DraftKings NHL DFS Strategy Advice: Thursday (4/29)
Thursday offers us an action-packed 10-game slate, featuring four games with playoff-bound teams looking to keep or elevate their positioning over each other within the division. As the 2020-21 NHL regular season winds down, expect the intensity to pick up and the more talented teams to bury pucks in the back of nets, leading to massive production on all three lines. I’ll be targeting some of the lower-salaried options, including second and third-line skaters, who can provide a safe floor with the potential for huge upside.
Let’s take a look at a few players who will produce in your lineups without having to spend your full salary, leaving room for you to roster higher-tier skaters to cash out during Thursday’s massive 10-game slate.
Nicklas Backstrom (WSH): $5,500 vs. PIT
The 33-year old has been lighting up the scoreboard for Washington this season, totaling 48 points (14 goals/34 assists) in 49 games. With Alexander Ovechkin (lower-body injury) ruled out ahead of Thursday’s contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins, expect Backstrom to return to earning a point or two against projected Penguins’ goaltender Tristan Jarry, who gave up three goals in a loss to the Capitals in his last start against them back in February. The addition of left wing Anthony Mantha and the strong finishing play of right wing T.J. Oshie makes this an extremely potent second-line that can score with the best first-line units across the league. Washington and Pittsburgh both rank in the top five for most goals per game this season, which will lead to a lot of scoring on Thursday night in the nation’s capital. BettingPros shows that the current total is set at 5.5 goals, indicating that Vegas also believes this will be a high-scoring affair. Plug Backstrom into your lineups with confidence.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM): $6,000 vs. CGY
Coming off of a multi-point outing against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a fantastic value play. The 28-year old skates on the second-line unit, benefiting from center Leon Draisaitl, who ranks as the top center across all second-line units in the league. Nugent-Hopkins has at least a point in three consecutive games, but he has a challenge in projected Calgary goaltender Jacob Markstrom. The netminder has allowed just two goals in three straight outings, but the Flames’ offense ranks sixth-worst in offensive scoring, earning just 2.67 goals per game. This translates into increased opportunity for Nugent-Hopkins and the Oilers in the offensive zone, making him a solid value in Thursday lineups.
Mikhail Sergachev (TB): $4,600 vs. DAL
The Lightning dominated the Blackhawks on offense in their previous win on Tuesday. They totaled seven goals, and Mikhail Sergachev set up two of them, earning a pair of assists. Despite skating on Tampa Bay’s third-line defensive unit, Sergachev earns additional minutes on the second power-play unit and saw increased minutes (24) in their win on Tuesday. While he is not a high-volume shooter, the 22-year old Russian makes up for it with blocked shots, logging two in his most recent performance. Sergachev is a great salary-saver who has an innate ability to set up goals, as he now has 26 assists in the year. Get him into your lineups against Jake Oettinger and the Dallas Stars.
Braden Holtby (VAN): $7,100 at TOR
Rostering Braden Holtby against the best team in the North Division seems a bit suspect at first. However, Holtby posted over a .920 SV% and earned wins in his previous games against the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier last week. Toronto is a high-powered offensive team led by Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, so Holtby will probably face a flurry of shots and thus will rack up points in your lineup. It’s important to roster a goaltender that will earn a win while blocking a ton of shots, as Holtby faced 39 and 40 shots from the Maple Leafs in the Canucks’ last two wins. He is amongst the lowest-salaried options for goalie and has the potential to produce massive points to help cash your lineups by the end of Thursday night.