3 NHL FanDuel Studs to Target on 2/27/20
Spending up in any daily fantasy sport 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.
Thursday night has 10 games in the NHL, so let's see which stars will work best for us on this slate.
Auston Matthews, Center, Toronto Maple Leafs
FanDuel Salary: $8,500
Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs have a critical game for the playoff race tonight against the Florida Panthers. The Leafs sit two points ahead of Florida for the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, with one more game played. They will look to their leading goal scorer and point producer to help them in this crucial game.
Matthews is tied for second in the league with 43 goals and is fourth in shots on goal. He is consistent with his shooting output, having not had less than three shots on goal in a game since before Christmas. That means he's generating a ton of scoring chances, and he ranks fourth in scoring chances for per 60 minutes, according to Natural Stat Trick.
This matchup could be a chaotic game of hockey. A Panthers game averages 6.76 goals per game, the highest in the league. This results in the game tonight having an over/under of 7.0, which is rare in the NHL. The Panthers have not been good defensively at all, allowing the eighth most shots per game and the third most goals per game. The Leafs' implied team total is 3.54, the fourth highest tonight.
Matthews should thrive in this high-scoring environment, making him a great play in all formats.
Nikita Kucherov, Wing, Tampa Bay Lightning
FanDuel Salary: $8,300
Nikita Kucherov continues to tear up the league after a somewhat slow start. He has points in his last 17 games, which isn't considered an official streak because he missed a game in between that stretch. He has jumped up to sixth in the NHL in points per 60 minutes. Kucherov is also in the top 20 in shot attempts per 60 minutes, meaning he has a nice shooting floor to go with his points. Tonight, getting both points and shots on goal shouldn't be too much of a problem.
The Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Chicago Blackhawks, who are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Things could get worse for the 'Hawks after the trade deadline. They dealt away goaltender Robin Lehner and defenseman Erik Gustafsson in an attempt to get some assets. They already ranked as the second worst team in terms of expected goals allowed per 60 minutes and allowed the most shots on goal per game.
Due to his great recent play and the matchup, Kucherov is our highest-projected skater on the slate. He should be a priority when spending up at the wing position tonight.
Brent Burns, Defense, San Jose Sharks
FanDuel Salary: $6,700
The ultimate accumulator in the past of shots and blocked shots, Brent Burns has been back to his old ways as of late. He has 44 shots on goal and 23 blocked shots in his past 10 games. He also has nine points in those games, as well. Burns is also up to second in shot attempts per 60 minutes for defensemen, and he is behind only Dougie Hamilton, who is out for the season.
Burns and the San Jose Sharks are not having a good season, but they are facing another bottom feeder in the New Jersey Devils. The Devils allow the fourth most goals per game in the league. Despite their struggles, the Sharks have an implied goal total of 3.22.
With Burns averaging over 26 minutes a night over his last ten games, he should be able to contribute to that goal total. Burns has one of the highest floors of any player at any position, making him a good spend in cash games.
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.