NHL DFS Picks Today: Friday Fun! (December 8)

There are just three games in the NHL tonight but there is no shortage of superstars coming from Pittsburgh, Florida, Minnesota, and Edmonton. Let’s look at some of those top options and then dig for a bit of value. Before our NHL DFS picks today, as always, Stokastic members should check the Discord before lock for updated roster information.

NHL DFS Picks Today, Top Stacks, Lineup Optimizer Plays

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Connor McDavid (EDM vs. MIN): DraftKings – $9,400 | FanDuel – $10,300

After a slow start to the year with 10 points in 11 games, McDavid has been on an absolute tear over his last 10 appearances, posting six goals and 22 points. That 10-game stretch has seen him manage at least three points in four of them. He hasn’t been shooting a lot – just 26 shots in that recent outburst – but the positive regression has come and it has been severe for his opponents. Skating with Zach Hyman at 5-on-5, the team is now outshooting their opponents by a 3:2 margin with the two of them on the ice. They are dominant and the goals have been flowing.

Minnesota is in town and though their defense has improved over the last month, they played last night in Vancouver, a 2-0 loss. This is a tired team playing their second road game in as many nights, and that’s a situation McDavid can exploit regardless of how the opponent is otherwise playing.

As expected, McDavid leads projections tonight, clearing the next-closest skater on DraftKings by over 3.1 fantasy points, and 3.4 points on FanDuel. He is easily the top option on the board tonight, but that will also draw a lot of ownership his way. Tournament DFS players have a decision to make against an improved Minnesota roster, but his upside tonight is immense.

Adam Fantilli (CBJ vs. STL): DraftKings – $4,200 | FanDuel – $4,800

Fantilli’s best offensive performance in the NHL came last night scoring twice and totaling three points. It may be chasing points, but Fantilli does have the highest shots per minute on the team over their last 10 games. That stretch has seen inconsistent ice time – finishing with 12:30 or less twice and also over 17 minutes twice – but that is what makes him an ideal tournament target. The team’s power play is a mess but their opponent gives up the fewest power plays per game anyway, so this isn’t a great special team spot regardless.

Their opponent does give up chances against at 5-on-5, though. Since Halloween, an 18-game span, St. Louis is allowing the fourth-most shots and fifth-most goals against per minute. It gives Fantilli a good matchup outside of the power play, and given the team’s performance last night (a 7-3 loss), he may be in line for more ice time tonight.

Among all pivots priced under $5,000 tonight on either site, Fantilli ranks second by Stokastic’s fantasy point projection. That gives him very good point-per-dollar value regardless of where he’s rostered, so he makes a nice mid-priced target in a good matchup. There may not be much ownership, either, as he’s around 10-11% projected on DK and even lower on FD.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Jake Guentzel (PIT at FLA): DraftKings – $7,400 | FanDuel – $8,700

With Bryan Rust and Rickard Rakell injured, Pittsburgh doesn’t have a whole lot left on the wing. It is mostly down to Guentzel, so he should see his role expanded and be a focal point of whatever offense remains. The good news is that even with Rust elsewhere (down the lineup or injured), Pittsburgh generates 4.1 expected goals and 4.7 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 with Guentzel and Sidney Crosby on the ice at 5-on-5. They are still offensively potent regardless of whomever is on their right wing.

There is no way around it but to say being a top line going into Florida and facing Aleksander Barkov is a tough matchup. Regardless of that, this game has a 6.5 total and though Florida is a favorite, they are only a 60-61% favorite (depending on where the information is gathered). With Pittsburgh’s injuries, any scoring from the Penguins is likely to be concentrated on their top stars.

Though Guentzel doesn’t carry the top wing projection tonight, Guentzel still comes in third on both sites by this measure, grading out fine on a point-per-dollar basis on DK in particular. For tournament players looking to avoid the chalkier options from Florida or St. Louis, this is a high-priced pivot to make.

Matthew Tkachuk (FLA vs. PIT): DraftKings – $6,700 | FanDuel – $7,300

Hello, old friend.

Tkachuk has been in this space a number of times and his regression hasn’t kicked in yet. He has 43 shots in his last 12 games, scoring just once. Despite a three-year average of 13.5% shooting, he’s sitting at 4% this season and as we saw (and are seeing) with McDavid, that positive regression can come quickly. He is seeing less ice time of late, finishing under 18 minutes in five of his previous six outings, but he’s still averaging three shots per game in that span so it isn’t as if he’s been invisible.

The only thing saving the Penguins from an even worse fate than their 3-4-3 record in their last 10 games is goaltending – that stretch saw their goalies post a .949 save percentage at 5-on-5. That is a number that screams regression, which is good news for Tkachuk and company tonight.

Our winger has seen a price drop over the last couple of weeks and that is driving up his ownership projections – he leads the way on FD (coming in over 35% projected ownership) and is at 28.6% on DK. That is very high, but he has good peripherals and should start scoring a lot more often. He can be used in any format.

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Jake Neighbours (STL at CBJ): DraftKings – $3,700 | FanDuel – $4,300

It has been an impressive run for Neighbours who is up to eight goals and 24 shots over his last 10 games. He has made a big difference on the St. Louis top line as they are generating 24% more expected goals and 20% more goals per minute than they were without him. His ability to get to the front of the net is allowing their premiere trio to create a lot more from the middle of the ice than they had been previously, and creating more from the most dangerous areas of the ice is a big, important improvement for them.

Going into Columbus presents the best matchup on the slate. Over the last four weeks, Columbus is 29th by expected goals against and 30th by actual goals against per minute at 5-on-5. Their penalty kill has largely been good, but it doesn’t matter a whole lot for Neighbours as just 1 of 10 goals on the year for him have been on the man advantage.

Of the wingers priced under $4,000 on DK or $5,000 on FD, Neighbours is coming in second by fantasy point projections, and is the highest outside of Columbus. He could see a lot of ownership on DK, in particular, as he’s projected around 20% for that site tonight, but his role on the top line and top PP unit, in a great matchup, makes him a cheap option for this slate.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Defense

Evan Bouchard (EDM vs. MIN): DraftKings – $6,300 | FanDuel – $7,800

As the team has come alive offensively, Bouchard’s production has risen, too. He had a good start to the year, anyway, with 12 points in his first 13 games, but he now has 12 points in his last 10 outings, posting 28 shots and 15 blocks in that span. Not only is the point production elite, but there are solid peripherals besides that. Like McDavid, facing Minnesota isn’t an ideal matchup, but their penalty kill has generally been awful this year (better with the new coach but it’s still just been five games), and they should be tired after their game last night.

Bouchard is priced in a tier of his own on both sites tonight, and that could drive ownership away as there are a lot of mid-priced targets that have a better point-per-dollar value. Regardless, he has been incredibly productive going back to the end of last season and should be considered an option in tournament formats tonight.

Brock Faber (MIN at EDM): DraftKings – $3,300 | FanDuel – $4,200

In five games under their new coach, Faber has averaged 24:21 in ice time, adding over a minute to his per-game total when compared to the first 19 games of the season. He has a pair of assists, five shots, and nine blocks in those recent five outings, which isn’t great production, but he’s getting the ice time to support higher peripherals. Since Edmonton their own new coach, the team is eighth in the league in shot attempts per minute, so Faber should have plenty of opportunities for shot blocks tonight.

Among all defenders priced under $4,000 on DK and $4,500 on FD, Faber carries a top-4 projection on both sites and that gives him a point-per-$1,000 value over 2.0 on both sites. He can be used as a cheap one-off blue liner regardless of where he’s rostered tonight.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Tristan Jarry (PIT at FLA): DraftKings – $7,400 | FanDuel – $7,800

With Pittsburgh’s injuries and defensive slide besides that, it seems a good night for Jarry to face a good amount of shot volume, and he does lead Stokastic’s GoalieStats projection for saves tonight. He is also projected for the second-most goals against, so there is a double-edged sword here. He has already had huge DFS performances against top offensive teams like Toronto, Tampa Bay, and Colorado, so he can shut down any opponent, but there are also some blow-ups along the way.

Ownership projections have Jarry outside the top-3 netminders tonight, landing at 15.4% on DK and even lower on FD. That, along the volume he could face tonight, makes him an option for tournament formats.

Top NHL DFS Stacks Today

FLA1: Evan Rodrigues – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart

This line appears in this column for the second time this week as they continue to be under-owned in each game. This trio has combined for 17 points over their last three games, but they have been tremendous all season by creating 3.2 expected goals and 5.8 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, controlling 61.5% of the expected goal share. They face a Pittsburgh team that, as mentioned earlier, is being saved by their goaltending and is really going through it defensively right now. It isn’t an awful spot for this line, even if Pittsburgh doesn’t take a lot of penalties.

Stokastic’s Top Stacks tool has this Florida line coming in with less than half the ownership of the team’s second line on DK, and roughly one-third the ownership over on FD. They have positive leverage – a higher top-2 stack probability than expected ownership – so they are a line that can be stacked for tournaments.

STL2: Jordan Kyrou – Brayden Schenn – Kevin Hayes

The duo of Kyrou-Schenn has been productive offensively this season by creating 61 shot attempts and 4.4 goals every 60 minutes at 5-on-5 together (over 163 minutes in their sample). Kyrou broke a 10-game goalless drought in his last game but he’s still shooting just 6% this season against a three-year average of 14%. There is a lot more positive regression to come and that he has 15 shots in his last five games shows he’s staying involved offensively. He will match against depth from Columbus and their team defense has been horrid, as mentioned in the section on Neighbours. It is a great matchup for this line.

On the flipside of the leverage chart, this St. Louis line is carrying significant negative leverage on DK, per the Top Stacks tool. However, they are coming in with positive leverage on FD so, at the least, they should be considered as a secondary stack on that site tonight.

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

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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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