3 NHL FanDuel Studs to Target on 2/7/20

Elvis Merzlikins has been on fire lately and gets another great opportunity tonight. What other stars are worth considering on Friday?

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.

The week wraps up with a small four game slate, but still plenty of stars for us to look towards on this Friday night.

Auston Matthews, Center, Toronto Maple Leafs

FanDuel Salary: $8,900

What makes NHL daily fantasy tough is the fact that star player can have games in which they don't do much of anything, even against bad teams. It's similar to when a baseball superstar goes 0 for 4 against a bad pitcher. This is what makes Auston Matthews such a good option every time he plays -- his consistency is nearly unmatched. He has at least nine FanDuel points in 23 of his last 25 games. He does this by shooting a ton, as he has 55 shots in his last 10 games. This has resulted in 10 goals in that stretch.

Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs face off against the Anaheim Ducks, who are on the second leg of a back-to-back. The Ducks are the bottom 10 in expected goals allowed per 60 minutes, according to Natural Stat Trick. The Leafs' implied goal total is sitting around 3.75, which is the highest on the slate. Matthews may be the most expensive player on the entire slate, but paying up for his consistent fantasy output makes a lot of sense tonight.

Artemi Panarin, Wing, New York Rangers

FanDuel Salary: $8,200

Artemi Panarin has been everything the New York Rangers could have hoped for in his first season with the team. He leads the league with 53 points at even strength, four more than the next closest player, Nathan MacKinnon. He has been turning on his play of late, with 16 points and 45 shots on goal in the last 10 games. He hasn't had trouble getting shots off this season, ranking in the top 20 in shot attempt rate for forwards. Friday night gives Panarin the perfect opportunity to add to his point total.

The Rangers are hosting the Buffalo Sabres, who are coming off a loss last night to the lowly Detroit Red Wings. The Sabres' penalty kill has been poor this season, as their 74.5% success rate is the fourth worst in the league. The Rangers' power play has been clicking, ranking seventh in the NHL. Panarin leads the Rangers with 18 points on the power play.

Panarin is numberFire's highest-projected skater on the slate tonight -- by nearly three FanDuel points over the next closest player. This makes him a priority to spend up on and get in your lineups.

Elvis Merzlikins, Goalie, Columbus Blue Jackets

FanDuel Salary: $8,800

After struggling to open his rookie season in the NHL, Elvis Merzlikins has been on a roll of late. He has seven wins in a row and four shutouts during that streak. This has vaulted his save percentage all the way up to .929%, the third best among goalies with at least 1000 minutes played. He is our top-projected goalie on the slate by a four-point margin, and the matchup could be another reason why.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are at home against the Detroit Red Wings, after the Wings just played an overtime game last night. The Red Wings have scored the fewest goals in the league, averaging just 2.05 per game. Tonight, they have the lowest implied goal total on the slate at 2.10. The Blue Jackets are huge favorites, hovering around -300 odds to get the win tonight. With the way Merzlikins has been playing of late and the spot he is in tonight, there's a good chance that Elvis could leave the building with another shutout.

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.