3 NHL FanDuel Studs to Target on 1/17/20

Sidney Crosby is back and has wasted no time getting back on the score sheet. Who else is worth paying for tonight?

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 and 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.

A small three game slate on Friday still has enough stars on it for us to make some interesting lineup decisions tonight.

Sidney Crosby, Center, Pittsburgh Penguins

FanDuel Salary: $8,100

Back and looking like he never missed a beat is Sidney Crosby. He had a goal and three assists in his return on Tuesday night and followed that up with a goal on Thursday. He has 22 points in the 19 games he's played this season, giving him 1.16 points per game. That is the 15th-best rate in the NHL this season. Crosby had good games this week against the Minnesota Wild and Boston Bruins, two top-five teams in expected goals against, according to Natural Stat Trick. On Friday, he gets a much easier matchup.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are playing the league's basement dwellers, the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit is allowing 3.87 goals per game, the most in the league by a wide margin. The Penguins will face goaltender Jimmy Howard, who has been having a horrible year. Howard has allowed -17.76 goals saved above average this season, the worst among qualified goalies. Pittsburgh has a 3.52 implied goal total, the highest on the slate. Crosby is back and in a great spot tonight, so it's time to get him back into your lineups in all formats.

Nikita Kucherov, Wing, Tampa Bay Lightning

FanDuel Salary: $8,300

Last year's MVP and top scorer in the league can certainly be considered every night. Nikita Kucherov is coming off a two-goal game on Thursday night and now has seven goals in his last 10 games. He's up to 10th in points per 60 minutes. An encouraging part of his game is how often he has been shooting the puck lately. He has 26 shots in the last six games, deviating from the pass-first nature we have seen from him in the past.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are headed to Canada to face the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets make for a great matchup for Tampa, especially considering special teams. Tampa Bay's second-ranked power play will face the third-worst penalty kill in the league. Winnipeg also allows the fourth-most expected goals per 60 minutes and the second-most high danger chances per 60 minutes. Kucherov and the Lightning have the second-highest implied team total at 3.42, and will look to take advantage of the Jets' weak defensive game on Friday night.

Kris Letang, Defense, Pittsburgh Penguins

FanDuel Salary: $6,400

Kris Letang tops the prices for defensemen on this slate and with good reason. We know that he has the great matchup against the Red Wings, where the Penguins should score goals. With Dougie Hamilton on the shelf, Letang has the most goals for a defenseman playing tonight with 10, which is tied for eighth in the league for blueliners.

Letang is fifth in the league in ice time per game, as a banged up Pittsburgh defense group relies on him to eat minutes. The return of Crosby helps Letang, as well, as now he will play with two elite centers in Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Letang carries our highest projection for a defenseman on the slate and is a great spend up option at the position for tonight's contests.

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