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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for April 16

Geoff Ulrich gives his top NHL picks and lineup advice for Friday’s fantasy hockey slate on DraftKings, which starts at 7:00 p.m. ET.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Friday features a four-game main NHL slate starting 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.


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DraftKings Sportsbook

Minnesota Wild puck line (-1.5) +130 vs. San Jose Sharks

The Sharks enter this game off an embarrassing series against the Ducks where they were outscored 8-1 against one of the worst offensive and defensive teams in the league. Now they have to take on an actual NHL team here in Minnesota, and the Wild are getting close to locking up a playoff spot. Minnesota gives up the sixth-fewest scoring chances per game and has the sixth-best penalty-kill in the league. The Sharks may also start one of their inexperienced goalies which only adds to the Wild’s appeal to cover as the favorite. The Sharks haven’t been scoring and don’t have the talent on the backend to stop Minnesota’s balanced attack. The puck line for the Minnesota side looks big enough to take on here.


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Top Line Stacks

Vegas Golden Knights at Anaheim Ducks

Chandler Stephenson ($4,300) - Max Pacioretty ($7,900) - Mark Stone ($6,400)

The Ducks have looked half-decent in their last couple of games, but they’ve also faced some inferior competition in the Sharks. They get the real deal tonight as the Golden Knights come to town. Vegas ranks fourth in expected goal rate in the NHL this season and fires a hefty 32 SOG per game. The Knights’ top-line has been in fine form of late too as Max Pacioretty comes in with six points in his last four games, while Mark Stone has also broken out of his slump with two goals and four points in his last two starts.

The going only gets easier for this trio too as the Ducks may have improved a bit on special teams but still allow the second-most scoring chances. With Chandler Stephenson now centering this duo full-time at regular strength, and often on the PP1 too, stacking this big line from the Golden Knights is more palatable from a salary perspective, especially considering the upside they offer against a Ducks team that is taking a big step up in pay grade. Take the easy money on Stephenson here (who has four points in his last four games) to get access to both of Vegas’ big wingers in potentially the best matchup on the slate.


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Superstar to Target

Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks ($5,700)

Kaprizov may not be priced up like most studs but he’s performed well enough to be featured here, regardless. The Russian is quickly becoming the Wild’s most trusted forward and enters this game averaging 12.5 DKFP over his last 10 games, which is 1.8 DKFP higher than his current average. Kaprizov has only gotten more productive as the season has gone on and his recent minutes are now also tapping out in the 18-minute range most nights—which is one to two minutes higher than he was playing early in the season.

The numbers all add up to the fact that we should perhaps expect to see more big fantasy nights from Kaprizov down the stretch—as he tries to secure the Calder Trophy and get Minnesota into the playoffs—and we shouldn’t be coy about rostering him at this great price against a team like the Sharks, who allow the sixth-most SOG and fourth-most goals per game in the league. Kaprizov’s a fine mid-range target and the most reliable way to get exposure to the Wild offense here, who are in a great spot tonight.


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Value on Offense

Max Comtois, Anaheim Ducks vs. Vegas Golden Knights ($3,500)

Comtois continues to produce in spurts for the Ducks and right now is playing alongside one of their best offensive players in Rickard Rakell ($5,200). Comtois has come to life in this new assignment with three points in his last two games and is now available at his lowest DraftKings price point in over 10 games. The matchup isn’t ideal, but we only have a four-game slate here so the price drop should be the main focus. This is a good buy low spot as the winger would also make for a good contrarian stack candidate with his new linemate.

Craig Smith, Boston Bruins vs. New York Islanders ($3,800)

Smith has excelled for the Bruins of late in a top-6 role, as he’s been given the assignment of playing alongside Taylor Hall ($5,300) on the Bruins’ second-line. Smith comes into this game with four goals and eight points in his last four games and is clearly the main source of secondary scoring for the Bruins right now. This line produced well (two goals) against the Isles in the first matchup of this series and if you wanted to stack the entire line, adding in David Krejci ($4,200) here also makes sense. Smith’s been the most productive of the three and the best value target if you need a one-off.


Stud Goalies

Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks

Cam Talbot ($8,000) or Kaapo Kahkonen ($8,000)

The Wild have yet to confirm a goalie and tend to rotate a lot between their top two netminders, so featuring both is likely the safest play here. The Wild come into this game with the Sharks as -190 favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook, putting whoever starts in a good spot to pick up the DraftKings save bonus. Talbot has been the more dominant of the two of late and comes into this game with a .932 save percentage, while Kahkonen would be a bit more risky considering he’s coming in off his worst game of the year, a 9-1 loss to St. Louis. Still, the rookie has been solid for Minnesota all season and has averaged 15.1 DKFP over his last 10 games. The matchup here is a great one as the Sharks carry the sixth-worst power-play in the league and have scored just three goals in their last three games. Minnesota allows about 31 SOG per game so the upside here is decent for big save volume as well. It’s a good spot and solid price to pay for either goalie.


Value on Defense

Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks ($4,400)

As you can tell, I like targeting the Wild here and Spurgeon is another good play to target if you want to give yourself more exposure to the Minnesota offense. The Wild’s captain is still leading the team’s PP1 on the point and is available here at his second-lowest price tag in the last seven games. With him averaging 11.2 DKFP over his last 10 games, this price looks out of whack, especially considering the opponent in the Sharks, who (as mentioned above) give up plenty of shots and don’t have great goaltending. Spurgeon’s a great upside play on defense and a good part of any Wild power-play stack.

Mike Reilly, Boston Bruins vs. New York Islanders ($3,300)

Reilly has integrated quickly for the Bruins since coming over in a trade from Ottawa. The defenseman has played over 22 minutes per game in his first two games with Boston and is even slotting in on their PP1 at times. He doesn’t have to do much to pay off his price, but he has averaged over 10.0 DKFP in his first two games with Boston—and is averaging 4.0 SOG in those two games as well. Despite the poor matchup with the Isles, Reilly’s ridiculously low price tag isn’t taking into account his new role, making him a great value play here.


Power-Play Defensemen

Editor’s note: Tonight’s game between the Avalanche and Kings has been postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche vs. Los Angeles Kings ($5,700)

Makar makes sense as a defensive target tonight, especially given the gap in price between him and the other top defensemen on the slate. While he may play slightly less than other top defensemen, Makar is also on the most prolific offense in hockey right now, a team that leads the league in goals per game, despite ranking just eighth in power-play efficiency. For his part, Makar now has nine points in his last eight games and is still getting a little unlucky when he’s shooting the puck, as his season-long shooting percentage is about 2.5% below his career average. He’s a good positive regression candidate in the goal department and can be targeted at a solid price here against a weaker opponent like the Kings.

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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.