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Fantasy Hockey Picks: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Targets, Goalies, Values for August 20

Geoff Ulrich gets you ready for Thursday’s fantasy hockey main DraftKings slate with his top line stacks, value plays and goalie options.

With a couple of series coming to early ends, we only have a small two-game slate to dissect tonight. The Capitals saved their season in Game 4 of their series with the Islanders, coming back from a two-goal deficit to win Game 4. They’ll face elimination again tonight, however. Niklas Backstrom ($5,100) will be the big name to watch in terms of injury as he’s back skating after suffering a concussion early in the series but is a game-time decision for Game 5.

Dallas took a 3-2 series lead in their last game against Calgary and can also close out the series here. The big name to watch will be Matthew Tkachuk ($5,900) who hasn’t played since game two of the series and is questionable again today. Tobias Rieder ($2,900) has been playing in the top-6 in his absence.

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NHL $35K Quest for the Cup [$10K to 1st]

Top Line Stacks


Mathew Barzal ($6,800) – Jordan Eberle ($5,700) – Anders Lee ($6,200)

The Capitals haven’t had much answer for the Islanders’ top-line in this series. The trio has combined for 11 points in four games now, six of which have been goals. They’ve also collected a combined 19 SOG and at least one of them should have a shot at the DraftKings bonus today in that regard. This production has also all come despite the Capitals being stout on the penalty-kill where they currently rank as the best unit in that regard since the restart of all the remaining teams. Unfortunately, that stat also speaks to how poorly the Capitals’ goalie, Braden Holtby ($7,500), has been in this series and how much potential this Islander line would have if they ever got going with the man-advantage.

On a two-game slate and coming into a pivotal game five, the Islanders’ top line stands out as one of the higher-end trios for correlation purposes. They should also be in a spot today to see plenty of opportunities as New York surely wants to do everything they can to stop this series from going to six games and giving the Capitals any life.

Superstar to Target

Tyler Seguin ($6,400), DAL at CAL

Seguin remains goalless in the series with Calgary, but he’s still managed to come alive offensively of late. The former second-overall pick now has three assists in his last two games and has gained points on both the power-play and short-handed. He’s also attempted four or more SOG in three of his last four games and seems destined to find the back of the net soon if he keeps up that kind of aggressiveness. This game has the same puck total as WAS-NYI (set at O/U 5 on DraftKings Sportsbook) but two of the last four games in this series have seen 9-goals scored with both goalies appearing shaky at times. Seguin could also approach a series high in minutes here given that the Stars can move on with a win today. Given the better potential for offense that seems to exist in this game, Seguin’s $6.4K salary makes him a pretty attractive target and one of the best pay-up forwards on what is, admittedly, looking like a very low scoring slate.

Value on Offense

Sam Bennett ($3,800), CAL vs. DAL

Bennett’s been mostly a disappointment since being chosen fourth-overall, just behind Leon Draisaitl, in the 2014 draft. The forward has really come alive in these playoffs though and now recorded five or more SOG in three of his last four games. The aggressiveness has paid off in the offensive end too, as he has three goals in the series and exploded for two goals and three points in game four, two of which came on the power-play. The last point is what really makes Bennett an attractive figure at under $4K as his good play has rewarded him with a spot on the Flames’ PP1. Bennett’s now playing more minutes alongside Johnny Gaudreau ($6,300) and Sean Monahan ($5,400) on special teams, which makes him a great stacking target as well. He’s solid value at this price and gives you more exposure to the Flames-Stars game, the more explosive series of the two we have available to us today.

Stud Goalies

Semyon Varlamov ($7,900), NYI at WAS

Both of the series today are close in odds with the Islanders currently set as small -106 underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook as of writing. Varlamov got beaten on a couple of wicked Alex Ovechkin ($8,500) shots in game four, but other than that short stretch, has been brilliant since the restart and is a key component as to why the Islanders are up 3-1 in the series. This is a slate devoid of big upside in net tonight and while you could take a shot with either Cam Talbot ($7,300) or Anton Khudobin ($8,100) in the other series, where both goalies have alternated between good games and busts, Varlamov’s steadiness looks fairly priced here at just under $8K. From a narrative perspective, he should be eager to make up for last game’s mistakes with his performance today and even a slight increase in SOG by the Caps here could finally push him to a monster game. He’s a nice pay-up target in net for today’s two-gamer.

Value on Defense

Jamie Oleksiak ($3,200), DAL vs. CAL

Oleksiak is playing in the top-4 on defense for Dallas at the moment, and as a result, is playing solid minutes every night. Oleksiak is averaging well over 22 minutes per game in the series with the Flames and has attempted 13-SOG now in his last four games, a total which makes his $3.2K salary seem extremely attractive on his own. While he’s not seeing any power-play time and should never be confused for an offensive defenseman, Oleksiak has shown a propensity for blocking shots when he’s gotten an increase in ice-time. He’s now averaging 1.3 blocked shots per game in his last 10 starts and has hit the blocked shot bonus twice in his last eight starts. It’s a pretty barren value pool to pick from on defense today but with the Stars giving more minutes to their top-two defense pairings of late, Oleksiak has solid value at this price tag in DFS at the moment.

Power-Play Defensemen

John Klingberg ($5,400), DAL vs. CAL

Klingberg took a backseat to Miro Heiskanen ($5,700) at the start of these playoffs, but has recently come alive and provided the Stars with an offensive spark they desperately needed. The power-play specialist now has six points and 16 SOG in his last four games and has been a thorn in the side of the Flames, who are now allowing over 33 SOG per game since the restart. As mentioned above, all of the Stars’ top-4 defensemen are playing big minutes right now and it’s no shock that Klingberg’s rise in production has come via a rise in playing time too as he’s averaging over a minute more per ice in this series than he did in the regular season. For a two-game slate, there’s still plenty of top-end defensemen to choose from today, but Klingberg certainly seems to offer some of the best value at well under $6K considering his recent production. He’d be an essential part of any Dallas PP1 stack as well.

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NHL $35K Quest for the Cup [$10K to 1st]

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