FanDuel NHL DFS Strategy Advice: Thursday (5/6)
The National Hockey League offers up a six-game slate on Thursday in the closing days of its regular season. Four new matchups are set to occur, with two contests serving as a continuation from earlier in the week — the Carolina Hurricanes will take on the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Vancouver Canucks will face Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in the second game of their back-to-back series. As teams begin to clinch a playoff seed within their respective divisions, skaters on second and third-line units could see increased usage and return excellent value at reduced salaries.
Let’s take a look at skaters who have been flying under the radar with the opportunity to generate points in the offensive zone to cash your lineups on Thursday night.
Evgeni Malkin (PIT): $7,500 vs. BUF
The veteran centers the second-line unit for Pittsburgh and has racked up three assists in the two games since his return from a lower-body injury that sidelined him for nearly two months. Malkin, a big-bodied center, relies on his size to jostle into position in the offensive zone and set up beautiful passes to fellow linemates Jason Zucker and Kasperi Kapanen. Malkin earns additional opportunity with the team’s best skaters on the Penguins’ top power-play unit. After nearly two months to rehab and restore his body, Malkin has fresh legs and still provides value in lineups despite the higher salary. Buffalo is one of the worst teams in the league and generates little offense, ranking in the bottom-five for shots per game (28.52) which means that Malkin will be spending a lot of time in the offensive zone. Plug him into your lineups with confidence.
Anthony Beauvillier (NYI): $5,200 vs. NJ
The 23-year old winger is on a hot streak, entering Thursday’s contest against New Jersey with five points and 21 shots on goal across his last four games. Averaging 17 minutes of ice time per game through that span, Beauvillier has reached his season-high with at least one point in four consecutive games, and he has a prime opportunity to set a new record by extending the streak to five. He’ll play a struggling New Jersey Devils team and projected goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood. The Islanders have clinched a playoff berth as the fourth seed in the East Division. Still, Beauvillier will be skating with momentum from his recent performances and should be able to light the lamp against Blackwood, who has a 3.03 GAA across 33 starts in net this season. Four of Beauvillier’s 14 goals have occurred within the last week, making him a fantastic value addition to your lineups on Thursday.
Darnell Nurse (EDM): $5,600 vs. VAN
Nurse is one of the league’s best defensemen in the offensive zone. The 26-year old has 33 points across 51 games this season. He generated a multi-point outing in the team’s 4-1 win over Vancouver netminder Thatcher Demko on Tuesday. With Demko projected to start in net again tonight, Nurse is positioned to replicate his performance from Tuesday, in which he sprayed four shots on goal and accounted for a goal and an assist across nearly 28 minutes of time on ice. Demko has allowed four or more goals in each of his last three starts in the net, making Nurse one of the best defensive skaters to target for guaranteed production.
Semyon Varlamov (NYI): $8,200 vs. NJ
New York Islanders’ goalie Semyon Varlamov is one of the better goaltenders in the league, but he had a poor performance in net against Buffalo on Monday. He allowed three goals, leading to a loss against one of the worst teams in the league. This is a reason for the reduced salary, allowing fantasy managers to roster the 33-year old Russian netminder at a discounted rate. Before a rare implosion in net against the Sabres earlier in the week, Varlamov had finished three consecutive games with shutout performances, which are the golden currency of goaltending in DFS contests. Rostering an elite goaltender can make the difference in cashing or losing your lineups, so make sure to use roster Varlamov for Thursday’s matchup.