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NHL DFS Picks & Stacks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups | Nashville Predators and Auston Matthews 01/01/22

Michael Clifford



NHL DFS picks today tonight fantasy hockey DraftKings FanDUel Fantasy Hockey, daily fantasy NHL, daily fantasy hockey, DraftKings NHL, FanDUel NHL,

This is the first NHL slate of 2022, and there are nine games on the slate for DFS picks. The slate is split in two, with an afternoon and an evening slate, so beware that both will be covered in this one column. Another reminder that COVID is running through the league, so more postponements and player scratches are possible. Be sure to keep up on news in Awesemo’s 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 us go position by position and pinpoint some of the top plays and stacks for Saturday, Jan 1st.

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NHL DFS Picks, Tops Stacks & Optimizer Projections

NHL DFS Picks: Center

Auston Matthews (TOR vs. OTT)

DraftKings – $9,400

FanDuel – $10,400

It has been over two weeks since Toronto has played, so many will forget how good the first third of the season was for Auston Matthews: 20 goals and 121 shots in 27 games. Heading into the team’s pause, he had 13 goals and 18 points in 10 games. It really had been a superlative start, even if he was late starting the season due to that wrist issue.

Tonight, he gets Mitch Marner and Michael Bunting back as his line mates. As a trio, those three generate north of 80 shot attempts and 4.4 expected goals per 60 minutes, just ludicrous offensive numbers. They will surely all be popular on a short slate tonight, with Matthews being the highest at around 30% by our ownership, but it is for a very good reason – he leads all our skater projections by over a point and a half on DK tonight.

They also get an Ottawa team that is bottom-10 across the board, defensively, at five-on-five over the last month. No team is giving up more shot attempts per 60 minutes than the Ottawa Senators since they returned from their COVID pause at the end of November. Matthews is at the very top of the priority list tonight because of his matchup and talent in all formats. He is also fine in stacks for GPPs, though on a short slate at their high ownership, beware of duplicate lineups.

Morgan Geekie (SEA vs. VAN)

DraftKings – $2,700

FanDuel – $3,800

There have been some changes to the Seattle lineup of late and that has Morgan Geekie on the top line with Jared McCann and Jordan Eberle. It is about as good a spot as possible on this expansion roster, which now includes a couple of injuries to their top-9 forwards.

Geekie is not a big name in the DFS world yet, with just 70 career NHL games. All the same, his points rate at five-on-five over his career is very similar to NHL stars like Anthony Cirelli and Joe Pavelski, it is just he has been stuck playing 11-12 minutes a night, at best. Now that he is on the top line, he should get considerably more minutes than that, and did skate 15:29 in their last game on that top threesome.

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In town tonight is Vancouver, a team that has gone from 6-14-2 to 15-15-3 in a span of six weeks. In that span, however, they are still no better than the middle of the league by shot attempts and expected goals against at five-on-five, and their top line is their best defensive line. Geekie and company will avoid that top matchup, as Seattle rarely uses their first trio in that role. Improved line mates and a good matchup at a cheap price brings Geekie into tournament play tonight as we have him in the top-5 for centers under $3,000 on DK by raw points.

NHL DFS Picks: Winger

Viktor Arvidsson (LAK vs. PHI)

DraftKings – $6,100

FanDuel – $5,600

It is a tale of two seasons for Viktor Arvidsson, and the Kings as a team, really. When Phillip Danault is his center and the duo is on the ice, the team is generating 38 scoring chances and 2.5 goals per 60 minutes. When Arvidsson is on the ice with any other pivot, those numbers decline by roughly 20% each. He is still fine if he skates on the top line, but the Danault-Arvidsson duo has been excellent this year, and Danault returned to the lineup in the team’s latest game. That changes Arvidsson’s outlook a lot.

On the season, Arvidsson’s shot rate is well over 3.5 per contest, and he has a DraftKings shot bonus in over one-third of his games played. That is partly what makes him so valuable; even when his shooting percentage is low, is shot rate can bring fantasy points to sustain him.

The matchup is also the appeal tonight. Philadelphia is in the bottom-10 in the NHL of all defensive metrics over their last 10 games and are without top center Sean Couturier and top defenseman Ryan Ellis. Arvidsson is fine by himself because he is a shooter and scorer, especially on FanDuel, but his line can be considered as a filler in tournaments.

Kevin Fiala (MIN vs. STL)

DraftKings – $4,400

FanDuel – $5,900

One of the ongoing issues in Minnesota is Kevin Fiala’s lack of talented line mates. To be fair here, every team has endued injuries and protocol issues, so his plight is not unique. With that said, he is not skating with Victor Rask, as he has often been, but rather with Frederick Gaudreau as his center. That makes a big difference for Fiala and the Wild, as the team generates more shots, expected goals, and scoring chances when he is with Gaudreau than Rask.

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This game will be played outdoors and that throws a wrench in things here. It is expected to be -3 Fahrenheit, and there is not much precedent for temperatures that cold for an outdoor game. The latest would have been nearly 20 years ago, and it is a sample of one. How players will react, what the ice will play like even as they try to manipulate it, these are fair questions to ask. But the fact is the late slate has four games and it is hard to just ignore one game. Fiala is priced down very reasonably on DraftKings. If people are unwilling to play Fiala at a very good price at home because of the conditions, when he leads our projections for wingers priced $4,500 or less, then avoiding everyone is probably the best course, for sanity’s sake.

It should be noted Minnesota is one of the few teams with very few COVID issues this year, and some continuity. They played right until Dec. 20 (some teams wrapped up nearly a week earlier), and they were practicing on Boxing Day. If any team is going to be close to game shape, it is the Wild. Fiala has good line mates and a good price. There are intervening factors, though.

Craig Smith (BOS vs. BUF)

DraftKings – $2,500

FanDuel – $4,100

The reason for having Craig Smith included here is quite simple and it is that Boston broke up their top line and he will be skating with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Being moved to play with two of the most talented players at their positions while also being priced where he is makes him an instant recommendation.

Smith is not just a third wheel, though. His 4.4% shooting this year is ugly, but he is averaged over two shots per game and is on pace for over 20 assists in a full season skating around 14 minutes a night. He is a good two-way player and will get some very talented line mates to skate with tonight.

It is a great matchup tonight for Boston as well, as the Buffalo Sabres are bottom-10 defensively at five-on-five over the last five weeks. Smith should see an uptick in ice time as he skates with the top duo for this team, and that puts the shot bonus on DraftKings in play for him. Realistically, he is fine as a one-off in all formats because of his price, skills, and role. He can be used in a stack as well.

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NHL DFS Picks: Defense

Noah Dobson (NYI vs. EDM)

DraftKings – $5,300

FanDuel – $5,300

In a very tough year for the Islanders as a whole, it has been a breakout for Noah Dobson. He is averaging over two shots and two blocks per game, and that latter part is what makes him especially valuable on DraftKings. He has nine block bonuses in 25 games on the season, and a couple shot bonuses to boot. He is a dual threat for peripherals, but the price does reflect that.

Edmonton played yesterday and back-to-back road games in the afternoon are tough for any team. Dobson’s peripherals are the reason to use him, but Edmonton is a poor defensive team that could come in tired after an overtime game. He is fine as a one-off in tournaments tonight.

Artem Zub (OTT at TOR)

DraftKings – $3,000

FanDuel – $3,800

The injury to Nikita Zaitsev means second-pair minutes for Artem Zub, and when he is playing heavy minutes, he is a block bonus threat on DraftKings every night. Tonight is no exception with Ottawa on the road in Toronto. The Leafs are a top-10 team by shot rate at five-on-five over their last five weeks while Ottawa has aforementioned defensive issues. Zub is fine for anyone looking to pay down on the blue line on DraftKings, needing some shot blocks.

NHL DFS Picks: Goalie

Thatcher Demko (VAN at SEA)

DraftKings – $7,600

FanDuel – $7,900

Over the last two seasons, Thatcher Demko finds himself in the top-10 of high-danger save percentage among goalies, a good indicator of future success. He has been the backbone of this team’s turnaround, with a .948 SV% in his starts in their current streak. His price is a big part of his appeal, as he is one of the top goalies priced down tonight. Anyone not wanting to pay for an expensive option tonight should look to Demko.


NSH1: Granlund – Duchene – Forsberg

Not only is this line above or near 60% shot and expected goal share so far this season, but they are translating to a lot of goals as well; nearly four per 60 minutes at five-on-five. They have truly been one of the top offensive units in the league outside the super-elite like Toronto and Edmonton and get a Columbus team that has been in the bottom 20% of the league defensively for several weeks now.

TOR1: Bunting – Matthews – Marner

As mentioned in the section on Matthews, this trio has just been dynamic whenever they have skated together. Josh Norris is out for Ottawa, and with him off the top line, Ottawa’s premier trio allows 69 shot attempts and 35 scoring chances per 60 minutes, just abysmal defensive numbers. In this matchup, it is really hard to ignore Matthews and his cohorts. They will have a lot of ownership – we have them as the highest-owned stack on the night slate – but getting unique with the rest of the roster’s construction should not be difficult.

*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick

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