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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for April 29

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

Edmonton Oilers v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

Thursday features a 10-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

New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders under 5.5 goals (-127)

The Islanders feature two hot goalies right now with Semyon Varlamov coming in having stopped 53 of his last 54 SOG and Ilya Sorokin having allowed a goal or less in two of his last three starts. 10 of the Islanders’ last 12 games have featured five goals or less, while Rangers games have also seen five or less goals scored in seven of their last 11 outings. Both these teams are playing good defense, and getting good goaltending, making the under here a nice target.

Dallas Stars (+132) moneyline at Tampa Bay Lightning

While the Lightning come in as winners of three straight, those wins were over weaker teams like Chicago and Columbus. The Stars have played some good hockey of late and are up to 10th in expected goal rate, just a few spots behind Tampa in that regard. The Lightning have seen their goaltending regress a bit of late and are just 9-8 over their last 17 games, while the Stars come in at 6-2 over their last eight starts. The big odds on the Stars are worth taking advantage of.

Top Line Stack

New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Nico Hischier ($5,400) —Jesper Bratt ($4,900) — Pavel Zacha ($4,300)

The Devils and Flyers meet for the third game in a row tonight. The Devils have scored nine times in the first two games and cashed in on both of their power-play opportunities in game two. The Flyers have the second-worst penalty-kill in the league, which makes going back to this value trio of NJ attractive. Together, these three have already scored six points against Philly in the first two games of this series and accounted for both power-play goals in game two.

Nico Hischier is playing over 20 minutes a game for the Devils, while Jesper Bratt and Pavel Zacha are both averaging a healthy 2.6 SOG and have 17 points between them over their last 10 games. Philly has now allowed the second-most goals per game of any team in the league and this game is one of only two on the slate with a 6.5 O/U attached to it on DraftKings Sportsbook (the rest are all lower). This affordable trio has real upside here and makes for a good stacking target in this matchup.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $60K Lumber [$20K to 1st]

Superstar to Target

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames ($9,100)

Over his last five games, McDavid is averaging one point per period. The Edmonton center is having the highest point-per-game season since Mario Lemieux back in the 1990s and is also nearing in on the 100-point plateau (despite having played just 46 games thus far). In eight games against the Flames this season he’s now produced seven goals and eight assists and should enter this game hungry for a little revenge after Calgary embarrassed the Oilers in the last meeting between these teams, shutting them out 4-0.

At this point, whenever he’s not the most expensive player on the slate you can consider him a bargain, and the matchup with the Flames here—who are just outside of a playoff spot—should provide motivation, as the Oilers can also help ensure Calgary misses the postseason with a win. Fading McDavid isn’t a great idea right now.

Value on Offense

David Krejci, Boston Bruins vs. Buffalo Sabres ($4,400)

Krejci has finally come alive for the Bruins and heads into this game having scored nine points and averaging 10.6 DKFP over his last 10 starts. The center has clearly had his stock boosted by the addition of Taylor Hall ($5,800), who has given the Bruins’ second-line much better offensive potential and made them a good value target in DFS. The matchup here is obviously a great one against the Sabres too, who have allowed 4.5 goals per game over their last four starts. You can pair Krejci with Hall or use him on his own at this attractive mid-$4K price.

Sam Bennett, Florida Panthers at Chicago Blackhawks ($4,100)

Bennett finally cooled off in his last game...just kidding, he had three assists. The former Flame is now averaging 13.8 DKFP over his last 10 starts and has only managed less than 11 DKFP once in seven games with the Panthers. His salary has risen a bit here, but it’s still way too low, considering he is skating over 20 minutes a night and has one of the best matchups possible against a weak Blackhawks defense—who have allowed the most scoring chances in the league. Pairing him with line-mate Jonathan Huberdeau ($5,900)—who had five points in his last game—is a nice way to get access to some cheap and potential slate-breaking upside today.

Stud Goalies

Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames ($8,000)

Smith took a breather in the Oilers’ last game against the Jets but should get the start tonight against his old team in the Flames. The veteran goalie comes in with a .923 save percentage on the season and faces off against a Flames offense that ranks just 15th in power-play efficiency and 26th in goals per game. The Oilers have now won four of their last five games and also sit as solid -127 favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook right now. It’s a fine spot to pay up for Smith, who likely deserves more credit for the Oilers’ success in 2021 than he’s getting right now.

Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals ($7,800)

Jarry comes into this game with a solid .916 save percentage recently and is now 7-1-1 over his last 10 appearances as well. The Penguins’ goalie has allowed two or less goals in six of his last eight starts and faces off against a Capitals team here that is likely to be without Alex Ovechkin again. The Penguins sit as small favorites but this is a good bounce-back spot for Jarry against a depleted Caps team.

Value on Defense

Keith Yandle, Florida Panthers vs. Chicago Blackhawks ($3,500)

Yandle was mentioned as a potential value target here the last time the Panthers took the ice and he responded with six SOG and assist, producing great fantasy returns for his owners. The power-play specialist doesn’t see a ton of ice time but gets man advantage exposure and still averages right around 0.5 real-life points per game. His DraftKings price actually went down after his last successful outing and he has an even better matchup today against the Blackhawks, who have the fifth-worst penalty-kill in the league. Yandle makes for a great value play on his own, or as part of a Florida PP1 stack.

Power-Play Defensemen

Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames ($6,400)

Nurse enters this game averaging a healthy 3.4 SOG and 1.8 blocked shots over his last 10 games. He’s now second in goals scored among defensemen, and while he cedes some power-play time to Tyson Barrie ($6,000), the price difference among these two tonight has me leaning towards Nurse. The Flames have a decent penalty-kill, so targeting the even strength potential of Nurse, who racks up fantasy points in the non-points categories quicker than his teammate, makes sense here. He’ll give you good exposure to the Oilers’ offense and has one of the highest floor/ceiling combos among all players at his position.

Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks ($4,700)

Rielly and the Maple Leafs’ power-play finally got rolling in their last game as the Leafs managed to cash in one of their three chances last night against a solid defensive team in the Canadiens. Rielly has just five assists in his last 10 games and has only four goals on the season, but is available here at his lowest DraftKings price in over 10 starts and has a great matchup against the Canucks. Vancouver ranks just 18th in penalty-kill and has allowed the eighth-most scoring chances in the league this season. Paying down for Rielly is a good way to round out your D-core and get exposure to the Leafs’ potent offense.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $60K Lumber [$20K to 1st]

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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.