COVID protocol has been making a strong onset through the NHL in the past week or so. Keeping an eye on new is imperative to succeeding at NHL DFS. Following these Twitter beat writer lists are a huge advantage for getting last minute news and scratches. 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. 22.
NHL DFS Picks, Top Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays
Nathan MacKinnon (COL vs. MTL) DraftKings – $9,500 FanDuel – $10,300
Not that Nathan MacKinnon generally needs recommendation on any given night, but this is a packed slate. There are a number of expensive lines and centers elsewhere so differentiating between them is important for this evening.
Visiting the Avalanche tonight are the Canadiens, and this is not a very good team. Though they’re getting healthier, but they’re still last in the NHL in shot share since the calendar turned 2022. It is a small sample of six games, but they were similarly bad in this regard earlier in the season so this just seems to be a continuation of poor play. These defensive woes extend to the penalty kill, which has been saved by .909 goaltending in their last six games.
That brings us to MacKinnon, who has managed a shot bonus on DraftKings in more games (16) than not (12). His line is scoring 3.3 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 and the power play remains equally deadly. This is a mismatch at all strengths for Colorado, and that makes MacKinnon a target in cash games and tournaments. The issue is ownership in tournaments, as this mismatch won’t exactly be a secret. A power-play stack of some sort, including defenseman Cale Makar, makes sense.
Elias Lindholm (CGY at EDM) DraftKings – $6,500 FanDuel – $6,500
Heading into Edmonton means Elias Lindholm gets a team that has lost seven straight games. While Edmonton’s goals for and against at 5-on-5 have been an issue, they’re not even amongst the 10 teams allowing the most goals per 60 minutes in the NHL. The big issue that has reared its head is the penalty kill. Over their last 10 games, the Oilers PK is allowing the second-most shots and the most actual goals per 60 minutes. While they aren’t taking many penalties, they are laboring to kill the ones they are taking.
That brings Lindholm into focus for us tonight. In reality, it brings his entire line into play for us tonight. Calgary’s power play, for as few games as they’ve played in the last month, has been very good, generating the most shot attempts per 60 minutes. It has translated to a top-10 power-play scoring rate, and though Lindholm isn’t the PP focus, he is the center on the line, and that keeps him involved in the play.
Using the top line from Calgary tonight is a fine tournament option. We can also use Lindholm as a one-off for those needing a second center in those guaranteed prize pool formats, and he’s a better value on FanDuel than on DraftKings.
Alex Ovechkin (WSH at OTT) DraftKings – $8,500 FanDuel – $9,900
Alex Ovechkin always carries ownership but it’s a wonder how much he’ll have tonight. As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of premium centers on this slate, and a couple in great spots. There are also a few elite wingers and defensemen carrying hefty price tags that will carry ownership. All this is to say, Ovechkin will be one of the higher owned players on the slate, but maybe not the runaway.
That is important here with Ottawa in town. For as good as the Senators’ top line is offensively, they are a mess defensively at 5-on-5, allowing 34 scoring chances per 60 minutes (taking just 28 of their own). They have actually gotten some excellent goaltending, and that has saved them, but that can persist forever. Tonight, Ovechkin gets a bad defensive line at home.
Ottawa is among the most penalized teams in the league since the start of last month and the matchup at even strength is a good one for Ovechkin. He us a target in all formats tonight but should be a focus in tournaments especially. With the potential for a handful of power plays, there are some unique builds that can help fit in Ovechkin’s hefty salary a bit easier.
Kevin Fiala (MIN vs CHI) DraftKings – $5,300 FanDuel – $6,000
On the season, Kevin Fiala has managed a shot bonus on DraftKings in 20% of his contests, not bad for a player who has seen nearly a quarter of his games come in with 16 minutes or less in ice time. He has been skating over 19 minutes a night since the calendar turned to 2022 and he’s managed a point in each game he’s played. The addition of Matthew Boldy to his line seems to have done Fiala some good.
It is that combination that could be important. Fiala is helping the Wild generate more shots and scoring chances when he skates with Boldy, they just don’t have much time together yet this season. Boldy is a high-end prospect though and has nine shots in his first four games in the NHL. It is very possible that these two talented players just found instant chemistry, and they’ll get depth matchups on top of that.
Using either of the wingers here is fine but Fiala does have the proven production prowess behind him. He is more of a target for us in tournaments than cash games, and stacking him with his line mates is perfectly suitable. The reality is with how cheap Boldy is, it won’t take much for him to reach value, and that makes stacking more viable.
Michael Bunting (TOR at NYI) DraftKings – $3,800 FanDuel – $4,900
It always feels like the third wheel on the Toronto top line should score more, but Michael Bunting is on pace for 20 goals and over 50 points this season. That really is just fine for a guy who gets minimal power-play time on a team that scores a lot of power-play goals.
Bunting’s line has just been on fire since the Christmas break, as they have been all year: controlling 64% of the shot attempts and scoring nearly four goals per 60 minutes. While the New York Islanders are playing better hockey of late, there are few lines or teams that are capable of slowing down a line that is as offensively gifted as Toronto’s top line. Bunting slides in just fine on that line.
The question is how to use him. It seems unlikely he has a huge night without his line mates coming along with him, so playing him with at least Auston Matthews in tournaments seems a good idea. Bunting is often left off the top-line stack in favor of his more talented line mates, so that’s a way to use Matthews and drop the ownership a bit.
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Roman Josi (NSH vs. DET) DraftKings – $8,200 FanDuel – $7,400
One of the aforementioned elite defensemen on this slate is Roman Josi, one of our targets tonight. Nashville is hosting Detroit, and the Red Wings are on a road back-to-back, unlikely to have their starting goaltender in net. Those are all positive things for Josi tonight.
Remarkably, Josi has managed at least five shots on goal in 30% of his games so far this season, on top of having multi-point games over 25% of the time. With a plus matchup, one of the top fantasy defensemen is a top priority for us, even with all the top-end forwards on the slate.
Ryan McDonagh (TBL at SJS) DraftKings – $2,900 FanDuel – $4,700
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a lot of injuries on the blue line right now and that’s forced Ryan McDonagh into a bigger role. That peaked with a 29-minute performance earlier this week in Los Angeles. He has been priced down severely on DraftKings and that makes him a target for us.
In reality, with McDonagh being priced where he is, he would be a target even without injuries. But the Lightning have three regulars missing and that means heavy minutes for McDonagh, and he has a block bonus in over a third of his games this season where he’s played at least 24 minutes.
MacKenzie Blackwood (NJD vs. CAR) DraftKings – $7,100 FanDuel – $7,300
We may have to wait for confirmation but the New Jersey Devils are hosting Carolina tonight and the Hurricanes are playing a road back-to-back. Not only that, but they had regular started Frederik Andersen in net, so this could favor the Devils a bit in win expectancy, depending who gets the nod in goal. Regardless, Carolina is near the top of the league in shot rate since the Christmas break. That means MacKenzie Blackwood is a cheap home goalie who should see a lot of volume, and those are the goalies we like to target in DFS.
Top NHL DFS Stacks
With so many elite centers on the slate tonight, and Ovechkin at home to Ottawa, there may not be a lot of attention on Nashville. That would be beneficial for us, as this top Predators line is generating nearly three expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 and four actual goals per 60 minutes. They are excellent offensively and have a plus matchup with Detroit in town on the second game of a back to back. All three Nashville forwards are in play though if there’s one to leave off, it would be Mikael Granlund, as he does not frequently shoot the puck.
This second line for the Sharks has been good together this year, controlling 52% of their shot attempts and generating 33 scoring chances per 60 minutes. Tonight, Tampa Bay visits and that is a difficult matchup, but they will not be starting Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Vezina-caliber goalie started last night, and that’s an advantage for the Sharks. They will also avoid the top line from the Lightning, so the matchups are a bit easier. Price is a big factor here with so many elite players elsewhere on the slate, and low ownership is a factor here as well. They should at least be considered for tournaments tonight.
*Additional information from Natural Stat Trick
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Find more NHL DFS strategy and DFS NHL as well as the best DFS NHL news. The daily fantasy hockey rankings for fantasy points and value are derived directly from Alex's own NHL projections FanDuel. Initial best NHL DFS ownership projections for main slates will be posted daily by 4 p.m. The NHL daily projections model was created and is maintained by Alex Baker and Jake Hari.
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