Fantasy Corner: Central Division First Round DFS Sleepers

Five of the eight playoff teams in the Western Conference come from the Central Division, and those teams offer plenty of options for daily fantasy rosters going forward. There are some high-flying teams coming out of the Central, but some of the well-known stars come with high salaries. This betting guide delivers a few options that should be a little less pricey but should still deliver a punch in the first round of the playoffs.

Center: Matt Duchene, Nashville Predators

Matt Duchene might not be the least expensive option in the first round, but he’ll be worth it. The veteran center for the Nashville Predators also has the potential to be one of the top-performing forwards in the first round, and that’s saying a lot, considering the Predators are going up against Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche. The bulk of Duchene’s 13-year career was spent in Colorado, but he’s given his former team fits since leaving.

Matt Duchene Nashville Predators
Matt Duchene, Nashville Predators (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Duchene has torched the Avalanche since leaving Denver in a three-team trade back in 2017. He has nine goals and one assist in nine career games against Colorado, and a lot of that damage has come this season. In Duchene’s three games against the Avalanche this season, he has scored four goals. After a career-high 43 goals this campaign, Duchene isn’t flying under the radar, but he might prove to be the most valuable option in this series.

Wing: Artturi Lehkonen, Colorado Avalanche

It took a little bit for Artturi Lehkonen to find his footing with the Colorado Avalanche after coming over on a deadline-day trade from the Montreal Canadiens. The 26-year-old winger found his stride at the end of the season. Lehkonen scored four goals over the final seven games for the Avalanche, including one against first-round opponent Nashville on April 28. He has two goals and an assist in three games against Nashville this season.

Lehkonen isn’t the flashiest name on the Avalanche roster, but he also won’t be the most expensive DFS play when trying to fill out your lineup. He plays solid minutes and has seen time on the power play, even with the Avs getting healthier. Expect him to deliver some much-needed depth scoring for Colorado, and he’ll do it in the first round against a team he’s already had success against.

Defense: Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars have had to clamp down the past couple of weeks during their push to get into the playoffs, allowing just 24 goals over the final 10 games of the regular season. Defenseman Miro Heiskanen has been right in the thick of that stretch, but don’t discount his offense, either.

Miro Heiskanen Dallas Stars
Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Heiskanen has only 36 points on the season, which is a career-high and means he’ll never be confused with the likes of Cale Makar. However, he’s been very good against the Calgary Flames this season. More than 10 percent of his points this season came in three games against Calgary, as he notched four assists across those trio of contests. He also has a goal and assist in his last two games, gets some power-play minutes, and averages nearly 25 minutes of ice time. That’s a recipe for a sneaky defensive option for DFS lineups in the first round.

Goaltender: Ville Husso, St. Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues have a couple of solid options at goaltender and opted to go with Ville Husso to start the playoffs against the Minnesota Wild. Husso has supplanted Jordan Binnington, who was in the crease for St. Louis’ Stanley Cup run in 2019. Husso won both of his starts against the Wild this season and might be a sneaky first-round play for teams looking to pack their lineups with skaters.

The Blues dominated the Wild this season, winning all three games of the series. Husso has also been on a tear. Since March 28, Husso has gone 9-1-2 with a .913 save percentage. In the middle of that run was a six-game winning streak that featured four wins against playoff teams. Two of those victories in that little six-game streak were against Minnesota. He’s been sharp against them lately and should be a solid play in the first round.

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