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Fantasy picks: Thomas Greiss deserves starting job

Islanders goalie among Jan. 6 DFS targets on road against Avalanche

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

Each day this season, NHL.com's fantasy staff will provide daily picks for DraftKings NHL contests. This lineup has been constructed with expensive and value picks and should be used as a basis for your roster decision-making.

 

C - Ryan Kesler, ANA ($7,100)

Kesler's points-per-game average (0.85) is the third-best of his NHL career; he averaged 0.91 in 2009-10 and 0.89 in 2010-11, with at least 73 points in each. His performance severely declined in recent seasons as a result of multiple injuries, but he's returned to his elite form for the Anaheim Ducks. He's been dominant at home this season with 19 points (seven on power play), 55 shots on goal and 13 blocks in 18 games for an average of 4.6 DraftKings points per game. It's worth spending up for Kesler, who has played at least 20 minutes in 14 straight games and is among the best shot-blocking forwards (37, T-7th), against a favorable opponent, the Arizona Coyotes.

 

C - Bo Horvat, VAN ($5,000)

Horvat leads the Vancouver Canucks in home goals (10 in 22 games) and has 10 points in his past 10 games. He has a goal in back-to-back games and a point in five straight for Vancouver, which has won five straight and is creeping back into Stanley Cup Playoff contention. Horvat and linemate Sven Baertschi ($4,900) are a low-priced stack with high upside against the Calgary Flames.

Video: ARI@VAN: Horvat scores slick goal, grants fan's wish

 

W - Taylor Hall, NJD ($6,400)

It's been an up-and-down season for Hall and the New Jersey Devils, but his home consistency is worth your DFS investment. Hall has 17 points, five on the power play, and 35 SOG in 13 home games, including a point in each of his past three. Hall, who plays the Toronto Maple Leafs, is averaging almost the same DraftKings points per game (3.7) as Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks (3.8) yet is $1,400 cheaper.

 

W - Filip Forsberg, NSH ($5,500)

Forsberg has nine goals on 100 SOG in 38 games but has been scoring more often lately with seven goals in his past 11 games. The Nashville Predators have shuffled their lineup frequently, with Forsberg most recently flanking Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson. Forsberg has 44 SOG in his past 13 games, and has five points in his past four road games. The Predators visit the Florida Panthers on Friday in the second leg of a back-to-back set.

Video: NSH@TBL: Forsberg snipes one past Vasilevskiy in 2nd

 

W - Matthew Tkachuk, CGY ($4,800)

Here are the top four NHL rookies in points per 60 minutes (minimum 30 games): Auston Matthews (3.09), Patrik Laine (2.88), Mitchell Marner (2.77) and Tkachuk (2.70). The Flames forward has 11 points in his past 10 games, including a seven-game point streak. He has one goal, two blocks and seven SOG in two games against the Canucks, and has a more respectable shot total on the road (41 SOG in 19 games) compared to at home (21 in 17). The line of Tkachuk, Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik has provided the secondary scoring necessary to get the Flames back into the postseason race.

 

D - Aaron Ekblad, FLA ($4,700)

Even with Ekblad in the midst of a miserable offensive season for the Panthers, his shot volume makes him a safe bet Friday against the Predators. He's second League-wide in SOG since Dec. 1 (63 in 16 games) behind Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins (65 in 18) and has an absurdly low shooting percentage (1.6; one goal) in the span. He's averaging 3:01 per game on the power play in that stretch, so he should eventually see better scoring fortunes.

Video: FLA@NYR: Ekblad scores off a Rangers defender

 

D - Jaccob Slavin, CAR ($4,200)

Defenseman Justin Faulk is back for the Carolina Hurricanes, meaning Slavin will have some of the pressure taken off his shoulders. Slavin has seen a scoring uptick in the past month, with eight assists (three power-play points) and 23 SOG in his past 14 games. Slavin is among the NHL leaders in blocked shots (79) and remains affordable in DFS. The Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks play on short rest after each won Thursday.

 

G - Thomas Greiss, NYI ($7,500)

Greiss finally has the crease to himself for the New York Islanders after Jaroslav Halak cleared waivers and was assigned to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. That ended a two-season saga when Greiss outperformed Halak yet was competing for starts when each was healthy. After a .925 save percentage in 41 games last season, Greiss is nearly up to par at .923 through 15 games. He is 7-2-0 in his past nine with a .929 SV%, and the Colorado Avalanche are the NHL's worst home team (4-13-1) and allow the third-most DraftKings points to opposing goalies. Expect Greiss and the Islanders to take care of business after their five-day break.

Video: NYI@BOS: Greiss stops Krejci's wrister from in close

 

UTIL - Brock Nelson, NYI ($4,800)

Nelson is centering the Islanders' second line with Ryan Strome and Shane Prince and has been productive on the road with 11 points in 14 games. He has back-to-back multipoint road games against the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets, and is one of three Islanders secondary scorers priced at $4,800 (Josh Bailey, Anders Lee). Each is a strong DFS option, but Nelson should be your pick with a chance to exploit an Avalanche defense that is allowing the most DraftKings points to opposing centers.

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