NHL DFS Primer: Saturday (1/15)
Saturday is set to be any hockey fan’s dream, as 13 games remain scheduled throughout the day. Unfortunately, when there are this many matchups to parse and choose from, it can quickly get overwhelming. I am a massive proponent of stacking players from the same line, but it ultimately limits the ceiling your roster can achieve if the two players are unproductive or out of sync with each other. Instead, your sights should be set on a blue-chip prospect, a player who possesses hidden value, or a high-floor player that won’t lay an egg in lineups.
Thursday’s recommendations proved to be a mixed bag of results. My ace, Sebastian Aho (C – CAR), suffered a 6-0 rout at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Mark Scheifele (C – WPG) was also held without a point, and New Jersey Devils reserve netminder Jon Gillies (G – NJ) lost 3-2 against the New York Islanders. On the bright side, Kris Letang (D – PIT) scored just his second goal of the season, Matt Duchene (RW – NSH) scored the lone goal for Nashville, while Alex DeBrincat (LW – CHI) and Torey Krug (D – STL) each earned an assist. While it pales in comparison to the output generated by my recommendations during Tuesday’s slate, it’s always satisfying to have the majority of prospects yield a point to save their value.
A few massive favorites (-200) on Saturday’s slate include Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, Colorado, and Edmonton. So play it safe and grab a few prospects from these high-powered offenses to form a solid foundation to ultimately cash your DFS lineups by the end of the night. Here are a few of my favorite recommendations on Saturday’s jam-packed 13-game slate.
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Nazem Kadri (C – COL): $6,900
Colorado is one of the best teams in the league but received a challenge from the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night. The Avalanche held off the Coyotes in overtime to collect a win, but they will play the second game of their doubleheader on Saturday in Phoenix. Nazem Kadri was held without a point for the first time in 11 games despite taking five shots on goal. He is too talented and too involved within the Avs offense to blank twice against the worst team in the league. Earning additional minutes on their top powerplay unit, Kadri is an excellent value against Coyotes’ reserve goaltender Karel Vejmelka (G – ARI), who did not play on Friday. Vejmelka held Toronto to only one goal in his last start but surrendered four goals in two previous starts. Kadri should finesse with a point or two on Saturday night.
Jake Guentzel (LW – PIT): $7,100
Jake Guentzel leads the Pittsburgh Penguins in points (35) and has racked up a team-high 18 goals through 30 games. However, the 27-year old first-line winger was held without a point in the Penguins’ last game against the Los Angeles Kings, where they were throttled in a 6-2 loss. Enduring their West Coast road trip, Guentzel goes from an experienced netminder in Jonathan Quick (G – LAK) to San Jose reserve goaltender Zach Sawchenko. Sawchenko’s only experience was when he came in during a blowout against the Penguins on January 2nd, stopping 20 of 21 shots. Guentzel produced a goal and an assist during that game, which makes him a solid prospect to add into DFS lineups during Saturday’s late-game slate.
Shayne Gostisbehere (D – ARI): $5,500
It took a while, but Arizona Coyotes defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is settling into a role with his new team. The 28-year old defenseman spent his first seven years in the league with the Philadelphia Flyers and proved to be an assist machine for most of his tenure. Gostisbehere has 17 assists through 35 games for Arizona, second only behind veteran Phil Kessel (RW – ARI). He has also scored seven goals for a team that has the third-lowest goals scored (77) this season. Gostisbehere scored against Colorado on Friday night and has seven blocked shots across his previous two games. He offers DFS managers a high floor and can produce a high ceiling despite being outmatched by Colorado’s personnel. At $5,500, Gostisbehere is an excellent return on investment.
Igor Shesterkin (G – NYR): $8,000
One of the most underappreciated goaltenders in the league this year has to be Igor Shesterkin. The 26-year old goaltender has defended the crease with exceptional skill this season, averaging under 2.00 GAA (1.99) with 16 wins in 21 starts for the Rangers. On Friday, his return against the San Jose Sharks proved fruitful, as he earned his second straight shut out. Shutouts and wins are the most lucrative statistics for goaltenders in DFS. Shesterkin fulfills both of these criteria and is playing his best right now. Add him into lineups with confidence against the Philadelphia Flyers, who enter the game on a six-game losing streak.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000
Mika Zibanejad (C – NYR): $7,400
In his sixth season with the New York Rangers, first-line center Mika Zibanejad is firing on all cylinders. The 28-year old enters Saturday’s road contest against the Philadelphia Flyers with a four-game point streak. Zibanejad earns additional minutes on the Rangers’ top powerplay unit and will face Flyers goaltender Carter Hart (G – PHI), who has allowed at least three goals in each of his previous three starts. Zibanejad is worth the $7,400 salary due to his usage, skill, and drawing a plus-matchup on the road Saturday night.
Nikita Kucherov (RW – TB): $9,100
The presence of Nikita Kucherov should instill fear within any opposing goaltender. The 28-year old phenom is arguably the best player in the league at the moment and spent months recovering from a lower-body injury, meaning that his legs are now fresh as the Lightning approach the mid-point of the 2022 season. In the four games that he’s played since returning on January 6th, Kucherov has points in three of them. All three games saw him rack up two assists or score a hat trick, which he managed to do against the Buffalo Sabres earlier in the week. His salary is already creeping up, but Kucherov is worth every cent in DFS lineups regardless of the matchup. He will face Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin (G – DAL), who just allowed three goals on 22 shots in a 7-1 rout by the Florida Panthers. Kucherov should eviscerate the Stars and Khudobin with ease. He is the ultimate blue-chip prospect to acquire in DFS lineups.
Moritz Seider (D – DET): $5,900
On Saturday, Detroit is desperate to end its four-game losing skid against the Buffalo Sabres. Rookie first-line defenseman Moritz Seider has totaled 21 assists for the Red Wings and earns additional minutes on their top powerplay unit. He’s extraordinarily raw but talented and has an assist in three of his previous five games. Seider has no fear in the defensive zone either, earning four blocked shots to counter being held without a point during his last game against Winnipeg on Thursday. Of course, you aren’t rostering Seider for his goal-scoring ability, but if he can get an assist against the Sabres, which is very likely, he will return enough value to make the investment worthwhile.
Jonathan Quick (G – LAK): $7,100
The Los Angeles Kings continue to impress by winning games in arguably the league’s most competitive Pacific Division. Their veteran netminder Jonathan Quick has been a massive factor all season, possessing a 2.38 GAA and .921 save percentage across 21 starts for the Kings. On Thursday, he held Pittsburgh to just two goals in a 6-2 rout and has not surrendered more than three goals since December 28th against Vegas. As if this wasn’t enough incentive, he will face a struggling Seattle Kraken team on the road Saturday night. The Kraken have lost five straight games and only scored three goals twice during this slump. This all plays right into Quick’s hand. Add him into lineups with confidence.