NHL DFS Picks: Yahoo Plays and Lineup Strategy for Saturday, February 25
We have hit the final Saturday of February, and there is plenty of hockey to enjoy. That includes eight NHL games this evening starting at 7 p.m. EST or later. You have a lot of options for your DFS lineups, but to try and make things simpler, here are some players to target, and to avoid, for your assorted rosters.
Vitek Vanecek, NJD vs. PHI ($36): A .913 save percentage isn't exactly revelatory, but Vanecek still has a 2.37 GAA because he has a stingy defense in front of him. He also has a great matchup Saturday. The Flyers are one of six teams that have separated themselves from the rest of the league, in a bad way, in terms of goals per game. Also, Philly is on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back for good measure.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Jake Oettinger, DAL at VGK ($39): These two teams are neck-and-neck in goals per game, 13th and 14th respectively. The Golden Knights are just ahead though, and they are the team at home. Honestly? Not a lot of dicey matchups for goalies typically employed in DFS on this slate. As such, I'd skip shelling out for Oettinger's salary.
Nico Hischier, NJD vs. PHI ($25): Jack Hughes is the rising star, but Hischier still centers the top line in part because he can actually play defense and win faceoffs, unlike his younger teammate. He still contributes offensively as well, notching 53 points in 57 outings. The Flyers, as I noted, are on the second leg of a back-to-back, and unproven rookie Samuel Ersson will likely be in net. He has a .913 save percentage, but he has also played in nine total NHL games.
CENTER TO AVOID
Elias Pettersson, VAN vs. BOS ($31): Pettersson is the cornerstone for the Canucks, but this matchup is just too tricky. The Bruins are lapping the league in GAA at 2.11, with the Stars in second at 2.57. Unsurprisingly, the Bruins also have the best penalty kill. Basically, steer clear of Boston.
Jake DeBrusk, BOS at VAN ($25): DeBrusk has a goal in three straight games since returning from injury, and he's put 15 shots on net as well. On the year, he has 12 power-play points. Time with the extra man is always nice against the Canucks, who have the worst penalty kill in the NHL and are almost locked into finishing in that spot.
Mikey Eyssimont, SAN vs. CHI ($17): Eyssimont has three goals, three assists, and most notably 37 shots on net over his last 10 games. He's now up on the top line with Timo Meier out, and he's somehow only shooting at a 4.8 percent rate on the season. Better lineup positioning? The practical inevitability of regression toward the mean? Those are both good reasons to bet on Eyssimont, especially against a Chicago team with a 3.58 GAA that allows 33.6 shots on net per contest.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jonathan Marchessault, VGK vs. DAL ($21): I suggested maybe not using Oettinger as your goalie for DFS, but I did also mention the Stars have the second-lowest GAA in the NHL, so this isn't exactly a great matchup for the Golden Knights either. Marchessault has been snakebit for a while, as he only has two goals in his last 16 games, and they came in the same outing.
Tyler Bertuzzi, DET vs. TAM ($16): Bertuzzi is also a candidate for regression toward the mean, due to his 5.7 percent shooting. What are the odds of him finding much luck against the Lightning though? Andrei Vasilevskiy is coming off a bad start, but still has a 2.60 GAA and .916 save percentage. In his career, the Russian goalie has a .919 save percentage.
Charlie McAvoy, BOS at VAN ($24): I can't only target Vancouver's woeful penalty kill once. McAvoy has averaged 2:48 per game with the extra man and has 16 power-play points. Not only that, but he is on a five-game point streak, and he didn't even need the man advantage to get there, so he's not just a power-play guy.
Noah Hanifin, CGY at COL ($17): Hanifin has a three-game point streak, giving him 28 points in 58 games, even on a mere 3.1 percent shooting. With Pavel Francouz out, the Avalanche have gotten a little cute recently. They have given Alexandar Georgiev a chance to start both games of a back-to-back. Will that happen Saturday? If it does, it will be to the benefit of Hanifin.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Quinn Hughes, VAN vs. BOS ($21): Hughes and the power play go hand-in-hand, as 27 of his 54 points have come with the extra man. Of course, the Bruins have the league's best penalty kill. There isn't a worse matchup for Hughes in the NHL.
Tony DeAngelo, PHI at NJD ($15): DeAngelo is on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back. The Devils have allowed only 28.4 shots on net per contest. New Jersey is at the fringes of the top 10 in penalty-kill percentage, and DeAngelo, like Hughes, is primarily a power-play weapon.