There are just six games on the evening NHL slate for Black Friday but there is no shortage of stars (and Stars) on the docket. Let’s dig into which options to focus on and which can provide some cheap value. Nonetheless, onto our best NHL DFS picks today.
As always, Stokastic members should check the Discord at warmups for roster/injury information.
NHL DFS Picks Today, Top Stacks, Lineup Optimizer Plays
NHL DFS Picks Today: Center
Brock Nelson (NYI at OTT): DraftKings – $5,900 | FanDuel – $7,200
Despite the Islanders having scoring issues for most of this season, Nelson has had no trouble finding the back of the net. He is up to 10 goals in 18 games, averaging nearly 3.7 shots per game. His shot attempt rate per minute is 34.8% higher than his previous career high, so the shot volume is not a mirage of any sort. He is shooting more than ever so even with a three-year low in shooting percentage, he has a career-high in goals per game.
Over their last six games, the Ottawa Senators are allowing nearly 30% more shot attempts against at 5-on-5 when the team’s Tim Stützle shutdown line is off the ice. It puts Nelson’s line – generating nearly 44 shots per 60 minutes in that same timeframe, which is a huge number – in a better matchup than the team’s top line. With Nelson posting four goals and six points in his last four appearances, he’s on a bit of a hot streak and is catching an Ottawa team five days removed from a trip to Europe.
All the goals aren’t driving up Nelson’s ownership tonight as Stokastic’s outlook has him under 6% on DraftKings and 5% on FanDuel for tonight. With just six games, that is very reasonable ownership for a forward that could reach 40 goals this season. He is fine as a one-off tournament option or as part of an Islanders stack.
Marco Rossi (MIN vs. COL): DraftKings – $3,800 | FanDuel – $4,300
Rossi was moved back to the team’s top line during their European Vacation, and he had a goal and an assist in those two games, managing over 18 minutes of ice time in each of them (both games went to overtime, for full disclosure). Scoring has not been an issue when he’s been skating with Kirill Kaprizov at 5-on-5 as the team is up to 3.7 goals/60 minutes at 5-on-5 with the two of them on the ice. Their defense has been lackluster but in a home matchup, they’ll largely avoid the Colorado superstars at that strength so they shouldn’t be pinned in their own zone too often against weaker Avalanche depth forwards.
Avoiding that top line matchup is key tonight as Colorado is giving up 45% more expected goals against with the top line off the ice since the injury to winger Artturi Lehkonen, going from a monster 67% expected goal share to 45% (and we are still waiting word on Nathan MacKinnon’s availability). Rossi will likely not have top power play time tonight, but his even strength ice time should provide lots of scoring opportunities.
Low shot rates keep Rossi’s projections muted but at his price, he doesn’t need a lot of shots to have a good DFS performance. He can be used as a salary-saving one-off option in any format but is preferred for tournaments given those lack of shots.
NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger
Matthew Tkachuk (FLA vs. WPG): DraftKings – $7,800 | FanDuel – $8,400
It is a bit ridiculous at this point to see the elder Tkachuk brother shooting 3.7%, considering he’s been over 10.5% for six straight seasons and averaged 13.5% over the prior three campaigns. He has three goals on the season and should have at least 10, given what he usually produces. The shot volume remains tremendous by landing 4.3 shots per game, however, and that’s given him seven DraftKings shot bonuses in his 19 appearances. Recently getting Sam Bennett and Carter Verhaeghe as linemates is important as that trio scored 4.4 goals/60 minutes at 5-on-5 in the prior two seasons, and that’s a huge offensive number.
Though Winnipeg isn’t an undisciplined team, they are struggling on the penalty kill. In 18 games this season, they have given up 16 power play goals against. Tkachuk’s scoring issue certainly extends to the power play, where he has zero goals. It is clearly a luck factor as he is 1 of 4 forwards in the league with at least 25 shots on the man advantage and the none of the other three have fewer than three goals. This is a good matchup for the winger to get that monkey off his back on the power play.
Stokastic’s DraftKings projections have Tkachuk second among all wingers on the slate, and he’s first over on FanDuel. He is priced outside the top-4 wing options on both sites so, relatively speaking, there is good value here. There is viability for him in any DFS format tonight but may be better suited for cash games given his very high ownership projections.
Drake Batherson (OTT vs. NYI): DraftKings – $5,200 | FanDuel – $5,500
Drawing the short straw for Ottawa is Batherson, who is down on the team’s third line. That is a bit misleading, though, because he still skates on the team’s top PP unit and Ottawa rarely uses its fourth line. Despite that third-line billing, Batherson has averaged 17:27 per game over his last three outings, nearly the same mark as Vladimir Tarasenko (17:37), who is on the top line. That top power play billing is very important for him because Ottawa draws 4.3 power plays per game, which is the most in the league. It is why he has nearly as many points (4) on the power play as he does at 5-on-5 (5).
The New York Islanders aren’t a heavily penalized team, but they are really struggling on the penalty kill. They have given up 18 power play goals against in 18 games this year, including 12 in their previous 10 contests. If this penalty kill takes the ice four or five times tonight, Batherson and the top PP unit stand a good chance of getting on the board.
Batherson’s points-per-$1,000 fantasy outlook tonight is over 1.8 on DK and 2.1 on FD. Those aren’t elite value rates, but they are good, and his ownership projections are well under 5% regardless of site. He can be a one-off option in tournaments or part of an Ottawa power play stack.
Jonathan Drouin (COL at MIN): DraftKings – $2,900 | FanDuel – $3,800
On the topic of top PP units, Drouin was moved to Colorado’s top unit in the team’s last game before Thanksgiving against Vancouver. The winger replied with a helper on the man advantage, adding a goal at even strength. The way the Avalanche run their team – considering all the injuries – means anyone not on the top line will struggle for high levels of ice time. The added power play time should help Drouin to 13-14 minutes of ice time, which is where many non-superstar Avalanche forwards will land. Our winger isn’t being priced as if we’re expecting 19-20 minutes, though.
Like the Islanders mentioned above, the Wild are having an awful time killing penalties this season. The team has given up 20 power play goals in 17 games and actually lead the league in PP goals against per game this season. Colorado, meanwhile, is drawing the fourth-most power plays per game. Drouin should get a fair number of opportunities to get on the scoresheet against a very bad penalty kill.
Lack of shooting, like Rossi earlier in this article, will keep Drouin’s projections moderate for his price. However, getting that top PP role in this matchup gives him multi-point upside. Just watch for news on MacKinnon and whether he can play as he’s the engine of their offense up front.
NHL DFS Picks Today: Defense
Miro Heiskanen (DAL vs. CGY): DraftKings – $5,100 | FanDuel – $5,700
Heiskanen has seen his shots per game drop this season but a lot of it is just due to missing the net. He usually lands 47-48% of his shot attempts on goal but he’s around 37% so far this season. If he was at 47.5% instead, he’d be bang-on his shots per game from last year. Those misses should turn into more shots on goal moving forward, which is good news for his DFS value. Besides that, he’s averaging a career-high 1.8 blocks per game, managing at least two blocks in two-thirds of his games. Hosting a high-paced Calgary team helps a lot tonight for a defender that can be relied upon for roughly 25 minutes a night.
For DK and FD tonight, Stokastic projections have Heiskanen sixth and fourth among all blue liners, respectively. He carries very good point-per-dollar value because of his modest cost, so he’s a solid mid-priced target for defensemen on this slate.
Adam Larsson (SEA vs. VAN): DraftKings – $3,500 | FanDuel – $4,400
It was a brutal start to the year for Larsson as he managed zero points over the first four weeks. The last two weeks have been much more productive with one goal and three assists in eight games. Points are great, but where Larsson draws consistent value are his blocked shots. He has managed at least three blocks in 9/21 games on the season and is over 2.1 per contest. If he can be a reasonable point producer like he was the previous two seasons, in addition to his great block potential, there is a valuable DFS option here.
Among all defenders priced under $4,000 being projected on DraftKings tonight, Larsson leads the way both in overall fantasy point outlook and point-per-dollar value. It makes him a very good option on that site. The value is worse on FanDuel, but still playable as he’s fourth in overall fantasy projection for defencemen in his price range.
NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie
Connor Hellebuyck (WPG at FLA): DraftKings – $7,400 | FanDuel – $7,500
Winnipeg’s elite goalie had a terrible start to the year by allowing 13 goals in his first three starts, giving up at least four in each appearance. In the 11 starts since, he has given up just 27 goals. That stretch failed to see him allow more than four goals in any game, and he allowed four goals just once. Volume has been an issue, as he’s faced just 28.9 shots per game in that span, but he’s not getting blown up, and that’s important for DFS. Squaring off against a Florida team that is third in the league in shots per minute should help those volume concerns a bit.
Stokastic’s GoalieStats section has this netminder saving the second-most shots tonight, carrying a projection over 30. There is always the potential for having the pucks fly into the net with that kind of volume, but it gives Hellebuyck the third-best point-per-dollar value on DraftKings, and fourth-best on FanDuel.
Top NHL DFS Stacks Today
CAR2: Andrei Svechnikov – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Martin Necas
It has been nine games since Tampa Bay put Brandon Hagel back on the top line. With the top line off the ice in those contests, Tampa Bay has seen their expected goals against at 5-on-5 rise by 17%, and goals against much more than that. Carolina’s second line will avoid that top-line matchup, so they stand a good chance of creating offense against the depth from their opponent. That Hurricanes line has only been together for a handful of games but are up to 3.7 expected goals/60. Andrei Svechnikov is still looking for his first goal, but he’s earning more ice time as he works his way back from injury and has two assists and nine shots in his last three games.
The moderate price of this stack is leading to them being over-owned, per the Top Stacks leverage tool. That price allows a lot of flexibility with a second stack or which defensemen to select, though, and they are still top-10 among all lines tonight by top-2 stack probability. It makes them a mid-priced stack to consider.
CGY2: Jonathan Huberdeau – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
This particular Calgary trio hasn’t spent a lot of time together – about 63 minutes at 5-on-5 – but for what can be considered a third line, they’ve been generating well: 2.8 expected goals and 33 shots per 60 minutes. Those rates aren’t elite or anything, but they are well above average, and they aren’t being priced as an elite line. Huberdeau has five points and 10 shots in five games since being moved to this unit as it helps him avoid shutdown matchups while also giving him line mates that are very good at creating shots.
Calgary’s second line is also coming in over-owned but it’s largely because they are so cheap; it allows an expensive secondary stack like Winnipeg, Colorado, or Tampa Bay. Their ownership is lower than the Carolina line mentioned, projected around (or under) 5% on either site, per Top Stacks. It makes them a cheap option to enable paying up for an expensive one elsewhere.
*Additional best NHL DFS picks today stats from Natural Stat Trick