The NHL DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Sunday has a six-game main slate starting at 6:00 pm ET.
Note: Projections may change throughout the day after this article is posted. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates.
Connor McDavid ($9,600 DraftKings, $10,500 FanDuel) vs. Los Angeles Kings
The Edmonton Oilers have been in some high-scoring games at home this season, going over the total in eight of 10. We like that trend to continue tonight and are expecting another solid performance from Connor McDavid.
McDavid has 10 points over his previous four outings, recording three multi-point games. Those efforts have sent McDavid’s fantasy point total through the roof, with the reigning MVP going north 25 fantasy points in three of four and better than 40 fantasy points in two of four. He’ll have plenty of room to operate against the Kings, who have allowed 16 or more quality chances in three of their past four games.
There’s no hiding McDavid’s fantasy value tonight, and that’s reflected in his salary on both platforms. Nevertheless, he’s our top option at center.
Sean Couturier ($5,100 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Sean Couturier and the Philadelphia Flyers are in an ideal spot against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night. Granted, Couturier’s value on DFS slates is more pronounced at DK than FanDuel, but he’s a center worth rostering on both platforms.
The Lightning are coming off an overtime win last night against the Boston Bruins, electing to start primary goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. That leaves Brian Elliott to clean up the mess against a Flyers team that is finding its footing offensively. The Flyers have attempted 10 or more high-danger chances in seven of their past eight, and Sean Couturier has been a big part of that. The former Selke Trophy winner has recorded 29 shots over that span but has failed to score, recording just two assists.
Couturier has been on the ice for more scoring and high-danger chances than any other Flyer but remains below his expected goals total this season. We like his value against a tired Bolts squad on tonight’s slate.
Max Pacioretty ($7,700 DraftKings, $8,500 FanDuel) vs. Calgary Flames
His time on the ice has been limited, but Max Pacioretty’s fantasy contributions have been meaningful this season for the Vegas Golden Knights. They have a promising matchup against the Calgary Flames on Sunday that Patches can take advantage of.
Pacioretty is riding a four-game point streak into tonight’s contest, recording three goals and three assists since returning to the lineup on November 24. The 33-year-old has strong relative metrics this season, ranking third on the team in expected goals-for percentage (min. 5 GP) while out-possessing, out-shooting, and out-chancing his opponents in scoring chances. He’ll have more opportunities to continue that dominance while skating on the team’s top line and powerplay unit.
These teams are positioned on opposite ends of the progression/regression spectrum, setting Pacioretty and the Knights up for success on home ice tonight.
Dustin Brown ($3,400 DraftKings, $4,300 FanDuel) vs. Edmonton Oilers
The Kings may be playing some suspect defense, but that’s being offset by their elite offensive production. We like Dustin Brown’s value on tonight’s slate against the Oilers.
The Oilers’ defensive inefficiencies are overshadowed by their league-leading scorers, but they have issues in their own end. Edmonton has allowed 11 or more high-danger chances in six of their past nine and 32 or more scoring chances in five of nine. Brown and the Kings will be ready to exploit that, as they’ve attempted no fewer than 13 high-danger chances in any of their past seven games.
Brown has leveled up his production recently, attempting 17 shots over his past four games. The veteran winger should easily surpass his implied value and fantasy ceiling on tonight’s slate.
Alex Pietrangelo ($7,000 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel) vs. Calgary Flames
Alex Pietrangelo has decreased his fantasy contributions in three straight games, setting him up for a rebound effort against the Flames tonight.
Pietrangelo remains the leader in ice-time, powerplay assists, and powerplay points while ranking second in blocked shots and third in shots, all while starting 50.5% of his shifts in the attacking zone. We like this spot for Pietrangelo and the Knights, as the Flames have been outplayed in seven of their past 10 road games, but have won seven games. That has elevated their PDO beyond sustainable levels, putting them at risk of regression.
Look for the Knights to use home ice to their advantage tonight. That should help Pietrangelo snap out of his recent funk and reach his fantasy ceiling.
Neal Pionk ($6,000 DraftKings, $4,500 FanDuel) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Winnipeg Jets broke out of their slump last time out, scoring eight goals on the New Jersey Devils. We like that high-scoring trend to continue against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.
The Jets have several defensemen that they rely on for scoring, and we like Neal Pionk’s ceiling tonight. Pionk leads Jets’ defenders in Corsi rating while ranking second in relative scoring chance and high-danger chance ratings. What makes Pionk the more attractive fantasy option tonight is that he ranks below his expected goals totals this season, implying that he’s a progression candidate. Pionk’s absolute output remains below expected, and his on-ice PDO of .988 is below-average and 14th on the team, despite having those relative metrics working in his favor.
The Leafs have question marks in net, giving the Jets the advantage they need to continue their offensive upswing.
Be sure to check the Starting Goalie Page throughout the day to see which goalies are confirmed starters.
Robin Lehner ($7,800 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel) vs. Calgary Flames
The Knights are trending in the right direction, outplaying five of their past six opponents and getting better defensive efforts along the way. That will benefit Robin Lehner as the Knights continue their upward trend against the Flames.
Vegas has allowed eight or fewer high-danger chances at five-on-five in six straight games and 20 or fewer scoring opportunities in four of six. However, that has not yet impacted Lehner’s metrics as he remains below career norms across in high-danger save percentage, powerplay save percentage, and even-strength save percentage. Lehner will be insulated on home ice against the Flames attack, allowing the Knights to line match to neutralize the Flames offense. Still, we’re expecting Calgary’s scoring to come back down towards average, as they remain ahead of production metrics this season.
According to our projections, Lehner is one of the top options available. That aligns with our analysis that supports that Lehner should see meaningful progression against the Flames tonight.
Connor Hellebuyck ($7,500 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
It’s not every day that Connor Hellebuyck is a value play on DFS slates, but that’s exactly what we get when the Jets host the Leafs tonight.
Hellebuyck is coming off his second subpar outing over his past 12 starts, allowing four goals on 37 shots against the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. Nevertheless, the American tendy has been superb since starting the season off on a six-game cold streak. Since then, we’ve seen Hellebuyck post a 93.0% save percentage while winning only five of his 12 starts and remaining below his career average in save percentage this season.
The Leafs are coming in tired after playing in a shootout on the road last night, setting tonight up as a bit of a letdown spot for Auston Matthews and company. That benefits Hellebuyck at a discounted rate, making him a value play on tonight’s slates.
With Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into our DFS lineups for tournaments.
If you’re perusing the FantasyLabs lineup builder today, you’ll notice that the Oilers occupy many of the top-rated projections; however, we’re highlighting the Jets stack in an ideal betting spot against the Leafs.
Our favorite stack features linemates Pierre-Luc Dubois and Nikolaj Ehlers. These players’ fantasy success correlates well together as they skate on the Jets’ second line and are involved in each other’s scoring plays. Both players have scoring opportunities on the man advantage as well, with Dubois centering the second unit and Ehlers skating on the top unit. That’s also where you’ll find Pionk, which is who we’ve included on the back end. Hellebuyck is the projected starter and is at a discounted rate facing the Leafs offensive attack. However, we still like his ceiling at home, where he can continue the strong play we’ve seen from him over the past month.
The betting market confidence isn’t high on the Jets, but it is shifting in their favor. After opening at underdogs against Toronto, the Jets are now listed at a pick’em. That price should continue to shift throughout the day and reflects our confidence in Winnipeg.