Saturday in the NHL is always chock full of great games. On today’s slate, we have nine games, with some great studs to build around and value plays to supplement our NHL DFS lineups with. 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 Friday, Dec. 4.
NHL DFS Picks, Tops Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays | DraftKings & FanDuel
Nathan MacKinnon (COL at OTT): DraftKings – $8,900 | FanDuel – $9,000
The matchup tonight, aside from just how good Nathan MacKinnon is, is the appeal here tonight. The Ottawa Senators find themselves last in the league in points, behind even Arizona. They were at, near, or much worse than the bottom-10 defensively across the board, and that was before their COVID shutdown. In the six games since returning, they are still at, near, or much worse than the bottom-10 defensively across the board. This is a matchup to target for Colorado.
It is a little difficult to know what to expect from MacKinnon given his injuries this year and he has played just two games since returning from those ailments. He has eight shots and two assists in those two games, though one was a blowout loss. All the same, despite the injuries, the team is controlling 63% of the scoring chances with the top line on the ice and Mackinnon should play around 20 minutes. It is a great line in a great matchup.
Using any player on the road in cash games is a tough prospect but this matchup is as good as it gets for the Avalanche, and we have MacKinnon projected for the most points from a center tonight. At the least, the pivot and his teammates require our attention in tournaments, and he’s fine by himself in those formats.
MacKinnon was popping up atop the NHL DFS lineup optimizer today when running optimals. For all of our free NHL DFS optimizer picks, check out our DraftKings NHL cheat sheet and FanDuel NHL cheat sheet today.
John Tavares (TOR at MIN): DraftKings – $6,600 | FanDuel – $9,000
The Leafs head to Minnesota to face the Wild tonight and on paper, it’s not a great matchup: Minneosta is top-10 by shot attempts allowed per 60 minutes. There are a couple of avenues of success for John Tavares here, though. First, the Wild have a shutdown line centered by Joel Eriksson-Ek, but they will be deployed against the Auston Matthews line. While Minnesota is obviously still a good team otherwise, Tavares will get easier matchups than his superstar teammate. Second, the Wild are giving up the third-most power plays of any team, and Toronto has a top-5 power play over the last month. Because of his role on the power play in the middle of the ice, he leads the team in scoring chances on the power play over that month-long stretch. This is not a team, or a player, to give several power plays in a game.
Being on the road in this matchup, there will be low ownership on Tavares (under 5% on the first run) and most of the Leafs in general. The Wild are very good at 5-on-5, but their penalty kill, and discipline, has let them down and Toronto’s power play has found its groove. Special teams matchup-preference here means Tavares isn’t a cash game option, but he’s an option in tournaments as a one-off in a stack, but he’s clearly a much better DraftKings option. He is wildly over-priced on FanDuel.
Teuvo Teravainen (CAR vs. BUF): DraftKings – $5,500 | FanDuel – $6,200
The Carolina line shuffle continues, and the latest iteration has Teuvo Teravainen back on the top line with Sebastian Aho. That is an important development here as the team scores about 14% more when they’re on the ice together than when Teravainen skates without Aho. Not only that, but the duo skates together on the power play. The power play hasn’t been elite by scoring, but they’re generating a lot of shots and scoring chances, so their goal scoring with the man advantage should only rise from here.
After a surprisingly good start to the season, Buffalo is 3-8-2 in the last month and they’re 28th by shot share and 29th by scoring chance share at 5-on-5. They have crashed back down to Earth, and that makes this a great matchup for Carolina.
The trick with Teravainen is his shot rate has jumped this year thanks to an ice time jump. He has gained two minutes per game compared to last year and is skating 19:15 over his last five contests. It shouldn’t go down much skating on the top line, top power-play unit tonight. He is best used in a duo or a line stack in a tournament, they just look to be one of the more popular lines tonight.
Evan Rodrigues (PIT at VAN): DraftKings – $4,600 | FanDuel – $5,100
The fact is that Evan Rodrigues has been a revelation for Pittsburgh this year. He has the highest impact both offensively and defensively, as measured by Evolving Hockey, of any Penguins forward this season. In other words, he has been better at generating offense and being suppressive defensively at 5-on-5 this year than any Penguins forward. The offense is a new wrinkle as that has not traditionally been his game, but it is hard to deny a player landing 3.3 shots per game for over a quarter of the season.
This is another case where the power-play matchup is a big factor. The Canucks are allowing the most goals per 60 minutes when down a man over the last month of any team in the league, largely thanks to allowing the fourth-most expected goals against in that span. Rodrigues is a part of that top power-play unit, and it’s a great matchup for him and them.
With Rodrigues being so much cheaper than the rest of his line mates, using him as a one-off is fine as we have him third by projected points for wingers on DraftKings under $3,500. But he, Sidney Crosby, and Jake Guentzel are correlated at all offensive strengths and that stacking them should be strongly considered.
Robby Fabbri (DET vs. NYI): DraftKings – $3,400 | FanDuel – $4,200
With Tyler Bertuzzi landing on the COVID list, Robby Fabbri has joined the top line in Detroit. We don’t have a workable sample here because Fabbri has rarely skated on the top line with Dylan Larkin healthy, but Larkin and Lucas Raymond have been dynamite all year and Fabbri skates with them on the power play as well. It is great news for Fabbri’s fantasy value.
The matchup is also a good one here tonight. The Islanders just have not looked close to anything resembling their teams of recent seasons, ranking in the bottom-3 of all teams by shot attempts and scoring chances allowed at 5-on-5. Factoring in goaltending, this is a mid-pack defensive team at best, and that is without considering any complications that may come from their recent COVID shutdown/cases.
This is also a case where the price plays a big factor. We don’t get a lot of players in Fabbri’s role with Fabbri’s price. He is fine by himself in all formats but should also be at the top of the stack list when considering the prices.
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Roman Josi (NSH vs. MTL): DraftKings – $7,500 | FanDuel – $7,000
Despite being pointless in three straight games, Roman Josi has 12 shots and five blocks in those contests, which speaks to his value. Even in games where he’s held pointless, he can still provide a lot of fantasy points, if not enough to pay off his price.
Like so many others in this article, it is the matchup that attracts us here. Over the last month, the Canadiens are allowing the most shot attempts and are 27th by scoring chances allowed. That is at 5-on-5. On the penalty kill, also bottom-10 by shot attempts and goals allowed over the last month. It is just not a very good team, and Josi has the talent to exploit a weak defensive team. He leads all defense projections this evening by nearly a full DraftKings point and nearly half an FanDuel point.
At his price, it can be hard to use him in full Nashville stacks. He can single-handedly win a game, though, so using him as a one-off, or maybe paired with Juuse Saros, is fine.
Nikita Zaitsev (OTT vs. COL): DraftKings – $2,600: FanDuel – $3,700
The appeal here is that the team has been giving him more ice time of late, exceeding his season average in three straight games, averaging over 21 minutes a night in that span. Nikita Zaitsev leads all Ottawa defensemen in shot-blocking rate this year at 6.2 per 60 minutes, or over two per 20 minutes. That makes him a very real threat for the block bonus on DraftKings with the high-powered Colorado Avalanche coming into town. At his price, we would accept just a block bonus for fantasy points, but he does have upside beyond that. He is a fine punt tonight for the Senators.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL at BOS): DraftKings – $7,500 | FanDuel – $7,900
It won’t be very often that Andre Vasilevskiy comes in at this price on DraftKings. He is one of the best goalies in the world, they just happen to be going into Boston tonight, a tough matchup. That aside, the Bruins are top-5 in shot rate over the last month and if we can get a lot of volume on a cheap goalie, elite goalie we will accept the tough matchup. He should be a target for anyone playing tournaments on DraftKings in particular, though a goalie of his caliber always has appeal across the industry.
Top NHL DFS Stacks
As mentioned in the section on Josi, the Canadiens being in town tonight is a great matchup for the Predators here. Beyond that, our Top Stacks Tool has the Predators as having in excess of an 8% chance of being a top-2 line tonight in DFS, but under 6% ownership. That leverage, plus the matchup and reasonable cost, are reasons to strongly consider the Nashville top line here tonight. The bigger question is to include the expensive Josi on the blue line or not. He’s expensive enough where he’s fine to leave off.
There was an injury to New York’s superstar goalie Igor Shesterkin last night, meaning it’s a backup or an AHL goalie tonight for the Rangers. That is great news for Chicago, and the top line here has been good this year (legitimately good, not Chicago-adjusted-good): 64 shot attempts and 27 scoring chances per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, with 2.6 goals scored. With the Rangers on a back-to-back and a big downgrade in net, Chicago’s top line deserves attention on this slate.
*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick
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Find more NHL DFS picks and DFS NHL picks as well as the best NHL DFS picks for today. Initial NHL DFS ownership projections for main slates will be posted daily by 4 p.m. The NHL DraftKings projections 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 projections DFS.
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