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Fantasy Hockey Picks: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Targets, Goalies, Values for August 26

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

We have another two-game NHL slate on DraftKings as the Avalanche-Stars and Lightning-Bruins series both move on to a crucial Game 3 tonight. The Bruins and Lightning played each other last night with the Lightning squeaking out an OT win. Steven Stamkos ($6,000) is still out for Tampa and defenseman Ryan McDonagh ($3,100) didn’t play in game two and is out again today.

In the other game, the Avalanche were big favorites at the beginning of this series but enter today’s game down 0-2. They’ve allowed 10 goals thus far and will be without Philipp Grubauer (lower body) in net tonight once again. Erik Johnson is also out and unlikely to return at any point for Colorado. The Stars are also down a goalie as Ben Bishop ($7,300) is still out but has a chance to return soon according reports. It’s almost a certainty that Pavel Francouz ($7,800) and Anton Khudobin ($7,300) will start in net here tonight.

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Top Line Stacks

Nathan MacKinnon ($8,500) – Mikko Rantanen ($7,200) – Gabriel Landeskog ($6,200)

The Avalanche-Stars series has now seen 15 goals scored in just two games and sets up as the game to target on this very short slate. Of those 15 goals scored, the Avalanche first-line has now accounted for four of them, meaning they’ve been in on all but one of the Avalanche’s five goals scored in this series.

This trio have each played over 21 minutes in each of the first two games and could even push for more ice in what is essentially an elimination game for the Avalanche here. The only issue tonight is how you fit them all in, but there is some solid value on defense that you can take advantage of (see below) which should help. If you’re thinking of using just one winger, Rantenen may be more expensive but has proven to have much better upside of late and is averaging 3.5 SOG and 14.4 DKFP over his last 10 games, which are both significantly better marks than Landeskog. Will they garner high ownership? Almost certainly, but mixing in lower-owned value plays with them feels like a much better strategy than fading this line altogether in GPPs.

Superstar to Target

David Pastrnak ($7,700), BOS vs. TB

It’s going to be near impossible to fit in both the BOS L1’s and COL L1’s today, but you can still mix and match your studs for DFS purposes. Pastrnak is a pretty attractive target here as just the third-most expensive player on the slate and looks fully recovered from whatever injury held him out last series as he’s already recorded four points in the first two games against Tampa. Boston has really outshone Tampa since the restart on special teams too, as their power-play is ranked ninth of all the teams who qualified for the bubble.

Pastrnak has scored PP points now in three straight games and has now figured in on four of the last six Boston goals. While he was outshone a little by his line-mate Brad Marchand’s ($6,600) two goal performance in the last game, there’s no doubt that Pastrnak has been the better overall fantasy performer this year and remains the main offensive catalyst for Boston. With Andrei Vasilevskiy ($7,900) posting just a 0.892 save percentage in this series thus far, Pasta makes for a great target here once again and a stud you should feel good about starting lineups with at this price-tag.

Value on Offense

Joonas Donskoi ($3,700), COL at DAL

Colorado’s top-line has provided most of its offense thus far, but with a crucial game three approaching and the Avalanche’s season on the line, I’d expect some of the peripheral scorers to start contributing tonight. Donskoi has provided some solid offense in spurts for Colorado this year since coming over form the Sharks and is taking a regular shift on a line with Nazem Kadri ($5,700), whose offensive game has taken a step up in the playoffs. Those two make for a good contrarian mini-stack on their own if you’re brave enough to fade the Colorado L1, but Donskoi’s price here also makes him a solid value target on his own. He skated over 17 minutes in the last game and has generally seen his ice-time rise over the last four games. This game has the higher O/U on the puck total on DraftKings Sportsbook tonight so taking a shot with the sub-4K winger, who is playing top-6 minutes, makes a ton of sense.

Stud Goalies

Jaroslav Halak ($8,000), BOS at TBL

Halak has really stepped up for Boston since Tuukka Rask stepped away form the bubble. The 35-year-old has now stopped 94 of the last 101 shots he’s faced and generally allowed them to keep the series with Tampa close thus far as the Bruins have been badly out-shot in both games. That trend is also what makes Halak such a good target for me in net tonight as Anton Khudobin ($7,300) is the only other goalie on the slate to have faced more than 31-SOG in a game thus far. The upside with Halak and Khudobin both seem far greater than their peers here but Khudobin seems like the far riskier play given that the Stars are coming in as +120 underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook or worse on the puckline—while the Bruins Lightning game remains close to a pick-em on DraftKings Sportsbook. Halak is the guy you should be paying up for here although both he and Khudobin are in play for bigger GPPs where pure upside is the focus.

Value on Defense

Charlie McAvoy ($4,300), BOS at TB

Despite only landing one assist and no goals in his last five games, McAvoy has managed to hit double-digits in DKFP in four of his last five starts. The Bruins’ defenseman is playing big minutes, averaging 24.5 minutes now over his last 10 games, and its made him a consistent, nightly fantasy option at this price-range as a result. He’s averaging 2.6 SOG and 1.9 blocked shots per game over this period, giving him a solid nightly floor. This is also a player who scored 36 points in 77 games this year and does get regular PP2 minutes, so expect the scoring to pick up shortly. On a slate with plenty of “must-play” expensive forwards, McAvoy is a good way to get your average salary down without giving up much upside on defense.

Jamie Oleksiak ($2,800), DAL vs. COL

It’s a night where you feel almost compelled to roster as many of the big named stud forwards as possible so some extreme value plays on defense could end up mattering on this small slate. Oleksiak continues to play inside the top-4 for the Stars and has averaged a solid 22 minutes per game in his first two starts in this series. He’s not much of an offensive player but has actually landed points in each of the first two games of this series. His real value though comes from his peripheral stat production as he’s now hit either the SOG or Blocked Shot bonus three times in his last five starts. If you’re looking for a way to fit in as many Avalanche/Bruins/Lightning L1 forwards in as possible here, Oleksiak may be a key piece of achieving that.

Power-Play Defensemen

John Klingberg ($5,200), DAL vs. COL

The Stars’ power-play has picked things up since the restart and seems like a big reason they are finding some success early in these playoffs. Dallas is ranked 7th in power-play percentage since the bubble began and landed two more PP-goals on just three opportunities against Colorado in Game 2. Klingberg may have ceded number one defenseman honors on his team over to Miro Heiskanen ($5,700) but he’s still the Stars’ PP1 quarterback and is averaging 23-minutes and 11.1 DKFP over his last 10 starts. Heiskanen likely makes for the better one-off play, but if you’re stacking the Stars PP1 tonight Klingberg should be your target. He’s recorded four games with 13 or more DKFP now in his last seven starts and seems likely to break through for another ceiling game soon given how well the Stars’ power-play has gelled in this environment.

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