The NHL DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Thursday has an 11-game main slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Note: Projections may change throughout the day after this article is posted. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates.
Aleksander Barkov ($6,900 DraftKings, $8,800 FanDuel) @ Dallas Stars
The center position is loaded with talent today, and the Projections in the FantasyLabs Model are all very condensed at the top. Aleksander Barkov rates out as a top-five play, though, and comes in with a sub-$7,000 salary on DraftKings that should have us very intrigued.
Florida has one of the biggest implied team totals on the slate at 3.5 goals, and Barkov comes in ranked third in Ceiling Projections. In terms of production, he rates out in the top-1% of the Pro Trends on FantasyLabs in shots on goal + blocked shots at his position over the last month. Take the cheap salary on offer and go with the Panthers stud to begin lineups.
Dylan Larkin ($5,900 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel) @ Anaheim Ducks
The Red Wings offense has looked much better since getting Tyler Bertuzzi back in the fold, and they take on a Ducks team who will be down numerous players. The Red Wings are only slight underdogs on the road in this spot, which tells us a lot about how this game could potentially go. Dylan Larkin has 11 points in his last 10 games and has also scored six times in his previous six games.
The center is obviously a better bargain on DraftKings, where his sold shot rate and matchup make him a near must-play at under $6,000. Stacking the entire Red Wings top line also benefits Fanduel, where the trio should be under-owned. The Red Wings top line has excellent correlation and has scored the fourth-most goals of any line in the league. Larkin’s a great way to get a piece of the Wings and rates out as a top DraftKings value at center.
David Pastrnak ($7,600 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel) vs. Minnesota Wild
The Bruins have shaken up their top-two lines a little and now have David Pastrnak playing on a second unit with Taylor Hall. The move has led to some interesting DFS dynamics as Pastrnak is now much easier to stack given Hall’s cheap salary. The Bruins winger continues to slump from a goal-scoring perspective this season and comes in with just a .03 shooting percentage over his last 10 games. He finally broke with a goal in his previous game and rates out very well in the FantasyLabs Model, with the top ceiling Projection at wing.
The Wild have now allowed 5.2 goals against over their last four games and certainly seem to be dealing with some rust and potential regression since the Covid break. It’s a solid matchup for Pastrnak to keep his positive momentum rolling. He’s a good target and may even be somewhat contrarian given his recent move to the second line.
Patrik Laine ($5,800 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel) @ New Jersey Devils
The Blue Jackets and Devils have both allowed a ton of goals of late, with Blue Jackets games having seen seven or more goals scored in each of their last six outings. Patrik Laine grabbed seven shots on net and a goal in his first game back but has been quiet in the two games since. This is an excellent matchup for him to get back on track, though, as the Devils allow the seventh-most goals against per game. They’ve allowed the ninth-most quality scoring chances against this year as well.
Laine may be somewhat of a boom or bust fantasy play, but he does rate out with the eighth-best Ceiling Projection on this slate. This game is almost certain to produce some big games for fantasy purposes and taking the still relatively cheap Laine is a good way to get exposure to the upside on tap here.
Brent Burns ($6,100 DraftKings, $6,400) @ Buffalo Sabres
The Sharks haven’t been all that great since returning from the break, but they get a gift tonight as they take on the Sabres in Buffalo. The Sabres have allowed the fourth-most shots against this year, and Burns rates out in the top-5% of minutes played and shots on net at his position over the last month.
The Sharks defenseman has averaged 5.9 blocked shots + shots on goal over his last 10 games and may even get a bigger usage boost here if Erik Karlsson (questionable) ends up missing this game. The matchup here is A+, and Burns has rated out as one of the most elite DFS plays on defense over the short term. Take the reasonable salary available on both sites and build around Burns today.
John Klingberg ($4,300 DraftKings, $4,400 FanDuel) vs. Florida Panthers
The Dallas Stars have one of the best power plays in the league, rating out with the fifth-best power-play unit. Special teams is one potential area where the Stars could gain an advantage over the Panthers, and, at the very least, we can target the Stars power-play unit here in DFS given the cheap salaries available on some of their players.
John Klingberg comes into this game having grabbed five points over his last four games (three of which have come on the power-play) and is averaging right around 3.0 blocked shots + shots on goal over his previous 10-games as well. The low price on tap here makes him a good value target regardless and a good stacking target with the Stars’ PP1 forwards, who could be good contrarian targets on their own.
Be sure to check the Starting Goalie Page throughout the day to see which goalies are confirmed starters.
Jeremy Swayman ($8,400 DraftKings, $8,100 FanDuel) vs. Minnesota Wild
The Bruins take on a Wild team who have lost four in a row and have had a tough time getting back on track since the Covid outage. The Bruins have won three straight themselves and have seemingly benefited from a switch in their top-six, going to a more balanced approach.
Jeremy Swayman is in a great spot here for DFS then too, as he sits as a -163 favorite on the money line and is coming off a win against the Red Wings, where he allowed just one goal on 24 shots faced. Swayman rates out as a top-five play on FantasyLabs and makes for a solid pay-up target.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen ($7,400 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel) vs. San Jose Sharks
The Sabres goaltenders have been hit or miss all season, but the upside has been real when they’ve played well. Right now, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is playing well and has stopped 75 of the last 83 shots on net he’s faced — achieving the DraftKings shots on goal bonus now in each of his previous two games. That last point is significant, as the Sabres netminder has been putting up strong fantasy totals, despite not finding a win in either of those starts.
The Sabres sit as just +100 underdogs on this slate, so that win factor could easily come tonight for Luukonen, who rates out very highly in the FantasyLabs Model, both in value and ceiling Projections. Take the discount and ride with the high upside of the Sabres goalie in GPPs.
Flames L1 – Lindholm – Gaudreau – Tkachuk
With Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into our DFS lineups for tournaments.
Any one of these three could have made the write-up today, as they were near the top of their positions in the FantasyLabs Projected Points Model. When we ran the Stacking Tool, the Flames’ trio also came out as one of the top stacks of the night, and they will undoubtedly be the most cost-effective of the top-five ranked stacks on this slate.
Calgary does come in as underdogs, but if they are to prevail, the Flames’ top line will almost assuredly be a big part of the story. Calgary’s top-unit leads all lines in goals scored this year, and the Lightning have also had issues keeping the puck out of their own net of late, allowing 4.5 goals against per game over their last six games. Calgary’s top trio is a good contrarian target here and makes for an excellent way to go against the grain in GPPs, where most will be looking at other top lines to stack around.
Photo Credit: Brian Fluharty/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: David Pastrnak