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 six-game main slate starting at 7:00 pm ET.
Note: Projections may change throughout the day after this article is posted. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates.
Sidney Crosby ($7,200 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel) vs. Winnipeg Jets
Sidney Crosby hasn’t hit his stride yet this season, recording just two points through his first five games, but his underlying metrics suggest that the’s due for a breakout performance against the Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets have a tendency to give up a lot of chances against, averaging 11.3 per game, which suits Crosby and the Penguins just fine. Crosby leads the Penguins in offensive zone starts, starting 85.2% of the time in the attacking zone. His relative metrics across all strengths are above 50.0% but his output doesn’t reflect those strong metrics. The Pens have just a 6.8% shooting percentage with Crosby on the ice, dropping his PDO to a team-worst 0.897.
We’re expecting meaningful progression from Crosby over his coming games, naming him our top play at center on Monday’s slate.
Tomas Hertl ($4,600 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel) vs. Carolina Hurricanes
The San Jose Sharks rely on Tomas Hertl more than any other forward. Hertl leads the forwards corps in ice-time, goals and shots, across all strengths. The Sharks will be leaning into Hertl moreso against one of the best teams in the league.
Hertl has been held pointless over his past two games, despite playing nearly 40 minutes and putting six shots on net. The veteran forward has recorded a shot in every game this season, averaging 3.0 per game. Hertl has solid relative metrics, ranking fifth in expected goals-for percentage on the Sharks, but hasn’t lived up to his expected values.
The Sharks will continue to deploy Hertl on their second line and powerplay unit, increasing his fantasy value and making him a bargain on Monday night.
Mikko Rantanen ($8,500 DraftKings, $8,100 FanDuel) vs. Ottawa Senators
It’s worth noting that Mikko Rantanen is listed on the wing at FanDuel but center at DraftKings, but is a top play regardless of position.
The Colorado Avalanche get to welcome the Ottawa Senators back to action after the league cancelled the Sens’ games last week to monitor their COVID-19 situation. That puts them at an even bigger deficit, as they work back up to game speed after spending most of last week at home. Rantanen has four points over his past two games, totaling 46.6 fantasy points, making it two 30-plus fantasy point performances over his past four games.
The Avs get an ideal matchup against a weak team, off an extended absence, on home ice. All signs point to another monster performance from Rantanen.
Martin Necas ($4,200 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel) vs. San Jose Sharks
The hockey world is slowly catching onto Martin Necas and what he does for the Carolina Hurricanes; however, that is not yet reflected in his DFS salary.
Necas has been a steady producer, going north of 16 fantasy points in five of his past seven games and averaging 15.8 over that stretch. The 23-year-old has a knack for finding open scorers,as five of his six apples have been a first assist. He’ll have plenty of opportunities to improve on his recent surge against a Sharks team that has given up 16 or more high-danger chances in three of their past six games.
Teams have to pick which Hurricanes line to neutralize and that’s working in Necas favor, as his line continues to have space to operate.
Cale Makar ($6,700 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel) vs. Ottawa Senators
Cale Makar took some time to get his upper-body injury resolved, and he came back better than ever. The former first-round selection is in a good spot against the Sens on Monday night.
Makar finished last season as one of the best defensemen in the league. He ranked in the league’s elite in production metrics, resulting in 44 points in 44 games. Makar got off to a slow start this season, but the upper-body injury could have been impacting his on-ice production early in the season. Since he came back, Makar has seven points in four games and seen his advanced metrics start to pick up. Now, he sits with a 53.1 expected goals-for rating at five-on-five, jumping up to 56.6% across all strengths.
The Avs can lean into Makar’s hot streak tonight against a rusty Sens squad.
Mattias Ekholm ($3,500 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel) vs. Anaheim Ducks
There’s not a substantive difference in our ceiling projections amongst middle-of-the-pack defensemen, but there is a noticeable difference in salary. That’s what makes Mattias Ekholm a value play on Monday.
The Nashville Predators defenseman starts in his defensive zone 64.5% of the time at five-on-five, but still puts up respectable production metrics. Ekholm has a 49.5% expected goals-for rating, despite being used as a shutdown defenseman. That has diminished his fantasy value somewhat, but the veteran d-man has not lived up to his expected values. Ekholm remains below expected output and has a below average PDO, making him a progression candidate over his upcoming games.
With a salary in the $3,500 range, Ekholm is a bargain and could easily surpass implied expectations.
Be sure to check the Starting Goalie Page throughout the day to see which goalies are confirmed starters.
Darcy Kuemper ($8,300 DraftKings, $8,700 FanDuel) vs. Ottawa Senators
Count Dary Kuemper as an Avalanche player that could have a strong showing on Monday night. The Avs goalie has won seven of his past nine starts, and could continue his recent upward trend.
Kuemper has been effective over his recent sample, stopping 94.0% of shots over his past six outings. He’s been particularly effective at home, stopping 93.0% of shots, compared to 90.1% on the road. Kuemper will be insulated from a Sens attack, as the Avs continue to dominate their opponents, but the Sens are also terrible on the road. Ottawa averages 9.0 high-danger chances per game as the visitors, outplaying just one of their five opponents.
There are several factors working against the Sens tonight, elevating Kuemper’s status as a top play.
John Gibson ($7,300 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel) vs. Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators aren’t the type of team to sell out on offense, which means that Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson could have a relatively unobstructed path to a solid outing.
Gibson has been playing well recently, topping 93.3% save percentage in three straight outings, making it a cumulative 94.5% save percentage over his previous seven starts. He won’t be pushed by the Preds, who have attempted more than nine quality chances in two of their past 11 games. The Ducks have won seven of Gibson’s last eight starts and the 28-year-old is poised for another strong outing against the Preds.
Gibson has three Pro Trends working in his favor and could easily reach his fantasy ceiling against the Preds.
With Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into our DFS lineups for tournaments.
We’ve highlighted a few Avs players through today’s NHL DFS Breakdown, but our lineup builder highlighted several Hurricanes combinations that rate highly in our projections.
There is one Canes combination that rates better than any other. Starting on the wing is team leader in points Andrei Svechnikov. Svechnikov has 19 points, seven of which have come on the powerplay. He skates next to Sebastian Aho on the Canes’ top line and powerplay unit, making the two a natural pairing up front with high correlating value. On the back end, Jaccob Slavin in the d-man who rates as the best option in this stack. Slavin does it all, contributing fantasy points on both ends of the ice. Frederik Andersen is the projected starter and worth including on any Canes stack. Andersen is the league leader in wins and ranks highly in save percentage and goals-against average.
According to our projections, the Canes stack is one of the best fantasy options available tonight. That’s reflected in their betting price, as they enter tonight’s contest as -162 favorites.