The NHL DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday has an 11-game main slate starting at 7:00 pm ET.
Connor McDavid ($9,200 DraftKings, $9,200 FanDuel) vs. Anaheim Ducks
You might have to break the bank to lock Connor McDavid into your DFS roster, but his circumstances heading into tonight’s contest and advanced metrics support that he’s worth the investment.
First off, the Anaheim Ducks are playing on the second night of a back-to-back and will likely be starting their backup goalie against the Edmonton Oilers. That means that Anthony Stolarz will face a firing range as his team fails to neutralize an efficient Oilers attack. More importantly, McDavid has the metrics to back up his hot start to the season. The Oilers captain is tied with linemate Leon Draisaitl for the best Corsi rating across all strengths and has the best expected goals-for rating among players who have played more than 13 minutes. McDavid has attempted 10 shots and helped create 24 scoring and 10 high-danger chances through two games.
Not only does McDavid have the highest Ceiling Projection tonight, but it is also one of the best projections of the season.
There’s no disputing McDavid as a top play.
Ryan Hartman ($3,100 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel) vs. Winnipeg Jets
There aren’t too many teams in the NHL that give up more quality chances than the Winnipeg Jets. That benefits that Minnesota Wild as they get a home-ice matchup with the Jets tonight.
Ryan Hartman centers the Wild’s second line, which has been one of their most effective units. Through two games, Hartman has the fifth-best Corsi rating among Minnesota’s forwards and has out-chanced his opponents 13-10 in scoring chances and 8-3 in high-danger chances. Those strong relative metrics have helped Hartman establish the fourth-best expected goals-for percentage on the Wild. More impressively, Hartman has the best shots-for percentage on the team this season, creating 22 while he’s on the ice and allowing 11 for an efficient 66.7% rating.
Hartman will have a chance to improve his metrics against the Jets tonight, and his salary is just a drop in the bucket.
Mikko Rantanen ($7,700 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel) vs. Washington Capitals
The Colorado Avalanche are a powerhouse driven by their top line of Mikko Rantanen, Andre Burakovsky, and Nazem Kadri, while Nathan MacKinnon continues to recover from COVID-19. That hasn’t stopped Rantanen from having a dynamite start to the season.
Rantanen leads the Avs with an impressive 66.7% Corsi rating, creating 43 scoring chances and 17 high-danger opportunities across all strengths in two games. The 24-year-old is flat-out dominating while he’s on the ice, but that hasn’t translated to substantive output yet, as Rantanen has just two points. However, that does imply that Rantanen is a progression candidate as his output catches up with his impressive production metrics.
Rantanen leads our Median Projections by a substantive margin, earning the status as our top play at winger.
Jesse Puljujarvi ($5,700 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel) vs. Anaheim Ducks
Jesse Puljujarvi is riding shotgun on a line with McDavid and Draisaitl and will continue to thrive with the Oilers’ big dogs.
Puljujarvi has four points through two games and is building chemistry with two of the best players in the game. Edmonton’s top line has combined for 13 points through two games, and head coach Dave Tippett continues to put his line out in favorable circumstances. P2J and the duo get over 70.0% of their zone starts in the attacking zone and collectively have a 63.3% expected goals-for rating.
Puljujarvi’s salary doesn’t accurately reflect his ceiling, making him our top value at winger.
Roman Josi ($6,900 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel) vs. Los Angeles Kings
Roman Josi has been an imposing presence on the Nashville Predators’ blue line for many years, and 2021-22 is no different. The Preds host the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night, giving Josi a chance to improve his early-season fantasy production.
Through two games, Josi is averaging 15.9 fantasy points per game. The veteran d-man’s lone goal is a powerplay tally, and he’s also put 10 shots on net while recording two blocks. What can be inferred from his stat line is that the Preds rely on Josi’s cannon, including on the team’s top powerplay unit. Josi has impressive relative possession and production metrics, with the best Corsi rating and scoring chances-for percentage among Preds’ defensemen.
Monday’s home matchup with the Kings is an ideal setting, and that’s reflected in our projections which rate Josi with the highest Median, Ceiling, and Floor projections on defense.
Matt Dumba ($4,400 DraftKings, $4,300 FanDuel) vs. Winnipeg Jets
Matt Dumba is flying under the radar as an elite-producing defenseman. It won’t be long until teams take notice if Dumba can maintain this level of production.
The Wild host the Jets for their third straight road game tonight, and that gives Dumba a chance to elevate his gaudy early-season metrics. Dumba has the third-best expected goals-for percentage while playing across all strengths for the Wild. The former first-round pick has individually created four scoring and two high-danger chances and has been on the ice for 25 and 12, respectively. Dumba gets chances on the Wild’s second powerplay unit but also contributes on their second defensive pairing.
Dumba’s DFS salary implies he’s a mid-range defenseman, but his fantasy ceiling remains among the best.
Mike Smith ($8,500 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel) vs. Anaheim Ducks
You wouldn’t expect a 39-year-old to do what Mike Smith is doing, yet here we are. Smith picked up exactly where he left off last season as a reliable presence in the Oilers’ blue paint two games into the season.
Through two games, Smith is stopping 95.3% of shots, including 90.9% of even-strength high-danger chances and 90.0% of powerplay shots. Smith won’t face a litany of shots against the Ducks tonight, giving him a chance to increase his fantasy value. Anaheim averages 26.0 shots per game and comes in on the second night of a back-to-back. Scoring chances and high-danger opportunities will be minimal, giving Smith a chance at a coveted shut-out tonight.
According to our projections, Smith is the best option between the pipes tonight and is the top play.
Jonathan Bernier ($7,900 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel) vs. Seattle Kraken
The NHL wasn’t going to give the Seattle Kraken the easy ride they gave to the Vegas Golden Knights when they entered the league. The Kraken are playing their fifth game of the season in eight nights, all of which have come on the road. That sets the New Jersey Devils up for success in tonight’s game, as the Kraken play on the second night of a back-to-back.
Jonathan Bernier is the expected starter for the Devils tonight. The journeyman netminder is in a good spot to improve his metrics after a below-average start to the season. Bernier stopped 24 of 27 shots in his first start but will face a less imposing Kraken offense. Settle is scoring on just 8.9% of their shots this season and, across all strengths, average 9.5 high-danger chances per game. Bernier should flourish against the Kraken.
FanDuel and DraftKings have Bernier’s salary on the low-end of the spectrum, making him a value play in net tonight.
There is a meaty 11-game slate to sift through, but the FantasyLabs Lineup Builder rates one stack particularly well — the Oilers stack.
Based on projected points, four combinations rate exceptionally. As noted above, McDavid, Puljujarvi, and Smith all warrant a play on DFS rosters. Adding Darnell Nurse or Tyson Barrie as defensemen create a noteworthy stack. McDavid and Draisaitl project similarly and can be used interchangeably on DFS rosters. The combination we’ve highlighted is McDavid, Puljujarvi, Barrie, and Smith. Barrie is active on the Oilers’ powerplay and will skate with their top line as well.
The betting market also expresses confidence in this lineup. The Oilers are priced as hefty -280 favorites, with the total listed at 6. Edmonton will have opportunities to score against the Ducks; all three skaters should figure into the scoring, and Smith should skate away with the win.