There is a short four-game slate from which to make NHL DFS picks. That means digging a bit deeper in lineups and looking for creative ways to get in the more expensive players on the slate. As always, Awesemo’s premium NHL tools are one of the best ways to get the most up-to-date NHL DFS advice and information for building DraftKings and FanDuel lineups. Keep an eye out for breaking news throughout the day, and tune into the Awesemo NHL DFS Strategy Show today at 2 p.m. ET for live analysis from Awesemo’s NHL experts.
NHL DFS Picks, Tops Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays
Robert Thomas (STL at LAK): DraftKings – $3,800 | FanDuel – $3,600
The addition of Phillip Danault to Los Angeles’s second line has bolstered that line compared to recent seasons. With that said, they are trading chances with the opposition, as the line has 3.4 expected goals for per 60 minutes but also 2.8 against. It has resulted in similar actual goals against results (3.8 and 3.0), so again, the line is better; it is just that they are trading chances at both ends of the ice.
This is good news for Thomas, who should see a lot of the Danault line, as Ryan O’Reilly remains out for the Blues. Brayden Schenn will take Anze Kopitar’s matchups, allowing Schenn and company to skate against the second and third lines.
Thomas is a distributor, and his upside in fantasy is through assists, much like Joe Thornton years ago. That means he is not suited for cash games or as a one-off in tournaments. But he has played at least 18 minutes in three straight games as the team deals with the O’Reilly situation, and he has been good offensively with Vladimir Tarasenko, putting up 3.2 goals per 60 minutes in their sample together. Stacking those two together makes a lot of sense tonight to average out Tarasenko’s price.
Jonathan Toews (CHI vs. CAR): DraftKings – $3,700 | FanDuel – $5,000
After starting the season pointless for five games, Toews is up to 6 points in his last five. The Blackhawks have had a lot of difficulty generating offence at five-on-five this year, but the team has been very good on the power play, ranking top 10 by expected goals and actual goals per 60 minutes.
That little tidbit is important for tonight because the Hurricanes are allowing the most power plays of any team in hockey. Where they ranked sixth in this regard last year, it makes sense that their penalty-taking problems would carry over. Conversely, Chicago is top five by power-play opportunities this season. While Carolina’s penalty kill has been excellent, the sheer number of opportunities that Toews could see tonight is relevant.
Carolina is clearly the better team, and Chicago is a mess both on and off the ice. That does not mean they lack fantasy value, though, and if the Hurricanes give the Blackhawks a lot of power-play opportunities, Toews can cash in here. Likely too volatile for cash games, he should be considered heavily in all kinds of tournaments formats and roster constructions. Just note the obvious pricing discrepancy between the two sites.
Andrei Svechnikov (CAR at CHI): DraftKings – $7,600 | FanDuel – $8,700
It has been a great start to the season for Svechnikov, who has 11 points in eight games. He is averaging nearly four shots on goal per game in that span too. While the ice time has come down, this undefeated Carolina team has six wins this year by at least three goals. It has not been necessary to play him 19 minutes a night. That can be a concern, but hope that he figures into a big lead if his ice time is cut because of said big lead.
He is skating on the second line with Vincent Trocheck, and over the last three seasons Carolina has scored at a higher rate with Trocheck and Svechnikov on the ice than Sebastian Aho and Svechnikov. They are generating more shots too, so it is not just a mirage or shooting percentages. Not only will that line miss whatever checking line Chicago has, it may just be a better situation for Svechnikov anyway.
Chicago is still at or near the bottom of the league across the board defensively. Carolina will be very popular, but Svechnikov is a heavy target in tournaments. He can be used with his line, in a power-play stack or all by his lonesome.
Oliver Bjorkstrand (CBJ at CAR): DraftKings – $6,900 | FanDuel – $6,600
It often is not that two high-priced wingers are listed here, but the circumstances are a bit unique tonight. Bjorkstrand is also a bit too cheap on FanDuel, really.
Colorado is enduring a sustained bout of injuries throughout the lineup. While Devon Toews and Valeri Nichushkin continue to be out of the lineup, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar can be added to this list as well. Andre Burakovsky might play, though the coach said he is doubtful. As good as Colorado could be, that is their top-line right winger, two-thirds of their second line and their top pair all out of the lineup.
The Avalanche should still be fine defensively but likely not elite defensively, and there are only eight teams on the slate. Bjorkstrand is averaging 2.8 shots per game, skating over 18 minutes a night and playing 19 minutes in five of his eight games. He is one of the more underrated scorers in hockey, averaging 31 goals per 82 games over the last three seasons. With so many high-priced options on this slate, Bjorkstrand should come in low owned, and that makes him a one-off target for tournaments.
Alex Iafallo: DraftKings – $4,400 | FanDuel – $4,800
This might shock some people, but Iafallo has one of the highest five-on-five shot rates in the league on the season, ranking top 20 league-wide and in the company of Kyle Connor and Timo Meier. Los Angeles’ second line has not been shy to trade chances this year, which has helped Iafallo’s fantasy numbers tremendously.
The Blues in town means the Tarasenko line for a matchup. That line is allowing 68 shot attempts per 60 minutes at five-on-five and 3.8 expected goals. They too do not mind trading chances, and that should mean good things for Iafallo and his high shot rate.
To quantify those chances, Iafallo’s line is generating 79 shot attempts per 60 minutes at five-on-five and 3.4 expected goals, rates comparable to the top lines from Winnipeg, Ottawa and Edmonton. Maybe Iafallo himself is not a high-volume shooter now, but his line generates a lot of shots, and that is only going to help float that shot rate. Given the size of this slate, his line should obviously be given strong consideration in tournaments. His one-off/cash value is not as clear right now, though. He typically was not a guy that fit that role, but if he can keep shooting anywhere near his current rate, at this price he is hard to ignore.
Darnell Nurse (EDM vs. NSH): DraftKings – $5,600 | FanDuel – $5,700
Nurse’s price has jumped all over this season, but this is about as low as it gets on DraftKings. The pricing is a mystery, but it should draw a lot of ownership to him, as he has been in the top three for ownership among blue liners tonight. Regardless, it would feel neglectful to not mention at least one Edmonton fantasy star.
It is worth noting that he is averaging double-digit DraftKings points a night, and he has done so without a goal and just four assists in eight games. His shot volume – 3.5 per game – has given him a very solid floor to work with. While his blocks leave something to be desired compared to recent seasons, his offense is more valuable than the blocks, and the team is generating more shots than ever with him on the ice. He is in consideration in all formats tonight.
Brett Pesce (CAR at CHI): DraftKings – $4,100 | FanDuel – $4,200
Pesce has settled into his role for Carolina on the second power-play unit, and that has helped him to 3 power-play points (5 total) in eight games. He even has a couple block bonuses on the season for those that are playing over on DraftKings.
This is just looking for a depth option on a team in a great matchup. There should be a reasonable amount of ownership on teammate and top power-play quarterback Tony DeAngelo. Pesce will also draw some at his price, but he makes a nice option with the secondary players from Carolina in a very good matchup for the team.
Marc-Andre Fleury: DraftKings – $7,500 | FanDuel – $6,800
On the season the Blackhawks are allowing among the most shot attempts per minute at five-on-five. Conversely, Carolina is taking the third-most shot attempts at five-on-five. This is about looking for shot volume, and here Andre-Fleury is at home. Fleury makes sense for anyone not looking in the direction of Carolina in tournaments.
Top NHL DFS Stacks
CAR2: Trocheck – Svechnikov – Necas
The price on this line is high, but that could create a good opportunity here. As a trio going back two more seasons, they have generated nearly 70 shot attempts per 60 minutes together, and two of the three will be on the top power-play unit. Necas will often be left off this line, but this is still a great five-on-five matchup, so leaving him on the stack is certainly fine here. In fact, he appears to be driving low ownership for this line as a whole, according to Awesemo’s ownership projections.
CHI PP: Toews – Kane – DeBrincat
As mentioned in the Toews section, the Hurricanes are the most penalized team in hockey. While Chicago can struggle to generate at five-on-five, they can do it on the power play, and that brings Chicago into play on a small slate. Of course, Edmonton is the jewel of the slate and will be widely owned (and for good reason). Looking elsewhere, Chicago’s power-play components are not expensive and still allow players to stack from just about anywhere else other than Edmonton.
*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick
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Find more NHL DFS and DFS NHL news as well as the best DFS NHL stats. The NHL FanDuel projections model was created and is maintained by Alex Baker and Jake Hari. The NHL daily fantasy sports rankings for fantasy points and value are derived directly from Alex's own NHL FanDuel projections. Initial NHL daily ownership projections for main slates will be posted daily by 4 p.m.
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