik Laine has recently shaken off his slow start in Columbus, heating up with four points over his last week of action alongside Jack Roslovic and Cam Atkinson on the Blue Jackets’ top-line. The 22-year old winger is extremely talented and should continue to be bought at his current price while his value remains diminished due to the rough initial transition. Laine could very well be in for a multiple point outing in the second game of a back-to-back against the Nashville Predators on Saturday in Columbus, as both Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros continue to struggle in net for the Predators, having allowed 50 goals in 19 games played.
Pavel Buchnevich (NYR): $5,300 at WSH
The Rangers have seen Pavel Buchnevich recently get more involved within the offense, totaling two points and five shots during the last two games he’s played. Buchnevich scored his lone goal against a great goaltender in Mackenzie Blackwood of the New Jersey Devils, averaging 19:49 of ice time as the Rangers’ top-line RW and second power-play unit winger across 15 games this season. The Washington Capitals present a fairly solid challenge with goaltender Vitek Vanecek posting a 2.90 GAA in 13 starts for the Capitals this season, but Buchnevich is a great value play and is likely to continue generating points on the first line opposite of Chris Kreider and centered by Mika Zibanejad.
Keith Yandle (FLA): $12,000 at DET
This is an expensive price tag but if you are able to swing it, absolutely roster Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.While the Florida Panthers find themselves riding a three-game winning streak, the play of defenseman Keith Yandle has been a key factor in pulling out a couple of those victories. Yandle accounted for three assists against the Detroit Red Wings in a 7-2 beatdown on Friday, showcasing his special passing and vision as a defenseman on the Panthers’ third-line. Fantasy managers should not worry about Yandle being on the third line, as he is featured on the team’s first power-play unit where he is afforded ample opportunities to construct beautiful passes that often lead to the back of the net from his fellow line-mates, as evidenced against Detroit on Friday night. In the second game of the series back-to-back in Detroit, expect more points to continue flowing from Yandle, who has nine blocks and 25 shots on the season to help further elevate his fantasy output.
Nick Leddy (NYI): $3,900 at PIT
Quietly racking up an assist in three consecutive games, New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy is a cheaper option at a position that usually demands spending up for a decent offensive skillset. Leddy has recently been a low-volume shooter but carries a +3 rating across his last week of action, indicating good decision-making and ability on the team’s second defensive line. With Leddy being featured on the Islanders’ second power-play unit and facing a Pittsburgh Penguins team that has allowed an atrocious 3.40 GAA between Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith, you may want to take advantage of the low-cost option due to opportunity and a favorable matchup on Saturday night.
Elvis Merzlikins (CBJ): $7,900 vs. NSH
The Blue Jackets couldn’t have asked for a better performance from goaltender Elvis Merzlikins in his return as a starter against the Predators on Thursday. The netminder posted 32 saves and a shut-out win, rewarding those who took the risk of starting him despite coming off of an upper-body injury to replace the struggling goalie Joonas Korpisalo. Nashville is struggling to score goals, and Merzlikins should be expected to continue riding the momentous shut-out efforts of his previous performance against the team once again in Columbus on Saturday night. Remember, a goalie win is worth six points on DraftKings, which is close to the eight points rewarded for a rostered skater scoring a goal. Paying up for a goalie is a likely necessity and should be the focal point of your budget when constructing a lineup.