Thank you Punxsutawney Phil for not seeing your shadow last week; I’m so ready for some warmer weather. As many of us are increasing our lifespan daily due to our organs being constantly refrigerated in this putrid cold weather (that’s how life works, right?), Daily Fantasy Sports wins and beer will keep us feeling warm and fuzzy in the meantime. Eight of the 14 games on Saturday begin in the afternoon, which means we only have a small, six-game main slate to examine today. Both of the NHL’s top point scorers will be in action Saturday night. Nobody but Connor McDavid himself would claim that he doesn’t care about passing Nikita Kucherov and claiming the spot atop of the point leaders standings, a position that McDavid has owned over the previous two seasons. It truly is incredible how consistent Connor McDavid can be points-wise, regardless of how things are going for the Oilers from both a team and organizational standpoint. Now, let’s take a look at some players who have been red hot as of late and can be used in your lineups tonight.
C – Evgeny Kuznetsov (DK $6,000, FD $7,300)
Out of all the NHL centermen playing on Saturday, Evgeny Kuznetsov is the leader in average fantasy points per game on both DraftKings and FanDuel over the last two weeks. Kuznetsov has ten points over his last six games and five points in his last two. After being bloodied by Ian Cole in the third period against the Avalanche on Thursday, Kuznetsov ended the game with a beautiful five-hole move on Varlamov to cap his three-point night. The ex-KHLer received praise from his head coach after the game. "His speed seems re-energized, refocused, and he's been a major factor in these games," Reirden said. "When he's playing like that, he's a huge asset to our team.” The Florida Panthers will do anything in their power to stop Kuznetsov and his bird celebration Saturday night.
W – Jonathan Drouin (DK $4,900, FD $6,300)
No forward in the NHL has had a better past two weeks than Jonathan Drouin on DraftKings and FanDuel in terms of average fantasy points per game. Drouin has 11 points in his last six games, and he has nine points in just his last three games. In his most recent outing, he racked up two goals and two assists for a four-point night—this was Drouin’s first four-point game of his career (he’s had six, three-point games). The Bolts first rounder has been playing alongside Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher for his current hot-streak. This line has not only been fantastic offensively during this campaign, but great defensively as well. Not including neutral zone faceoffs, the trio has taken 67% of their faceoffs in the defensive zone while only starting in the offensive zone 33% of the time. This is proof that head coach Claude Julien trusts them in the d-zone. Regardless of Julien’s tendency to throw Drouin’s line out to take defensive-zone faceoffs, Drouin is still more than capable of putting up good offensive numbers. Drouin will look to build upon his three points per game over his last three when the Habs host the Leafs on Saturday.
W – Joe Pavelski (DK $6,200, FD $7,500)
Taking into consideration all of the players who are in Saturday’s main slate, Joe Pavelski is a top five winger in average fantasy points per game over the last two weeks on both of the major DFS sites. Pavelski has eight points in his last five games, which includes three goals in his last four. He’s been a strong contributor in many fantasy categories during his recent run, with no game emphasizing this fact more than his performance in Washington just five games ago (1G, 3A, 3SOG, 3BLK, 25:16 TOI). The former seventh-round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks is having one of his best seasons ever in the NHL. He is currently on pace to score 43 goals this season, a number that would eclipse his career-high (41). The Big Pavelski will be up against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, a team that his given up the third-most goals in the entire NHL over the last three weeks. Pavelski and the Sharks will hope to witness five straight wins for the squad as well as another jersey toss at Rogers Place Saturday night.
D – Darnell Nurse (DK $5,300, FD $5,500)
Darnell Nurse is a top five defensemen in average fantasy points production over the past two weeks on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Nurse scored with a laser beam on the first shot of the Oilers/Wild game on Thursday evening, extending his rewarding play another game further. Nurse now has four points in his last three games. A lot of the big man’s fantasy points have come in other categories, however. Under 34 games of Kenneth S. Hitchcock, Nurse has more shots on target than every Oilers player not named McDavid. Nurse has also blocked more shots than anyone else on the Oilers in this same time period. With Oscar Klefbom back in the Oilers’ lineup, Nurse’s ridiculously high TOI totals (he played two games with over 31 minutes under Hitchcock) are no longer. However, Nurse has still been manning the Oilers top power-play unit in the two games since Klefbom’s resurrection. Assuming Nurse will still be getting power play time with Connor McDavid, Nurse will be in play on Saturday against the frequent shooting San Jose Sharks.
D – T.J. Brodie (DK $4,000, FD $4,800)
T.J. Brodie ranks number five among all defensemen playing on Saturday night when we examine average fantasy points per game on both DraftKings and FanDuel over the last two weeks. After registering two points against the Sharks on Thursday, Brodie now has six points in his last four games, nine points in his last six, and 13 in his last ten. Brodie must have made some hockey-related New Year’s Resolutions, as he has 1.07 points per game in 2019 compared to his 0.35 points per game for the 2018 part of the 2018-19 NHL season. The year 2019 has also seen Bill Peters use Brodie on the power play a lot more than in 2018; Brodie was seeing only 0:35 of power play minutes per game in 2018 and now he is receiving over double that amount in 2019. Now in the last two weeks, Brodie has been on the ice for 3:01 power-play minutes per game. Brodie and the Flames will attempt to beat the Canucks on Saturday night and remain in second place in the overall National Hockey League standings.
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