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NHL DFS Picks & Stacks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups | Edmonton Oilers and Jason Robertson 12/18/21

Michael Clifford

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NHL DFS picks DraftKings FanDuel optimal lineup optimizer today tonight free expert projections rankings ownership

It is just a six-game slate for now in the NHL, and that’s a small slate to make our NHL DFS picks for a Saturday. COVID is running through the league, so more postponements and player scratches are possible. Be sure to keep up on news in our Discord. This Power Play article will use Awesemo’s Premium NHL Tools to help dole out the NHL DFS advice to help with building lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel tonight. The Awesemo NHL projections and ownership projections are two of the best tools to utilize when constructing stacks and making the optimal NHL DFS picks. Let’s go position by position and pinpoint some of the top plays and stacks for Saturday, Dec. 18.

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NHL DFS Picks, Tops Stacks & Lineup Projections

Center

Auston Matthews (TOR at VAN): DraftKings – $9,400 | FanDuel – $10,400

Toronto is currently enduring some COVID issues of their own, and that has knocked center John Tavares out of the lineup. In theory, that should push more minutes to top-line center Auston Matthews, who is already skating 20:30 a game this year. More ice time for a guy already landing 4.5 shots per game means a very high floor for this game.

While the team is down a lot talent, the matchup here is part of the puzzle. Going into Vancouver, he’ll face the Bo Horvat line, and that line is controlling just 45% of the shot attempts and 42% of the scoring chances when they’re on the ice together since the team hired coach Bruce Boudreau. The fact is this is just a great matchup for Matthews, so even if he doesn’t have his usual complement of talent in the lineup, he’s still an elite goal scorer in a fortuitous situation.

The question is how to use Matthews tonight, as the slate keeps shrinking so his ownership should only rise. We have him at 20% right now, and that feels right for a six-game slate where he’s on the road. But there will be new power-play units, and they may even change his line around as they are missing so many regulars that they want to balance other trios. At the least, he makes a good duo with Morgan Rielly, and he’s fine in all formats.

Dawson Mercer (NJD at DET): DraftKings – $3,700 | FanDuel – $3,900

Dawson Mercer may have some work to do defensively, but that can be said of almost any rookie. Beyond that, his offensive impact, as measured by Evolving Hockey, is a standard deviation above the league average. That puts him at a top-line rate, and that’s as a rookie. He certainly looks like he’s going to be a marvel.

One worry would be how Mercer may fare without winger Jesper Bratt, who has been moved to the top line and has had a fantastic season. The good news is that without Bratt but with Tomas Tatar, New Jersey is still controlling 57% of the shot attempts and 53% of the scoring chances with Mercer on the ice. All that is to say even without Bratt, Mercer’s line has been good, and at his price, actually being a good line is a big bonus.

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Among all centers tonight priced $4,000 or less on DraftKings, we have Mercer in the top-5 by point projection. He should avoid any sort of tough matchup from Detroit tonight, as they won’t see much of the top line. Mercer’s line is in play tonight, and he’s fine for anyone to use as a cheap one-off center if they need one.

Winger

Jason Robertson (DAL vs. CHI): DraftKings – $5,900 | FanDuel – $6,300

The concern here is Dallas is on a back-to-back and they changed up their lines during the game last night. Jason Robertson’s typical center Roope Hintz was moved down to the second line with Jamie Benn promoted to the top line. That makes a big difference because over the last two seasons, Dallas is scoring 1.6 more goals per 60 minutes when Robertson/Hintz are a duo instead of Robertson/Benn. The shot rates are consistent, but Benn’s scoring ability has fallen off while Hintz has shown to be a very good scorer, so that they score less with Benn makes sense.

A big part of the matchup tonight is a weak Chicago penalty kill. It has been about six weeks since the ‘Hawks fired their coach, and since then, they are 25th by shot attempts allowed and last in goals. Their penalty kill is awful, and Robertson is a big part of the top power-play unit with 6 PPPs in 21 games this year.

Dallas figures to be popular, with the top line coming in at 10% by our Top Stacks so far, but this is a great power-play spot. That means getting different with roster construction — adding a defenseman like John Klingberg, for example — is a good idea. Robertson is fine as a one-off due to lineup uncertainty, but riskier players may want to use him with Klingberg, or Joe Pavelski, in a tournament stack.

Jesse Puljujarvi (EDM at SEA): DraftKings – $4,400 | FanDuel – $5,400

With both Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out of the lineup, Jesse Puljujarvi is effectively assured top-line and top power-play minutes. That means nearly every second he skates tonight should be alongside Connor McDavid. That is why he’s listed in this article.

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From mid-November through early December, Puljujarvi was skating 15:30 a night. Due to the injuries of late, that TOI has jumped markedly to nearly 18:30 over his last five games. He has five points and 20 shots in that span as well. As mentioned, skating every minute with the most prolific producer in hockey today certainly has its perks. The matchup is hard to pin down, as Seattle has been using different combinations as a shutdown line of late. With that said, the Seattle goaltending has barely improved all year, and are prone to blow-up starts.

The Seattle penalty kill has been sliding, being no better than the middle of the league by any metric over the last month. That is not good enough against such a dangerous power play, and the Bison King is still very reasonably priced across the industry. At his price, he’s fine as a one-off but should be strongly considered with McDavid in tournament stacks.

Alex Formenton (OTT at PHI): DraftKings – $2,500 | FanDuel – $4,200

Since the Senators returned from their COVID pause on Nov. 22, their second-line duo of Connor Brown and Tim Stutzle have been good: 56% of the shot attempts and 59% of the scoring chances. That is the duo that Alex Formenton finds himself skating with, and that’s good news for someone priced where he is.

The issue here is that Formenton isn’t getting power-play minutes currently, but the truth is that the Philadelphia penalty kill has been excellent of late: top 10 by every metric over the last month. We shouldn’t expect the Ottawa power play to succeed here, so we’re focusing on 5-on-5 instead.

When Claude Giroux, the matchup for Formenton’s line tonight, isn’t skating with Sean Couturier, the team controls just 45% of the shot attempts. This is a good matchup for the Ottawa second line and Formenton is near min-price. He is a fine punt tonight for anyone needing such a winger on DraftKings.


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Defensemen

Quinn Hughes (VAN vs. TOR): DraftKings – $5,100 | FanDuel – $6,300

With the injuries on the Vancouver blue line, Quinn Hughes’s ice time has only gone up of late; he skated 24:24 a night over his first 25 games and is up to 26:28 a game over his last five. While he’s not a guy who racks up peripherals, his shot rate should only climb as he gets more ice time, and that’s good news for his fantasy value.

This would normally be a very tough matchup for the Canucks, but on top of Mitch Marner’s injury, the team is missing four other regular forwards. With Tavares and Alex Kerfoot out, along with Marner, that is an entire second line gone, in addition to some depth. Hughes skating well over 26 minutes a game should be able to take advantage of a team that is coming in depleted.

Brett Pesce (CAR vs. LAK): DraftKings – $3,400 | FanDuel – $4,100

Of all defenseman priced $4,000 or less on DraftKings and $4,500 or less on FanDuel, we have Brett Pesce in the top 5 for projections on both sites, and first on DraftKings. Part of that is because of the quality of his team, despite the guys missing from the lineup, and that both teams like to play with a bit of pace. That is good news for his peripherals.

The Kings have a bottom-10 penalty kill over the last month and Pesce gets PP2 minutes. That should be a healthy amount as the team doesn’t want to wear its thin forward core out. Pesce is in play as a one-off defenseman across the industry tonight.

Goalie

Jonathan Quick (LAK at CAR): DraftKings – $7,200 | FanDuel – $6,800

On the other side of that Carolina game is a Los Angeles team that is mostly healthy right now. Carolina does have significant injuries and that takes a lot of scoring punch out of the lineup. It is the price that is also drawing us to Jonathan Quick, as he’s priced cheaper than any goalie outside of Chicago or Ottawa. He is our target for a cheap road goalie, and we have him for nearly 29 saves and fewer than three goals allowed.

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EDM PP: McDavid-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi

As mentioned in the section on Puljujarvi, the Seattle penalty kill has been average-to-bad of late, and the goaltending leaves a lot to be desired. On a short slate, getting a bit different with roster construction is a good idea, and mixing the Edmonton power-play skaters is one way to do that tonight. Any of the guys listed, plus a defenseman like Tyson Barrie, in some combination are our targets for tonight.

DET1: Bertuzzi-Larkin-Raymond

We have six lines tonight with 1% leverage or better by our Top Stacks tool, and the Detroit top line is one of them. They will get the depth matchups from New Jersey tonight, and the second and third lines have been the Achilles’ heel of this team this season. The Red Wings top trio is a target for us on Saturday night.

*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick


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Initial NHL ownership projections DraftKings for main slates will be posted daily by 4 p.m. Find more NHL DFS picks and Yahoo! DFS NHL as well as the best NHL DFS picks tonight. The daily fantasy rankings NHL for fantasy points and value are derived directly from Alex's own NHL projections FanDuel. The DFS hockey projections model was created and is maintained by Alex Baker and Jake Hari.
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