There is a short three-game slate tonight but there are a lot of interesting spots for NHL DFS picks. 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 Wednesday, Nov. 17.
NHL DFS Picks, Tops Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays
Jared McCann (SEA vs. CHI)
DraftKings – $4,900 | FanDuel – $4,800
The Kraken have been changing around their lines a fair amount all season. Injuries and COVID certainly play a part in this, but it is also a new team just getting used to each other. This is being mentioned because it can make their lines frustrating to stack at even strength, and that includes Jared McCann and his linemates. Stacking the entire line as a three-man unit is not really the focus here.
Rather, the focus is on the visiting team. Chicago, after its tough start in October, is still in the bottom five and bottom 10 for shot attempts allowed and expected goals allowed at five-on-five for November, respectively. The penalty kill seems to be improving, but Seattle’s power play is not the focus. It is McCann, specifically. He has 9 points in 10 games on the season and had been enduring injuries. He played 16 minutes his last time out, hopefully a sign that the team wants to leave him as the second-line center. However, the team is still figuring out line combinations.
The other bit of truth is center is thin tonight. The most expensive center on the slate is not really a center, he is just playing it temporarily (and is discussed in the winger section). The next expensive options are facing each other in the same matchup and risk shutting each other down. After those top three options, it is a free-for-all for value, and McCann’s historical production and matchup are important to consider here.
Phillip Danault (LAK vs. WSH)
DraftKings – $3,700 | FanDuel – $4,400
Phillip Danault is another value center to consider tonight, a player not often recommended for DFS. Again, the position is light tonight, even for a three-game slate. It would be remiss to not mention one big change in Danault’s game this year: He is shooting. He averages 2.5 shots per game on the season, having never cracked 1.9 in any campaign of his career. It is not a mirage either, as his shot rate at five-on-five is up 30% from last year and is a career high. He is also earning nearly two minutes of power-play time per game, also a career high.
Danault’s line has also been good offensively — 3.9 expected goals per 60 minutes and 62 shot attempts per 60 minutes. They play at a high rate and should face the Connor McMichael line from the Capitals a fair amount. That line is also high event, combining for over 125 shot attempts for/against per 60 minutes. If Danault’s line is going to trade chances for half their shifts, he has a reasonable opportunity for success here.
Awesemo’s ownership has Danault at half the rate of some other second-line centers tonight, and his line is legitimately good offensively. The potential return of Viktor Arvidsson is sure to draw more ownership to the top line, and that means good things for second-line ownership.
Mikko Rantanen (COL at VAN)
DraftKings – $8,300 | FanDuel – $8,100
Mikko Rantanen is playing center tonight but listed as a winger on FanDuel. It felt silly not to include him in this article, though, given the size of the slate tonight, the matchup and his role.
The matchup is going to draw a lot of people to Colorado, and rightly so. Vancouver is not getting better as the season is wearing on, as they have the same expected goals against rate this month as Ottawa and Chicago — not the best company to keep. On top of that, the Canucks are tied for ninth in times short-handed this season, with the Avalanche leading the NHL in power-play opportunities. This is a great special teams matchup for Colorado and Rantanen.
Rantanen’s shot rate jumped to about 3.5 shots per game last year, and that is where it has stayed this year. That added dimension is important but also a reason he is priced where he is. There is a lot of value on the board tonight, though, and Rantanen is Awesemo’s No. 2 by raw points projection on the entire slate. He is of strong consideration in all formats.
Rantanen was one of the players showing up a lot in Awesemo’s NHL DFS lineup optimizer. Awesemo’s DraftKings NHL cheat sheet and FanDuel NHL cheat sheet offer free daily fantasy hockey picks from the optimal lineups we run using the Awesemo premium tools and data.
Nils Hoglander (VAN vs. COL)
DraftKings – $3,500 | FanDuel – $4,600
It can be argued that Nils Hoglander has been Vancouver’s best offensive player this year: Third in points per 60 minutes at five-on-five, first in goals per 60, second in shot rate per 60 and first in scoring chances per 60. The problem typically has been ice time as they have been skating him as a second-/third-liner the entire season. The veterans continue to get ice time as the team continues to lose, and that is what makes Hoglander a difficult decision tonight; Hoglander could play 10 minutes of 16 minutes, but he is much more likely for 12 to 13 than 18 to 19. The price does factor into that, though.
In tournaments he makes sense. His line should see a reasonable amount of the top line for Colorado, which could be in tougher than usual with Rantanen as center and Logan O’Connor on the wing. Hoglander and Bo Horvat have a history of good offensive success together, with 67 shot attempts and 3.2 goals being generated every 60 minutes at five-on-five. They are a fine two-man tonight in tournaments, and Tanner Pearson could even be added for the full three-man. Ownership is not much of a concern either, as they are not among the top three filler stacks on a short slate, according to Awesemo’s Top Stacks Tool.
Logan O’Connor (COL at VAN)
DraftKings – $3,900 | FanDuel – $4,100
O’Connor has been moved to the top line for Colorado in the absence of Nathan MacKinnon. While he will never replace that production, he is very reasonably priced and figures to play around 17 minutes with top offensive players on a short slate. He is very much worth discussing.
For production in the AHL, one thing to look for is shot rate. Points can be misleading because of power-play production that will not translate or being lucky with secondary assists. Shot rates tend to translate better and give an indication of offensive potential. His first AHL season in 2018-19 saw 2.72 shots per game. The following year was 2.68, or about status quo. Those are not great rates, but they are not bad either.
His three years in the NHL have seen jumps in shot rate every year, culminating at 12.9 per 60 this year. It seems a progression of a guy who likes to shoot anyway and is now in an environment that generates a lot of shots. His price helps bring down the average cost of the top-line stack, and ownership is in check — a little over 20% on a short slate. He is fine as a one-off in any format but is likely best used as part of a line stack in tournaments.
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John Carlson (WSH at LA)
DraftKings – $6,700 | FanDuel – $6,400
Despite being back-to-back on the road, John Carlson is still second in Awesemo’s projections for raw points among defensemen. Washington’s offense has just been a juggernaut this year, coming in top-5 by goals per 60 minutes. Their expected goals are closer to the middle of the league, but even with injuries, there is a lot of talent here. Carlson started slow, and he is starting to get older for a blue liner at 31 years of age. But he is averaging over 13 shot attempts per 60 minutes this month, a great mark for a defenseman. The Capitals are in the top-10 by drawing penalties as well. This is a night where he is fine as a one-off for tournaments or part of a Washington power-play stack.
Connor Murphy (CHI at SEA)
DraftKings – $3,900 | FanDuel – $3,500
Here, we are just looking for someone who could potentially hit the block bonus on DraftKings. Connor Murphy is skating nearly 24:30 a game over his last five contests and though he is pointless in those games, he has 13 total blocks and a block bonus in four of them. He has long been a good shot blocker, but the added ice time of late is what really puts him over the top. The bonus threat is why he is priced where he is on DraftKings, but there is enough value on the slate tonight that we do not necessarily need to full punt on the blue line, in cash games or tournaments. Though, he is priced as a punt on FanDuel.
Thatcher Demko (VAN vs. COL)
DraftKings – $7,300 | FanDuel – $7,400
We have Thatcher Demko as second in projected saves tonight, coming in just shy of 29. He is also expected to give up over three goals, though, which is why he is a tournament goalie for tonight. There will be reasonable ownership on Colorado and Demko is a good goalie at home who should see volume. Those are goalies we target for tournaments.
Top NHL DFS Stacks
LA1 — Arvidsson – Kopitar – Kempe
This is all pending the return of Arvidsson. He is out of COVID-19 protocol and has practiced with the team. He is likely for the lineup on Wednesday, but things can change, and if he is out, then this is a much less appealing stack.
The fact is that Los Angeles’s top line has been much better offensively with Arvidsson, with goal and shot attempt rates being roughly 25% higher with him than without. They may not even see a lot of the Washington top line, as the second line has been taking a few more matchups of late. If Arvidsson is in, fire them up in tournaments.
SEA3 — Tanev – Gourde – Blackwell
With a handful of expensive lines on the slate, we may need to save money somewhere. Seattle’s third line features: Colin Blackwell, a guy with the same goal rate per 60 at five-on-five the last three years as T.J. Oshie and higher than Andrei Svechnikov; Yanni Gourde, a 60-point center playing on the third line; and Brandon Tanev, at worst a good defensive winger. This looks to be a good line combination, and they are cheap at home in a great matchup. Three-man stacking may not be necessary, but a two-man from this trio makes a lot of sense.
*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick
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Find more DFS NHL and FanDuel DFS NHL as well as the best DFS NHL picks. The NHL DraftKings rankings for fantasy points and value are derived directly from Alex's own best NHL DFS projections. Initial DFS hockey ownership projections for main slates will be posted daily by 4 p.m. The NHL DFS projections tonight model was created and is maintained by Alex Baker and Jake Hari.
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