Daily Fantasy Hockey Picks for April 5

If you’re still reading my daily NHL picks after my last lineup—thank you. Many of the picks actually panned out, but two picks relegated us to daily fantasy despair: Joey MacDonald (-1.2 points) and Jarome Iginla (zero points).

A common daily fantasy strategy is to anchor your team with a stud goalie. If you have been reading my picks you know I tend to go the other way. Cheap goaltending. Cheap goaltending. Cheap goaltending. I fall asleep to that perhaps flawed mantra. It’s so engrained in how I make my picks it’s here to stay (for the most part). Just keep in mind I have a cheap goaltending sickness and it’s always a good idea to check the odds of the games and go with the favorite. But you should go even further than that. Check how many shots on net the opposing team is expected to get. Saves are worth points—the more shots on net the better.

So why do I take cheap goaltending? One, I believe goaltenders are overpriced on daily fantasy sites. Two, a stud goaltender who decides to crap the bed on any particular night destroys your chances at victory since all of your valuable cap space is soaked up in one position. More often than not I’ll take a Sidney Crosby at a premium price over a Tuukka Rask at a premium price.

Of course there are always exceptions—some matchups are simply to juicy to pass on. And after that long preamble—Antti Niemi at $8,300 against Calgary tonight is one of those juicy matchups. A cap hit of $8,300 is something I can handle … especially when Niemi gets Calgary at home. I’m not throwing my cheap goaltending mantra out the window. Far from it. I most likely will go with it again tomorrow.

Sometimes a matchup comes along that cannot be ignored. Tonight we cannot ignore Niemi.

Here’s how I’ll round out the rest of my FanDuel lineup:

Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz
Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz takes a shot on goal during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center Pittsburgh won 4 3 Mandatory Credit USA TODAY Sports

LW: Chris Kunitz $8,500—Kunitz has not scored a goal in three games. He had four shots on net during his last game against the Rangers and I believe he’s due to break out.

LW: Bobby Ryan $6,400—Ryan has three points and six shots on net over his past two games against Dallas. He gets Dallas again tonight and I expect the points to keep coming.

RW: Marian Gaborik $5,300—Gaborik is now in Columbus and already seems comfortable there. He had a goal, one assist and was a plus-1 in his first game with Columbus. I like him at $5,300.

RW: Daniel Winnik $4,400—This is biggest risk of the bunch. I’m taking Winnik tonight because he had a point and was a plus-2 the last time he faced Dallas.

C: Derek Stepan $6,500—I think Stepan will start creeping into the $7,000 range fairly soon. He has two goals and one assist over his past two games. Stepan is centering Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan and should see plenty of chances for points.

C: Joe Thornton $6,400—Thornton has two goals and four assits over his past four games. Calgary has been terrible on the road and Thornton could have a big night.

D: Brent Burns $5,300—Burns is almost a must start at D right now. He’s really a forward with D eligibility. He had two assists against Minnesota on Apr. 3 and I like his matchup against Calgary.

D: Jay Bouwmeester $3,700—Bouwmeester is now on the Blues’ top defensive pairing. He will get plenty of ice time and some power play time as well.

G: Antti Niemi $8,300—Niemi is probable but not confirmed. Check his status as we get closer to game time. UPDATE: My cheap goaltending skin is crawling now that Jake Allen is getting the start for STL. He comes in $5,700.

Here’s a secondary lineup with Allen as the goaltender:

Chris Kunitz
PIT v NYR (Pre-game)
Brenden Morrow
PIT v NYR (Pre-game)
Marian Gaborik
CLS @ STL (Pre-game)
Corey Perry
ANH v DAL (Pre-game)
Derek Stepan
NYR @ PIT (Pre-game)
Joe Thornton
SJ v CGY (Pre-game)
Brent Burns
SJ v CGY (Pre-game)
Niklas Kronwall
DET @ COL (Pre-game)
Jake Allen
STL v CLS (Pre-game)


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