FanDuel 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.
Alexander Kerfoot (TOR): $4,400 at MTL
The Maple Leafs have been a dominant force in the North, sitting atop a division comprised of all seven Canadian teams in large part due to the play of first-line C Auston Matthews and the league-high 16 goals he’s scored in the 2020-21 season. Alexander Kerfoot centers Toronto’s second line and is on a bit of a streak himself, registering four points (three assists, one goal) across his last three games played. Playing alongside Jonathan Tavares and William Nylander will always create opportunities for points from Kerfoot, who has 26 shots and 15 blocked shots on the season. This added involvement adds extra incentive for rostering Kerfoot in lineups against a tough goaltending duo in Montreal on Saturday.
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. Despite the solid play in net for the Caps, 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.
Rasmus Andersson (CGY): $4,300 at EDM
The Flames are fresh off a 2-1 loss against Edmonton on Friday and are now on a two-game losing skid. In order to stay competitive in the North division, they will need players on their second and third lines to step up and help secure a win in Edmonton on Saturday. Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson has generated four points across his last four games played despite being featured on Calgary’s third defensive line. Ripping five shots on net and scoring the team’s lone goal against Edmonton in his previous outing on Friday, Andersson will continue to have a favorable matchup if the Oilers’ primary goaltender Mikko Koskinen gets the start. Koskinen has a high 3.43 GAA in 14 games played with a .894 save percentage, allowing Andersson to pepper the net with numerous shots as he did in their previous matchup in a 2-1 loss on Friday.
Nick Leddy (NYI): $3,800 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): $7,400 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 12 points on FanDuel, which yields the same fantasy output (12 points) when a rostered skater (W/C/D) scores a goal. Paying up for a goalie is a likely necessity and should be the focal point of your budget when constructing a lineup.