4 NHL Studs to Target on 10/3/19

The Lightning are looking to strike early in the season. Are any of their studs worth the high price tags?

Night number two of the NHL season gives us eight games, and since no teams are playing on a back to back we have a chance to see 16 teams kick off their season.

Spending up in any Daily Fantasy lineup is how to get the superstars and the highest upside players in your lineup. In NHL DFS, it’s different than paying up in sports like NBA or NFL. Someone can be one of the highest-priced players at his position a put up a total dud of a performance, and paying that much for him would be a huge mistake. Let’s make sure we are paying up in the right spots when building our lineups tonight.

Sidney Crosby, Center, Pittsburgh Penguins

FanDuel Price: $8,500

Another season, another year of Sidney Crosby being an elite hockey player. His Pittsburgh Penguins are -165 favorites, the second biggest on the night per oddsFire. They face the Buffalo Sabres, who completely overhauled their defense. Fortunately for Crosby, they still don't have a top shutdown defenseman who will be able to slow him down, if there is actually someone like that in the league. Crosby was second in points per 60 minutes at even strength last season, per Natural Stat Trick, with a of minimum 300 minutes played. This game has a 6.5 total, so the oddsmakers are expecting there to be some goals, and there's a good chance Crosby will be involved in them. He's the preferred spend over Nathan MacKinnon just because of the easier matchup.

Nikita Kucherov, Winger, Tampa Bay Lightning

FanDuel Price: $8,900

When you are coming off one of the best seasons in the salary-cap era including the highest point total we've seen, you are definitely considered a stud. You should also be considered as a top daily fantasy play nearly every time you take the ice, and that's what Nikita Kucherov is tonight. The Tampa Bay Lightning have an in-state rivalry game against the Florida Panthers in which they are -180 favorites. Kucherov joins a newly formed highly powered top line with Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson, according to Daily Faceoff. Kucherov was the only player who scored points at a higher rate than Crosby, and it was much higher at 3.37 points per 60 compared to 2.92. Florida was a bottom-ten team in expected goals against per 60 last season. Kucherov's is worth the price you have to pay for him on this slate.

Artemi Panarin, Winger, New York Rangers

FanDuel Price: $7,800

Artemi Panarin takes the ice in New York for the first time as a member of the New York Rangers. He will be on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich, and showed great chemistry with these two in the preseason. The matchup with the Winnipeg Jets might look tough from the surface, but when you dig deeper, it's one that you want to target. After the turn of the calendar to 2019, the Jets were the third-worst defense in terms of shot attempts allowed. This was also before they lost defensemen Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers, Ben Chiarot, and still had Dustin Byfuglien contemplating his future and sitting out this game. This leads to the Rangers being -135 favorites, which would have been surprising if you told someone the Rangers would be a favorite over the Jets sometime last season. Part of the reason for that is Panarin himself -- one of the most dynamic wingers in the game who scored a point per game clip in his two seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He gets his first chance to prove himself with the Rangers, in a better spot than the Boston Bruins wingers priced above him.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Goalie, Tampa Bay Lightning

FanDuel Price: $9,200

The reigning Vezina Trophy winner for the league's best goalie sits atop the FanDuel pricing. If you want to pay up for a goalie, it makes sense to go all the way up to the top for Andrei Vasilevskiy, given that his team is the most likely to win according to the odds. For our purposes, it doesn't matter if Vasilevskiy is actually the best goalie in the league or if he's being propped up by being on an elite team. Florida was the fourth-worst team in creating high danger chances last season, averaging just 9.77 per 60 minutes. This gives Vasilevskiy a decent chance at being able to get the shutout at home tonight.