FanDuel 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): $6,800 @ 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.
Jesper Bratt (NJ): $4,600 @ WSH
New Jersey Devils second-line winger Jesper Bratt has a point in five consecutive games (one goal, four assists) and will look to continue that streak against Capitals’ G Vitek Vanecek. Vanecek allowed four goals in his last start against the Devils earlier this month, where Bratt took advantage of his extended time on ice due to playing on the team’s top power-play unit and cashed in on an assist. At such a low cost, Bratt has great value and has shown consistency in generating points, arguably the most important stat that bounces off the page of the 22-year old Swedish winger. Having found his stride in March despite the team failing to stay competitive in the postseason race within the East Division, Bratt is another good value skater to target when constructing your Thursday lineup.
Jared Spurgeon (MIN): $4,500 vs. STL
After a slow start to the season, Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon has three points and five shots on goal across his last two games, including a two-goal outing against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. Although there is risk associated with investing in a player facing a new opponent on back-to-back nights, Spurgeon skates on the top defensive line alongside D Ryan Suter, earning additional opportunities to rack up points on the second power-play unit. With an ATOI of over 21 minutes per game this season, the $4,500 value for Spurgeon is too good to pass up. Spurgeon is also good to pair with fellow first-line C Victor Rask, as rostering multiple skaters on the same line is a good strategy to accrue massive point totals in fantasy hockey.
Casey DeSmith (PIT): $8,200 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 (12) and shutout (8) on FanDuel, 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.