There is a monster 11-game NHL slate ahead tonight, so let’s not waste any time getting to our picks for NHL DFS lineups. As always, this column will use Awesemo’s Premium Tools like projection values and ownership rates to help guide NHL DFS picks today for DraftKings and FanDuel. The Awesemo Discord chat is the optimal place for the most up-to-date information and breaking news regarding lineup changes, as they are sure to occur throughout the day leading up to lock. Become a member and get unlimited access to the Awesemo Discord chat as well as the expert NHL DFS projections, rankings and ownership projections.
NHL DFS Picks, Top Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays Today
Bo Horvat (VAN at BUF)
DraftKings – $4,800
FanDuel – $5,800
Horvat is one of the players following a common theme for today’s article: There are a lot of significant pricing differences between DraftKings and FanDuel. While the scoring systems are different, how players accumulate their points remains the same, and that means similar upsides for most players regardless of price discrepancy. Horvat is considerably cheaper on DraftKings. Because of that, he ends up as one of Awesemo’s top-10 center values tonight.
It has been heavy usage for Horvat early in the season. He has exceeded 21 minutes in each of his three games and is averaging nearly 23 minutes a night. It is a wonder if that is sustainable for an entire season, but for now, it is valuable for NHL DFS.
Buffalo might not be the pushover they were expected to be, but they are still not a good team. Regardless of quality, though, almost any center earning near 23 minutes a night is playable at his price on either site, but DraftKings especially here.
Sam Bennett (FLA at TB)
DraftKings – $4,500
FanDuel – $6,300
Bennett played nearly 19 minutes in his first game and nearly 18 minutes in the second game, so it seems like 18 minutes a night should be a fine expectation here.
The concern with Bennett coming into this season was a small sample with Jonathan Huberdeau last year, and that Bennett’s lengthier history playing in Calgary’s bottom six would win out. This season, Bennett and Huberdeau have combined for over four expected goals per 60 minutes and blowing the doors off the opponent scoring-wise (Bennett had a hat trick their last time out, for example). They are picking up where they left off last year: Beating the brains out of any opponent almost nightly.
Being on the road is always precarious for any option, but the Lightning are hurting here. After all their offseason losses in Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde and Barclay Goodrow, the team also lost Nikita Kucherov to injury. They now have Corey Perry, who has been a bottom six player for three years, on the top line. Things are dire, and that is great for Florida.
Because of Bennett’s supremely depressed price on DraftKings, he does not need to be used in a tournament stack. He is probably fine in almost any format. But he is best served as part of a line or power-play stack, especially with Owen Tippett’s price.
Alex Ovechkin (WSH vs. COL)
DraftKings – $8,000
FanDuel – $8,900
While the Avalanche may be welcoming Nathan MacKinnon to the lineup, they continue to be without Gabriel Landeskog, Valeri Nichushkin, Devon Toews and a host of other players. It is nice to see Ovechkin’s price climb back to where it should be, and it at least makes it a discussion.
One aspect of Ovechkin’s profile that has been a concern in recent memory is his ice time. It had been sliding for three straight years, from nearly 21 minutes a night to 19:30. Early this season he has been over 20 minutes in each contest, and with a tough challenge in town and no real Capitals lineup changes, that ice time level is the expectation again. All these factors are a big reason Ovechkin is second for raw points projection tonight.
Nichushkin and Landeskog leave the Avalanche without arguably their two best two-way wingers. Even if MacKinnon returns, he is returning from a COVID bout and has been away from the team for over a week. It should also be mentioned that they continue to run Ovechkin on both power-play units, and power plays are up early this season. All these are good reasons to play Ovechkin tonight, and though he is more of a tournament target, he could be fine for anyone worried about Edmonton exposure.
Jesse Puljujarvi (EDM vs. ANA)
DraftKings – $5,700
FanDuel – $4,900
This is another one of those selections that makes a lot more sense on one site than the other. Puljujarvi’s price has come up over $1,000 on DraftKings, while it has remained static on FanDuel. That makes him a much better value at the latter than the former.
Though he had a goal and two assists in his last game, the concern about Puljujarvi is ice time. It rose as the year went on last season and climbed in the playoffs. However, that 3-point game saw him skate just under 14 minutes, and that is a worry. By the same token, he managed a bit of top power-play time, and that is a massive boost for him. The Oilers should have one of, if not the best, power plays in the league this season, and as is the case most years, power plays have increased league-wide early this season.
Staying away from Puljujarvi on DraftKings is easily defensible. He is priced more expensive than Huberdeau and Kevin Fiala, for example. That is not the case over on FanDuel, though, and that should help bring down the average cost of the line.
Jordan Greenway (MIN vs. WPG)
DraftKings – $3,500
FanDuel – $3,900
Winnipeg’s top line is just not good defensively. Over the last three seasons, they have 2.6 expected goals against per 60 minutes (well below average) and 2.8 actual goals against per 60 minutes (also well below average). While the team’s blue line improved in the offseason, this line did not, and that is good news for Greenway.
Greenway, Marcus Foligno and Ryan Hartman are likely to play a defensive role tonight with the team at home to the Jets, and that means matching Mark Scheifele’s line. The early returns on this Wild line are good, but it is still too early to say how Greenway and Foligno will fare long-term without Joel Eriksson Ek. They should get a lot of minutes against a bad defensive line, and that is good enough to take a chance on one-offing Greenway in a tournament or matching him with a linemate for a mini-stack.
Darnell Nurse (EDM vs. ANA)
DraftKings – $6,200
FanDuel – $5,800
On DraftKings tonight Tyson Barrie is priced much lower than Nurse, whereas they are virtually the same price on FanDuel. The reason for having Nurse here is he brings so much across the board; Awesemo has him as a top-three option on the blue line by raw points.
Nurse plays a lot with Connor McDavid at five-on-five, and that is why he is averaging 13 goals and 45 points per 82 games over the last three years despite little top power-play exposure. What makes him particularly valuable is that he has posted over 2.5 shots and nearly two blocks per game in that span. He is a threat for the DraftKings combo meal on any given night (both peripheral bonuses), having achieved one of those already this season (he had three last season).
Noah Dobson (NYI at CHI)
DraftKings – $2,900
FanDuel – $4,200
Dobson’s price just has not moved on DraftKings. He stays under $3,000 despite the fact he has played over 20 minutes in both the team’s games and is the power-play quarterback. He is not going to be in the power-play quarterback category of someone like Drew Doughty or Dougie Hamilton, putting up both points and peripherals. For Dobson to succeed, the Islanders need to score goals, and they are getting arguably the worst defensive team in hockey tonight. It is not a bad spot to score goals for a guy who has played at least 20 minutes in both games.
Because the team likely needs to score goals for Dobson to have a big night, he is best used as part of a stack with the Mathew Barzal line. However, because of his cheap DraftKings price, he seems fine to use in cash games as well because of the matchup.
Thatcher Demko (VAN at BUF)
DraftKings – $8,000
FanDuel – $7,300
This is a goaltender pricing that gamers should note. On DraftKings Demko likely will end up one of the half dozen most expensive starters (depending on whom every other team starts). On FanDuel he is priced nowhere near that spot.
Beyond just the pricing, Demko should see a fair amount of volume tonight. The Canucks are on the road, and their defensive stats are still no better than the middle of the league through the early part of the year. Buffalo not having a lot of high-end talent means less chance of an Edmonton- or Florida-like seven-goal outburst that completely blows up a goalie’s fantasy value. Decent volume with a low blow-up chance for cheap on FanDuel is a combination that fantasy players should gravitate towards.
Top NHL DFS Stacks
EDM PP (McDavid-Draisaitl-Hyman-Barrie)
While it might be tempting to put Puljujarvi instead of Hyman, it is worth noting Puljujarvi only played on one power play in the last game, while Hyman got the other three. With Hyman’s price now lower than Puljujarvi’s on DraftKings, it could be a good spot to get a bit different with the lineup in what should be a high-owned spot, even on an 11-game slate. Barrie’s price drop helps soften the blow as well.
This one is strictly about price, so beware of ownership, as lines that stand out for pricing reasons are likely to be favorites of optimizers across the industry; Vancouver has double-digit ownership by Awesemo’s Top Stacks Tool. All the same, the line is skating 18 to 21 minutes a night, making them closer to a top line in terms of time on ice. They are also priced just over $13,000 on DraftKings, making them one of the stacks that can fit with Edmonton and Colorado.
*Stats from Natural Stat Trick
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Find more NHL DFS lines and NHL DFS picks Yahoo! as well as the best DFS NHL picks tonight. The NHL projections DFS model was created and is maintained by Alex Baker and Jake Hari. Initial NHL ownership projections DraftKings for main slates will be posted daily by 4 p.m. The daily fantasy hockey rankings for fantasy points and value are derived directly from Alex's own NHL DFS projections today.
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