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NHL DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Saturday (3/26)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Mar 26, 2022
Steven Stamkos

The first weekend after the trade deadline is always a fun place to be as a DFS manager. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most memorable or explosive trade deadline in NHL history. Still, enough assets and prospects moved around the league to revamp some rosters while leaving ample opportunities for role players to return massive value due to low expectations and previous output. This is a big deal on any slate, but with a 12-game schedule beginning around noon ET on Saturday, adding at least two or three high-value players into DFS lineups becomes imperative. This doesn’t include the blue-chip prospects like Sidney Crosby (C – PIT) and Connor McDavid (C – EDM), who will be expensive no matter your strategy. Finding cheap, high-value talent is the name of the game, which is why I’ve narrowed the field down to eight prospects.

Thursday’s recommended plays finished pretty well, but only Nick Suzuki (C – MTL) scored a goal. David Perron (RW – STL), Ryan Johansen (C – NAS), and Blake Wheeler (RW – WPG) all netted assists to placate their value. Cam Talbot (C – MIN) held firm in overtime against a desperate Vancouver attack, earning a win and stacking 26 saves to save numerous DFS lineups during an overtime win. Neither defensemen could produce big numbers, while Cal Petersen (G – LAK) ended up being passed over in favor of veteran netminder Jonathan Quick (G – LAK). Overall, five of the seven active prospects found the point column or manufactured a win, the ultimate goal.

Without further ado, here are eight of Saturday’s best value players to target when constructing NHL DFS lineups.

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Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Steven Stamkos (C – TB): $6,200
Veteran Steven Stamkos currently leads Tampa Bay in total points (67) thanks to leading the Lightning with 28 goals. This still applies despite the 31-year old center enduring an eight-game goal drought, where he managed to rack up five assists to satiate fantasy managers and his teammates alike. Thankfully, Stamkos ended this drought with his 28th goal of the season against a talented Boston Bruins team on Thursday, attempting five shots on goal in total. Stamkos attempts anywhere from two to five shots on goal and is not known for being active in the defensive zone or on the boards, which restricts his value to offensive efficiency. Nevertheless, it’s the matchup of the month for Stamkos, who fill face struggling Detroit netminder Alex Nedeljkovic (G – DET) on Saturday afternoon. Stamkos scored a goal on six shots against Nedeljkovic in a 3-1 win back on March 4th, so expect similar production on the road in Hockeytown. Stamkos’ value is solid despite being over $6,000 on DraftKings, so plug him into lineups with confidence against a leaky netminder.

Mats Zuccarello (RW – MIN): $5,700
34-year old veteran Mats Zuccarello has 44 assists for Minnesota this season and earns plenty of opportunities to do so, skating on their top powerplay unit and first-line attack. Zuccarello has assisted in three of his previous four games while sporadically remaining involved within the offense, attempting anywhere from one to five shots on goal. He’s not the focal point of the Wild, but he’s a savvy navigator of the offensive zone, which allows him to frequently find Kirill Kaprizov (LW – MIN) to yield scoring possessions. He’s not known for blocked shots or consistently high shot volume, so Zuccarello is available to roster under $6,000. Against Columbus’ reserve netminder Jean-Francois Berube (G – CBJ), Zuccarello gains appeal in DFS lineups. Berube has a 3.25 GAA and has not earned a start between the pipes since February 25th, when he surrendered four goals on 50 shots. He’s a bit of a turnstile, making Zuccarello a high-value prospect to consider when constructing DFS lineups for Saturday.

Damon Severson (D – NJ): $4,300
New Jersey has been an interesting case study this season. It’s a young team in rebuild mode, but they have been able to pop in certain games, including 27-year old defenseman Damon Severson, who is one of only five players on the Devils with 20-plus assists. Severson earns his minutes on the second defensive-line and top powerplay unit for New Jersey. He is heating up lately, scoring his ninth goal of the season and netting his 26th assist across his previous two games. Severson does not attempt high shot volume but ended his four-game point drought. He adds a blocked shot in most games but never more than a couple, so you’re hoping for an assist when rostering Severson in DFS lineups. Fortunately, the Devils will have a short road trip down to Washington D.C. against Ilya Samsonov (G – WAS), who has surrendered three goals in three consecutive starts for the Capitals. Samsonov surrendered four goals to the Devils back on January 2nd, where Severson scored a goal and an assist on just one shot. He’s extremely cheap and has high-upside, so get Severson at a discounted value in a sneaky plus-matchup.

Linus Ullmark (G – BOS): $8,000
The New York Islanders are on a bit of a tear lately, but Linus Ullmark has had a week to rest after a strong performance against Winnipeg. The 28-year old netminder is more of the 1B to Jeremy Swayman (G – BOS) than the definitive reserve option, as Ullmark has only allowed three goals in his previous two starts. He doesn’t have any recorded shutouts this season, but he’s 19-9 with a 2.72 GAA and playing his best goal-tending in March after a rough mid-season stretch. The Isles are an improved offensive unit, but Ullmark only surrendered two goals in his last start against them in December. Trust that the Bruins’ offense is better than New York’s on Saturday afternoon, elevating Ullmark into a preferable goaltending prospect in DFS lineups.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000

Nico Hischier (C – NJ): $6,600
New Jersey has a talented nucleus of young players on its offensive attack lines, including second-line center Nico Hischier. The 23-year old earns additional minutes on the Devils’ top powerplay unit and has scored two goals and six assists across his last four games, entering Saturday’s road contest in D.C. with three multi-point finishes under his belt and a four-game point streak intact. Hischier doesn’t attempt many shots on goal, but it doesn’t matter. Surprisingly, Hischier has the ability and knack to stack multiple blocked shots, which counter his low shot volume. Primarily, you’re rostering Hischier for his talent in the offensive zone, as he’s riding a huge momentum wave from previous performances. Ilya Samsonov has not been defending the crease as well as we’ve seen before, so it’s an excellent time to get in on Hischier. You may be caught off guard by the reasonably steep salary from a player on the Devils’ second-line attack, but it’s justified. Pay up and watch Hischier generate fantasy points in bunches against the Capitals on Saturday night.

Kailer Yamamoto (RW – EDM): $5,000
Kailer Yamamoto is a massive beneficiary of skating on Edmonton’s first-line attack alongside superstar center Connor McDavid. Yet, he should not be slept on in terms of his talents. The 23-year old winger has scored a goal in three straight games, including two multi-point finishes, against talented teams such as Colorado and Dallas. The Oilers have entirely turned their team around after a sluggish, rocky start to the season, and Yamamoto is a crucial piece to the offense. His shot volume hovers around two to three per game, but he’s lightning-quick and has a wicked wrist shot, allowing him to navigate the offensive zone and put himself in prime scoring opportunities. Yamamoto earns additional minutes on the second powerplay unit, but he also adds a couple of blocked shots per game, raising his floor. He’s had three consecutive games with a positive +/- rating, showing Yamamoto’s pivotal role within Edmonton’s attack. At just $5,000, plug him into DFS lineups against Calgary’s reserve goaltender Dan Vladar.

Noah Hanifin (D – CGY): $5,100
Staying in the Calgary vs. Edmonton matchup, I like the upside offered by the Flames’ first-line defenseman Noah Hanifin. The 25-year old nearly has a 4:1 assist to goal ratio this season and has a point in every other game spanning back his previous five matchups. This includes just his sixth goal of the season against Vancouver last weekend, while Hanifin buried his 23rd assist in his last game played against Arizona on Friday night. The legs may be tired, but Edmonton does not have strong goaltending, especially with Mike Smith (G – EDM) projected to make his start between the red pipes on Saturday night. While Smith has played well in his previous three starts, both wins came against Buffalo and San Jose, who aren’t exactly world-beaters. Smith faced a dizzying 47 shots against Calgary back in October, adding to Hanifin’s appeal due to frequent scoring and shot opportunities. At $5,100 on FanDuel, view Hanifin as a high-upside value who deserves to be added into lineups.

Jake Oettinger (G – DAL): $7,700
Dallas is battling for their playoff lives right now, and goaltender Jake Oettinger is doing his part to make it happen. The 23-year old netminder has been very good as of late, going 3-0-1 in his previous four starts and surrendering three or fewer goals in every game since an ugly six-goal loss on March 12th. Perhaps that game sparked Oettinger’s improved play in the net. Or maybe it’s the Stars’ improved offense. Either way, Oettinger deserves strong consideration in DFS lineups against a struggling Vancouver team on Saturday night. The Canucks have only scored more than two goals once in their previous five games, so Oettinger gains a lot of appeal outside of his standard skillset.

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Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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