NHL DFS Picks Today: Our Bastion Bo Horvat (March 5)

There are nine games in the NHL tonight, but several teams are on the second game of a back-to-back including Florida, Columbus, Boston, Seattle, St. Louis, and Chicago. That means a lot of late news, so paying attention to the Discord for updated roster information will be paramount.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Lineup Decisions and More

NHL DFS Picks: Center

Bo Horvat (NYI vs. STL)

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FanDuel Salary

Brock Nelson has been on Horvat’s line for just four games now so while the sample isn’t very big, the top Islanders trio has scored three times in fewer than 52 minutes together. The offense has certainly been there, as we might expect with three talented players. Horvat has registered 70 shots on goal over his last 20 games, or 3.5 shots per game, while skating nearly 21:30 per night. He has six DraftKings shot bonuses in that span so while the production hasn’t been high-end with seven goals and six assists in those 20 appearances, it isn’t for lack of chances.

On the season, Horvat is averaging 9.3 shots per 60 minutes, which is a career-high and an 84th percentile mark league-wide. That he’s still so involved offensively is key here, as is facing a St. Louis team that is playing its second road game in as many nights. Horvat’s line is also not exclusively used against opposing top lines, so they’ll get some depth matchups against poor defensive lines from the Blues.  

Fantasy point projections have Horvat second among all DK centers priced under $7,000 and fifth for those on FD priced under $8,000. The matchup is good, as is the value, and he and his line mates are all tournament targets tonight.

Wyatt Johnston (DAL vs. SJ)

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Johnston has been a significant part of Dallas’s offense for a while now as he leads the team in points (19) and shots (67) over their last 21 contests, or roughly one-quarter of the season. The call-up of rookie Logan Stankoven has been a boon for Johnston as Dallas is outshooting the opposition 44-23 in their 58 minutes together at 5-on-5, scoring four times. Those are exceptional offensive numbers in a limited sample, and Johnston has four points and 17 shots in the five games together to show for it.

The matchup with San Jose is the big appeal for tonight. The last eight weeks have seen the Sharks rank dead last by expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5 (and 10% worse than the next-closest team) while landing 28th by actual goals against/60. Things have been even worse since the All-Star break, so this isn’t a team improving as the season is progressing.  

Of all pivots priced lower than $6,000 on DK and $7,000 on FD, Johnston ranks third and fourth, respectively, by fantasy point projection. His ownership projections are under 6% and 3%, respectively, so there is solid value without high ownership rates on the young center tonight.

NHL DFS Picks: Winger

Zach Hyman (EDM at BOS)

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Edmonton has stacked their top line with Hyman, Connor McDavid, and Leon Draisaitl and that trio has been tremendous offensively: 39.6 shots/60, 3.9 expected goals/60, and 5.4 goals/60 at 5-on-5 with them on the ice together. They were reunited five games ago and those five games have seen Hyman score seven goals on 21 shots. In the 46 games under coach Kris Knoblauch, Hyman leads the team in both goals with 35 (10 more than the next-closest player) and shots with 175 (16 more than the next-closest player).

The Oilers are facing the Boston Bruins and Boston played last night in Toronto, giving Edmonton a rest advantage. The Bruins have not been the elite defensive team they usually are as they rank 19th by expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5 in calendar 2024, and 10th by actual goals against/60. These two teams just played a couple of weeks ago and Edmonton scored five times in a 6-5 overtime loss. Hyman’s top line is more than good enough to produce against a non-elite defensive team.

High prices are keeping Hyman’s point-per-dollar values low, but it’s also depressing his ownership. The winger is projected under 1% on both sites and considering his elite line and high-end production, he warrants consideration in tournament formats.

Lawson Crouse (ARI vs. CHI)

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FanDuel Salary

Staying with wingers facing teams that are playing their second game in as many nights, Crouse’s Coyotes are facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who lost 5-0 yesterday in Colorado. Over the last eight weeks, Chicago has given up the third-most expected goals/60 and second-most actual goals/60 at 5-on-5. The saving grace for Chicago is that their penalty kill has given up the third-fewest goals against/60 in that span, but Crouse doesn’t skate on Arizona’s top power play unit, so it doesn’t affect his upside as much as it might some other Coyotes forwards.

Crouse has hit a bit of a cold spell with just one goal in 13 games since the All-Star break, but it isn’t as if he’s disappeared offensively with 2.8 shots per game in that time. In fact, he leads the Coyotes forwards in shots/60 minutes in that span with his line outshooting the opposition 72-58.

Chicago started goalie Petr Mrazek last night, so he won’t start this one, and the team is allowing 28.5% more goals per 60 minutes without him in net.

Among wingers priced under $5,000 on DK and $6,000 on FD, Crouse ranks fifth by fantasy point projections with point-per-$1,000 values approaching 2.1 and 2.4 on the two sites. He is a good value in a great matchup so he should be given some attention from DFS players in tournaments.  

Jack Roslovic (CBJ at PIT)

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While Columbus is a team that is playing their second game in as many nights, Roslovic’s inclusion is necessary because of the play of his line. His trio with Johnny Gaudreau and Boone Jenner has been outstanding offensively, creating 3.5 expected goals/60 and 4.9 actual goals/60 at 5-on-5. In 10 games since re-joining the top line, Roslovic has 10 points with 36 shots on goal. Like Crouse, he doesn’t earn top power play time, but Pittsburgh has given up just 13 power play goals against in their last 24 games, so the penalty kill has been solid for the Penguins. It puts more focus on the 5-on-5 play, and that’s where Roslovic, and his line mates, have thrived.

A big part of Roslovic’s upside has been all the additional ice time with his improved line mates. He has skated at least 16 minutes in all 10 recent games and averaged 18:35 overall. That is a huge jump from the 15:33 per game he earned up until this recent stretch, so he’s making use of his rise in usage. That is good news when facing a Penguins team whose expected goals against/60 and actual goals against/60 over the last eight weeks are in the bottom-half of the league.

Roslovic’s projection on DK ranks fifth of the wingers priced under $4,000 so there’s good value for a very cheap price. At that low cost, he can be used as a one-off or part of a tournament Columbus stack.

This winger is listed as a center on FD, so DFS players on that site looking for a cheap winger should consider Valtteri Puustinen (PIT, $3,700) who grades as a tremendous value.

NHL DFS Picks: Defender

Roman Josi (NSH vs. MON)

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Josi is at home to Montreal, a franchise that is taking 3.9 minor penalties per game over the last eight weeks, sixth-most in the league and fourth-most of the 18 teams playing tonight. The road side is also in the bottom-10 of the league by both shots against/60 and goals against/60 while short-handed, so they are undisciplined while struggling to kill off the plethora of penalties they take. Josi is tied for fifth in the league for power play points from a defenseman (24) and has averaged 3.2 shots and 1.7 blocks per game. That has led to 10 DK shot bonuses and 14 DK block bonuses on the season, so there is across-the-board upside with this blue liner.

As expected, Josi leads the way for point projection among rearguards tonight; he is the most expensive defenseman for a reason. He will be one of the highest owned players at his position, so tournament players have a decision to make, but he is an option in all formats.

Luke Hughes (NJ vs. FLA)

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FanDuel Salary

New Jersey fired their coach yesterday, so what kind of performance they give their new bench boss will be interesting to see. Regardless, the Devils face an excellent Florida team, but a Florida team that is playing their second game in as many nights.

The reason for Hughes’s inclusion is the power play matchup. Over the last eight weeks, Florida is taking the most minor penalties per game (5.0) in the league, and no other franchise is above 4.5, so they’re in their own tier of undisciplined play. The New Jersey power play has seen a downturn, but a lot of it is percentage-related as the top unit is shooting under 10% since the All-Star break. That number was closer to 16% before the Jack Hughes injury, and they should get plenty of cracks at improving tonight. Jack’s brother Luke has received over half (16) of his points (31) this season on the man advantage.

A lack of peripheral production keeps Hughes’s projections low compared to others in his price range, but there is a lot of upside for him if the New Jersey power play gets back on track. He will have minimal ownership which makes him a tournament target.

NHL DFS Picks: Goalie

Jet Greaves (CLS at PIT)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Columbus being on a back-to-back does Greaves no favors here, but this isn’t a difficult matchup for him in that circumstance. Pittsburgh is without top wingers Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust due to injury and those two players are second and third on the team in goals this season (despite missing 26 games between them).

One big weakness for Columbus had been the penalty kill as they have allowed 17 power play goals against in their last 20 contests, the second-most goals against/60 of any franchise. That isn’t a big concern tonight as Pittsburgh has just 10 power play goals in their last 20 games and are without those top scorers. Greaves could face a lot of volume tonight, but not much on the penalty kill, and that’s a big deal for DFS.  

The Stokastic GoalieStats section have Greaves with the second-highest save total tonight, but the second-highest expected goals against total. That is the dichotomy of playing ultra-cheap goalies, but given all of Pittsburgh’s issues, he should be given consideration by DFS players looking to save a lot of salary in goal.

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NHL DFS Top Stacks Today

NSH1: Filip Forsberg – Ryan O’Reilly – Gustav Nyquist

As mentioned in the section on Josi, this is a tremendous power play matchup for Nashville, and this trio all skate on the top power play unit together. They have also just been very good together offensively at 5-on-5, creating 3.0 expected goals/60 and 3.6 actual goals/60. While their opponent has been better defensively since returning from the All-Star break, Montreal is still well outside the top-10 teams by expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5. This Nashville unit is in a positive matchup at all strengths, and it bodes well for their upside tonight.

Of the top-5 lines by top-2 stack probability on the Stokastic Top Stacks tool, NSH1 is the cheapest on DK and second-cheapest on FD. It is pushing ownership their way, but the expected ownership rates aren’t extreme, so they are options for a mid-priced stack in tournaments on this slate.   

FLA3: Evan Rodrigues – Anton Lundell – Eetu Luostarainen

Florida is on a back-to-back, but it isn’t as if they have an overly difficult matchup. The last eight weeks have seen New Jersey rank 29th in the league by expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5 and are still 22nd when looking just since the All-Star break. Poor goaltending has sunk this Devils roster, but it’s not as if their defensive play has been good, either.

This Florida trio has been very good at 5-on-5 since being assembled, creating 3.1 expected goals/60 and 3.0 actual goals/60 in nearly 125 minutes together. They will avoid the Nico Hischier/Jesper Bratt matchup and since the All-Star break, New Jersey is giving up 37% more expected goals against with them off the ice. That is very good news for Florida’s third scoring line, a filler line that is in play with all the high-priced lines on the board.

With an ultra-expensive Edmonton stack on the board, very cheap filler lines are going to be required. Of all the lines in this price range, FLA3 has lower ownership than a lot of options from teams like Nashville, San Jose, and Pittsburgh. For DFS players looking for a very low-cost filler stack, this Florida trio is one to consider.

*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick

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Michael has been writing about fantasy hockey for over a decade, and has been playing Daily Fantasy for just as long. He has contributed to both the Chicago Tribune and the Boston Herald, has worked for Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and is now in his fifth season with Stokastic. He lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, and can be reached on Twitter @SlimCliffy.

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