NHL DFS Picks Today: Best Lineup Optimizer Going (November 29)

There are just three games in the NHL tonight but there are a few weak teams on the slate and that makes for interesting matchups. Let’s dig into some high-end options and then look at those matchups for some value. Onto our best NHL DFS picks today.

As always, Stokastic members are encouraged to double-check the Discord before warmups for roster and injury news.

NHL DFS Picks Today, Top Stacks, Lineup Optimizer Plays

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

JT Compher (DET at NYR): DraftKings – $4,000 | FanDuel – $5,500

An injury to Detroit center Dylan Larkin has pushed Compher to the top line temporarily. Quietly, he has been on a tear over the last four weeks with 3 goals and 10 assists in 10 games going back to late October. He is not much of a shooter, so he has just eight shots in that 10-game span, but he has found offensive success skating alongside sniping winger Alex DeBrincat. He will have DeBrincat and right winger Lucas Raymond next to him for this outing, so he’s being put with the team’s top wingers to help continue that recent offensive outburst.

Going into New York to face the Rangers is a tough matchup as the Rangers have allowed the third-fewest goals per minute this season. That has been sliding in November, though, as they’ve gone from 1.97 goals against/60 in their nine October games to 2.78 goals against/60 this month. The Rangers may get a healthy Adam Fox back tonight, but the defensive metrics have fallen along with the goals against, and it may not be as difficult a matchup as it was earlier in the season.

Detroit’s presumably tough matchup is leaving Compher with single-digit ownership projections for tonight, regardless of which site he’s used. At his price, he can be used as a one-off option but given the correlation he has with his line mates, using him in a Red Wings stack for tournaments is likely the better path.

Christian Dvorak (MON at CLS): DraftKings – $3,100 | FanDuel – $3,600

Dvorak has just three points in 11 games since returning but there are some caveats to that. First, he’s shooting just 6.7% against a three-year average of 14.1%. His lack of shooting – 15 shots in those 11 contests – means he’s likely just being shorted one goal, but for a player at his DFS pricing level, one goal every 11 games matters greatly. He has also yet to register a secondary assist where he normally has one every 6-7 games. That could (or should) mean an extra 1-2 assists as well. All those little things matter for such a cheap DFS option, but it indicates an offensive rebound on the horizon.

Going into Columbus is one of the few matchups in the league Dvorak may take advantage of. These two teams rank 29th and 30th by expected goals against at 5-on-5 this season, with Columbus goaltending leaving them 29th by goals against per minute. It gives Dvorak, who has been skating on the team’s second line with Cole Caufield, the chance to get on the scoresheet against a similarly weak defensive team.

Among all centers priced under $4,000 tonight on either site, Dvorak leads the way by Stokastic’s fantasy point projections by nearly 20% on DK and nearly 50% on FD. He is a tremendous value regardless of site, so he can be used as a one-off option to save salary at his position.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Artemi Panarin (NYR vs. DET): DraftKings – $8,400 | FanDuel – $10,200

Panarin has been a high-end offensive star for years, but there has been a wrinkle to his offensive profile this season: way more shots. He is sitting a shade shy of 4.0 shots per game, and that has led to six DraftKings shot bonuses in 20 contests. Last season, he had 10 across all 82 games, and he’s easily having the heaviest shot-volume season of his NHL career. It is putting him on pace for his first 40-goal effort, on top of remaining one of the top playmakers in the league.

A big key for Panarin’s success has been his duo with Alexis Lafrenière, as the two wingers are helping the Rangers creating 3.3 expected goals and 3.4 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, which are great offensive numbers. That bodes well when hosting a Detroit team missing their top center (and top player) while also being a middling defensive team otherwise.

Panarin rates second by point projections tonight among wingers on DK and is first over on FD. He doesn’t bring much value, but none of the expensive wingers are good values tonight. Given Panarin’s fantasy profile improvements, he can be used as a one-off option or part of a stack for tournaments.

Kirill Marchenko (CLS vs. MON): DraftKings – $5,000 | FanDuel – $6,100

Though it’s been another tough year for Columbus, one bright spot has been Marchenko’s offense. He has seven goals and six assists in 21 games, averaging 2.8 shots per game. He is second on the team in both points and shots per minute at 5-on-5 and a recent move to the top line has seen him skate at least 18 minutes in four of his last five games. That stretch has resulted in three total goals and at least two shots on target in each appearance.

This is a matchup between two weak defensive teams and Marchenko’s move to the top line helps in more ways than one. Notably, Montreal is tied for the third-most power plays given per game, and they have allowed 22 power play goals against in 21 contests this season. Marchenko is skating on the top PP unit, and he’s second on the team in shots per minute with the man advantage. They don’t have a good power play, but at least this winger is taking his shots.

Outside the high-priced wingers, Marchenko is top-5 at the position by overall fantasy point projections on either site, rating better on DK using point-per-dollar values. His improved usage and passable values means he can be used as a one-off option, but the correlation with his line mates means a full stack for tournaments is a better approach.

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Quinton Byfield (LA vs WAS): DraftKings – $4,300 | FanDuel – $5,600

If there is one weakness in Byfield’s offensive profile, it’s a lack of shooting. His 6.2 shots per 60 minutes is last among regular Kings forwards, though it’s a function of missing the net: Byfield is hitting the net on fewer than 40% of his shot attempts. He is the only Kings forward under 45%, so hopefully there’s some small-sample noise here. Besides that, he has turned into a tremendous playmaker, posting 12 assists in 19 games, tied for the second-most on the team despite earning under 15 minutes a night. If he can start hitting the net a bit more, he can be a true dual-threat offensive force.

Byfield’s line has been excellent this season with 3.0 expected goals and 3.6 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 while controlling 54.1% of the expected goal share. Facing a Washington team that is in the bottom-10 of the league this season by expected goals against gives him a great matchup at home tonight.

Byfield’s lack of shooting keeps his fantasy projections depressed, which is no exception tonight. However, simply hitting the net more (which he will do) should raise his shot floor, and it is an excellent matchup besides that.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Defense

Adam Fox (NYR vs DET): DraftKings – $5,200 | FanDuel – $7,000

The Rangers are expected to welcome Fox back to the lineup tonight and his DraftKings price is the lowest it has been all season. He is not a player that puts up much for peripherals – 15 shots and 12 blocks in 10 games – but he has 11 points in those 10 contests as he’s an engine on the blue line both at even strength and on the power play. Facing Detroit tonight means facing a Red Wings team giving up the sixth-most power plays per game this season and the Rangers scored 11 power play goals in the 10 games Fox played.

That lack of aforementioned peripherals leaves Fox’s fantasy projection tonight lower than options like Jacob Trouba and Zach Werenski. However, it is a tremendous power play matchup for him and his price drop on DK means that he can be used for tournaments on that site, whether by himself or part of a larger Rangers stack.

Justin Barron (MON at CLS): DraftKings – $3,500 | FanDuel – $4,200

Injuries to the Montreal blue line have pushed Barron into a bigger role as he’s averaged 21:49 in ice time over his last six games. He has managed at least 20 minutes in five of those six outings, posting one goal, one assist, and nine blocks. There hasn’t been high-end DFS performances in that stretch, but he gets a great matchup against Columbus tonight which can help both his point production and blocked shot totals.

Of all defenders priced under $4,000 on DK and $4,500 on FD, Barron ranks second and fourth by projected fantasy points tonight, respectively. Even on this small slate, he’s projected for single-digit ownership, so using him as a salary-saving blue liner tonight is very reasonable when factoring in the matchup and that low ownership.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Darcy Kuemper (WSH at LA): DraftKings – $7,000 | FanDuel – $7,000

If Washington were to win this game, it’s likely because of their goaltending – the Capitals have the second-lowest goal-per-60 rate in the league so far this season while the Kings are first. Los Angeles has been a top-10 team in the league by shots/60 and that means Kuemper could see a reasonable rate of shots against tonight, helping his DFS performance.

There is always a chance he gets lit up given the poor quality of his team, but the Stokastic GoalieStats section has Kuemper with the second-most expected save total tonight. He also leads by expected goals against, but such is the nature of using a cheap goalie on the road. That kind of profile makes him perfectly suited for tournaments.

Top NHL DFS Stacks Today

CBJ1: Johnny Gaudreau – Boone Jenner – Kirill Marchenko

In over 110 minutes together at 5-on-5 this season, this Columbus line is creating 4.3 goals per 60 minutes while controlling nearly 53% of the expected goal share. They are riding hot by shooting percentage, but this is also a great matchup against a weak defensive Montreal roster. As mentioned earlier, the Canadiens are a team that takes a lot of penalties and this Blue Jackets trio all skate together on the top power play unit. That kind of correlation on a night where they could see four or five power play opportunities is good for their DFS upside.

This trio is coming in a bit over owned on both sites, when looking at the Top Stacks tool, but they also lead the slate tonight in top-2 stack probability. They are going to be chalky for a very good reason and there are ways to dilute ownership, like adding Werenski to the stack.

LA2: Trevor Moore – Phillip Danault – Kevin Fiala

This Kings line has been excellent since being assembled by posting 3.8 expected goals and 5.0 actual goals/60 at 5-on-5, skating a little over 61 minutes together. It has helped push Fiala to four goals and six points in his last five games as his goal-scoring has turned around. They face the Washington Capitals, and it was mentioned how weak they are defensively in the Byfield section above. It gives Danault and his friends an excellent matchup to exploit, and they’ve been able to do just that skating together in their small sample.

Despite being a second line, this Kings trio is fifth on DK and fourth on FD by top-2 stack percentage tonight, per the Top Stacks tool. They are expected to come in with ownership lower than that percentage, giving them positive leverage on both sites. They are a target in a tremendous matchup for tournaments.

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*Additional best NHL DFS picks today stats from Natural Stat Trick

Michael Clifford
Michael has been writing about fantasy hockey for over a decade, and has been playing Daily Fantasy for just as long. He has contributed to both the Chicago Tribune and the Boston Herald, has worked for Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and is now in his fifth season with Stokastic. He lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, and can be reached on Twitter @SlimCliffy.

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