Another 12-game night means another opportunity to craft a unique lineup of line stacks, value defensemen and a goalie with a chance to lock down the coveted win bonus. Keep in mind the contest price structure has expanded, with Alex Ovechkin venturing into the mid $9,000 range and top defenseman Erik Karlsson ($7,100) broadening the landscape at that position. Any player who can be obtained for $1,000-plus cheaper with a similar ceiling provides much-needed value for what should be another unpredictable night. Let’s get to some targets at each position.
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Kari Lehtonen ($6,800) – Antti Niemi, despite a strong start, has fallen out of favor in Dallas after consecutive losses to the Maple Leafs. Yes, you read that right. The best team in the Western Conference has four losses in its first 16 games, and two have come to Toronto with Niemi in the crease allowing a combined seven goals. Lehtonen, meanwhile, is my top goalie play of the night at home against Winnipeg. He’s 6-1-0 with 15 goals allowed on the season and has allowed only two goals in his past two games combined — road wins at Carolina and Detroit. He’s priced more than $1,000 cheaper than the most expensive goalies on the night, and even if he allows two or three goals he has the support of the second-ranked offense and power-play group in the NHL.
Mike Smith ($6,100) – Smith shoulders a heavy workload, starting 13 of Arizona’s 15 games so far this season. After a much-needed break following a lengthy road trip, Smith has looked much sharper with seven goals allowed in his past three outings combined, two of which have been wins. The Coyotes are healthy and have two strong lines rolling in their favor, so Smith has the potential to capitalize on the Oilers, who are on the second of a back-to-back. The best part? He’s the cheapest projected starter in the contest with an excellent chance of securing a win.
Others to consider: Henrik Lundqvist ($8,100), Braden Holtby ($8,000), Ben Bishop ($7,400), Cory Schneider ($6,900), Linus Ullmark ($6,200)
Shea Weber ($5,700) – Nashville defensemen combined for four goals and five assists Tuesday against Ottawa, and one of the deepest units the League has a chance to do some more damage Thursday against the Maple Leafs at home. The reason I love Weber here is that you know you’ll get the blocks and shots on goal in bunches, and if he happens to get a point you’re on your way to a night of six-plus DraftKings points. If you’re pinching pennies, Ryan Ellis (3,800) and Seth Jones ($4,100) block shots as well and are fresh off two-assists showings for the Predators.
Victor Hedman ($5,200) – Hedman has been outstanding on the road, but this is his chance to flip the script on his and the Lightning’s home struggles. He has 11 points in 16 games overall, but only one goal on 33 SOG thus far on the season. He faces the Flames, who have a League-worst goal differential (minus-23) and have three goalies among the League’s seven worst in terms of save percentage. He’s $1,900 cheaper than Karlsson on the defenseman food chain in DraftKings, so his value is clear (as it is for his Swedish peers listed below).
Others to consider: Johnny Boychuk ($5,400), John Klingberg ($5,200), Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($5,200), Oscar Klefbom ($3,800), Rasmus Ristolainen ($4,300)
Nathan MacKinnon ($7,400) – Colorado has loaded up its three best forwards onto a lethal top line, with MacKinnon, Matt Duchene ($5,200) and Gabriel Landeskog ($7,000) going up against the Bruins, who are allowing the third-most goals per game (3.21) and are only 1-4-1 at home this season. Duchene has five goals and two assists in his past five games and has registered three-plus SOG in four of those five contests. MacKinnon’s creativity as a playmaker can only boost Duchene’s scoring chances and the Avs certainly have a chance to jump on a vulnerable defense in this spot. MacKinnon is $1,500 cheaper than Tyler Seguin and ranks second among centers with five DraftKings points per contest.
Jack Eichel ($5,400) – Eichel’s progression wasn’t showing up on the scoresheet in previous weeks, but now it certainly is. He has notched his first two career multipoint games in back-to-back fashion, lifting the Sabres into contention at only three points behind the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. He’s playing most recently with Tyler Ennis and Jamie McGinn and on the first power-play unit as well, with points in four of his past five games and an impressive four outings of six-plus SOG over his past six games.
Martin Hanzal ($4,300) – Hanzal has been the fuel that has kept the Coyotes’ motor running this season. He missed two games because of injury but has reminded DFS owners how integral he is to the offense with an impressive two goals, three assists, three blocked shots and 13 SOG in four games since returning. He’s back again with Anthony Duclair at even strength and with Max Domi and Ekman-Larsson on the top power-play unit, and he faces the Oilers and Anders Nilsson on short rest. At this cheap ahead of a home matchup, I’ll roll out Hanzal as my FLEX every single time.
Others to consider: Evgeny Kuznetsov ($5,700), Derick Brassard ($5,100), Nazem Kadri ($4,900), Henrik Sedin ($4,800), Brock Nelson ($4,000), Ryan Spooner ($4,000)
Rick Nash ($6,900) – Nash started the season extremely slow but came back revitalized after being day-to-day with a back injury. He had a goal, an assist, and four shots Tuesday against the Hurricanes and is still priced south of $7,000. All of his damage this season has come at Madison Square Garden, with eight points in nine home games as opposed to no points in four road games.
Patrick Sharp ($6,100) – After a slow start, Sharp has returned to elite form, sticking with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn and producing 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in his past 10 games. He has posted 4.5 or more DraftKings points in each of his past three games and is averaging three SOG per game this season. The matchup against the Jets could turn into a track meet, but the Stars are home and I love Sharp’s chances at a multipoint game with five-plus SOG for $3,500 cheaper than Ovechkin.
Jaromir Jagr ($5,600) – The ageless wonder put his five-game pointless streak to rest with two points Tuesday against the Flames and presents and middle-tier stacking option with Jonathan Huberdeau ($5,000), who is still seeking his first goal (30 SOG). Jagr, 43, is nearly a point-per-game player on the season and Huberdeau has assists in three of his past four games. It’s worth noting that Florida’s power play ranks first in the League in home games, converting on 37% of its chances.
Others to consider: Bobby Ryan ($5,300), Artemi Panarin ($5,200), Thomas Vanek ($4,900), Mikkel Boedker ($4,000), Jannik Hansen ($3,300)