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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Values, Lineup Strategy for October 21

Geoff Ulrich gives his top NHL picks and lineup advice for today’s fantasy hockey slate on DraftKings.

Colorado Avalanche vs Washington Capitals Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

Thursday features a 10-game NHL slate that begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on DraftKings. In this article, you will find DFS advice for DraftKings lineups, plus some DraftKings Sportsbook bets to target.


Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $100K Kick Save [$25K to 1st]


DraftKings Sportsbook

Colorado Avalanche at Florida Panthers over 6.5 goals -105

The Avalanche are off to a slow start and the play of their netminder certainly hasn’t helped things. Darcy Kuemper ($7,400) limps into this game with a .890 save percentage against a deep Panthers offense that has averaged 4.66 goals through their first three games. The Panthers will be relying on Sergei Bobrovsky ($8,000) to man their pipes tonight and we know how quickly his story can change. The Avalanche will have a better rested Nathan MacKinnon ($8,700) in the lineup after his bout with COVID-19, and the team has still managed three or more goals in their three games this season. This game has a big total but with two suspect goalies and two top offenses, the over seems like the play.


Place your NHL bets at DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.


Top Line Stack

Washington Capitals Power Play (at New Jersey Devils)

Evgeny Kuznetsov ($5,900) - Alex Ovechkin ($8,200) - John Carlson ($5,900)

The Capitals have got off to a fast start this season and one big reason why has been the play of their top line. Alex Ovechkin looks primed to keep chasing the all-time goal record and has already potted four goals through three games. He’s priced up after seeing his salary depressed through the first couple of matchups but carries some of the best long-term shots on goal metrics on wing today.

Stacking with Ovechkin is also easy as the Capitals’ injury issues up front have meant Evgeny Kuznetsov has been playing alongside Ovechkin to start the season. Never known as an elite playmaker, Kuznetsov does seem to be thriving in the role this season as he’s already got four assists, two of which have come on the power play. Stacking these two has already led to some big games for fantasy purposes in 2021 and we should be looking to attack with them again against a weaker defensive team like the Devils. New Jersey featured the worst penalty-kill in the league last season and the Devils are already operating at just a 70% clip in that regard this season. With that in mind, using power-play specialist John Carlson, who is under $6K, makes a ton of sense to round out this stack.

On a big slate, the Capitals’ offense could go overlooked but they’re in a great spot against a Devils team who has improved, but still rates out to be one of the better fantasy matchups for top-special teams units.


Superstar to Target

Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche at Florida Panthers ($7,600)

As mentioned above, the Panthers-Avalanche game looks like a great one to target for DFS purposes as both teams have implied puck totals of over 3.2. Rantanen comes into this game having already grabbed a point in each of the Avs’ first three games, despite being without his center for two of those contests. Rantanen is facing off against some elite wingers tonight in DFS but at under $8K looks like the best bargain of the bunch. He’s outproduced wingers like Patrick Kane ($7,400) in goals per game, points per game and CorsiFor ratings by a decent amount over the last 12 months and ranks up right alongside Leon Draisaitl ($8,800) in most of those categories as well. Rantanen should be viewed as a good building block given the palatable price tag tonight.


Value on Offense

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers at Arizona Coyotes ($4,200)

We definitely need to get some exposure to the Oilers’ offense against a weak team like the Coyotes, and looking towards their second line to help us in that endeavor isn’t a bad idea at all. Edmonton has an implied team total of 3.5 goals (biggest on the slate) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who we can get for under $4.5K, is still getting first-unit power-play exposure—while also centering a beefed-up Edmonton second line which now includes Zach Hyman ($4,900). Nugent-Hopkins sometimes gets forgotten about, but he’s averaging 2.62 shots on goals over the last 12 months and has the eighth-best CorsiFor rating on this slate at center. He is the best value option on the board regardless of position here.

Jonathan Dahlen, San Jose Sharks at Ottawa Senators ($3,200)

Another name that looks like a great value option forward is the Sharks’ new winger they’ve brought over from Sweden, Jonathan Dahlen. With no Evander Kane, Dahlen has made an impact right away, landing two goals on four shots in his second career NHL start. He’s not just getting lucky either, as Dahlen was an elite producer over in Sweden and is getting first line power-play minutes and top-line exposure for the Sharks, who have a great opponent for DFS in the Senators tonight. Considering his cheap salary, he rates out as one of the best pure punts/values as well at forward, and should be a must in any Sharks power-play stack you build today.


Stud Goalies

Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets vs. Anaheim Ducks ($8,500)

The Jets’ star netminder has had a rough start to the season as he enters this slate with an ugly .856 save percentage through just three games. We know through a larger sample size though that Hellebuyck can be an elite fantasy producer, so writing off his slow start is likely the right way to approach him against the Ducks today. The Jets are -200 favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook (biggest favorites on the slate), and face a Ducks team who despite landing a couple of big wins already has given up the second-most shots so far this season— and the third most quality scoring chances against. This is the Jets’ first home game too and feels like a great bounce-back spot for Hellebuyck, who is far better than his current numbers suggest.

Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers at Nashville Predators ($7,700)

One goalie who is playing well to start the season, and is likely worth chasing right now, is Rangers G Igor Shesterkin. The talented netminder is well known for putting up some monster fantasy games on the Rangers, who are again trending towards being one of the worst teams in terms of limiting shots on their own net. Shesterkin has faced over 36 shots in each of his first two starts but sports a sterling .949 save percentage. We shouldn’t fear the Predators either, who attempted 30+ shots on net per game last season but ranked in the bottom 10 in goals for per game. Shesterkin is great value with the Rangers trending as small favorites.


Value on Defense

Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers at Arizona Coyotes ($3,700)

As mentioned above, we really want to get some Oilers on our roster today and there are other options outside of the usual suspects like Connor McDavid ($9,300) and Leon Draisaitl ($8,800). Evan Bouchard has seen better than expected usage so far from the Oilers’ coaching staff and looks every bit the part of a player who can make an impact on this talented offensive squad. His 37 DKFP effort against the Ducks was eye-opening to say the least as he recorded two points and landed seven blocked shots in under 20 minutes of ice time. The big news here though is that Bouchard played more minutes than Tyson Barrie ($5,700) and also got power-play exposure. The Oilers may have finally found that diamond in the rough on defense and Bouchard rates out as an elite value based on short-term form and opponent.


Power-Play Defensemen

Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks at Ottawa Senators ($6,500)

Brent Burns has turned back the clock so far in 2021. Once one of the elite point producers for DFS, he’s once again trending like a player with an elite fantasy floor and ceiling after landing the blocked shot bonus, and an assist, in each of his first two games. Burns is still playing big minutes too which is the biggest deal here and his spot on the Sharks’ power-play this season could be amplified for fantasy purposes without Evander Kane—who tended to hog the shots and opportunities on special teams. Burns was trending pretty well in terms of SOG for defensemen already but he’s already got six on the season through two games.

The Senators have started their season nicely but they rate out as a team with one of the worst defenses in hockey, along with a terrible goaltending duo. Burns is in an elite spot right now and has all his trends pointing up. You can pay up and even look to a San Jose power play stack today, which should be very cost-effective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $100K Kick Save [$25K to 1st]


Place your NHL bets at DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.


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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