NHL DFS Primer: Saturday (11/13)
Nearly every team in the league will be competing Saturday, as 13 games are on tap during a busy weekend slate. A couple of games, Toronto against Buffalo and San Jose versus Colorado, have six goals set as their over/under, indicating that the sportsbooks believe these matchups will yield the highest scoring output. As a result, it’s an excellent decision to roster players in lineups who are either on high-powered offenses or facing an inferior opponent. At the same time, some talented skaters are buried on the depth charts who wind up producing the most for their team.
With so many players available to plug into DFS lineups on Saturday, I’ve done my best to narrow down some of the best prospects based on their usage and perceived value reflected in their salaries. We’ve seen Arizona earn their first win recently, while the Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames are amid multi-game losing streaks after starting hot. The NHL is always good for a surprise or two, so expect a few players and teams to pull off the upset on Saturday with such a massive amount of games to be played.
My recommended plays will be primary contributors to winning lineups entering the fifth weekend of the 2022 NHL season.
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Nick Suzuki (C – MON): $5,200
22-year old Nick Suzuki has emerged as Montreal’s rising star, entering Saturday’s contest against Detroit with four multi-point games in his last five outings. Suzuki leads the Canadiens in points (14) and earns additional opportunities on the team’s top powerplay unit while averaging a massive 22 minutes of time on ice this season. Montreal has been the victim of a sluggish offense start, scoring 32 goals, paired with terrible goaltending in the absence of Carey Price (G – MON). Suzuki will continue to be forced to find ways to score or set up scoring plays for Montreal against the Red Wings, who are a high-scoring team but have been poor in the crease. This is the perfect recipe for Suzuki to extend his impressive point streak. He is a fantastic value at his $5,200 salary, so try to get Suzuki into as many lineups as possible.
Tyler Toffoli (RW – MON): $4,600
Stacking or pairing linemates is a great way to double-dip into production. The catch is that stacking players on the same team can wind up yielding hardly any points and sinking your probability of cashing a lineup if neither player can set up a score or finish an offensive set. Tyler Toffoli might be older than Nick Suzuki, but he benefits from skating alongside the young talent, racking up two goals and four assists in his last five games played. The 29-year old winger earns additional minutes on Montreal’s top powerplay unit, where he also skates with Suzuki, meaning there will be a lot of opportunities to return value with Toffoli and Suzuki together in lineups. The Red Wings score fast and often, so Toffoli will need to manufacture four or five shots on goal to produce a satisfactory outcome. This is more than feasible, so get Toffoli into lineups, even if you opt to pass on Suzuki.
Brent Burns (D – SJ): $7,400
One of the most talented defensemen in the offensive zone is the legendary veteran Brent Burns. He is in his 18th season and 11th year with San Jose, which is why he is experiencing so much success. Burns is an assist machine, entering Saturday’s road game in Colorado with a six-game point streak that includes eight assists and his only goal of the season. In addition, Burns has only attempted fewer than four shots on goal once since October 26th, an excellent sign for his continued involvement for the Sharks on Saturday. The Sharks started hot but are 4-5-1 in their last ten games, so Burns and the rest of the team will need to find ways to score and compete in a loaded Pacific Division. Burns is among the most expensive defensemen to roster, but he’s well worth the price due to his offensive usage and ability to set up multiple scoring plays in a game.
Juuse Saros (G – ARI): $8,500
Juuse Saros has been great since giving up six goals to Winnipeg back in the season’s second week. The seventh-year netminder has six consecutive starts allowing two or fewer goals, leading to five wins for the Predators. His improved play has dropped his goals-against average (GAA) to 1.99 across the last week while making at least 25 saves in every single outing during this streak. However, he faces an Arizona Coyotes team with a minus-36 goal differential, scoring only 22 goals in 14 games. This demands inserting Saros into lineups no matter the salary due to his improved play and the dreadful offense he faces at home on Saturday night.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000
Nazem Kadri (C – COL): $5,600
The second-line center has contributed significantly to Colorado’s scoring across the last couple of weeks, scoring two goals and earning at least one assist in his previous three starts. Nazem Kadri is in his third year with the Avalanche and has had to adjust to losing several key players from last season’s postseason run due to injuries and trades. While Kadri has seen his time on ice dip below 15 minutes for two straight games, he is talented and efficient enough to overcome the minute restriction. San Jose plans to start James Reimer (G – SJ) in the net on Saturday, which is a good decision for Kadri’s outlook. The veteran netminder has allowed three goals in two of his last three starts, while San Jose has matched Colorado in total goals (37) scored in two fewer games played. Kadri stands to be a primary player for the Avalanche offense on Saturday so take advantage of the salary for a player that is currently riding a hot streak.
Jake Guentzel (LW – PIT): $7,200
It’s been a less than ideal beginning to the Pittsburgh Penguins season, as Sidney Crosby (C – PIT), Evgeni Malkin (C – PIT), and Brian Dumoulin (D – PIT) are all on Injured Reserve. However, 27-year old first-line winger Jake Guentzel is the beacon of hope to keep the Penguins in contention for the return of their star players. Guentzel has scored two goals and racked up two assists in three of his last four games but was held without a point against the Panthers on Thursday. Still, he put up four shots on goal and has been busy with blocked shots, elevating his floor in DFS formats. He gets a bounce-back opportunity on the road against a bad Ottawa Senators team, with reserve goaltender Anton Forsberg (G – OTT) expected to start despite averaging an abysmal 4.80 GAA in three starts this season. Guentzel is due for a multi-point explosion, so pay up to acquire one of the few talented offensive pieces on Pittsburgh at the moment.
Shayne Gostisbehere (D – ARI): $5,000
Eighth-year defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere has been forced to adapt to an Arizona team that is 32nd in goals scored (22) while also allowing the most goals scored (56) of any team in the league. It’s a miserable combination to work with, but Gostisbehere has stepped up as of late, blocking shots when he cannot set up scoring plays or score the rare goal for Arizona. He has scored his goals in the last four games while adding four assists during this stretch, so take advantage of the momentum he has generated ahead of their road game against a talented Nashville team on Saturday night. Gostisbehere has a high floor and can prove to be a lineup winner if he winds up with a point.
Elvis Merzlikins (G – CBJ): $7,200
The 27-year old Latvian netminder has been very good for Columbus across six starts, earning a 5-2 record due to a 1.98 GAA and a .940 save percentage on the season. Merzlikins has only surrendered more than two goals once, and it occurred against the New York Rangers, who will be traveling to Columbus on Saturday. Merzlikins gets his opportunity to avenge his only loss in front of a home crowd. He has posted at least 30 saves in five starts, adding to his appeal in DFS lineups. Merzlikins is severely undervalued and should be inserted into lineups as the Blue Jackets will look to bounce back from Friday’s 4-3 loss to Washington.