Tonight is the first reasonable slate of the season, as last night’s two-gamer is followed by tonight’s five-game slate. Though not a monster night, the specific teams involved provide a cornucopia of elite talent to choose from, with lots of intriguing depth options. We will use Awesemo’s Premium NHL Tools to help dole out the NHL DFS advice we will need in 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 for Wednesday, Oct. 13.
NHL DFS Picks, Tops Stacks & Lineup Optimizer Plays
Nazem Kadri (COL vs. CHI)
DraftKings – $5,200
FanDuel – $5,200
It did not take long for COVID issues to hit the NHL. It started last night with a trio of players from Seattle, and now it extends to Colorado’s top line. Nathan MacKinnon has contracted the virus and will be out for tonight. This pushes Kadri to the top line. By Awesemo’s NHL projections, he is the second-best value on the slate and the best value above minimum price.
Chicago was one of the worst defensive teams in hockey last year, finishing near the bottom of the league in both expected goals and actual goals against at five-on-five. While Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones should help right the ship a bit, it is a long haul from the bottom of the league. Meanwhile, even with Kadri as his center instead of MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog has helped drive Colorado to an expected goal share over 52% over the last couple years. Their line should be able to control large chunks of the play against Chicago, and the added ice time is a big benefit for Kadri here.
This will also all include top power-play minutes against a Chicago squad that, like at five-on-five, struggled mightily to prevent goals on the penalty kill last year. That will make Kadri a popular player on this slate, especially with his price point. It will be hard to ignore him, though, in cash games.
Pierre-Luc Dubois (WPG at ANA)
DraftKings – $4,200
FanDuel – $5,000
It was a tough year for Dubois last season, being traded from Columbus and never finding his stride. He managed just eight goals and 20 points in 41 games, which is poor production. There are few ways to coat it: It was a bad season.
Dubois is lining up again as the second-line center, which can cut both ways. He will not get top power-play minutes, but he will not be facing Anaheim’s top competition either. Both he and linemate Nikolaj Ehlers, by Corey Sznajder’s data, are well above average in zone entries with control, with Ehlers being one of the best in hockey. Anaheim was a bottom-10 team by both expected goals allowed and actual goals allowed last season.
Even with a downturn in production, with Dubois and Ehlers on the ice, the team scored nearly 2.5 goals per 60 minutes, which is fine. It is a combination of playing with Ehlers and the matchup against Anaheim that makes Dubois a target here tonight. With so many elite centers on the board, the mid-tier guys are bound to come in with depressed ownership rates.
Zach Hyman (EDM vs. VAN)
DraftKings – $5,900
FanDuel – $5,800
One item to watch here is Edmonton’s line combinations, as Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid have been skating together for the last couple practices. That has been unlike most of training camp that saw them on separate lines. Either way, Vancouver is in town tonight, and that team, like Chicago, was at the bottom of the league last season in most defensive metrics. Presumably, the team has improved now that J.T. Miller is playing third-line center and Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been added to the blue line. But again like Chicago, are a couple changes enough to drag a team from the bottom of the league to respectability? For now, assume the answer is no.
The big note is that Hyman is still on the top power-play unit, and Edmonton’s power-play unit has been far-and-away the best in hockey for two years now. They have scored at a rate nearly 17% higher than the next-closest team. Even if he is not with McDavid and Draisaitl at five-on-five, he is on the power play and will still get someone like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as his even-strength center.
Hyman makes the most sense tonight as part of some Edmonton power-play stack, but given that he is not skating with McDavid and Draisaitl, he can be used as a one-off.
Adam Henrique (ANA vs. WPG)
DraftKings – $4,300
FanDuel – $3,800
Gamers need to look at even the worst teams in the league for value. For his last three years in Anaheim, Henrique has averaged 23 goals every 82 games. The upside for Henrique is two-fold. First, he is back on the top line with Trevor Zegras and Rickard Rakell. Henrique saw his linemates change a lot last year, but he is ostensibly getting the two best forwards at their positions on this team. It cannot get much better for him.
In all honesty, that is probably the best trio of forwards the team has at the moment, with Max Comtois in consideration. Winnipeg has improved their blue line, and Connor Hellebuyck is arguably the best goalie in hockey. All these reasons are why Anaheim will have low ownership tonight and why Henrique and his linemates make sense in large-field tournaments. Awesemo’s NHL projections have him as one of the better winger mid-tier values tonight and 2% ownership.
Ondrej Kase (TOR vs. MTL)
DraftKings – $2,500
FanDuel – $3,300
Like Mikhail Sergachev last night, Kase is mispriced today on DraftKings. He missed nearly the entire season last year and has fewer than 90 games played over his last three seasons. That is why he is minimum priced. However, he averaged 20 goals per 82 games for his first three seasons in the league and is lined up on Toronto’s third line. It will not be long before he is at least $1,000 more expensive and much higher owned (he projects for 1.8% tonight).
The other reason for using Kase tonight is the in-game matchup. He should see lot of Montreal’s bottom six, and there just is not as much depth as there was last season. Kase is not a must-play, but he is a min-priced option everyone needs to be aware of. He could even move up to the second line if Mitch Marner does not play, as he is a game-time decision.
Seth Jones (CHI at COL)
DraftKings – $5,800
FanDuel – $6,200
There is a difference between fantasy value and real-life value. In real life, how much value Jones has is much debatable. In fantasy, though, Jones is a 25-minute defenseman who is quarterbacking what should be one of the best power plays in hockey. He is also a defenseman that is a threat for the combo meal on DraftKings every night — both the block and shot bonuses. Last year he managed 2.5 shots and 1.8 blocks per game, pacing for 40 points, and that was skating on one of the worst offensive teams in hockey. What will he do now skating with Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik and Toews?
That is not stretching the truth on Chicago’s offence either. They were in the middle of the league last year but added Toews, Kirby Dach and Tyler Johnson to the mix. Throw in Jones, and this should be a top-10 scoring team. Jones is not priced with the super-elite defensemen, at least on DraftKings, so he makes a nice pivot from the more popular options.
K’Andre Miller (NYR at WSH)
DraftKings – $3,500
If it is not mispricings, it is straight leaving a player out of the pool. Apologies to the FanDuel users, but no luck on using Miller on this slate. Miller is skating on the second pair with Jacob Trouba, which indicates he should be good for around 20 minutes tonight. Miller’s shot-blocking rate last year was in the upper half of the league, and that was as a rookie. He will only be more assertive and confident the more he plays.
Washington is going to be without top-line center Nicklas Backstrom tonight, and that leaves the Capitals down an important two-way forward. There should be some ownership on the Rangers, but Miller will come in much lower-owned than someone like Adam Fox. His matchup and ice time at that price put him in play in any format. For those on FanDuel looking for a cheaper defenseman, Jake Muzzin is the top FanDuel value in the Awesemo NHL projections at just $4,300 but a double-digit point projection.
Marc-André Fleury (CHI at COL)
DraftKings – $7,500
FanDuel – $7,300
The defensive woes of the Blackhawks cuts two ways for a goalie; he can get shelled and yanked after 10 minutes, or he can post a brilliant performance. Last season starter Kevin Lankinen had three of his 37 starts end with a win and 35-plus saves and the save bonus on DraftKings. He hit the save bonus in five other games, getting a shutout loss in two of them. There were a lot of big performances from a goalie nobody had ever heard of simply because of shot volume.
Enter Fleury. He comes in as the reigning Vezina winner, and though he will not repeat that performance, Chicago is better than last year’s team, and Colorado will be without MacKinnon. Fleury is priced down on both sites, and the potential shot volume (he projects for over 30 saves) is appealing.
Top NHL DFS Stacks
While McDavid and Draisaitl are sure to be popular, the ancillary players like Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman will be less so. Anyone looking to get a bit different with their lineups should try adding Hyman or Nugent-Hopkins to the McDavid/Draisaitl duo. Awesemo projects the wingers in the 15 to 17% ownership range, with the centers well over 25=0%. Mixing in one or both will bring down the average ownership of that stack a lot.
Henrique’s ownership extends to the rest of the top line, as Awesemo’s Top Stacks Tool has them coming in under 2% as a trio. Zegras and Rakell had some brief chemistry last year, combining for 2.6 goals per 60 at five-on-five, an above-average mark. The low cost and low ownership at home with heavy minutes on a short slate.
*Stats from Natural Stat Trick
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