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

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

New York Rangers v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Friday’s NHL late slate features two games. 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 $8K Twine [$2K to 1st]



DraftKings Sportsbook

Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings over 5.5 goals (-130)

These two teams have been trending strongly towards hitting overs in the last couple of weeks. The Red Wings have hit the over in seven of their last eight games, while the Capitals have hit over 5.5 goals in four of their last six games as well. The Capitals’ goaltending situation isn’t great at the moment with Ilya Samsonov struggling to just a .902 save percentage over his last 10 games. The over at just 5.5 goals looks good for an over bet.

Rangers Moneyline +110

Maybe a veteran team like the Lightning rebounds quickly, but the 9-3 trouncing the team took yesterday at the hands of a state rival in the Panthers will be hard to get over quickly. The team’s depth chart is ravaged by COVID-19 right now and it’s likely we’ll see another AHL netminder between the pipes for them here. The Rangers are available at plus-money only because they’ve lost a couple in a row, but those have been tight losses against quality teams. Take the healthier side here.


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


Top Line Stack

Detroit Red Wings vs. Washington Capitals

Dylan Larkin ($6,300) — Tyler Bertuzzi ($6,000) — Lucas Raymond ($4,300)

The Red Wings’ top-line has been on fire since the return of Tyler Bertuzzi to the lineup and they enter this game having landed 12 points in their last two games alone. The Wings may not be an offensive powerhouse but this line has tons of appeal for DFS purposes. Despite Bertuzzi missing large amounts of time, this trio has combined for the fifth-most goals scored in the league thus far on a per-line basis.

The Capitals enter this game having allowed 15 goals over their last four games too and have been getting inconsistent play in their net—with Ilya Samsonov posting a sub .900 save percentage in each of his last two starts—making this matchup a little better than it first appears. We only have a two-game slate, so saving money isn’t necessarily an issue, but with a couple of bigger names to pay up for (like Alex Ovechkin on the other side of this game), starting lineups with the Red Wings’ top trio certainly gives you flexibility to spend in other areas. Start this two-gamer with the Red Wings’ top-line, and one of the best daily fantasy trios for stacking purposes, and go from there.


Superstar to Target

Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning ($6,700)

Both of these teams offer us solid options at the center ice position, as we can certainly expect the Tampa Bay Lightning to be leaning heavily on Steven Stamkos ($7,600) and Brayden Point ($7,000) today as well. That said, the upside for me is on the other side of this game with Mika Zibanejad, who is finally heating up on the stat sheet. The Rangers’ center enters this matchup with Tampa having landed multiple points in three straight games and finally seems to be finding the net with some consistency, after a stretch that saw him shooting with a goal rate nearly 50% under his career average.

The Lightning are going into this game short-handed again and are likely to feature a goaltender from their AHL squad. Expect Zibanejad to be one of the main Rangers who benefits and continues his upside run. He’s posted 19 or more DKFP in each of his last three games and seems like the center best set up for more success in this game.


Value on Offense

Conor Sheary, Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings ($3,200)

The Red Wings do have a great first-line for fantasy purposes, but they still lack from a defensive perspective and are allowing 33.5 shots on net per game, the sixth-most in the league. The opportunities for the Capitals’ top-six will be there today and Sheary enters this game averaging 2.6 shots on net over his last 10 games (and with eight points in his last 10 games as well). Playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom, Sheary should get great matchups on the Caps’ second-line and makes for a great value target on his own—and a great stacking partner with the aforementioned Backstrom as well.


Stud Goalies

Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning ($7,500)

The Rangers head into this game as +110 underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook, but as mentioned above they really seem to be getting undervalued considering the state of the Lightning roster. Shesterkin was rusty in his first game back (allowing four goals on 32 shots faced) but the Russian netminder has been terrific for the Rangers all season and will be facing a Tampa Bay team who is lacking for depth at the moment. Shesterkin is also a great value from a DFS perspective as the Rangers still allow over 31 shots per game and he’s also averaged 17.6 DKFP in 11 road starts this season. The Rangers’ players are in a good spot tonight and that extends to their goalie, who looks like the best target at his position on this small slate.


Value on Defense

Filip Hronek, Detroit Red Wings vs. Washington Capitals ($3,700)

The Red Wings’ defensemen offer us some decent value propositions for this short slate and the best of the bunch is likely Hronek, who comes in having grabbed six points over his last 10 games. Hronek gets us some second-unit power-play exposure and he’s proficient at getting his shot through, averaging over 2.0 shots on goal over his last 10 games.

The Czech defenseman is being leaned on for solid minutes by the Red Wings, so if this game does produce some goals (again, seven of Detroit’s last eight games have gone over the pre-game total) then there’s a good chance Hronek grabs at least an assist for us given how much he’s on the ice. There are few true values available in this range today on defense, but Hronek is a solid target for those needing to save some cash on defense.


Power-Play Defensemen

John Carlson, Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings ($6,800)

Carlson has been producing some big nights lately for the Capitals and gets a great matchup today against a Red Wings team that has the seventh-worst penalty-kill on the season. Carlson has hit the DK shots on goal bonus in three of his last seven starts and is averaging a healthy 4.6 shots on goal + blocked shots over his last 10 games.

The upside though comes from his ability to produce points, and while he’s been cold on special teams of late, he does get plenty of power-play exposure and has grabbed eight regular strength points over his last 10 games as well. At under $7K, you can stack him with other members of the Capitals’ power-play if you like, but he makes for a great pay-up target on his own, against a Red Wings team who ranks below average in most defensive categories.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $8K Twine [$2K to 1st]


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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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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