NHL DFS Picks Today: Sneaky Saturday Value (February 24)

There is a huge 11-game slate on the board tonight and features key names missing as Artemi Panarin and Mark Stone have recently been injured. It makes for interesting matchups, so let’s get to them and our NHL DFS picks today.

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

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NHL DFS Picks Today: Lineup Decisions and More

NHL DFS Picks: Center

Auston Matthews (TOR at COL)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

The current hot streak that Matthews is enjoying goes back to early December, but just his recent 15 games have seen 19 goals, 28 points, and 4.3 shots per contest. A part of the superstar’s success is not spending much time in the defensive zone as his top line has averaged 3.2 expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 over their last 21 games, and just 2.0 expected goals against/60.

That gives them an expected goal share north of 60%, so they’ve been able to limit the opposition’s offense, and get back down the ice quickly to give Matthews his opportunities to score.

Another big part of Matthews’s goal-scoring run has been the power play. Matthews has six PP tallies over those last 15 games, and the team itself has 15 power play goals in their last 15 games. Conversely, Colorado has averaged 3.8 minor penalties taken per game since January 1st, the third-highest mark of the 16 teams on tonight’s slate. The Avalanche are giving up the third-most shots against/60 in that span as well, so they’re allowing opponents free reign to fire at the net and are undisciplined on top of that. It bodes well for Toronto’s power play, and Matthews specifically.

There are three elite centers on the board tonight and Matthews is third out of the three by fantasy point projection. However, his ownership projection on DK is under 5% and it’s even lower on FD. Of the three, Matthews looks to easily be the lowest owned and that makes him a target for tournaments.   

Tommy Novak (NSH at SJ)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Novak may well be one of the most unheralded rising stars in the league, even if he is 26 years old. He has just two full seasons in the league, but those two seasons have produced 2.45 points/60 minutes at 5-on-5, a 91st percentile mark among regular forwards. He has eight points in his last eight games, averaging 2.3 shots per outing in that span.

Ice time is always the biggest concern for him as those eight games have seen him manage 13:58 per night in ice time, breaking the 16-minute mark just once. However, Novak isn’t priced as if he consistently needs 17 minutes a night, and the matchup against San Jose is tremendous.

To that point about the matchup, San Jose’s 3.2 expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5 in calendar 2024 is by far the worst in the league. He will also see a fair bit of the second line from the Sharks, and the duo of William Eklund and Alex Barabanov have an on-ice expected goals against/60 rate even worse than the team average, sitting at 3.5/60. Novak’s efficient production and depth matchups against an awful defensive team are what draw us in this direction.

Novak’s points-per-$1,000 on DK tonight exceeds 2.0, and that’s very good value. He is likely to be a relatively popular option because of his price, but even 5.4% projected ownership is reasonable for this matchup, and that makes him a cheap one-off tournament option.

The value isn’t awful on FD, but it is worse, so, DFS players on that site may want to consider Yanni Gourde (SEA, $4,600) instead.  

NHL DFS Picks: Winger

Claude Giroux (OTT vs. VGK)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Ottawa finds themselves on a hot streak, going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. That mirrors Giroux’s hot streak with 11 points in his last 10 games, registering at least one point in nine of those outings, while averaging three shots per appearance. The Senators host the Golden Knights, and Vegas is without top center Jack Eichel and top winger Mark Stone. It leaves the road team very thin for forward depth and is is good news for Giroux and his line mates.

One key to Giroux’s DFS value is the security in his ice time. He has averaged 19:24 over his last five games, 19:58 on the season, and has skated fewer than 17 minutes just three times in his last 25 appearances.

The home team has also seen their power play come alive of late. In seven games together since the All-Star break, the top PP unit has posted 79.1 shots/60 and 9.9 goals/60. Vegas doesn’t take many penalties, but their penalty kill ranks outside the top-10 by shots, expected goals, and actual goals against/60 over their last 20 games.

Better matchups elsewhere on the slate are leaving Giroux without much ownership as he’s coming in under 3% projected on both DK and FD. He is the only player on his line on the top PP unit, so a one-off option is fine, but he can certainly be used in a stack as well.

Kevin Fiala (LA vs. ANH)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

For all of Los Angeles’s issues scoring at 5-on-5 for months now, the power play has kept their offense afloat. Since January 1st, a span of 22 games, the Kings are tallying 10.6 goals/60 minutes with the man advantage, sixth in the league and higher than teams like Dallas and Minnesota. The top power play unit alone – featuring Fiala – has scored 13.9 goals/60. That span has seen our winger post just 14 points overall, but over half of them (8) have been with the extra man on the ice.

Highlighting the Kings’ PP success is crucial for this matchup. The Anaheim Ducks have been taking 4.4 minor penalties per game since January 1st, the third-most in the league and highest rate of tonight’s 16 teams. That span has seen the Ducks give up 21 power play goals against in 20 games, making this arguably the best matchup for any power play in the league. After going five games without a point, Fiala has goals in back-to-back games, and has a great opportunity to keep building off that in this tremendous special team encounter.

Unlike Giroux, Fiala is carrying high ownership projections as the 17.7% on DK is third highest among all wingers, but lower on FD at 9.6%. Either way, he ranks second by fantasy point projection for flanks in his price range on both sites, so he warrants consideration in any format.  

Warren Foegele (EDM vs CGY)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

It has been a breakout season for Foegele, whose 13 goals ties a career-high in 13 fewer games played than last season. Despite not getting top power play time, he is averaging 2.4 shots per game on the campaign, reaching the DraftKings shot bonus seven times.

Foegele has also been moved to the top even strength line alongside Connor McDavid recently, and that has resulted in ice time totals of 18:54 and 16:45, his two highest marks in three months. With those two on the ice at 5-on-5, Edmonton creates 38.9 shots/60 and 3.9 expected goals/60, so there has been much offensive creation between the two of them.

Edmonton is on a back-to-back, but this is not an awful matchup for it. They’re at home, and they get a Calgary side that is 18th by expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5 since January 1st. On a night with a few lopsided matchups elsewhere, the Oilers have the highest team total on the board. With the additional ice time, good per-minute production, and elite line mates, there are lots of reasons to look to Foegele tonight.

There is not much ownership expected for the winger tonight, coming in under 6% on DK and under 5% on FD. A cheap price and high-end line mates mean he can be used in tournaments tonight by himself as a reasonably-priced one-off, or as part of a stack.

NHL DFS Picks: Defender

Charlie McAvoy (BOS at VAN)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Though he typically plays a lot of minutes anyway, McAvoy’s ice time is even higher than usual of late thanks to injuries on Boston’s blue line; his last four games have seen him surpass the 30-minute mark twice, and average 29:10. McAvoy’s peripheral stat production has been a weakness to his DFS profile for much of his career, but he is averaging 2.0 shots and 2.0 blocks per game this season, and the added ice time should help float those numbers.

He also catches a Vancouver team taking the fifth-most minor penalties per game in calendar 2024, the second-most on this slate. Boston, meanwhile, has drawn the third-most minor penalties per game of any team on the board tonight, and McAvoy has received nearly one-third of his points on the man advantage.

McAvoy is ninth by salary among defenseman on DK tonight, and comes in ninth for fantasy point projection. That brings his relative value in line with his cost, making him an option to circle on that site.

The value for McAvoy on FD is much worse because of his high price, so DFS players on that site may want to consider Brent Burns (CAR, $5,900) instead.  

Vince Dunn (SEA vs. MIN)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Seattle has drawn the fewest minor penalties per game going back to January 1st, but the Kraken power play has been successful with Dunn running things, scoring 9.2 goals/60 minutes. Dunn is averaging 6.3 points/60 minutes this season and among regular PP blue liners, that is inside the 75th percentile, and just behind Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes.

Minnesota is visiting and they’re playing their second game of a back-to-back. The Wild have had a poor penalty kill all season, and that’s persisted with their new coach by ranking 25th by shots against/60 and goals against/60 over their last 20 games. Seattle is rarely in a good special team matchup, but this is a positive spot for Dunn and the Kraken.  

Of all defensemen in the $4,000-$6,000 range on DK, Dunn ranks fifth by both point-per-dollar value and overall projection. He leads FanDuel projections for defenders priced under $7,000, so he is a target on both sites for tournaments.

NHL DFS Picks: Goalie

Adin Hill (VGK at OTT)

DraftKings Salary
FanDuel Salary

Though Ottawa’s power play has been much better of late, the saving grace for Vegas and Hill tonight is that the Golden Knights don’t take many penalties; they have taken the fewest minor penalties per game since January 1st, and fewest per game on the season.

At 5-on-5, Vegas has been giving up the fifth-most shots per 60 minutes over the last 20 games while Ottawa has been landing the sixth-most shots/60 in that span. If Vegas can stay out of the penalty box, Hill stands a good chance of seeing a lot of volume at 5-on-5, which is much preferable, and good for his DFS value.

Stokastic’s GoalieStats section have Hill ranked third by projected saves tonight, but fifth by expected goals against. That gap is good for DFS, and makes him a mid-priced option for DFS users on either site.

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NHL DFS Top Stacks Today

COL1: Jonathan Drouin – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen

Of the 16 teams on tonight’s DFS slate, Colorado is drawing the second-most minor penalties per game since January 1st. That span has seen Toronto rank 22nd by shots against per 60 minutes while on the penalty kill, and 22nd by goals against/60 minutes. MacKinnon has 34 power play points on the season, the second-most in the league, while Rantanen is tied for third with 31. All three forwards on this line man the top power play quintet for the Avalanche, and this is a good matchup for them to get on the board. Toronto is also playing their third road game in four days, so there is a rest advantage on the Colorado side.

The Top Stacks tool at Stokastic has this Colorado trio with the highest top-2 stack percentage, which clears the next-closest line by a wide margin. Their ownership will be a lot lower, so there is good positive leverage, and they are a high-priced stack to focus on for tournament lineups.

OTT2: Brady Tkachuk – Shane Pinto – Vladimir Tarasenko 

A suspension kept Pinto out of the lineup for half the season, so the overall sample is limited. However, in nearly 100 minutes together at 5-on-5, the winger duo of Tkachuk-Tarasenko helped Ottawa outshoot the opponent 73-49 and they have scored six goals in that span. As mentioned in the section on Giroux, the power play has been creating and scoring much more since the All-Star Game, and both Tkachuk and Pinto skate on the top unit together. Tkachuk hasn’t scored in five games, but he has 20 shots in that span as this line has been creating extremely well offensively.

Of all projected lines priced under $18,000 on DraftKings, this Ottawa trio is third by top-2 stack probability at 8.4%. The two lines with a higher probability are projected to have roughly triple (or higher) ownership than OTT2, though, and it makes them a mid-priced option with positive leverage that DFS users should consider.

*Additional stats from Natural Stat Trick

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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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