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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for January 31

Geoff Ulrich gives his top NHL picks and lineup advice for Sunday’s fantasy hockey slate on DraftKings, which starts at 5:00 p.m. ET.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday features a seven-game NHL slate, starting at 5:00 p.m. ET. In this article, we’ll discuss DraftKings daily fantasy targets as well as plays on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $60K Twine [$10K to 1st]


DraftKings Sportsbook

Chicago Blackhawks +118 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blackhawks come into this game off a closely fought 2-1 loss to the Blue Jackets two days ago. Teams in the second end of a back-to-back who lost their first game are hitting at an over 60% clip so far this season. The Hawks are getting excellent goaltending at the moment from Kevin Lankinen ($7,600), who has a .930 save percentage and 2.18 GAA on the season. Eventually, that kind of backstopping will lead to a few more wins, and taking the Hawks, who are home dogs here, against an equally offensively challenged Blue Jackets squad looks like a nice bet tonight at plus-money.

New York Islanders +104 at Philadelphia Flyers

The Isles come into this game in the midst of a four-game winless losing streak and on the heels of a 3-2 OT loss to the Flyers yesterday. New York’s offensive output has been almost non-existent this year but they are playing solid defensive hockey and limited Philly to just 17 SOG in the first game of their series. Like Chicago, the Isles are in a bounce-back spot after a loss in the first game of their back-to-back and have played the Flyers well over the past couple of seasons, going 7-3 against them last year and 12-6 vs. Philly over the past three seasons.


Top Line Stacks

New York Islanders at Philadelphia Flyers

Mathew Barzal ($6,900) – Anders Lee ($6,400) – Jordan Eberle ($5,700)

The Isles come into this slate as one of the worst offensive teams in hockey, so don’t expect heavy ownership here. Despite the lack of production, the Isles’ first line is generating chances. In their last game vs. this same Flyers squad, this trio produced 11 SOG together and did manage to get one of New York’s two goals on the night. The urgency is only going to ramp up here for New York’s top-line given they come in having lost four straight and, as I noted above, the efficiency with which teams have bounced back in the second game of these mini-series makes the Isles’ offense an interesting target, regardless.

Moreover, from a DFS perspective, the Flyers have been great opponents for opposing forwards. Philly has allowed the third-most SOG per game and given up the sixth-most scoring chances against so far this year. We have a short slate but with two studs available on the slate in Connor McDavid ($8,500) and Nathan MacKinnon ($8,600), many may bypass this line, which plays together in all situations, for cheaper options. They make for a nice GPP stack tonight in a great DFS matchup.


Superstar to Target

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild ($8,600)

McKinnon comes into this game with two goals and 10 assists on the season. It’s been an OK start for fantasy purposes, but the lack of goals is somewhat concerning. McKinnon has scored 35 or more goals in each of the past three years, though, and with his shooting percentage on the year sitting at under 5% (his career average is 9.9%) the time to buy in might be tonight. The Wild have started the year playing solid hockey but they are a team that could be due for some regression soon and Minnesota has yielded the 11th-most SOG per game thus far. The fact they’re shorthanded in a couple of different areas right now also makes them vulnerable to a powerhouse team like Colorado. The Avalanche dominated the play in the first game (winning handily, 5-1) and if they keep the pedal down here seeing a multi-goal McKinnon outing here isn’t out of the question. I’d keep backing the Avalanche studs in this spot.


Value on Offense

Kailer Yamamoto, Edmonton Oilers vs. Ottawa Senators ($4,700)

The Sens-Oilers game features two teams with less than great defenses and some suspect goaltending to boot, so we need to target it with some skaters here. Yamamoto is coming in on a three-game pointless streak but remains entrenched in the Oilers' top-six and should have tons of room to create offense here against a weak Ottawa defensive core that may even be without their top defender. Yamamoto makes for a great value/stacking target on almost every slate when he’s under $5K in salary, but even more so here against the Senators.

Evgenii Dadonov, Ottawa Senators vs. Edmonton Oilers ($3,300)

Dadonov has gotten off to a weak start with his new team, as the former Panther has just two points through eight games. Despite that, he remains entrenched in the Sens’ top-six skaters and is playing over 19 mins a night on occasion, a role that includes time on the Sens’ PP1. Ottawa skaters have a great matchup here against Edmonton, which is allowing the third-most scoring chances against so far this year and has the fourth-worst penalty kill in the league at the moment. Dadonov’s a great value target here in a game with the largest O/U on the slate at 6.5.


Stud Goalies

Kevin Lankinen, Chicago Blackhawks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets ($7,600)

Lankinen has taken over as the top goalie for the Hawks and comes into this game with a .930 save percentage. Through his past four games, he’s yielded two goals or less and stopped 25 of 27 SOG in the Hawks’ first matchup with Columbus. Lankinen makes for the perfect target in net for plenty of reasons, though. A cheap price is also helped along by the fact the Hawks allow a ton of SOG on net — 33.6 per game to be exact, which is the second-most in the league. He gives you a great shot at the SOG bonus and is going up against a vulnerable Columbus squad so is in a decent position for the win as well.

John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks vs. St. Louis Blues ($7,200)

Gibson got rolled by the Blues last night, who scored three goals in the first three minutes of the game. The netminder had been playing quite well before that though and comes into this game with a .931 save percentage and averaging 15.3 DKFP per game, despite the horrid performance last night. If Gibson does get the start here it’s also worth noting that the Blues look like they could be giving Ville Husso ($7,900) a start here, who was brutal in his first two appearances, putting Gibson in a better than advertised spot for a win.


Value on Defense

Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers vs. Ottawa Senators ($4,100)

Barrie is finally starting to produce for Edmonton. The former Leaf has played over 21 minutes in each of his past two games and has produced three assists over that span for DFS owners. Barrie’s main pull, of course, is that he’s manning the point for the Oilers on the power play, and even though he’s ceded some of that responsibility to Darnell Nurse (5,100) over the past few games, his increase in production is a good sign that he should keep getting opportunities with Edmonton’s skilled forwards. The Senators are likely to be short-handed on defense here and are a bad defensive hockey club anyways, so taking the discount here on the offensive-minded Barrie seems proper.

Mike Reilly, Ottawa Senators vs. Edmonton Oilers ($3,400)

The Senators could be very short-handed tonight if Thomas Chabot (questionable) misses this game and it would likely move Reilly into a much bigger role. Reilly already sees some time on the PP2 unit for Ottawa, but he’d be a candidate to man the point on the PP1 here if Chabot can’t go. Reilly is good at getting his shot through — he’s averaging two SOG per game despite playing under 20 minutes most nights and will be facing an Edmonton squad that has allowed the sixth-most SOG per game thus far. He’ll be solid value if the Sens’ top defenseman sits in a great fantasy matchup.


Power-Play Defensemen

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild ($6,500)

The Wild allowed two power-play goals last night to Colorado, and with a lack of depth up front targeting the COL PP1 unit here seems like a solid allocation of salary on this smaller slate. Makar is also in a spot where he’ll be likely to see a few more minutes than usual given the injury to his running mate Devon Toews and the fact that he played 25 minutes in the first game between these two producing five SOG and an assist. Makar now has points in three straight games and is a solid pay-up option given the lack of elite options tonight at defense.


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.


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