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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for April 5

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

Monday’s NHL slate consists of seven games, and it’s one that has some interesting and unusual dynamics. The Oilers, Avalanche and Leafs are all on the road in average-to-bad matchups, and that could mean three of the NHL’s top stars all end up being somewhat contrarian. The Jets are in the best spot of the night at home vs. the Senators, and we may see Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon and Auston Matthews all wind up overlooked. All of the analysis on that and more can be found below as we prepare for the 7:00 p.m. ET start on DraftKings.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $50K Sticks [$10K to 1st]

Top Line Stacks

Winnipeg Jets

Mark Scheifele ($6,400) - Kyle Connor ($7,000) - Nikolaj Ehlers ($7,100)

The Jets’ top line is almost certainly going to be the highest owned of the night, and it’s perfectly justifiable given that they're facing the Senators at home. Ottawa has been able to limit their opponents to some degree of late, but they’re one of the worst teams in the NHL overall and onto their third and fourth-string goaltenders. The Jets also aren’t all that expensive, with prices that are only up slightly for the matchup and are mostly in line with where they’ve been all season.

Stars to Build Around

Connor McDavid ($9,000)

Nathan MacKinnon ($8,700)

Auston Matthews ($8,900)

For GPPs, it’s likely that at least one of these three players ends up being extremely low-owned, with all of them having inferior matchups to that of the Jets. The prices on McDavid, MacKinnon and Matthews are far from affordable, but all three of them are good enough — and play on good enough teams — to warrant strong consideration, especially in tournaments. Given the construction of the slate, with underpriced players on the Jets, Canadiens, Bruins and Knights, it’s just not very likely that these expensive stars wind up being overly popular.

Value on Offense

Craig Smith ($3,700)

The Bruins have been in a tailspin for the last several weeks. As of a couple of games ago, they decided to reshuffle their lines. Smith is one of the best depth forwards in the NHL, and he’s now skating on the first line with Patrice Bergeron ($7,400) and Brad Marchand ($7,300). Smith is simply too cheap for his new role, and while he’s going to garner significant ownership as a result, it seems warranted — especially considering the above-average matchup vs. the Flyers.

Cody Glass ($2,700)

Chandler Stephenson is out of the lineup due to suspension, and Glass is now a near-minimum-priced first-line center playing with two of the best wingers in the NHL. The Golden Knights have a mediocre matchup tonight in St. Louis, but Glass is one of the best values on the slate because of his new role.

Eric Staal ($2,500)

Staal was recently acquired by the Canadiens (from the Sabres) and will be making his Montreal debut Monday night. Staal is priced down to the salary floor due to the extended absence from the trade, and he’s arguably today’s best value play with this egregiously low cost. Staal is projected to skate on the second line and on the first power play unit, so the enhanced role and improved talent of his teammates make him a much better value than he was at any point this season with Buffalo.

Stud Goalies

Connor Hellebuyck ($8,400)

As mentioned above, the Jets are in a great spot vs. the Senators and the win-equity likely makes Hellebuyck the safest goaltending option on the slate. Hellebuyck has played extremely well in this recent stretch, allowing just eight total goals in his last six starts, and he’s coming off of a game in which he saved 37 of 38 shots vs. the Maple Leafs. There are never any sure things when it comes to goalies on a given night, and Hellebuyck does figure to be popular, but he’s probably the best bet of the day to be the highest-scoring net-minder.

Value on Defense

Drew Doughty ($4,900)

Monday’s slate marks the fourth consecutive price drop for Doughty, and it’s a bit perplexing considering how many minutes he’s been playing lately. Doughty is playing almost 28 minutes a night, and he’s coming off an 18.7-DKFP game. But, he hasn’t been finding the scoresheet much, so that could explain why he’s gotten cheaper. Doughty is registering plenty of shots and blocks with all those minutes, however, and he has the potential for a ton of upside once he does manage to score.

Jonas Brodin ($3,700)

Brodin has probably been the steadiest defenseman for the Wild this season, and he routinely has a high floor due to his large minutes share. For tonight’s game, Brodin is actually priced down from his normal $4-4.5K range to below $4K, and it coincides with him reportedly getting PP1 time at morning skate. If Brodin actually does quarterback the first power play unit, it would easily make him the strongest value play of any defenseman on the slate.

Set your DraftKings fantasy hockey lineups here: NHL $50K Sticks [$10K to 1st]

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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.