NHL Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 12/20/18

Thursday's slate includes 12 games, including Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs taking on the Panthers. Who else is in play tonight?

A good chunk of you probably already play daily fantasy football, and I'd be willing to bet a significant portion have also tried out daily fantasy basketball and baseball. But hockey? Hockey?

It's time to give it a try over on FanDuel, because it's a ton of fun. And our analysis and projections can help you win.

To help, let's take a look at some goalies, high-priced skaters, and lower-priced players to target for today's slate.

Goalie to Target

Darcy Kuemper ($7,400): The Arizona Coyotes' goaltender is projected to start against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Considering the size of the slate, very low ownership is likely here. Arizona has lost two straight and four of their last five games. This is while scoring just nine goals in that span. On the bright side, Montreal has lost three of their previous five and are not rested after playing Colorado on Wednesday. Kuemper has been okay in net, stopping 59 of his last 65 shots (.908 save percentage -- no wins). If Arizona comes close to their 3.24 projected goal total, they should get the win. See who starts for Vancouver and Dallas, too. Sergei Bobrovsky ($8,500) is also decent for cash games against a New Jersey Devils team that can't get out of its own way.

High-Priced Skaters

Auston Matthews ($8,300): Matthews is a great play on Tuesday against Florida because he will mostly avoid the matchup with the Aleksander Barkov line. The Toronto center played a light 18 minutes on Tuesday in New Jersey as the game was a blowout after 30 minutes of action. He had a goal, assist, four shots, and three high-danger chances. Florida yields 3.88 goals per game on the road and nearly 35 shots per 60. Tonight features a large enough slate where what may be considered "chalk" is not nearly as high-owned. With so many choices, don't forget about Barkov ($7,600) and the rejuvenated Florida power play. There is also Sebastian Aho ($6,100) at a much lower price for Carolina.

Artemi Panarin ($7,700): What will New Jersey do to try and slow down Panarin, a guy who has had points in every meeting against them last season? The answer seems like not much. Columbus and their top line could mostly go under the radar because of the other prime options on Thursday night. Yes, the Columbus Blue Jackets' power play is a risky proposition, but New Jersey practically knocks players into their own goaltenders. Overall, they give up 4.12 goals per game on the road and have won away from home just three times. A line stack is a prudent idea here. Among other tournament options, Claude Giroux ($7,400) and David Pastrnak ($7,900) are great plays on Thursday night with excellent matchups and high point potential.

Value Skaters

Andrei Svechnikov ($3,900): Svechnikov is a lower-risk play tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. He has points in his last three contests, and though his minutes can be erratic (13, 22, and 16 in that span), the one consistency is he sees a little power play time. Also, that shot from the Russian is well above average. Detroit is likely to start Jonathan Bernier, and honestly he is AHL level with an .891 save percentage (allowed three or more goals in five straight starts). The Hurricanes' power play has improved to 17%, which also helps. Andrew Shaw ($4,000) presents okay value along with Blake Coleman ($3,900) for New Jersey. And Frank Vatrano ($3,800) is our darkhorse pick, with history from his days in Boston as far as playing Toronto. He had four shots and a goal against Buffalo in his last start.

Ben Hutton ($3,800): Hutton has four real-world assists in his last six games and is providing a decent floor for a defenseman (1.8 shots per game, 1.5 blocks per contest). The Vancouver blueliner should get a few more chances against a St. Louis Blues team that is inconsistent (they've allowed 20 goals in last 5 contests). Vancouver is a particularly fun team at home (scoring 3.12 goals per game and allowing 3.18). This may open up the chances of playing Vince Dunn ($3,800). There are several defensemen in this price range to consider as well. They include Nick Leddy ($3,800), who actually has topped 10 FanDuel points in three of his last four starts. Leddy appears to be playing better, which leads to more power play time and scoring chances. The New York Islanders' defenseman has risk because he averages just 0.8 blocks per game.

Chris Wassel is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Chris Wassel also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username chriswassel. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.