NHL DFS Picks Today: Slapstick Value High (January 20)

There are just eight games on the NHL slate tonight, but it is laden with stars are all of Boston, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, and the New York Rangers are playing. Let’s look at some of those elite NHL DFS picks today, and then dig in the lower price ranges for some value.

As always, Stokastic members are encouraged to double-check the Discord before lock for updated roster information.

NHL DFS Picks Today, Top Stacks, Lineup Optimizer Plays

NHL DFS Picks Today: Center

Auston Matthews (TOR at VAN): DraftKings – $9,900 | FanDuel – $10,800

It has been an unbelievable tear for Matthews who, going back to December 1st, has 23 goals, 31 points, and 4.5 shots per game in his last 21 outings. He is now pacing for the first 70-goal season in over 30 years in what has been a magical season thus far. Those 21 appearances have seen him average 24.9 shot attempts per 60 minutes, which is fourth among all regular forwards in the league. It has also seen him average over 21 minutes per game so he’s not only getting a lot of shots off, but high levels of ice time with it.

Vancouver’s top line has been tremendous offensively since being assembled, but they’re also allowing a lot defensively – they have given up 35.1 shots and 3.1 expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5 in their sample. A phenomenal .947 save percentage behind them has kept their goals against low, but that is a percentage that should regress and what’s more important is the Canucks’ top trio is allowing so much in their defensive zone. Matthews having a suspect defensive line to match up against is good news for him.

Of all centers on this slate, Matthews ranks second by projected fantasy points on both sites. His raw points projection is low, but that is also keeping his projected ownership very low: 3.8% on DraftKings and 1% on FanDuel. He has slate-breaking ability regardless of the matchup, so he should be considered for tournament formats.

Pierre-Luc Dubois (LA vs. NYR): DraftKings – $3,900 | FanDuel – $4,200

In an interesting move, Dubois was moved to Los Angeles’ top line for most of the third period in their loss on Thursday. He was there again in practice on Friday so it’s safe to assume that’s where he’ll stay. In that loss, Dubois ended up skating 17:32 in total ice time, his second-highest mark since October. On the season, he’s managing 1.9 points/60 at 5-on-5, which isn’t an elite number, but it is his highest mark since the 2019-20 season. There has been good per-minute production, just not a lot of minutes per game, and that looks to be changing.

Because Dubois has spent so much time centering the team’s third line, he has limited time this season with the Kings’ top forwards. However, in Dubois’s 91 minutes at 5-on-5 playing away from depth winger Alex Laferriere, the Kings are creating 19% more shots and 29% more expected goals. This is an improvement not only in ice time and role, but in line mates, too.

Among centers priced under $4,000 on DK and $4,500 on FD, Dubois ranks third and fourth, respectively, by fantasy point projections. Given his improved situation, he can be considered as a one-off option, or part of a stack, for tournaments.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Winger

David Pastrňák (BOS vs. MON): DraftKings – $9,700 | FanDuel – $10,300

Though not quite as prolific as Matthews’s scoring outlined earlier, Pastrňák has 16 goals and 31 points in 22 games since December 1st, averaging 5.5 shots per outing in that span. Those 22 games resulted in 12 DraftKings shot bonuses, which is an absurd rate. There is security in ice time with our winger as well, as he’s finished with at least 19 minutes in ice time for 10 straight games, averaging 21:37 in that span. Like Matthews, there is an elite shot rate combined with elite ice time rates and that is what is pushing Pastrňák to frequently high shot totals.

On the season, Montreal is giving up the fourth-most power play goals against per game. Things have been marginally better of late, giving up the ninth-most power play goals against per game over the last six weeks only, but they’re still 21st by shots against per minute while short-handed in that span. This is not a penalty kill to fear in any sense, and that is good news for Pastrňák’s DFS value.

Pastrňák’s fantasy projection has him by far the best wing option on the board tonight, clearing the next-closest flank by over 40% on both sites. That will lead to high ownership – he’s projected over 24% on both sites – but he is absolutely a top option for cash games, and is still in play for tournaments.

Jordan Kyrou (STL vs. WSH): DraftKings – $5,900 | FanDuel – $6,900

It is now 15 games for Kyrou under new coach Drew Bannister, and those 15 games have resulted in 15 points (seven goals and eight assists) while averaging 3.7 shots per contest. Up to that point, he had 17 points in 28 games while averaging 3.2 shots per outing. The improved offense has been partly attributable to the team often loading up their top line with their top stars, and that top line is scoring 3.5 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 in their 182 minutes together with the new bench boss.

Hosting Washington is a good matchup for the Blues as the Capitals are 28th in the league by expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5 over their last 20 games, ranking 21st by actual goals against. With Kyrou’s shot attempts per minute sitting in the 96th percentile of all forwards in those recent 15 games, his move back to the top line, and a good matchup at home, the stars are aligning for him.

The next-closest option alluded to in the section on Pastrňák is Kyrou, whose fantasy point projection comes in second among all wingers on the board tonight. Like the more expensive option, it will lead to high levels of ownership, but he should still be heavily considered for cash games, and an option in tournaments.

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Rickard Rakell (PIT at VGK): DraftKings – $4,700 | FanDuel – $5,700

Going back a month, Rakell has 12 points in his last 12 games while averaging 19:51 per night in ice time. He has almost exclusively skated on the top line in that span, and that top trio created 3.7 expected goals and 3.5 actual goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5; they have been dominant at both ends of the ice, and that is great for Rakell’s DFS value. That span has Rakell second on the team in shot attempts per minute, and in the 85th percentile of regular forwards across the league. More ice time, more shots, and better line mates have him regaining the offensive value he had last season.

Pittsburgh is in Vegas and the home team is missing top center Jack Eichel, third-line center William Karlsson, and top defenseman Shea Theodore. They are missing six regular skaters, in fact, which is one-third of the team’s lineup, plus starting goalie Adin Hill. All these injuries have led to the Golden Knights ranking 21st by goals against per 60 minutes over the last six weeks.

Rakell ranks second among the wingers priced under $5,000 on DK and $6,000 on FD by fantasy point projection. Unlike the other wing options, though, his ownership projection is under 9% on both sites. A moderate price means he can be used as a one-off option. We will talk more about his line later.

NHL DFS Picks Today: Defense

MacKenzie Weegar (CGY vs. EDM): DraftKings – $6,200 | FanDuel – $7,300

Weegar is on pace for a 47-point season, which is good but not great. What is great is his peripheral production as he’s one of only two defensemen in the league (along with teammate Rasmus Andersson) to average at least 2.3 shots and 2.5 blocks per game this season. That has led to five DK shot bonuses, 21 DK block bonuses, and two games where he’s registered both. In addition, Weegar has been moved to the team’s top power play unit of late and the last two months have produced the eighth-most minor penalties taken per game for Edmonton, and the ninth-most minor penalties drawn for Calgary. With Weegar’s improved PP role, that is good news for him tonight.

On DraftKings, Weegar is carrying the sixth-highest cost of all defenders on the slate tonight, as well as the sixth-highest point projection. It gives him fine relative value on that site.

Peripherals mean less on FanDuel, so DFS players on that site may want to consider Charlie McAvoy (BOS, $7,500) at a similar price but a higher projection in a better matchup.

Jackson LaCombe (ANA at SJ): DraftKings – $2,700 | FanDuel – $3,600

On the topic of power plays, Anaheim is one of just four teams in the league that have drawn at least four minor penalties per game over the last two months. With changes and injuries on the Ducks’ blue line, LaCombe is averaging 2:43 per game in power play ice time in his last four games – that four-game PPTOI average being higher than any single game up to that point except one in late November. With San Jose allowing 16 power play goals against in their last 18 games, there is a good opportunity for production from the rookie defenseman.

Lacombe ranks second among DK blue liners priced under $3,000 tonight, and fourth on FD for those priced under $4,000. He has better value on the former than the latter, but a cheap price and improved usage has him in play as a punt option for tournaments.

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Goalie

Logan Thompson (VGK vs. PIT): DraftKings – $8,100 | FanDuel – $7,800

It has been a good-not-great season for Thompson who sits with a .910 save percentage in 28 appearances (26 starts). The good news is that since American Thanksgiving – when Vegas’s injury issues started – the average shot distance Thompson has faced at 5-on-5 is 37.9 feet. That is the third-longest distance and it’s something that helps him make a lot of easy saves. Stokastic’s GoalieStats section has him with the second-highest projected save total for tonight, but just 10th by expected goals against. That discrepancy is good news for DFS value.

The combination of high projected saves and moderate projected goals against has Thompson ranked second among all goalies available tonight by expected fantasy points. He is fine to use in goal in any format.

Top NHL DFS Stacks Today

PIT1: Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Rickard Rakell

Earlier in the section on Rakell, the high-end 5-on-5 play of this trio was discussed. While the power play is not to the same level, Pittsburgh’s top PP unit – which includes two of the three players listed here – has scored 8.7 goals per 60 minutes over the last five weeks. Up to that point, the top unit was scoring just 6.1 goals per 60 minutes, so there has been a noticeable improvement. Not only that, but the Penguins have drawn the third-most minor penalties per game over the last two months, so they are getting plenty of power play opportunities. Against a depleted Vegas penalty kill, this is all good news.

Stokastic’s Top Stacks tool has this trio ranked fourth among all lines on the evening slate by top-2 stack probability. Their expected ownership is much lower than that, though, and it gives them a lot of positive leverage. They should be considered among the top options for tournament DFS players tonight.

DAL1: Jason Robertson – Roope Hintz – Wyatt Johnston

Dallas was embarrassed in their last game, losing 5-1 and being outshot 31-11 at 5-on-5. The curious part is that this Dallas trio actually outshot Philadelphia when they were on the ice at 5-on-5 by a 5-4 margin, so everyone was embarrassed except this three-man squad.

With Joe Pavelski off the top line this season, Dallas’s premiere trio generates 31% more shot attempts and 35% more expected goals-for per minute. That Pavelski-less time also showed a commensurate rise in actual goals scored, so Johnston joining Robertson and Hintz is likely an offensive boost for them. Failing to reach high levels of ice time is a concern but this unit also isn’t priced as if we’re expecting them to all skate 20 minutes a night like the Pittsburgh line listed above.

Of all lines projected in the Top Stacks tool, this trio has the highest top-2 stack probability on DK tonight for any stack priced under $17,000, save for the top St. Louis line. The difference is this stack should come in at half the ownership (or less) of that Blues trio, so this is a lower-owned option to consider in the mid-price range.

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

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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