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2020 NHL Picks: Fantasy Hockey Targets, Goalies, Values For August 15

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

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve got a three-game main slate today that starts with Arizona vs. Colorado at 3:00 p.m. ET and ends with Vegas at Chicago at 8:00 p.m. ET. Both of those series are now 2-0 for the respective favorites. Colorado has looked like the most dominant team in the West so far, although the Coyotes looked more competitive in Game 2 and actually outshot the Avalanche in that contest. Vladislav Namestnikov is questionable for Game 3 after exiting the last game with an injury.

Other injuries on this slate to watch for include Max Pacioretty of the Golden Knights and Cam Atkinson of the Blue Jackets. Columbus was able to tie their series 1-1 making today’s game a pivotal one considering how close that series has been.

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NHL $40K Sticks [$10K to 1st]

Top Line Stacks


Derek Stepan ($3,700) – Taylor Hall ($6,000) – Clayton Keller ($4,200)

The Coyotes mixed up their lines in Game 2 searching for more offense and while they still got beat, the results were much closer on paper and on the scoresheet. Having scored points in five of his past six games now, including Game 2 of this series, Clayton Keller is a player who deserves more playing time for Arizona and seems likely to get it in game three playing alongside Taylor Hall. The Coyotes need offense and Keller is someone who can create that instantly with his shot so those two should stay locked together at both even strength and on the power play.

While you could pair them with the Yotes’ main PP1 defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($4,200) here using Derek Stepan, who seems likely to play between these two for Game 3, makes sense as well. Stepan is capable of offensive small offensive bursts and even a small increase in playing time will make him a great target here given the sub-$4K salary. Arizona’s looked overmatched at times but a strong effort from the team’s top-line should be expected for Game 3 after they looked close to pulling an upset in the previous game.

Superstar to Target

Nikita Kucherov ($8,000), TBL at CBJ

Despite the Blue Jackets keeping this series extremely tight thus far, Columbus really hasn’t had much of an answer for Kucherov. Last year’s leading scorer has nine shots on goal thus far through two games and has factored in on three of Tampa’s four goals. While the price is high to pay here, especially going up against a goalie who has been blacking out on a nightly basis like Joonas Korpisalo ($7,600) has, you get the feeling the Lightning will eventually break through for a big game before all is said and done. An extra day’s rest off following the 5OT classic should also help Kucherov, who has been more aggressive with his shot with no Steven Stamkos in the lineup. If Tampa Bay wins this game, it’s likely Kucherov will have had a big part in the goals and with Tampa currently set as -175 favorites for today, betting on that happening by rostering him DFS seems like a good move.

Value on Offense

Chandler Stephenson ($3,100)

With Max Pacioretty out, Stephenson moved up to the top six for Vegas and played over 20 mins for the Golden Knights in Game 2. While he’s no fantasy stud, he is well trusted by his coaches and versatile enough to fit alongside two offensive players like William Karlsson ($6,200) and Mark Stone ($6,800). The ice time he’ll see alone makes him worthy of a being a target here but it’s worth noting that the matchup against the Hawks makes any Vegas forward seeing increased ice time fantasy worthy given Chicago allowed the most shots against per game in the regular season. Any point here would be massive and Stephenson will be in a good position to make that happen should Pacioretty sit once again in Game 3.

Alexandre Texier ($3,200), CBJ vs. TBL

Texier has remained an integral part of the Blue Jackets’ first line, scoring points in four of his past five games. With injuries up front to Cam Atkinson ($5,100), who remains questionable for today, you can expect the second-year player to keep playing solid minutes here. He’s played over 19 minutes per game in each of the Blue Jackets’ past five games and is also seeing power-play time with Columbus’ PP1 unit. At this price, there’s almost no reason not to target him, even if you think Tampa Bay bounces back and takes Game 3.

Stud Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy ($7,900), TBL at CBJ

While he’s been outshined by his counterpart across the ice, the Russian netminder has not performed poorly for Tampa thus far, stopping 80 of 85 shots faced in this series. While Joonas Korpisalo ($7,600) is the big talk of the series here, Vasilevskiy is still a high-end goalie whose team sits as -175 favorites today and could be going a touch overlooked as people start to climb back aboard the Blue Jackets’ bandwagon. While this figures to be a close series, taking an under $8K salary here on a big favorite like Vasilevskiy doesn’t feel bad, especially as he could be the lower-owned goalie in GPPs from his game

Darcy Kuemper ($7,100), ARZ vs. COL

Kuemper has played well for the Coyotes in this series, stopping 62 of 68 shots faced thus far but he has yet to steal a win. Arizona played better in Game 2 though, outshooting and out-chancing the Avalanche, who haven’t got a ton of production from the top line yet. The Coyotes should also be in desperation mode for Game 3 as another loss would basically seal the team’s fate. While Kuemper and Arizona are big underdogs at around +160 on the puck line as of writing, his solid play and extremely cheap salary here make him a nice GPP target.

Value on Defense

Olli Maatta ($3,100), CHI vs. VGK

Maatta has been a solid presence on the blueline for the Blackhawks since the bubble began and his play is starting to lead to an uptick in ice time and more consistent fantasy production. He’s now collected 12 blocked shots over his past three starts as well and while he’s gone pointless in this series with Vegas thus far, he did collect four points against Edmonton. Outside of Duncan Keith ($4,300), who is currently playing a lot of special teams minutes, the Hawks don’t have a ton of high-end defensemen, so seeing Maatta’s ice time go up a bit as this series rolls along wouldn’t be shocking. The blocked shots are what we are really targeting here but this series has provided some offense from both sides, so Maatta actually provides a bit of sneaky potential there too. If you want as much exposure to this game as possible — it has the highest puck-total on this slate — then Maatta is a good way to go about achieving that goal on defense.

Power-Play Defensemen

Victor Hedman ($5,600), TBL at CBJ

As mentioned above, the Lightning enters this game as solid -175 puck-line favorites in Game 3 as of writing. While the offensive potential in this game doesn’t rate out as good as the other games on this slate, that’s offset somewhat by Hedman’s versatility for fantasy purposes. The Swede’s been a machine thus far for Tampa Bay, blocking six shots while getting 15 on net already through two games. Those stats are bumped up somewhat by a 5OT game but he still played over 26 mins in Game 2 when he attempted six SOG. Despite all those gaudy stats Hedman’s price here remains well under $6K, which is almost $1K less than we’d see him at during the regular season. Not taking advantage of the reduction here seems almost foolhardy as Hedman’s upside right now is tremendous (or will be if he ever scores) given the peripheral stats he’s putting up of late.

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NHL $40K Sticks [$10K to 1st]

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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.