NHL DFS Picks: Strategy, advice, values for DraftKings, FanDuel for Thursday, February 15

Chris Wassel has NHL DFS picks and strategy advice to help you take down Thursday's DraftKings and FanDuel contests.

Thursday features a 11-game NHL DFS slate, which includes a three-game turbo and two-game late options. As always, we're here to help daily fantasy hockey players with potential value picks and strategy advice for DraftKings and FanDuel contests. Our tips are based on advanced stats, Vegas odds, matchups, and potential points per dollar, among other factors.

The “Two Man Advantage” contest may fill easily based on increased demand. That has an $8 entry with $40,000 prize pool. There is a $1,000 World Championship Qualifier and high stakes ($400 entry) $85,000 Penalty Kill Special with $15,000 going to first place. Also, with scoring down, Vegas has a couple over/unders at 6.5, but watch for potentially higher scoring matchups that could dud. For even more insight, check out the Fantasy Hockey X podcast.

MORE: SN DFS | DFS Lineup Builder

Because of the volatile nature of goalies (and other reasons), there will be more information on social media coming closer to roster lock. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you are looking for even more advice and insight, please check me out on Twitter @ChrisWasselDFS. Let’s get into tonight’s value picks after a visit from the RotoQL optimizer.

Thursday NHL DFS Picks: Center values

Kevin Hayes, NY Rangers @ NY Islanders (DraftKings $3,800, FanDuel $3,700)

Hayes is a risky choice given his dud potential. However, the Islanders allow the second-most points to centers and have given up an incredible amount of shots and chances over their past 25 games. The center will also draw depth matchups and has points in his past three contests. He has moderate shot potential against an Islanders team that may get caught defensively early and often.

With the 11-game slate, there is still room to set up a few different lineups that are outside the limits of being safe. Expect Minnesota, Vegas's top line, Tampa, and Islanders ownership to be high, as DFS players will keep trying to go for it. Watch the Senators and Sabres for pace, as it could be elevated. San Jose and Vancouver has a potential to dud (even with high shot possibilities), but San Jose should be enough to just pan out value wise.

The good news is there are several other options as far as value on Thursday night. Even Kyle Turris and Matthew Barzal will be nice plays on the night based on matchup analysis. Remember, chalk can be used as long as you know what to expect. Carolina becomes an intriguing play even with their top line (but volatile). Combing for value on a night like this makes roster construction easier.

Other Options: Mikko Koivu and Eric Staal (near chalky), Sebastian Aho, Steven Stamkos and John Tavares (chalk), Brayden Point, Matthew Barzal, Sean Monahan, Nico Hischier, Kyle Turris (rising ownership), Ryan O’Reilly (rising price), Joe Pavelski (moderate risk), Tyler Seguin, Lars Eller (risky), Brock Nelson (lower priced), Derick Brassard (good DK price and look at Matt Duchene). More on social media.

Crazy Value Possible: Pavel Zacha (some risk), Christian Dvorak, Tommy Wingels, Chris Tierney.

Thursday Daily Fantasy Hockey Picks: Winger values

Sam Reinhart, Buffalo @ Ottawa (DraftKings $4,900, FanDuel $5,000)

Reinhart is on a bit of a roll, as he has exceeded value in seven of his past 10 games. Ottawa’s defense is suspect, as it allows nearly 35 shots per 60 over the past 20 games. With the better play, Reinhart is now with Ryan O’Reilly, and they have again meshed well. Ottawa is allowing way too many chances and can be penalty prone. This game could dud, but it could also be a 5-4 game.

Tampa, Pittsburgh, Nashville, and even San Jose will be leaned on because of their strong power plays. The late games are a bit of a nightmare to gauge because of all the line switching and some injuries. It is highly recommended to check back often to see what happens next.

Alex Tuch, Kevin Labanc, and Miles Wood are all nice low-price options on DraftKings tonight. With this slate, even these riskier plays are viable (Charlie Coyle price on DraftKings). Watch the second and even third lines of some teams. The expectation is to see elevated bottom-six scoring on this night. Bottom-six matchups will not carry as much risk as they usually do.

Other Options: Taylor Hall (chalky), Nikita Kucherov (chalky but Johnson won’t be), Craig Smith (high shot potential), Jonathan Marchessault (Power Play Sweet Spot), Andreas Athanasiou, Kyle Palmieri (some risk), Alex DeBrincat, Mark Stone/Mike Hoffman, Brock Boeser, Elias Lindholm, Josh Bailey (near chalk – sneak Beauvillier or Lee), Michael Ferland/Sam Bennett, Rick Nash. More plays will be on social media.

Crazy Value Possible: Charles Hudon, Alex Killorn, Calle Jarnkrok/Colton Sissons, Charlie Coyle, Miles Wood (dangerous risk), Tyler Ennis (2nd line punt potential).

Thursday NHL DFS Advice: Defensemen picks, values

Ryan Pulock, NY Islanders vs. NY Rangers (DraftKings $4,500, FanDuel $3,800)

Choices are abundant among defensemen on Thursday night. Pulock shoots at moderate levels typically and has block potential of two or three shots a game. That sounds a bit risky, but the Rangers have been allowing more scoring chances and the second-mot daily fantasy points on the road to defensemen.

Pulock is taking advantage of his increased ice time and opportunities. His metrics have been positive, which is something few Islanders players can say, let alone defensemen. Pulock’s shot on the power play alone is an asset. If he can blow shots by Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist, he can by almost anyone. In a season where the defensive abyss has hit Brooklyn, Pulock has been one of the few bright shots, and his chances per 60 have also steadily risen.

Rasmus Ristolainen could be a good choice because both Ottawa and Buffalo are not adept on defense or the penalty kill. Their goaltending can give up goals in small bunches. Expected goals for is up tonight for some defensemen, and value is higher than usual as seen below with our recommendations. John Gilmour (still not on FanDuel) is an intriguing under-the-radar play on a night like this with so much chalk. New Jersey just gives up too many chances and is still around a penalty above the league average, so naturally Justin Faulk or Noah Hanifin must be considered.

Watch how low Erik Karlsson is on DraftKings. He is still under $6,000! There are many floor options, so the best advice is to just look around on both sites to pick value. Neal Pionk is available on both sites as a decent punt play.

Other Options: Alex Pietrangelo (Parayko could have some value), Victor Hedman, Brent Burns (CHALK), John Klingberg (will be high owned), Alex Edler (risk but possible reward), Rasmus Ristolainen, Will Butcher, Shayne Gostisbehere/Ivan Provorov, Erik Johnson (higher risk), PK Subban (higher ownership), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (dangerous pick), Mark Giordano, Jordan Oesterle (if he plays), Jeff Petry. Even more picks will be on social media due to lineup shifts and injuries.

Crazy Value Possible: Damon Severson, Cody Ceci, Kris Russell, Brad Hunt (extreme risk), Jacob Chychrun (floor is SOLID), Noah Hanifin, Colin Miller, Brandon Davidson (punt play?).

Thursday Daily Fantasy Hockey Advice: Goalie picks, values

Antti Raanta, Arizona vs. Montreal (DraftKings $7,400, FanDuel $7,400)

Raanta has had six value starts in his past eight games. He is projected to get the start against a Montreal team that can pile up shots (nearly 45 in Colorado last night). However, if the goalie can keep it together, that makes him, by definition, a risky but good GPP play. Montreal is not rested so there is some risk, but reward exists, too. Raanta has not been bad, but Arizona has been in this latest stretch. The goalie will have to bail them out, and his cheap price makes him worth a flier in some lineups.

Again, the goalie is a cheap tournament option on DraftKings and risky also on FanDuel. That leaves the dilemma of who else to play. Confirmations are just coming out, so the best course of action may be to wait a bit. There are lower team totals tonight. For as many bullish predictions from Vegas, there are some bears as well. Beware of Tampa-Detroit and Vancouver-San Jose due to pace concerns. Tampa and San Jose are decent cash game options in net.

The emphasis will be to wait until closer to lock (7 p.m. ET) for any line shifts and goalie changes, etc. Also, watch for injuries and returns tonight, as some projections may be impacted. Finally, for GPPs, one is looking for quality starts potential, 30-plus shots faced or very close, and high save potential.

Other Options: Keith Kinkaid (high risk), David Rittich (higher risk), Andrei Vasilevskiy (HIGH priced) Braden Holtby? (either him or Dubnyk may face enough shots to GPP), Jaroslav Halak (extreme risk but extreme reward). More choices will come closer to lock.

NHL DFS Picks for Thursday: Top Lines to Stack

These are based on RotoQL lineup optimizer projections.

  • · PIT 1 – Is still kind of reasonable, and even PIT 2 is quite a viable (albeit expensive) option. Look to the power play even based on falling Los Angeles penalty kill metrics.
  • · VGK 1 – The Golden Knights are going to be highly owned and over $20,000 as a line on DraftKings. However, Edmonton’s awful penalty kill adds a valuable wrinkle from the defensive position to relieve some price burden.
  • · NYI 1 – Some will enjoy this, as the Rangers cannot stop much of anyone. This game should be ultra-high event and heavily targeted. Watch the Rangers power play, and anyone in either top six is honestly in play.
  • · TB 2 should do well against Detroit. The first line will be higher owned, but that second should draw the lesser depth. This may drop as day goes on.
  • · NJ 1 as Taylor Hall is on fire (23 points in last 15 games). Carolina’s new line with Sebastien Aho at center could cause fits along with Justin Faulk from the back end.
  • · EDM 1 – This could rise up the charts throughout the day. Optimizer has been bullish with the way these teams trade chances, and McDavid can carry this line.
  • · NSH 2 – It is crazy but it may just work here given Ottawa’s depth has given up insane shots and chances per 60 since Dec. 1.
  • · NYI 2 – Very risky but has potential given chances allowed from the Rangers. If Lundqvist gives one up early, this line could pounce.
  • · ARZ 1 – Always have to have room here, but they will likely draw the Montreal depth line, which allows a few more chances and Montreal is not rested.
  • · MTL 3 – Led by Brendan Gallagher, the third Montreal line will draw bottom six from Philadelphia, which is one of the worst bottom sixes in the league. One of the cheapest money stacks on the night could be worth the risk and will help in spending up.
  • · BUF PP 1 – This is risk personified much like the Ottawa mini-stacks from the top six, but this game could be the one that surprises the most. Buffalo-Ottawa may become a higher owned play as lock approaches.

These are just a few lines. As updates become more available, there will be more on social media. Watch to see who plays. That will swing ownership a little bit. Minnesota and Washington may be another surprise with their worsening defensive metrics. Our spotlight picks feature more value, which can mean more inherent risk.

NHL DFS Strategy: Reviewing what went wrong

This is always going to be a section full of “hindsight is 20/20”. However, Wednesday was a three-game slate, and that simply was the problem. If one did not have Semyon Varlamov and the Kadri-Foligno lines, one was sunk like a battleship. Frederik Andersen was able to pull out a huge GPP win and was maybe 15-20 percent owned. Florida and Vancouver were high event once again, but Vincent Trocheck was one to stay away from.