Saturday Night Special: NHL DFS Picks – December 30
Top Budget Plays
Sam Gagner $3500 – The center is a decent play at the least. However, playing against the Los Angeles team with the best penalty kill is not the most optimal on the surface. At the same time, Gagner has points in four straight and five of his last six games. It is sometimes tough to say “chase the points” but the forward is playing well. His shot output, six shots in the last five, is troubling for a floor. Points are needed to hit value.
Thomas Vanek $3600 – Keep in mind that riding the hot hand is okay (ten points in the previous four contests) on a short slate like this. This Saturday is highly unusual. Vanek has two huge games in the last four (10+ DraftKings points). Regression is an unkind beast and could come at any time, but the forward now has 28 points in 38 games so far. The production keeps rolling and the price is still low enough for now to take advantage. Also, Los Angeles may get drawn out of their shell a bit in this one.
Cody Ceci $3300 –There may be better plays like Jaccob Slavin even, but Ceci could be a nice punt play for a low price. His floor is high (shots and blocked shots combined). Risk always exists with value plays, but Boston attempts the sixth most shots on the road. It is a night where taking advantage of match-ups is vital. One of these floor type of plays is bound to fare well. Keep in mind of back to back fatigue as well when deciding on value defensemen.
James Reimer $7300 – This is a dangerous GPP play but this is an Florida team that allows lots of shots on net (more than 34 per 60 overall). The goalie has been excellent since Roberto Luongo went down to injury. Reimer has four straight wins allowing just six goals in that span on 141 shots faced (yes over 35 a game). Montreal can easily generate over 30 shots and has a higher expected goals for combined with high scoring chance output. This is a high event game where getting the goalie right is great for GPP success.
Since we saved some money on the budget plays let’s look at the few of the pricey options that are worth paying up for today.
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Vincent Trocheck $6900 – People will run to this as it will be a chalky play that still has to be used in quite a few lineups. The center has a solid matchup against a Montreal team that is not playing well (also has allowed the third-most DFS points to center in the league). Trocheck has struggled a bit of late but he is still near a point a game. Trocheck has a very high projection on Saturday – higher than most centers except maybe Brayden Schenn. The key with the Florida forward is simple. He has to get off to a quick start early. If the center does, it could be a big night.
Alex Ovechkin $8100 – New Jersey yields nearly 3.1 goals per game on the road and has had some real stinkers in the past against Washington. They also are on their third game in four nights. Some fatigue will set in. Ovechkin is the extreme chalk play on the night, but so many will be on him. There are other ways to pivot but Ovechkin comes off a game where he scored and had tons of good looks. He is still in the top 15 in expected goals for. If there is doubt, pivot to Taylor Hall or even Filip Forsberg.
Alex Pietrangelo $6900 – Again this could be heavily owned, but Pietrangelo has moderate to high point potential on Saturday. Carolina may not allow the most chances in the league, but they do yield 3.15 goals per game on the road. Those numbers are closer to 3.5 per contest in the last ten road games. Pietrangelo’s floor has slowly crept up to pre-injury levels and St. Louis could have high ownership potential on Saturday night.
Jake Allen $8300 – There may be better choices, but this has potential to work well. Carolina is one of those teams that can generate lots of shots yet often does not score a ton. They are also on the back end of a back to back which should lead to a better chance of a win. Allen has had two quality starts in a row (allowing two goals or less with at or above league average save percentage). This is more of a cash play but would not be shocked to see it in a GP given Carolina’s shot projections of late (30++).
Chris Wassel has been playing DFS for the past several years and has played Fantasy Hockey for three decades. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisWasselDFS. We are targeting the six-game main slate to give readers more of a range on what to go on. Finally, please note that Saturday’s slate has several options. Thanks for reading and enjoy the slate daily fantasy hockey fans!
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