NHL DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Tuesday (4/26)
It’s officially the last week of the 2022 NHL regular season. It’s a bittersweet moment to reflect on the moments that have earned praise on highlight reels, from Trevor Zegras’ (C – ANA) trick shot goals to Auston Matthews (C – TOR) scorching every opposing defense and goaltender in his path. The drama surrounding the Western Conference playoff race is growing, as Nashville and Dallas are only separated by one point for the final seed in the Central Division. Vancouver still has a chance despite dropping three games in a row. At the same time, Vegas appears to be on the inside track towards clinching and extending their playoff streak to five consecutive seasons after their inaugural year in 2018.
It’s been a bit more challenging to predict how each team will roll out their lineups in the closing weeks, as some teams have mailed it in while others have secured a playoff berth but continue to play their starters. However, reflecting on Saturday’s recommended players, they turned out to be consistently productive across the slate, as only two of the eight players were either held without a point or benched. Nikita Kucherov (RW – TB) led with a goal and two assists; Quinn Hughes (D – VAN) finished with a multi-point game that included a goal, while goaltender Casey DeSmith (G – PIT) held Detroit to two goals in a 7-2 rout. Elias Pettersson (C – VAN) scored a goal, while Robert Thomas (C – STL) and Adrian Kempe (RW – LAK) netted assists to placate their value. It was another strong slate with plenty of fantasy points to boost lineups into the green.
Tuesday’s slate has a whopping 13 games to dissect and analyze, so let’s get into it without further ado!
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Auston Matthews (C – TOR): $9,200
To maximize upside in DFS lineups on Tuesday, all DFS managers should be targeting superstar Auston Matthews. The 24-year-old leads the league with 58 goals this season and netted a pair of assists on four shots during his last game against Washington on Sunday. He hasn’t scored in five games, so expect this drought to end against Detroit on Tuesday night. Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (G – DET) has been a massive liability all season, surrendering six goals in just 31 minutes during a previous 10-7 loss against the Maple Leafs a couple of months ago. Take the consistent, high-scoring star center in as many DraftKings lineups as possible and build around him. Matthews is the top prospect on slates for a reason.
Matthew Tkachuk (RW – CGY): $6,500
Calgary will face a desperate Nashville team on the road Tuesday night, but Matthew Tkachuk still possesses intriguing appeal in DFS lineups. The 24-year-old skates on the Flames’ first-line attack and top powerplay unit, stacking over 100 points, including 40 goals in his sixth season with the franchise. Tkachuk has hit a massive stride in his development, and he has a five-game point streak intact as he will face Juuse Saros (G – NAS) and the Predators. Despite early-season success and rumblings of the Vezina Trophy, Saros has been vulnerable and a bit of a turnstile lately, surrendering six goals to Tampa Bay in his last start and four goals to St. Louis and Edmonton across the previous two weeks. A week ago, Tkachuk recently netted an assist in a shootout loss to Nashville, so he’s a solid bet to replicate this performance on Tuesday night.
Quinn Hughes (D – VAN): $4,800
One of the more underrated defensemen with usage in their offense is Quinn Hughes. The 22-year-old has been remarkable in April for a Vancouver team trending in the wrong direction of the postseason. He skates on the second defensive line but is on the top powerplay unit for the Canucks, where he’s produced three multi-point finishes in his past five games. Hughes is now in his fourth season in the league and just set a career-high in points (63) and scored his seventh goal against Calgary on Saturday. A couple of days of rest, combined with desperation to earn a playoff seed, make Hughes a fantastic value on DraftKings during Tuesday’s slate. He’s available to roster at under $5,000, so don’t overthink this one. Plug Hughes in as a salary-saver with confidence against the hapless Seattle Kraken.
Thatcher Demko (G – VAN): $8,200
Sticking with Vancouver, I like going with Thatcher Demko as my goaltender. He’s a bit more expensive than usual, which is likely due to facing the Seattle Kraken offense. Seattle has dropped two games in a row and has not scored more than three goals since their 4-2 win against Ottawa. Demko has not been on his A-game like we saw in March, as he’s allowed teams to score five goals in back-to-back starts. However, he’s been ironclad defending the crease in other matchups, including his last start against the Kraken, where he allowed just two goals on 27 shots in a 5-2 win back in February. His talent, combined with the Canucks’ must-win approach against an inferior opponent, makes Demko an excellent investment in Tuesday’s DFS lineups.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000
Ryan Hartman (C – MIN): $6,300
Minnesota features Ryan Hartman on its first-line attack, where the 27-year-old center has been efficient all season. Hartman has a near-even distribution of goals and assists, scoring 33 goals and netting 29 assists through 79 games played for the Wild this season. It’s his third season in Minnesota, but it’s been a career year for Hartman, crushing his previous point total of 31 set back in 2018 with Chicago. Earning additional minutes on the top powerplay unit is ideal for maximizing his fantasy upside. Hartman was held without a point in his last game against Nashville, but he’s consistent with his shot volume on goal, bouncing between three and four attempts lately. This is all that is needed, as Hartman scored consecutive goals against Seattle and Vancouver with similar usage in the offensive zone. Any team against Arizona is a plus matchup, so Hartman is not an exception. In November, he netted a pair of assists in Minnesota’s last game against the Coyotes, so plug Hartman into FanDuel lineups with confidence at a fair salary.
Matt Duchene (RW – NAS): $7,600
Another player with a five-game point streak intact entering Tuesday’s slate is Nashville’s, Matt Duchene. The 31-year-old is an integral part of the Predators’ offense, leading the team with 41 goals and second in total points (81) behind only defenseman Roman Josi (D – NAS). On Sunday, Duchene just ripped a multi-point finish against Minnesota and needs to continue leaving his foot on the gas pedal if Nashville wants to secure a playoff berth. He alternates between assists and goals, but either one will be enough to appease Duchene’s high salary against Calgary on Tuesday night. Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (G – CGY) will appear in the net after ceding to the back-up during Nashville’s 3-2 win last week. Markstrom is a talented netminder, but he’s volatile, occasionally surrendering four or five goals. Since Calgary has reduced motivation compared to Duchene and the Preds, plugging the veteran winger into FanDuel lineups in a must-win game is a wise investment.
Tyson Barrie (D – EDM): $4,900
Tyson Barrie earns most of his minutes on Edmonton’s second-line defensive pairing, but he is talented enough to skate on the top powerplay unit for the Oilers. The 30-year-old defenseman has been a reliable plug-in option for DFS managers in spots this season, and the matchup against Pittsburgh is not necessarily a team to run away from. The Penguins may have found something with Casey DeSmith instead of Tristan Jarry (G -PIT); however, Barrie is a high-volume shooter who occasionally hits on an assist with a blocked shot or two under his belt. For these reasons, he’s a textbook salary-saving option at under $5,000 on FanDuel.
Vitek Vanecek (G – WAS): $8,200
Washington has had one of the weirdest seasons amongst the 32 teams, but they are 7-2-1 in their last ten games, so they are rounding into playoff form. 26-year-old goaltender, Vitek Vanecek, has four shutouts and a 20-11 record as a starter for the Capitals, boasting a 2.60 GAA and .910 save percentage. After missing nearly all of February. Vanecek has recorded half of his shutouts since his return, coming against Carolina and Arizona. The New York Islanders are a gritty bunch, but Vanecek has had success against the Islanders in a previous matchup, holding them to three goals on 32 shots during a 4-3 win on March 15th. He’s available at a slight discount compared to the top goaltender prospects on Tuesday’s slate. Goaltenders often make the difference between wins and losses, as the number of saves and securing a win pour a couple of dozen points into FanDuel lineups.