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NHL DFS Picks & Stacks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Tonight | Flyers Stack & Auston Matthews 10/18/21

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There is a short four-game slate on tonight on the first full Monday slate of the NHL season. It is also the return of Auston Matthews, which means it is clear where the chalk will be. With that in mind, Awesemo’s Top Stack Tool can help identify chalk and contrarian options every night. Let’s break down some NHL DFS plays and stacks for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups today using the Awesemo daily fantasy hockey projections.

NHL DFS Picks, Top Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays Today

Center

Auston Matthews

DraftKings – $8,400

FanDuel – $8,600

Matthews returns from injury tonight and rejoins the top line with Mitch Marner and Brett Richie. The Maple Leafs will be taking on the Rangers in Toronto, and the Rangers are already banged up this season, with Ryan Strome and Kaapo Kakko hitting the IR. Without Strome, New York will have to use Filip Chytil as their second center, leaving their depth vulnerable. Even if Sheldon Keefe sends out the Matthews line against the Rangers top line, it is still a great matchup, as the Rangers do not have any line that is threatening defensively. The issue here is Matthews is going to be popular tonight, but he is a great play. He should be a staple in cash game, but the question is what to do with him in GPPs. According to the Awesemo’s Top Stack Tool, the Leafs top line has the highest top-two percentage chance on the slate at 32.7% but has the second-highest ownership share at 25.8%. It is a positive leverage spot, but regardless, in GPPs it would be wise to full-stack the line and avoid one-offing Matthews if possible.

Mikael Backlund

DraftKings – $4,000

FanDuel – $4,300

Backlund is one of the best value centers on tonight’s slate according to the Awesemo projections, and it makes sense, as the Flames will be taking on the Ducks in Calgary. With the Flames having last change, the Backlund line will most likely be sent out against the Ryan Getzlaf line tonight, which is favorable for Backlund. Getzlaf is not the player he once was because of injury, and the Ducks are still going through a rebuild and are not good defensively. The appeal here for Backlund is price, at only $4,000 on DraftKings, and seeing secondary power-play time and penalty-kill time against a weak team is enticing. This is more of a cash play than a GPP play, but in GPPs he is a solid option.

Winger

William Nylander

DraftKings – $6,300

FanDuel – $7,200

Nylander is the best winger on the Leafs. He is one of the best shooters and play drivers, and with Matthews back, John Tavares will slide down between him and Michael Bunting. This will only help Nylander more, and what makes tonight even more appealing is this line will most likely draw the Chytil line or a bottom-six matchup for the Rangers, which is amazing for the Leafs. Another thing that has improved from last year is that Nylander’s time on ice has increased. Last year he was coming in around 17 minutes a game, and this year he has topped the 20-minute mark twice. At his price on both sites he may be tough to fit in cash games, but in GPPs as a one-off or a stack, this is one of the best spots of the night.

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Ondrej Kase

DraftKings – $2,700

FanDuel – $3,300

The trend of Leafs players continues here, as Kase is one of the better value wingers on the slate. His price is still extremely cheap on both sites, and he has been shooting the puck. Kase was minimum priced on opening night, and he recorded six shots on goal and two blocked shots, which exceeded value easily. If he hits the scoresheet tonight, it will just be icing on the cake at his price, but he is live to hit the shot bonus again tonight against a decimated Rangers bottom six.

Defensemen

Jakob Chychrun

DraftKings – $6,500

FanDuel – $5,400

The Coyotes arguably have the worst roster in the NHL, but Chychrun is one of the lone bright spots. He is the top projected defenseman tonight, and the Coyotes will be taking on the Blues at home in Arizona, which means it will be a busy night for Chychrun. He has played 23 and 27 minutes in two games, and crazy minutes should continue. Chychrun also will see top power-play minutes, which hopefully will aid in getting him to the shots and blocks bonuses on DraftKings. At his price, especially on FanDuel, he makes for a great play in every format.

Goalie

Jack Campbell

DraftKings – $8,400

FanDuel – $8,600

Tonight is a Leafs night. Campbell will be in net tonight against the Rangers, who will be missing Strome and Kakko. This hurts their depth, as they have players in different roles than they are used to. The Matthews line should neutralize the Mika Zibanejad line tonight, leaving the only as Artemi Panarin playing with two new linemates. A concern for Campbell may be shot volume, but he is a good cash pick.

NHL DFS Top Stacks

Philadelphia Flyers 1

Top 2 Stack Percentage: 18.5%

Ownership Share: 6.6%

The Flyers top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny is the exact same price as the Toronto top line at $18,900 on DraftKings and unsurprisingly coming in at about a quarter of the ownership. It is a scary proposition to fade the Matthews line tonight, but the Flyers top line is the highest-leveraged line on the slate and is third for top-two stack percentage according to the Awesemo’s Top Stack Tool. This is a great contrarian spot because it is impossible to fit both Flyers and Leafs top lines in the same lineup, and when push comes to shove, most people will go with Toronto. The Flyers will be taking on the expansion Kraken tonight in Philadelphia, which means the Couturier line will be matched up with the Seattle top line of Jaden Schwartz, Jared McCann and Jordan Eberle. This is a good line, but when Couturier is healthy, they are one of the best defensive lines in the league. They are also full correlated on the top power play, which adds to the appeal at low ownership on a four-game slate.

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