It is a massive 13-game slate from which to make NHL DFS picks so let us get right to them. Awesemo’s NHL tools and data will be the guide. 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 us go position by position and pinpoint some of the top plays and stacks for Tuesday, Dec. 14.
NHL DFS Picks, Tops Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays
Connor McDavid (EDM vs. TOR): DraftKings – $8,900 | FanDuel – $9,800
One secret about the Toronto Maple Leafs is the top line is nowhere near as productive or imposing without Mitch Marner or William Nylander up there; with neither of them on Auston Matthews’ wing, the team controls just 53% of the shot attempts and 50% of the scoring chances. With either of those guys on the top line, the scoring-chance share jumps to over 60%. Even with Ondrej Kase skating alongside Matthews, they are controlling just 44% of the shot attempts and 50% of the scoring chances. Those numbers should improve, but regardless, they are a far cry to what is accomplished with either of their top-line wingers on the actual top line. Matthews will not have either of them for this game.
Conor McDavid has been on a bit of a slide of late, but that slide is still 9 points in seven games, averaging three shots per game. It was a tough stretch of games, too: Carolina, Boston, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and Vegas in there, along with Seattle and Los Angeles. Not that Toronto is an easy team, but there are some elite, superstar top lines on those teams. In healthy times, so would Toronto, but these are not healthy times for them, and hopefully McDavid can take advantage of that tonight. He is in play in all formats.
Jamie Benn (DAL vs. STL): DraftKings – $3,600 | FanDuel – $5,400
This is pending some news from the Dallas side of things. Top-line center Roope Hintz missed their last game and practice with a non-COVID illness. That casts doubt for Tuesday night, and Jamie Benn was skating in his spot on the top line. Benn is not the player he was five years ago, but he is still on pace for over 20 goals, he has four DraftKings shot bonuses on the year, and should be assured a lot of minutes tonight, given his line mates. That he should get 18-plus minutes on the top line, with power play time, makes him a prime target for a slate this large.
While the incoming matchup against St. Louis is not easy, they are missing two centers and Ryan O’Reilly’s play-driving hasn’t been as strong this year as in year’s past. Benn has been good at center for the last couple seasons, and he is now getting two very good wingers. At his price, he is in consideration in all formats but is best used in a tournament; Awesemo’s Top Stacks Tool has them at very reasonable ownership. Just beware of his price and position on FanDuel, as they are both out of order.
Nikolaj Ehlers (WPG vs. BUF): DraftKings – $5,900 | FanDuel – $7,400
Nikolaj Ehlers has seen a price drop, which is curious because it is not as if he has been bad of late: four goals and 24 shots in his last five games. Nevertheless, he is priced down on DraftKings at home against a very poor Buffalo team.
To that last point: Buffalo is around 45% shot attempt and scoring chance share at five-on-five over the last month. The hot start from the team is a distant memory at this point. The penalty kill has not been much better, either, ranking in the bottom-10 of the league across the board in that same timeframe. This really is just a poor defensive team at the moment.
While an ownership caveat may apply here – he is at 20% in Awesemo’s first ownership run – it is a 13-game slate. It will be really hard to duplicate lineups. Ehlers is simply too cheap for his talent level, and the matchup only makes it that much more viable. He is a perfect one-off tonight in any format, but he can also be used as part of a stack in tournaments. He makes a lot of sense in a two-man forward stack with line mate Paul Stastny, as they skate the same power-play unit as well.
Ehlers was popping up as one of the best plays of the night in the Awesemo NHL lineup optimizer today. Check out all of our free NHL DFS lineup picks tonight in our DraftKings NHL cheat sheet and FanDuel NHL cheat sheet.
Lucas Raymond (DET vs. NYI): DraftKings – $4,600 | FanDuel – $5,300
The truth is that Tyler Bertuzzi makes a huge difference on the top line for the Red Wings: 3.5 goals scored per 60 minutes at five-on-five with 52% of the scoring chances with him, and 1.1 goals and 34% of the scoring chances without. In his absence, the top line struggled, and Lucas Raymond has just 3 points and six shots in his last five games. Bertuzzi has returned from the COVID list, though, so that top line should be good to go for this game. It is fair to ask what kind of game shape Bertuzzi is in, not having played since November 30th.
However, those performance problems from Bertuzzi are quelled by the price on Raymond. He has been in the $6,000 range this year, and his slide of late is why he is priced where he is. The top line being back together should see a price increase in the future, but very reasonable for tonight.
The Islanders are in town and things have not really improved for them since returning from their COVID pause: 47% shot share and 47% scoring chance share. A fully correlated Detroit top line is in play tonight for tournaments. largely thanks to Raymond’s depressed price.
Brock Boeser (VAN vs. CBJ): DraftKings – $3,600 | FanDuel – $6,100
A lot of Canucks players are priced down on DraftKings tonight, and Brock Boeser is no exception. This team should draw a lot of ownership – Boeser’s line is one of the most over-leveraged on the slate. He has been getting a bit more ice time under new coach Bruce Boudreau, and they face a Columbus team allowing the fifth-most shot attempts and fourth-most scoring chances over the last month. The Canucks might have their issues, but so do the Blue Jackets.
Boeser’s line has been very good offensively, in a small sample, totaling 65 shot attempts and 31 scoring chances per 60 minutes. While the defensive numbers are an issue, that they are actually above water by shot share is a good sign.
Columbus does not take a lot of penalties so that might be a concern for Boeser’s upside, but the reality is his price is just too cheap; he can be a $6,000-plus player when he is at his best. It is also good news that he is skating with his linemates on the power play. He is fine tonight by himself in any format or as part of a stack but is more of a focus on DraftKings because of his price drop.
Cale Makar (COL vs. NYR): DraftKings – $7,500 | FanDuel – $7,000
There are three worthwhile defensemen priced $7,000 or more on DraftKings, and Cale Makar is one of them (Dougie Hamilton and Aaron Ekblad being the others, as they lead defense projections tonight). He is listed here because of the matchup and his performance of late.
Makar has added some blocked shots to his profile, which is nice to see. He had been under one per game for his career, but he is over one per game this season. It is not a lot, but it does bring bonuses more into play. He is also nearing three shots per game, which brings shot bonuses into play, of which he has three this season. A defenseman who can threaten both peripheral bonuses is worthy of consideration.
Of course, it is his production that makes him so valuable. He leads all defensemen in points per 60 minutes for his career, and he is in the top five again this year. The Rangers continue to be without starter Igor Shesterkin, which makes this a more appealing spot. Makar is fine as a one off or part of a stack for this slate
Jared Spurgeon (MIN vs. CAR): DraftKings – $4,100 | FanDuel – $4,800
There is one interesting news note to follow here and that’s Carolina’s lineup. Both Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis have been placed in COVID protocols, and that was as of Monday night. There could be more positives on Tuesday, which would only further weaken this lineup. As it is, just Aho missing is a big deal for them.
For Jared Spurgeon, this is about his price and skillset. He is one of the few good goal-scoring defensemen, shooting 9.2% over his last 136 games. He does not shoot a lot – fewer than two per game – but the high conversion rate makes him a constant goal-scoring threat, and his price brings him into play against a banged-up Carolina squad.
Elvis Merzlikins (CBJ at VAN): DraftKings – $7,400 | FanDuel – $7,400
High-danger save percentage is one of the best data points for goalie talent, and Elvis Merzlikins is tied for sixth in the NHL over the last three years in this category. Columbus is not a good defensive team, as mentioned in the section on Boeser, so it is probable he faces a good number of shots tonight.
Top NHL DFS Stacks
FLA1: Bennett – Huberdeau – Reinhart
They will be one of the more popular lines on the slate, according to Awesemo’s Top Stacks Tool, but they are also one of the most likely teams to finish as a top stack as well. They have a large goal total at home to an Ottawa team that is in the bottom-7 of the league across all five-on-five defensive metrics since returning to action from the COVID pause on November 22nd. Florida’s top line should be given serious consideration in all types of tournaments tonight.
SJ2: Meier – Hertl – Barabanov
A big problem for Tomas Hertl this year has been a lack of talented line mates, but now he gets Timo Meier, the winger with 11 goals and 28 points in 23 games this year, averaging over four shots per game. They are at home to a Seattle team whose goaltending is still bottom three in the NHL. Yes, 30th in the NHL is an improvement for this team’s netminders. This is two months of bad goaltending, and the Meier -Hertl duo is generating an absurd 45 scoring chances per 60 minutes at five-on-five.
*additional stats from Natural Stat Trick
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The DFS NHL rankings for fantasy points and value are derived directly from Alex's own NHL DFS projections DraftKings. The NHL DFS projections tonight model was created and is maintained by Alex Baker and Jake Hari. Initial NHL daily fantasy ownership projections for main slates will be posted daily by 4 p.m. Find more NHL DFS picks FanDuel and DFS NHL as well as the best NHL DFS predictions.
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