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2020 NHL Picks: Fantasy Hockey Targets, Goalies, Values For August 14

Geoff Ulrich gets you ready for Friday’s fantasy hockey slate with his top line stacks, value plays and goalie options.

We have a five-game slate to work with this Friday that begins at 2:00 p.m. EST with the Coyotes and Avalanche. Arizona kept the first game of that series close until late when Colorado finally broke out. Montreal at Philly is the other early game. The first game of that series was very close until the end with the Flyers winning 2-1.

From an upset perspective, the Capitals blew a 2-0 lead in their first game to the Islanders, eventually losing 4-2. This game also has the biggest injury concern attached to it today as Nicklas Backstrom is officially out for Game 2 with a concussion. Lars Eller ($3,400) should get a bump in playing time as a result. Vancouver upset St. Louis in Game 1 as well. One name to keep an eye on there is Tyler Toffoli ($5,600), who is still very questionable to play after missing the first game of the series.

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NHL $50K Sticks [$10K to 1st]

Top Line Stacks


Mathew Barzal ($6,600) – Anders Lee ($6,000) – Jordan Eberle ($5,500)

The Islanders took the first game of this series in a comeback that included four straight goals, two of which were produced by members of the Islanders top-line. While New York only ranked 22nd in goals scored during the regular season they’ve shown more offensive cohesion since the bubble began and enter Game 2 with the Caps having now scored 15 goals in their last four games.

Washington was a solid enough defensive team during the regular season, but they are suffering from injury issues and bad play at the goalie position, with starter Braden Holtby ($7,800)—who has posted an .860 save percentage or worse in two of his last three starts—basically their only option. The Isles top-line play together in all situations and look to be catching fire at a great time against a team with injury issues in a couple key spots. The affordable trio make for a good stacking target here and going forward.

Superstar to Target

Elias Pettersson ($7,200), VAN at STL

These playoffs have acted as a bit of a coming out party thus far for Pettersson. The talented Swede has shown more aggressiveness in Vancouver’s first few games since the restart and comes into this game with five points in his last four games. The defensive prowess of the Blues didn’t do much to hold down the Canucks offense in the first game and that confidence seems likely to flow over to Game 2 for Vancouver who have youth on their side here.

Pettersson will also be going up against a Blues penalty-kill that has struggled mightily since the restart. The Blues have the fourth-worst unit in that area since the bubble games began, while Vancouver’s power-play has struck on over 28% of their chances, good for fifth-best since the restart. While you can stack him with other members of the Vancouver PP1 tonight, Petersson makes for a good anchor play as he’s upped his play in this more dynamic environment and is matched up against a struggling Blues squad.

Value on Offense

Joel Farabee ($3,700), PHI vs. MTL

Despite Jacob Voracek ($5,000) returning for the first game of the Flyers series, Farabee continued to play on the Flyers first-line and ended up finding the back of the net for the game-winning goal. The solid performance in his first official playoff game should only ensure he continues to see top-6 minutes for Philly in Game 2. Farabee is a very point dependent play, as he’s only recorded more than two SOG once in his last 10 games. However, he’s also an easy and affordable stacking target with either Sean Courturier ($7,600) or Claude Giroux ($6,900) which makes him a nice value play for DFS here tonight.

Loui Eriksson ($2,900), VAN at STL

The Canucks have had a few injury issues up front, mainly to Tyler Toffoli ($5,600) who is still questionable and seems unlikely to play in today’s game. Eriksson has been taking a consistent top-6 shift for the Canucks in the last couple of games as a result and played over 15 minutes in Game 1 against the Blues. His point production is pretty sub-par but he’s been more aggressive with his shot since getting bumped up, dropping seven SOG in his last two games. Any kind of garbage assist would allow him to hit value in his new role, and the sub-3,000 salary makes him a solid min-priced target today.

Stud Goalies

Semyon Varlamov ($7,300), NYI at WAS

Varlamov picked up the win for the Islanders in the first game of the series, but despite posting over 15 DKFP in four of the five games he’s started since the restart, his price remains one of the lowest for starters on this slate. With Nicklas Backstrom now out for the Capitals and Braden Holtby ($7,800) struggling, this looks like an even better spot for Varlamov, who didn’t allow a goal in Game 1 over the last 30 minutes. Washington is still a dangerous team but the salary here makes this another appetizing spot to take a shot with Varlamov in DFS, a player who has looked way better than his opponent in net thus far.

Carter Hart ($8,200), PHI vs. MTL

Hart had a solid start to the Flyers series, posting 21.4 DKFP in a 2-1 win. The win marked his fifth straight start with a save percentage of .931 or better, so it’s pretty safe to say he’s as locked in as they come. Montreal’s lack of scoring up front shined through in Game 1, with the power-play marking their best scoring chances of the game. If Philly can lock up that area a bit better, Hart could easily be looking for a shutout or two in this series. He makes for a good pay-up candidate here, especially with Philly currently listed as the second-biggest favorite on this slate from an odds perspective.

Value on Defense

Erik Gustafsson ($3,900), CGY vs. DAL

Gustafsson continues to offer good value for DFS players as the main PP1 point-man on the Flames power-play. While he does have a bigger bust factor than many top-defensemen—due to his low minutes played—the fact he gets so much ice-time in good offensive situations each game means his upside at this price is nearly unmatched. Prior to last night’s game, he had produced three assists in three games. With the Stars goalies having consistency issues, continuing to target the value plays on the Flames offense makes sense, especially in a series where the star players have struggled for points. He’s a solid value play on defense and will be for the rest of this series if he maintains his PP1 position.

Power-Play Defensemen

Shea Weber ($5,900), MTL at PHI

The Canadiens weren’t able to get much going on offense in Game 1 of their series. Weber was able to land a goal, however, for the third straight game and in many ways has turned into Montreal’s most dangerous weapon in these playoffs. Montreal’s in a tough spot offensively against the Flyers, but from a fantasy production perspective Weber’s also been the most reliable player at his position. His role as the point man for Montreal on the PP1 still makes him a high upside play, as Philly has only been average on the penalty-kill in the bubble, ranking just 13th among the 24-teams. At under $6,000, pairing Weber with some of the under-priced Montreal PP1 forwards seems like a decent strategy for GPPs. He’s playable in all formats though as his minutes also seem likely to rise as the series continues.

Quinn Hughes ($5,400), VAN at STL

Hughes has been a revelation this year in many ways, posting 60 points for Vancouver in 71 games. The rookie has actually been better since the play-ins/playoffs have begun, posting seven points in his last four games—with five of those coming on the power-play. While this is typically a negative matchup for the Canucks offensive players, the short-term stats on the Blues penalty-kill have been poor. Continuing to play the productive Hughes and pairing him with either the aforementioned Petersson ($7,200) or another Canucks PP1 forward here makes a ton of sense. The Canucks look like very live underdogs at the moment.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.