NHL DFS Picks Today: Nathan MacKinnon a Viable Spend Up (November 20)

As we always say, it’s important to check the Stokastic Discord for updated DFS information pertaining to injuries and line changes. Let’s get to the best NHL DFS picks for Monday’s action on the ice.

NHL DFS Picks Today, Top Stacks, Lineup Optimizer Plays

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Nathan MacKinnon (COL at NSH): DraftKings – $9,700 | FanDuel – $10,000

Colorado rebuilt its depth in the offseason to lighten the load for its top stars, but injuries have forced MacKinnon back to heavy minutes; he’s skating nearly 22 minutes a game in November, and he’s been over 24 minutes twice since the injury to teammate Artturi Lehkonen. Additional ice time for a player averaging 4.6 shots per game means good things for his peripheral floor. That his new line with Valeri Nichushkin and Mikko Rantanen is creating 88.8 shot attempts per 60 minutes at five-on-five – a number that would pass for a low-end power play – is also good news.

Also in MacKinnon’s favor is facing a Nashville roster that is killing off just 71.2% of power plays given, the third-worst mark in the league. The curious part he has zero power play goals, though not for lack of trying, as he is one of 14 skaters in the league with at least 20 power play shots this season. There is a lot of shot volume, but not a lot of luck, and that has a chance of turning around against a weak penalty kill.

This superstar leads Stokastic’s NHL DFS projections tonight, on both sites, whether looking at all positions or just the teams. He is priced as such, but his elevated projection provides a much better point-per-dollar value than other expensive pivots. He is a target in all formats tonight.

Cody Glass (NSH vs. COL): DraftKings – $3,100 | FanDuel – $3,300

On the other side of the Colorado game is Cody Glass, who just returned from injury last week. He had a career resurgence last year with Nashville with 14 goals and 35 points in 72 games. What is notable about those goals is six of them came on the power play. He led the team in that regard, and injuries to its roster this year has him back on the team’s top power play unit.

The key for that power play time will be Glass’s opportunities at that strength. Nashville is drawing the second-most power plays per game (4.13) on the season, while Colorado is giving up the third-most power plays. Nashville’s top power play unit has five goals in under 24 minutes together without the injured Tommy Novak, so Glass has stepped onto a quintet that is finding success and may get four (or more) chances to get on the board tonight.

There are only a dozen centers priced under $3,500 on FanDuel tonight but Glass tops the projection list for that site, giving him a great point-per-dollar mark. That value isn’t as great on DraftKings, but he’s still near 2.2 projected fantasy points per $1,000 of salary so he’s a fine salary-saver over there as well.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

Kevin Fiala (LA at ARI): DraftKings – $6,000 | FanDuel – $7,000

The move to Phillip Danault’s line has been a double-edged sword for Fiala. On average, he has skated just 15:30 in the three games with his new second-line center, a clear decline from the 17:47 per night across his other 13 games. The flipside has been excellent chemistry in a small sample, creating over 47 shots and 3.5 expected goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five, and that is a towering shot rate offensively. He has one goal, two assists, and 10 shots in those three recent outings, so the production has been very good with his new line mates despite the ice time drop.

Arizona continues to be without injured defenseman Juuso Valimaki. With him off the ice at five-on-five this season, the Coyotes are allowing over 30% more goals against and 37% expected goals against per minute. He is the team’s best defensive defenseman, and it is very leaky without him. Not only will Fiala’s line avoid whatever shutdown defense pair remains, but he’ll face off against depth rearguards not suited for their new roles. It gives him a very advantageous matchup tonight.

Among the flanks skating tonight, Fiala ranks second by Stokastic’s NHL DFS projections for those priced under $6,500 on DraftKings. For FanDuel wingers under $7,000, he rates fourth, so the value is fine across the industry. Just watch for elevated ownership given how positive his matchup is.

Andrei Kuzmenko (VAN vs. SJ): DraftKings – $4,700 | FanDuel – $5,100

The regression monster has come for Kuzmenko as his shooting percentage has fallen from an absurd 27.3% last season to 11.5% this season. That he also does not shoot much – just 26 shots on goal in 17 games – is hurting his goal total. Despite that, he’s still on pace for a 68-point season. One particular aspect of his appeal tonight is that of Vancouver’s four top power play forwards, Kuzmenko is by far the cheapest for all the reasons outlined. He is still skating on a line with Elias Pettersson and Ilya Mikheyev that has been dominant by creating 3.2 expected goals and 5.8 actual goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five.

Another aspect of Kuzmenko’s appeal is the matchup tonight. Even since their back-to-back games giving up 10 goals in each outing, the Sharks are last in the league by shots allowed at both five-on-five and the penalty kill. Kuzmenko is in the best matchup on the slate tonight and that makes his lack of shooting a lot easier to stomach.

Kuzmenko’s lack of shooting will often leave his NHL DFS projections lower than others in his price range, and tonight is no exception. All the same, it is arguably the best matchup in the league, and the team is at home. He shouldn’t be used in cash games but is more than acceptable as part of a Vancouver stack in tournament formats.

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Connor Zary (CGY at SEA): DraftKings – $3,900 | FanDuel – N/A

It has been quite the turnaround for Calgary, in no small part thanks to Zary. It has been eight games since his call from the minor leagues and he has 8 points in that span while the team has carried a 4-2-2 record in that time. There has been instant chemistry on Nazem Kadri’s second line as the team is creating over 3.0 expected goals and 4.7 actual goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five with Zary up there. The rookie has also reached at least 16 minutes in five of his eight appearances, including top power play minutes, so there is good usage for him with Calgary.

Getting the top power play time is key for tonight. Even as Seattle’s five-on-five numbers have improved of late, its penalty kill has given up 10 goals in nine games this month and 16 goals in 19 games this season. It gives Zary a good matchup with the man advantage, and his line can still do damage elsewhere, as it has been able to create offense so well.

For DraftKings tonight, Zary’s projection is over 7.8 fantasy points, bringing his point-per-dollar value over 2.0. That is very solid for that site and speaks to his upside even if he’s not a high-volume shooter. He can be used either as part of a stack or as a salary-saving one-off.

Zary is still not in the player pool on FanDuel, so for a cheap winger, consider Conor Garland (VAN, $4,000) as his Vancouver team hosts the hapless San Jose Sharks.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Defense

Evan Bouchard (EDM at FLA): DraftKings – $6,400 | FanDuel – $7,600

Bouchard finds himself back in this column because he remains a consistent producer despite his team’s stumbles. He has 16 points in 16 games, 6 points in his last five, has averaged 3.3 shots per game and has reached the DraftKings shot bonus five times. He visits a Florida team that will be without Barkov, and he’s been one of the team’s top penalty killers; the team gives up the fewest shots and goals per minute when Barkov is on the ice for the penalty kill. Without him, the Edmonton power play, and thus Bouchard, are in a much better special team matchup.

Elevated pricing on FanDuel can make Bouchard difficult to roster on that site, but he’s priced outside the elite tier on DraftKings and still has a double-digit fantasy point projection. He can be used by himself in tournaments or as part of an Edmonton stack.

K’Andre Miller (NYR at DAL): DraftKings – $3,300 | FanDuel – $4,000

The injury to Adam Fox has pushed New York defenders into new roles, and Miller has seen a lot of ice time because of it: his five Fox-less appearances has pushed him to 24:41 per night, skating at least 23 minutes in all of them. Miller has a career-low shot rate this season, but he’s never been much of a volume shooter, and his blocks per minute are a three-year high. Just the sheer volume of minutes he plays makes him a threat for the DraftKings block bonus, even if he’s not a monster shot blocker in general.

Miller comes in fourth place for Stokastic’s NHL DFS projections on DraftKings among defenders with a salary under $3,500. It brings his point-per-$1,000 over 2.1, and that makes him a solid value at a cheap price, even in a tough matchup. That value is a bit worse on FanDuel but is still over 2.0 so he’s at-or-near the top of the cheap targets on either site.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Connor Ingram (ARI vs. LA): DraftKings – $7,100 | FanDuel – $8,100

Ingram had one very bad game in October, allowing three goals on nine shots and getting pulled against this very same Los Angeles team. Outside of that one start, Ingram has managed a .927 save percentage and as the team’s defensive play has fallen off – partly thanks to the Välimäki injury mentioned earlier – Ingram has faced at least 30 shots in five straight outings and has averaged 36 shots against in those starts. He has had some tremendous DFS performances, but also been blown up, and that is the conundrum of DFS goalies – they can help DFS players to tournament-winning scores but can also sink an entire night when things go wrong.

The GoalieStats section on Stokastic has Ingram as one of three goalies expected to make at least 30 saves tonight, but two things separate him from the others: he is in a home matchup, and he has the cheapest price on DraftKings. He should be considered in tournament lineups on that site.

Ingram’s elevated price on FanDuel makes his value proposition much worse, so pivoting to Alexandar Georgiev (COL, $7,600) is an option.

Top NHL DFS Stacks Today

BOS1: Brad Marchand – Pavel Zacha – David Pastrnak

All of Colorado, Edmonton and Boston are on the road tonight, and that puts a lot of high-end talent in visiting matchups. The one thing that could separate Boston is the goalie it is facing. Tampa Bay’s Jonas Johansson started the season strong but since posting back-to-back shutouts in October, he has posted an .869 save percentage in eight starts, allowing at least four goals in seven of them, and giving up at least five goals twice. Boston’s top line has been elite offensively, posting 3.2 expected goals and 5.5 actual goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five. It gives the Bruins trio a great matchup, even on the road.

DAL3: Tyler Seguin – Matt Duchene – Mason Marchment

The reality is this line has been carrying Dallas for weeks now. Over the team’s last 10 games, Seguin has been on the ice for 12 Dallas even strength goals, and no one on any other line has been on the ice for more than nine. Even though none of them are on the top power play unit, Seguin has been on the ice for as many total goals (15) as Jason Robertson in that 10-game span. This Stars alignment has created 3.9 expected goals and 5.6 actual goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five, which highlights its offensive upside. It also avoids top-line matchups and will often see bottom-6 matchups, giving it an easier path to production.

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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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