DraftKings NHL DFS Strategy Advice: Thursday (3/25)
Following Tuesday’s smaller five-game offering, Thursday presents a double-sized 11-game slate. With so many games scheduled across the league, there will be a few first and second-line skaters whose price drops to compensate for the talent available across 22 of the league’s 31 teams. This means that a big slate creates value amongst first and second-line players who become more affordable and thus contain high value based on their ceiling. Let’s take a look at a few players with ample opportunities to generate point production when constructing your lineups for Thursday night.
Ryan O’Reilly (STL): $5,700 @ MIN
The Blues’ second-line C ended his previous three-game point drought with a four-point explosion (one goal, three assists) against the San Jose Sharks this past weekend. O’Reilly earns additional minutes on the team’s second power-play unit, averaging 19:31 time on ice across his last four games. Minnesota is expected to start G Kaapo Kahkonen in the net on Thursday. The 24-year old Finnish goaltender allowed six goals in his last start against the Colorado Avalanche, posting an unimpressive .857 save percentage after being peppered with 42 shots on goal. O’Reilly has 10 goals this season, including 31 total points, but has generated only one goal across his last five starts. He is positioned well to light up the lamp or connect with second-line RW David Perron for an assist or two Thursday night in St. Louis, making O’Reilly a good value add to your lineup.
Jakub Voracek (PHI): $4,300 vs. NYR
The 31-year old Voracek skates on the Flyers’ third-line but earns additional ice time on the second power-play unit. Recently, Voracek has totaled three points (three assists) and two shots on goal across his last two games played. He is averaging under 16 minutes of time on ice during this stretch but makes up for it with his efficiency in the offensive zone, setting up crisp passes to C Claude Giroux on both the third-line and second power-play unit. He is valued tremendously low against the Rangers, who will start G Igor Shesterkin, who allowed four goals and a sub .900 save percentage in his previous start against the Flyers last month. Voracek could end his three-game goal skid on Thursday night and should be rostered alongside Flyers’ C Claude Giroux, who has three points (goal, two assists) across his last four starts. Valued this low in a plus-matchup, give me Voracek all day.
Seth Jones (CBJ): $4,900 vs. CAR
One of the alternate captains for the Blue Jackets, Jones has overcome a slow start to rack up four points (two goals, two assists) across three of his last four games. Jones also has 11 shots on goal in his last three starts and will face the Carolina Hurricanes for a fourth consecutive time on Thursday night. This familiarity will help him navigate the ice to find his favorite spots along the blue line, where he will face Hurricanes G James Reimer. Reimer has a 2.68 GAA across 16 starts this season and tends to be either hot or cold in between the pipes on any given night. With his salary continuing to reflect a slow start in previous games, fantasy managers should target Jones as a defenseman to add into lineups based on his heavy offensive involvement. Columbus has a lackluster attack on their first-line, and it’s rare to find a defenseman with Jones’ talent and involvement available below $5,000. Jones is a solid value play in your lineups when he takes on the Hurricanes in their fourth and final contest in Columbus on Thursday night.
Casey DeSmith (PIT): $8,500 vs. BUF
The 29-year old netminder for the Pittsburgh Penguins posted a shutout against Buffalo back on March 13th and could replicate that performance once again on Thursday night. Despite early struggles and criticism, DeSmith has a 2.11 GAA, and .919 save percentage, earning seven wins across 10 starts this season. It is an expensive price tag but well worth the points that follow a goalie win (6) and shutout (4) on DraftKings, as the netminder often determines the outcome of a DFS matchup. Buffalo has lost 15 games in a row and will be hard-pressed to make the game competitive with their star F Jack Eichel (neck) recently placed on Injured Reserve in a lost season for the Sabres franchise. All signs trend towards DeSmith having a career night in goal, making him a must-add to your lineups on Thursday night.