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NHL DFS Breakdown (Monday, Jan. 24): Nicklas Backstrom, Analytics Darling

The NHL DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.

Monday has a seven-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.

And don’t forget to check out our Lineup Builder if you like to hand build your lineups or our Lineup Optimizer for those of you that like to enter multiple lineups into tournaments.

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Center

Top Play

Roope Hintz ($6,900 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel) vs. Philadelphia Flyers

The Dallas Stars offense has been operating efficiently over their recent stretch, and Roope Hintz has been a big part of their success. We’re turning to Hintz as our top play at center against the defensively porous Philadelphia Flyers.

Hintz has five points over his previous three outings, totaling 83.6 fantasy points over that span. The former second-round selection’s fantasy value is elevated by playing on the Stars top line and powerplay unit while starting 68.8% of his shifts in the attacking zone.

The Stars have scored 10 goals over their last two games, while the Flyers have allowed three or more in 10 of their previous 11. That sets Hintz up to continue his torrid pace on Monday night.


Top Value

Nicklas Backstrom ($4,400 DraftKings, $6,400 FanDuel) vs. Vegas Golden Knights

The Washington Capitals offense is driven by the NHL’s leading scorer, with most DFS players overlooking the value that Nicklas Backstrom brings to the table. Not us and not tonight against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Backstrom hasn’t only been one of the best forwards on the Capitals; he’s been one of the best players in the league. The 34-year-old has only played in nine games but has been an analytics darling in that time. Backstrom has the best Corsi rating in the NHL among all players who have played at least 150 minutes. That’s contributing to his 68.8% expected goals-for rating across all strengths, which is tops among all players.

Backstrom’s value is impacted by his limited playing time to start his season. If he maintains this level of production, it won’t be long until his salary increases to reflect his fantasy impact. For now, Backstrom is a value play up the middle.

Wing

Top Play

Matthew Tkachuk ($6,200 DraftKings, $8.100 FanDuel) vs. St. Louis Blues

The usual suspects crowd the top of the expected goals-for percentage rankings, but one name that might surprise a few people among the league’s elite is Matthew Tkachuk. Tkachuk ranks ninth in the league thanks to sterling metrics on both ends of the ice. He’ll have a chance to improve those metrics against a tired St. Louis Blues squad on Monday night.

The Blues head into Calgary on the second night of a back-to-back after getting dominated by the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. St. Louis gave up 40 scoring and 17 high-danger chances in that contest, and they’ve surrendered at least that many quality opportunities in two of their past three games.

Tkachuk has been flourishing recently, dropping eight points over his past four games, translating to 101.3 fantasy points. The Calgary Flames deploy Tkachuk on their top line and powerplay unit, meaning he’ll have plenty of opportunities to improve his metrics against a shoddy Blues team.

Top Value

Dominik Kubalik ($3,500 DraftKings, $4,300 FanDuel) vs. Colorado Avalanche

As a team, the Chicago Blackhawks are underachieving relative to their metrics, and Dominik Kubalik is a player who should see meaningful progression over his coming games.

Kubalik has recorded three or more shots on net in four straight games but has recorded just two goals and one assist over that span. The Czech winger has elevated his on-ice expected goals-for rating to 56.5%, the second-best mark on the team, with an actual rating of 45.8%. That difference, along with his 0.976 PDO, implies that Kubalik should see an upward trend in his output.

For now, Kubalik has a diminished salary but remains an offensive threat, making him a value play on both platforms.

Defense

Top Play

Alex Pietrangelo ($7,100 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel) vs. Washington Capitals

Few players in the league can do what Alex Pietrangelo does. The hulking defenseman plays across all strengths for the Vegas Golden Knights, adding fantasy value on both ends of the ice.

The Knights’ rearguard is coming off a modest 6.4 fantasy point outing but will have chances to capitalize against a Washington team that has given up at least 11 high-danger opportunities in four straight games and 32 or more shots in three of their past four. Pietrangelo has recorded multiple blocked shots in four of his past five games and two or more shots on net in five of his past seven.

Pietrangelo is primed for a big outing, as he continues to have productive outings while output has waned. Based on our projections, Pietrangelo is one of the best available on D.


Top Value

John Klingberg ($4,900 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel) vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Choosing a Stars’ defenseman can be a bit of a crapshoot. Dallas is loaded on the backend, and any one of their defensemen can have a solid outing on any given night. However, John Klingberg presents as a top option with a moderately priced salary, making him a value play on tonight’s slate.

Klingberg’s advanced metrics support that greener pastures are on the horizon for the veteran defenseman. Klingberg ranks third on the team in on-ice scoring and high-danger chances, thanks to his team-best 2:50 minutes of powerplay time a game. That’s helped stake Klingberg to the team-lead in powerplay assists and tie him for the third-most powerplay points on the team.

As noted above, the Flyers struggle to contain opponents, meaning Klingberg’s fantasy value could soar on Monday.

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Goalies

Be sure to check the Starting Goalie Page throughout the day to see which goalies are confirmed starters.

Top Play

Jacob Markstrom ($7,800 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel) vs. St. Louis Blues

Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom isn’t the most expensive option on the fantasy slates, but based on our projections, he rates as one of the best options available.

The Swedish netminder has had a resurgent year, posting a 92.4% save percentage and a 13-9-5 record. The Flames are in an ideal spot on Monday night, and Markstrom will benefit from that. The Blues are playing on the second night of a back-to-back and have overachieved relative to expected goals-for in four straight games. St. Louis will come tumbling back down to normal ranges at some point, and the Flames will help facilitate that regression. That should allow Markstrom to reach his fantasy ceiling and exceed his implied salary value.


Jake Oettinger ($8,000 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel) vs. Philadelphia Flyers

The Stars have turned to Jake Oettinger more frequently over their recent sample, and the young goalie has put forward inconsistent efforts. Nevertheless, he has a high fantasy ceiling against the Flyers on Monday.

Oettinger has won four of his past six starts, putting up above average save percentages in two of those games. He remains sheltered by the Stars defense-first system that has limited opponents to nine or fewer high-danger opportunities in six of their previous eight games and nine or fewer quality chances across all strengths in two of three. That’s likely to continue against a Flyers team that has attempted six or fewer high-danger chances in four of their past six.

Dallas should limit the Flyers’ ineffective offense, allowing Oettinger to improve his save percentage and secure the win.

Notable Stack

With Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into our DFS lineups for tournaments.

The New York Rangers were glossed over in our top and value play section, but we can’t overlook their stacking value against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

The Rangers host the Kings on the second night of a back-to-back. New York’s offense has been thriving lately, recording three or more goals in five straight games, and their top line continues to feature prominently in the scoring. On that basis,  forwards Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider make an appealing stack. Their success correlates well as they skate on the top line and powerplay unit, and they’ve combined for 19 points over the Rangers past five games. On defense, we’ve selected reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox, who remains a dominant presence while leading the team in on-ice scoring and high-danger opportunities. Igor Shesterkin is the projected starter and could improve upon his six-game winning streak against the Kings.

As usual, we use the betting market as a reference point for confidence in our stack. The Rangers opened in the -150 range tonight and have been bought up to -165 heading into tonight’s contest. That’s a good indicator of the Rangers’ chances against the Kings.

Photo Credit: John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nicklas Backstrom

The NHL DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.

Monday has a seven-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.

And don’t forget to check out our Lineup Builder if you like to hand build your lineups or our Lineup Optimizer for those of you that like to enter multiple lineups into tournaments.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

Center

Top Play

Roope Hintz ($6,900 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel) vs. Philadelphia Flyers

The Dallas Stars offense has been operating efficiently over their recent stretch, and Roope Hintz has been a big part of their success. We’re turning to Hintz as our top play at center against the defensively porous Philadelphia Flyers.

Hintz has five points over his previous three outings, totaling 83.6 fantasy points over that span. The former second-round selection’s fantasy value is elevated by playing on the Stars top line and powerplay unit while starting 68.8% of his shifts in the attacking zone.

The Stars have scored 10 goals over their last two games, while the Flyers have allowed three or more in 10 of their previous 11. That sets Hintz up to continue his torrid pace on Monday night.


Top Value

Nicklas Backstrom ($4,400 DraftKings, $6,400 FanDuel) vs. Vegas Golden Knights

The Washington Capitals offense is driven by the NHL’s leading scorer, with most DFS players overlooking the value that Nicklas Backstrom brings to the table. Not us and not tonight against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Backstrom hasn’t only been one of the best forwards on the Capitals; he’s been one of the best players in the league. The 34-year-old has only played in nine games but has been an analytics darling in that time. Backstrom has the best Corsi rating in the NHL among all players who have played at least 150 minutes. That’s contributing to his 68.8% expected goals-for rating across all strengths, which is tops among all players.

Backstrom’s value is impacted by his limited playing time to start his season. If he maintains this level of production, it won’t be long until his salary increases to reflect his fantasy impact. For now, Backstrom is a value play up the middle.

Wing

Top Play

Matthew Tkachuk ($6,200 DraftKings, $8.100 FanDuel) vs. St. Louis Blues

The usual suspects crowd the top of the expected goals-for percentage rankings, but one name that might surprise a few people among the league’s elite is Matthew Tkachuk. Tkachuk ranks ninth in the league thanks to sterling metrics on both ends of the ice. He’ll have a chance to improve those metrics against a tired St. Louis Blues squad on Monday night.

The Blues head into Calgary on the second night of a back-to-back after getting dominated by the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. St. Louis gave up 40 scoring and 17 high-danger chances in that contest, and they’ve surrendered at least that many quality opportunities in two of their past three games.

Tkachuk has been flourishing recently, dropping eight points over his past four games, translating to 101.3 fantasy points. The Calgary Flames deploy Tkachuk on their top line and powerplay unit, meaning he’ll have plenty of opportunities to improve his metrics against a shoddy Blues team.

Top Value

Dominik Kubalik ($3,500 DraftKings, $4,300 FanDuel) vs. Colorado Avalanche

As a team, the Chicago Blackhawks are underachieving relative to their metrics, and Dominik Kubalik is a player who should see meaningful progression over his coming games.

Kubalik has recorded three or more shots on net in four straight games but has recorded just two goals and one assist over that span. The Czech winger has elevated his on-ice expected goals-for rating to 56.5%, the second-best mark on the team, with an actual rating of 45.8%. That difference, along with his 0.976 PDO, implies that Kubalik should see an upward trend in his output.

For now, Kubalik has a diminished salary but remains an offensive threat, making him a value play on both platforms.

Defense

Top Play

Alex Pietrangelo ($7,100 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel) vs. Washington Capitals

Few players in the league can do what Alex Pietrangelo does. The hulking defenseman plays across all strengths for the Vegas Golden Knights, adding fantasy value on both ends of the ice.

The Knights’ rearguard is coming off a modest 6.4 fantasy point outing but will have chances to capitalize against a Washington team that has given up at least 11 high-danger opportunities in four straight games and 32 or more shots in three of their past four. Pietrangelo has recorded multiple blocked shots in four of his past five games and two or more shots on net in five of his past seven.

Pietrangelo is primed for a big outing, as he continues to have productive outings while output has waned. Based on our projections, Pietrangelo is one of the best available on D.


Top Value

John Klingberg ($4,900 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel) vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Choosing a Stars’ defenseman can be a bit of a crapshoot. Dallas is loaded on the backend, and any one of their defensemen can have a solid outing on any given night. However, John Klingberg presents as a top option with a moderately priced salary, making him a value play on tonight’s slate.

Klingberg’s advanced metrics support that greener pastures are on the horizon for the veteran defenseman. Klingberg ranks third on the team in on-ice scoring and high-danger chances, thanks to his team-best 2:50 minutes of powerplay time a game. That’s helped stake Klingberg to the team-lead in powerplay assists and tie him for the third-most powerplay points on the team.

As noted above, the Flyers struggle to contain opponents, meaning Klingberg’s fantasy value could soar on Monday.

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Goalies

Be sure to check the Starting Goalie Page throughout the day to see which goalies are confirmed starters.

Top Play

Jacob Markstrom ($7,800 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel) vs. St. Louis Blues

Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom isn’t the most expensive option on the fantasy slates, but based on our projections, he rates as one of the best options available.

The Swedish netminder has had a resurgent year, posting a 92.4% save percentage and a 13-9-5 record. The Flames are in an ideal spot on Monday night, and Markstrom will benefit from that. The Blues are playing on the second night of a back-to-back and have overachieved relative to expected goals-for in four straight games. St. Louis will come tumbling back down to normal ranges at some point, and the Flames will help facilitate that regression. That should allow Markstrom to reach his fantasy ceiling and exceed his implied salary value.


Jake Oettinger ($8,000 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel) vs. Philadelphia Flyers

The Stars have turned to Jake Oettinger more frequently over their recent sample, and the young goalie has put forward inconsistent efforts. Nevertheless, he has a high fantasy ceiling against the Flyers on Monday.

Oettinger has won four of his past six starts, putting up above average save percentages in two of those games. He remains sheltered by the Stars defense-first system that has limited opponents to nine or fewer high-danger opportunities in six of their previous eight games and nine or fewer quality chances across all strengths in two of three. That’s likely to continue against a Flyers team that has attempted six or fewer high-danger chances in four of their past six.

Dallas should limit the Flyers’ ineffective offense, allowing Oettinger to improve his save percentage and secure the win.

Notable Stack

With Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into our DFS lineups for tournaments.

The New York Rangers were glossed over in our top and value play section, but we can’t overlook their stacking value against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

The Rangers host the Kings on the second night of a back-to-back. New York’s offense has been thriving lately, recording three or more goals in five straight games, and their top line continues to feature prominently in the scoring. On that basis,  forwards Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider make an appealing stack. Their success correlates well as they skate on the top line and powerplay unit, and they’ve combined for 19 points over the Rangers past five games. On defense, we’ve selected reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox, who remains a dominant presence while leading the team in on-ice scoring and high-danger opportunities. Igor Shesterkin is the projected starter and could improve upon his six-game winning streak against the Kings.

As usual, we use the betting market as a reference point for confidence in our stack. The Rangers opened in the -150 range tonight and have been bought up to -165 heading into tonight’s contest. That’s a good indicator of the Rangers’ chances against the Kings.

Photo Credit: John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nicklas Backstrom