FanDuel DFS NHL Strategy Advice: Tuesday (2/2)
Last week was quite an unbalanced schedule in the NHL, with Tuesday and Thursday fully loaded but few games on off nights. This week is much better. After five games last night, there are another nine scheduled for tonight. Let’s take a look at the board.
Nick Suzuki (MTL): $5,600 vs. VAN
Nick Suzuki is emerging as a star in the NHL. He has nine points in nine games, but his play away from the puck is even more impressive. Suzuki is defensively reliable. It’s not a surprise that he was deemed untouchable when the Habs inquired on Pierre-Luc Dubois. Suzuki recorded a goal and an assist against the Canucks last night, and Vancouver is really struggling defensively — they give up the second-most goals per game (3.87). Tonight Vancouver will likely turn to Thatcher Demko in goal, which, to me, is an upgrade, but they are still conceding plenty of dangerous chances. Meanwhile, Suzuki will continue to center the top line and the top power-play unit. I expect he will stay hot here.
Rickard Rakell (ANH): $5,700 at LA
Rickard Rakell is two years removed from back-to-back high-scoring seasons — he put up 33 goals in 71 games in 2016-17, and he followed that up with 34 goals in 77 games in 2017-18. Judging by the remainder of his career, he’s likely more of a 20-goal scorer than a 30-goal scorer, but that still makes him a valuable asset. In those career years, Rakell shot over 14%. That’s high for any player, but it’s even higher when you consider his large shot volume. Since then, he has regressed to the mean, but he has regressed beyond it this year. This year, in 10 games, Rakell has just one goal on 34 shots (3.4 per game), good for a dismal 2.9% shooting percentage. But if you dig into the Ducks’ schedule, his underperformance starts to make sense. Don’t get me wrong, we already knew that the Ducks would struggle to score this year due to their personnel, but their schedule hasn’t helped. They’ve faced the Knights, Wild, Avalanche, Coyotes, and Blues — all of whom find themselves in the bottom half of the league for goals against. Tonight the Ducks visit an LA Kings team that has surrendered 3.25 goals per game, good for the seventh-most in the league. With the Kings up next and then a pair scheduled with the Sharks, I expect Rakell to break out of his slump. Let’s hope it starts tonight.
Oliver Bjorkstrand (CBJ): $5,100 vs. DAL
This may seem like a Bjorkstrand fan account at times, but judging by these prices, he is still criminally underrated. Granted, Columbus is set to face off with a stingy Stars team tonight, but this Dallas team has dropped two straight, and they surrendered eight goals in those two games against the Hurricanes. More importantly, Patrik Laine is back for Columbus — he practiced on Monday and is eligible for a return tonight. Morning skate should tell us where he will play in the lineup. I’m hoping that’ it’s on the wing, opposite Oliver Bjorkstrand. Regardless of his line at five on five, we can assume that he’ll play on the top power-play unit, where Bjorkstrand also flourishes. Bjorkstrand is a good play here in his own right, with eight points in his last eight games. I am assuming Laine will be a popular play, so I prefer to catch a piece with Bjorkstrand, who still offers standalone value.
Jared Spurgeon (MIN): $4,700 at COL
The Minnesota Wild placed Matt Dumba on injured reserve on Sunday. In their first game without Dumba, Jared Spurgeon stepped up to play over 23 minutes. He recorded a point, three shots, and a block. Spurgeon will also jump up into the top power-play unit. The Wild will play an Avalanche team that could be without Nathan MacKinnon tonight, the third of four consecutive games between these two teams. They have split the season series thus far.
Darcy Kuemper (ARI): $7,600 at STL
This is more of a price tag play than anything else. I understand St. Louis is favored to win the game, but I’ll take my chances when Darcy Kuemper is in goal. Despite an average lineup, Arizona remains one of the stingiest teams in the league. Kuemper is 2-4 this season with a 2.44 and .910 save percentage. Each of these numbers fall below his sparkling career averages. I will rely on the talent here. St. Louis is around league average regarding offense, and I can see Kuemper shutting the door in this spot. As one of the cheapest options available, I am very content with this play. Remember to monitor the starting goalies, as Rick Tocchet has yet to name this evening’s starter.