NHL DFS Picks Today: One Name Lapping the Field (November 27)

There are six games tonight in the NHL, including a marquee matchup between Cale Makar’s Colorado Avalanche and Nikita Kucherov’s Tampa Bay Lightning. Let’s look at some of the top options on the NHL DFS slate and then dig for some cheap value.

Stokastic members are encouraged, as always, to double-check the Discord before lock for lineup and injury information.

NHL DFS Picks Today, Top Stacks, Lineup Optimizer Plays

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Tim Stutzle (OTT vs. FLA): DraftKings – $6,900 | FanDuel – $8,700

Over his first three seasons, Stutzle was a 14.2% shooter, a number that sits at an even 10% this season. Despite that, he’s posted 22 points in 16 games, putting him on a 113-point pace. Ottawa’s top pivot has managed a multi-point game six times and is averaging over three shots per game. Part of his upside is tied to his consistent role, as he has skated at least 20 minutes in every November game, averaging 22:15 per outing on the campaign. He is a very good dual-threat offensive star, and that level of ice time means high upside each night.

A big key for him tonight is getting back Brady Tkachuk and Claude Giroux as linemates. In 100 minutes together at five-on-five, they are creating 3.6 expected goals and 4.2 actual goals per 60 minutes. Facing the top line from Florida isn’t an ideal matchup, but Stutzle has already had good games against Toronto, Pittsburgh, the New York Islanders and Carolina. This line can overcome tough matchups.

Ottawa’s top center is fifth in pricing at his position tonight on DraftKings but fourth by Stokastic’s fantasy point outlook, and that gives him solid value on that site. He is better suited for tournaments than cash games. The value is lower on FanDuel where he’s so much more expensive, but still fine. For a better value proposition at the same price range, consider Jack Eichel (VGK, $8,500).

Ross Colton (COL vs. TB): DraftKings – $4,100 | FanDuel – $5,000

As is the case with all depth Colorado forwards, ice time is an issue for Colton; he can’t be relied on to stray far from the 12- to 14-minute range on any given night. What makes Colton different is his shot volume as he’s averaging more shots per minute than any Avalanche skater outside Nathan MacKinnon. That means in Colton’s 20 games where he’s had minimal ice time, over half his appearances (11) have resulted in at least three shots on goal. He has seven goals in those 20 contests, pacing him for nearly 30 tallies.

For tonight’s matchup, he should face off frequently against the Anthony Cirelli line from Tampa Bay. His line, with Steven Stamkos, has struggled defensively over the last couple of seasons by allowing 3.3 expected and actual goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five. It is being easily outscored and outshot, so it’s a matchup that Colton can exploit, even if he doesn’t get a lot of ice time.

All the focus on Colorado’s top stars is likely to keep Colton’s ownership very low (projecting under 2% on both sites), and that makes him a target for tournaments despite his elevated price. For NHL DFS players looking for a better value (with higher ownership), Sam Bennett (FLA, DraftKings: $4,500; FanDuel: $4,300) is projecting much higher on Stokastic tonight.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

David Pastrnak (BOS at CBJ): DraftKings – $9,800 | FanDuel – $10,400

Pastrnak’s first quarter of the campaign was incredibly productive with 13 goals and 31 points in 20 games. He has managed at least five shots on goal more often (11) than not (9), and that level of peripheral security is always a positive for NHL DFS. He has skated at least 19 minutes in four straight games, averaging just over five shots per game in that span. High levels of minutes help this volume shooter keep landing pucks on net and whether through peripheral or point production, Pastrnak’s peak performance presents positive possibilities.

Working in favor of the Bruins winger is that Columbus played yesterday, so this will be a back-to-back. The Blue Jackets remain a poor defensive team, giving up the second-most shots per minute at five-on-five in November and the third-most shots per minute overall. It is a great spot for this elite flank to pepper the net and hopefully get on the scoresheet (and more than once).

Boston’s top winger is projecting much higher than any other at his position tonight, clearing the closest option by over 21% on DraftKings and over 17% on FanDuel. He is acceptable in cash game formats for this evening. In tournaments, he may draw ownership (as much as 20%) because of the matchup, but it is hard to deny the upside he has against the Blue Jackets.

Carter Verhaeghe (FLA at OTT): DraftKings – $6,300 | FanDuel – $6,700

In a column last week, we discussed Florida winger Matthew Tkachuk’s difficulties scoring this year (he has three goals on 85 shots, shooting 3.5% against a three-year average of 13.5%). It is hurting Verhaeghe’s assist totals as is on pace for fewer assists at even strength (21) than last year (25) and he’s seeing his own shooting percentage decline, though not as severely. The upshot of all this is this line with Verhaeghe and Tkachuk has been creating a high rate of offense, landing with 38.3 shots and 3.3 expected goals per 60 minutes. It has failed to score in its time together, highlighting the shooting percentage problems.

There is uncertainty in Florida’s power play setup as linemate Sam Bennett took a spin on the top unit over Verhaeghe last game. Our winger wasn’t on the team’s top power play unit most of last season and still finished the year with 42 goals; he doesn’t need that power play time to be very productive. He will also see a second-line matchup from Ottawa that currently sits with 3.4 expected goals and 4.7 actual goals against per 60 minutes at five-on-five.

Verhaeghe’s point-per-dollar value projects well, though not great, on both sites. The key for tournaments is he’s also projecting to be the lowest owned of the three players on his line, so including him in stacks (or just as a one-off) is a chance to get reasonable ownership on what otherwise should be some highly owned Florida skaters.

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Martin Pospisil (CGY vs. VGK): DraftKings – $3,700 | FanDuel – N/A

Calgary has found success in November, and one thing it has done in that stretch is flatten the ice time for its wingers. The team’s first-, second- and third-line wingers are all averaging between 14 and 17 minutes a night over the team’s last 10 games, with Pospisil coming in at 14:15. Two things separate him from most others: he is on the team’s top power play unit, and he’s been one of its top volume shooters. To that last point, he’s first among the team’s forwards in shots per minute over Calgary’s last 10 games, and the rookie flank has 28 shots in those contests. That is a very good per-game total for a guy skating 14-15 minutes.

In nearly 60 minutes together, Pospisil’s line is averaging 2.8 expected goals, 34 shots and 4.0 actual goals per 60. It has been dominant possession-wise, and though we need to see a larger sample, it bodes well when hosting a Vegas team that is enduring multiple injuries on defense and has seen its expected goals allowed stay outside the top-10 teams in the league.

Among all wingers priced under $4,000 on DraftKings tonight, Pospisil ranks second by fantasy point projection and that gives him a great point-per-dollar value. He can be used as a cheap one-off because of his shot volume but has power play correlation with his center so a line stack is in play as well.

Pospisil is still not in the FanDuel player pool – he may never be at this point – so for a cheap one-off winger on that site, consider William Eklund (SJ, $3,500) as he skates top minutes.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Defense

John Carlson (WSH at SJ): DraftKings – $6,300 | FanDuel – $6,000

It should be said that San Jose’s team defense has been improving. It was a tomato can through the first four weeks of the season, but its last 10 games have seen its five-on-five expected goals against sit 25th in the league. It’s considerably better than earlier in the year but still not a good mark. Carlson stands a reasonable chance of getting on the scoresheet in this good matchup, but it’s also his peripherals that help his value. He has 40 shots and 40 blocks in 17 games, reaching the DraftKings block bonus in over half (9) those outings. High levels of ice time – at least 24 minutes skated in 14/17 appearances – help secure that peripheral floor.

The matchup for Washington has Carlson leading fantasy point projections on both sites, though he’s priced much lower than top options like Makar and even Alex Pietrangelo. That will lead to a lot of ownership – he will likely be one of the five highest owned players on the slate – so tournament players have a decision to make between ownership and projection.

Zach Whitecloud (VGK at CGY): DraftKings – $2,500 | FanDuel – $3,600

The aforementioned injuries to the Vegas blue line have pushed Whitecloud into a bigger role. After averaging 16:22 in his first six games following a return from injury, he reached 20:52 against Arizona over the weekend. His last three seasons have seen him average under 18 minutes a game but nearly 1.8 blocks per appearance. Additional ice time for a guy that has been able to post solid shot-blocking rates in a lesser role is good news for NHL DFS. He doesn’t shoot much, but even in that instance, more ice time can help.

Whitecloud’s price is the reason for his inclusion. It isn’t often we can roster min-priced defensemen that could skate over 20 minutes in the approaching contest. It makes him a target on DraftKings, at least.

On FanDuel, there are several blue liners in his price range, and someone like Calen Addison (SJ, $3,900) projects better in his matchup.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Adin Hill (VGK at CGY): DraftKings – $7,600 | FanDuel – $8,500

Vegas has been very successful this season largely thanks to its goalies, and Hill in particular. He leads the league in save percentage among regular starting netminders, giving up just 24 goals in 12 games. There have been no negative fantasy performances from him this season, and he has posted at least 10 DraftKings fantasy points in nine of 12 games and at least 15 FanDuel fantasy points in as many starts. The Golden Knights are visiting the Flames tonight, and Calgary is fifth in the league in shots per minute while at home to start the season.

Stokastic’s GoalieStats section has Hill third by projected saves tonight but down to ninth by projected goals against. That gives him good value on DraftKings where his price is modest.

Hill’s elevated price on FanDuel means he can be passed on for Darcy Kuemper (WSH, $7,600) instead.

Top NHL DFS Stacks Today

COL1: Valeri Nichushkin – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen

Until the Avalanche get healthy, they will need to rely on this line a lot. They are regularly skating over 20 minutes a night, and they’ve been elite offensively in their time together, creating 3.5 expected goals and 5.9 actual goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five. They are very expensive across the industry, but there are numerous teams like Buffalo, Calgary, San Jose and Washington on the slate with very cheap secondary stacks. This Colorado trio skates a lot of time together both at five-on-five and on the power play, so it is in play on any medium-sized slate like this.

Colorado’s elevated pricing means it is unlikely to carry much ownership and could be outside the three highest-owned stacks tonight on either site. That is despite it being far-and-away the most likely line to be a top-2 stack tonight, per Stokastic’s Top Stacks Tool. It requires some consideration for tournaments regardless of cost.

NYR2: Artemi Panarin – Vincent Trocheck – Alexis Lafrenière

This Rangers trio has been excellent since the injury to Filip Chytil by managing 3.3 expected goals and 3.4 actual goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five. It is shooting just 8.7% as a line in that time – about the league average – which suggests it could be doing even better too. Buffalo is missing no fewer than four regular forwards, and that is putting a lot of stress on its depth. It gives this New York line good matchups opposing second and third lines, and all three highlighted forwards are among its top-5 most used forwards over its last five games. Even Lafrenière – the only one not on the top power play unit – is skating nearly 17 minutes a night in that span.

New York’s second line carries positive leverage on both sites tonight, meaning a higher top-2 stack probability than ownership level, per Stokastic’s Top Stacks Tool. It is in play across the industry.

On FanDuel, this line is much, much more expensive so for anyone looking to a cheaper stack, consider Tampa Bay’s second line which is nearly $6,000 cheaper and also coming in with positive leverage.

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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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