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NHL DFS Picks & Stacks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups | Toronto Maple Leafs and Vladimir Tarasenko 11/20/21

Michael Clifford



We have a nine-game slate on the docket to prepare for today. As always, 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, Nov. 20.

NHL DFS Picks, Tops Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays


Connor McDavid (EDM vs. CHI): DraftKings – $9.600 | FanDuel – $9,700

At the risk of sounding redundant, Connor McDavid finds himself once again among our recommendations. The reason tonight, above most nights, is simple enough: Chicago is in town.

It has been a bad start for the Blackhawks, sitting at 5-9-2 and sporting bottom-five defensive marks in shots allowed, goals allowed, expected goals allowed, and scoring chances against, at 5-on-5. The penalty kill is better, but the Edmonton power play has made a mockery of any team’s penalty kill for years now. This is just a fantastic matchup for McDavid.

It is worth noting he has gone through a bit of a cold streak lately, but that cold streak has still included three goals and eight points with 20 shots in six games. There were five road games including St. Louis, Boston, and Winnipeg. He is now at home against one of the worst defenses in hockey. McDavid is in consideration in cash games and tournaments, though he’s best used in a stack for tournaments. The matchup has too much potential to simply put one Oilers player in your lineup and hope no one else has a great night. He will also carry a lot of ownership tonight, leading our projections at 32%, which means he’ll be a popular one-off anyway.

Mikael Backlund (CGY at NYI): DraftKings – $3,000 | FanDuel – $4,000

Calgary’s second-line center was moved up to that line recently, it seems, due to underperformance from Sean Monahan. That leaves Mikael Backlund skating with two very good wingers facing the Islanders in their home opener. Yes, six weeks into the season, the Islanders are playing their first home game in their new building.

New York hasn’t been the defensive juggernaut of recent seasons. It is 23rd by scoring chances against at 5-on-5 and bottom-five by shot attempts allowed. They may be without Anders Lee and Josh Bailey, both of whom are in COVID protocols. It also puts into question if any other players may miss the game. Despite the home matchup, this team has looked disorganized all season and now will likely be without at least two top-six wingers. The matchup for Backlund & Co., gets better and better.

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Backlund isn’t really a volume shooter, with one shot bonus on the year, but he should play 16-17 minutes on a good second line a good matchup. His shot rate is factored in but he’s still a threat to score averaging 19 goals/82 games his last three years. He is best used in some sort of second-line stack, but anyone needing a cheap center for a tournament lineup can look here in a pinch — our projections have him as a top-3 value for a center under $4,000 on DraftKings.


Vladimir Tarasenko (STL at DAL): DraftKings – $6,300 | FanDuel – $7,900

The concerns about his shoulder are over. We are a month into the season and Vladimir Tarasenko is over four shots per game, just shy of a 40-goal pace. In the month of November, he’s exceeding 18 minutes a night. He very much looks like the guy that posted five straight seasons of 33-plus goals before injuries hit hard the last couple seasons.

He is skating with Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich at the moment. That may change with the potential return of Brayden Schenn, but for now that’s the line. Thomas is a great playmaker, a center with shot assist rates (passes leading to shots) last season similar to Mitch Marner and Claude Giroux. Buchnevich is a good two-way winger and Tarasenko is a great sniper. This looks to have the makings of a great line, and they’ll get secondary matchups playing behind Ryan O’Reilly. The depth from the Stars is not what it’s been in recent seasons.

The Stars have a bottom-10 penalty kill and are tied for ninth in power-play opportunities given to the opponent. This looks to be a good matchup at all strengths for Tarasenko. The road matchup means he’s harder to use in cash games, but he’s a one-off target for tournaments seeing as he’s coming in under 2% ownership, and can even be used in a line stack. He is a better value on DraftKings, though.

Matt Duchene (NSH at MTL): DraftKings – $6,000 | FanDuel – $6,300

This may surprise some but Nashville’s top power-play unit has been very good this year: 102 shot attempts, 11.3 goals, and 7.3 expected goals per 60 minutes. Those marks, extrapolated league-wide, would rank top-10 in every category. That is very relevant for tonight as Montreal is 11th in times short-handed, neck-and-neck with a handful of teams in front of them. Nashville doesn’t draw many penalties but they should get a few chances tonight and this is a great power play against an average penalty kill.

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For Duchene specifically, his shooting percentage is high at 19.1%, but he shot 14.6% in the three seasons before getting to Nashville. His top line has seen their numbers suffer since the Luke Kunin was moved up but they’re still good, at least by expected goals, and Montreal is not a good defensive team.

That last point is notable here. Montreal has about the same expected goals against rate as Ottawa this month. Combine that with the penalty kill problems, and Duchene and his linemates look like nice tournament targets for this evening.

Evgenii Dadonov (VGK vs. CBJ): DraftKings – $3,900 | FanDuel – $4,400

Injuries have forced Evgenii Dadonov into a bigger role for Vegas. Since returning from a road trip a couple weeks ago, he’s averaging 17:32 a night, about a minute more than earlier in the season. He is also averaging 2.9 shots per game and his shot rate with his ice time makes him a shot-bonus threat on DraftKings every night.

The top-line matchup against Columbus may not be the best, but one thing that top line for Columbus has been is high-event: nearly 140 shot attempts for/against per 60 minute of ice time. Anything north of 120 is high. That will lead to offense against Vegas, but also for them as the puck gets traded back and forth. That is good for Dadonov and his cohorts in this contest.

It should be noted that Columbus is a lower-end penalty kill right now being supported by great goaltending: 22nd by shot attempts and 23rd by expected goals against but a .961 save percentage for the month of November. Goaltending like that can regress very hard, and that is a bad penalty kill is another good sign for Dadonov tonight. He is fine to use in cash games, as a one-off in tournaments, or in a line stack.


Moritz Seider (DET at ARI): DraftKings – $5,700 | FanDuel – $4,200

For a rookie, Moritz Seider can do it all, fantasy-wise. He has one shot bonus on the year, four block bonuses, and 13 points in 19 contests. The team may even be getting unlucky with him on the ice, shooting under 6% at 5-on-5. That will turn around, but it’s not 5-on-5 that is the focus on this game for us. It is the power play.

Arizona’s penalty kill has just been flat-out awful all year. The month of October saw them finish bottom five by shot attempts, shots, expected goals, and goals allowed per 60 minutes. The only thing that has improved this month is the goals against, but that’s randomness and a bad penalty kill will stay bad. Seider runs the top unit and should play heavy minutes as he has most of the year. He is a heavy tournament target for us this evening, though he is clearly a much better value on FanDuel than DraftKings.

Justin Braun (PHI vs. BOS): DraftKings – $3,600 | FanDuel – $3,700

Sometimes, we don’t need an elite power-play defenseman like Seider. Sometimes we just need someone who can pick up peripherals for cheap and then can put us over the top with a little bit of production. This is where Justin Braun falls.

He is averaging 6.6 blocks per 60 minutes, or more than two per 20 minutes. That is roughly what he’s skating per night these days, maybe a little less. Tonight, a Bruins team that is top-10 in the league in shot rate this month comes to town. He is a definite threat for the block bonus on DraftKings and if he can get an assist, would turn into a GPP asset. It is a tough matchup for offense, but it looks to be a good matchup to rack up the blocks for Braun.


Semyon Varlamov (NYI vs. CGY) : DraftKings – $7,800 | FanDuel – $7,800

All the reasons we listed as Backlund being a good matchup tonight also makes Semyon Varlamov a good target for a goalie tonight. Calgary is third by shot rate at 5-on-5 in nine games this month. Conversely, the Islanders are 24th by shot attempts allowed. While Calgary blowing the doors if is possible, that is the risk we take with high-volume goalies. And he looks to be high-volume, as our projections have him for the second-most saves on the slate.

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TorontoPP: Matthews-Marner-Tavares

The Toronto power play has very much come alive of late, though the signs have been there all year – first in shot rate and third in expected goals on the season. The puck has started to finally go in, though, and that makes a huge difference for the upside of their stars. While the Penguins don’t take a lot of penalties, their penalty kill has slid and is trending to the middle of the league of late. That is not good enough against Toronto’s immense talent.

Detroit2 – Fabbri-Suter-Zadina

Quietly, the second line for Detroit has been a revelation for this team: 66 shot attempts and 3.5 expected goals per 60 minutes. An unsustainably low shooting percentage is the culprit for not having better point rates, but against Arizona’s depth, that could change tonight. They are perfectly fine to use as a three-man stack in tournaments, and are coming with less than 4% ownership, according to our Top Stacks tool.

*Additional Stats from Natural Stat Trick

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