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NHL DFS Primer: Saturday (11/20)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Nov 20, 2021
Robert Thomas

After a quiet two-game slate on Friday, the NHL will reward its fans with a robust 12-game slate on Saturday. Several matchups draw attention, including the Minnesota Wild versus the Florida Panthers. Still, several lopsided games could produce points from fringe role players who skate on their team’s second or third line. Goaltenders have been succeeding lately, but several remain vulnerable in the crease either due to lack of talent, confidence, or insufficient personnel playing in front of them.

Troy Terry (RW – ANA), Jake Guentzel (LW – PIT), and Elvis Merzlikins (G – CBJ) comprised my most successful recommendations from Thursday night, as they all managed to surpass their expected production and returned good value based on their salaries. With another massive slate of games to analyze, I’ve gathered some of my favorite players and will explain why they are destined for success in Saturday lineups. Ultimately it comes down to how you prefer to construct your lineups. However, grabbing a high-floor player and pairing them with a high-ceiling prospect, especially from the same team, is a strategy that tends to launch lineups into the green by the end of the night.

Check out today’s daily fantasy hockey contests at DraftKings >>

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Robert Thomas (C – STL): $4,200
Robert Thomas is available at an excellent discounted salary entering Saturday’s contest against the Dallas Stars. On Thursday, the Blues’ second-line center ended his six-game goal drought against San Jose and manufactured seven assists in a previous three-game stretch. The 22-year old is second on the team for most points (16) and earns over 19 minutes of time on ice thanks to skating on St. Louis’ second powerplay unit. Dallas has not been good this season, and their projected goaltender, Jake Oettinger (G – DAL), is a talented netminder, but he will only be making his second start of the season. St. Louis has a plus-12 goal differential, and their offense runs through Thomas, so make sure to plug him into lineups as one of the best-valued players available on Saturday’s 12-game slate.

Andrew Mangiapane (RW – CGY): $4,100
Calgary blends a potent combination of high-octane offense and stalwart goaltending to boast a plus-20 goal differential, which ranks third-best behind only Carolina and Florida. Fifth-year second-line winger Andrew Mangiapane has been rock solid lately, staying busy in the offensive zone with five goals scored in his last six games played. This includes a two-goal performance against the Buffalo Sabres, where Mangiapane lit up the net with eight shots on goal. The New York Islanders have scored the fewest goals (29) of any team in the league and have been relying on goaltender Ilya Sorokin (G – NYI) to keep them competitive. Lately, Sorokin has been unable to fulfill the massive burden of carrying a team that is inept on offense, allowing four goals in each of his previous starts. Mangiapane will have every opportunity to keep up his goal-scoring and is already on pace to shatter the 32 points he finished with during each of his last two seasons. He’s another undervalued player that should be inserted into lineups on Saturday.

Seth Jones (D – CHI): $7,400
The Chicago Blackhawks buried the team’s controversy that had a clear negative impact on player morale earlier in the season. The Blackhawks have rallied and now have four consecutive wins entering Saturday’s road contest against a talented Edmonton Oilers team. Veteran defenseman Seth Jones has been a big piece of their success, racking up at least one goal or assist in each of his last seven games. The number of shots on goal Jones attempts is even more enticing, taking at least four shots in three of his previous four games. He goes against my philosophy of spending big on a defenseman, but his consistency and high usage in the offensive zone warrants paying up to insert him into lineups. It’s also nice to know that Oilers’ goaltender Mikko Koskinen (G – EDM) has allowed four or more goals in three of his last four starts. Jones should extend his point streak with ease to flood your lineups with production.

Jacob Markstrom (G – CGY): $7,200
Calgary has only allowed 34 goals this season which is the best in the league. Flames’ goaltender Jacob Markstrom is responsible for this tremendous success, as he is coming off of a shutout victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. This was his fifth shutout of the season, and the 31-year old goaltender should have no issues against the New York Islanders on Saturday, as they are the lowest-scoring team in the league with a meager 29 goals through 13 games played. The Flames will also face a difficult matchup on offense against Islanders’ goaltender Ilya Sorokin. However, Markstrom has proven to be the league’s best netminder through the season’s first six weeks. So take the value baked in at $7,200 and watch Calgary cruise to a win, thanks to Markstrom’s talent defending the red pipes.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000

Mikael Granlund (C – NSH): $4,800
Nashville’s first-line center, Mikael Granlund, has found his stride as of late. The 29-year old is in his fourth season with the Predators and is racking up assists, including a four-assist outing against the St. Louis Blues a week ago. Goals have been less common, but Granlund did bury one in the back of the net against Arizona earlier in the week. He doesn’t attempt many shots on goal but the nearly 20 minutes of time on ice Granlund earns on the top powerplay unit only accelerates his production opportunity. Montreal is reeling with terrible goaltending while he was held without a point in Nashville’s most recent game against a stacked Toronto Maple Leafs squad. Granlund should be in line for a big night on Saturday, and his discounted salary is an outstanding value that should be heavily invested in ahead of the 7 pm ET puck drop.

Mitch Marner (RW – TOR): $7,600
Mitch Marner is fourth in points (15) for Toronto this season but has encountered a bit of a slump in recent games. The 24-year old first-line winger for the Maple Leafs has scored a goal and an assist in two of his last three games, but the shot volume remains low, and he was stifled during their previous game against the New York Rangers. However, the team is in the midst of a five-game win streak so expect Marner to keep churning out 20 to 21 minutes of time on ice against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on Saturday night. The Penguins are healthier and, as a result, more talented with Sidney Crosby (C – PIT) back in the fold, meaning Marner will need to step up his game to keep Toronto competitive. In addition, Penguins’ goaltender Tristan Jarry (G – PIT) is wildly inconsistent, allowing six goals a week ago but posting a shutout in their most recent win against a bad Montreal team. Marner is expensive, but the opportunity is good, and he has only had three games without a point since October 27th, so expect him to return to the point column on Saturday night.

Zach Werenski (D – CBJ): $5,600
Zach Werenski is in his sixth year in the league and has become a Columbus Blue Jackets organization leader. The 24-year old defenseman netted a multi-point game against Arizona on Thursday to preserve a 5-4 win for the Blue Jackets, scoring a powerplay goal in the process. Werenski enters Saturday’s road contest against the Vegas Golden Knights with a three-game point streak and has not attempted less than three shots on goal since last month. This includes ten shots on goal against the Colorado Avalanche while raising his floor with two or more blocked shots in his previous three games. The salary is cheap, and the production is consistent enough to make Werenski an excellent defenseman to plug into lineups against Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner (G – VGK), who has allowed four goals in two of his last three starts.

Carter Hart (G – PHI): $7,400
Philadelphia is struggling to manufacture offense consistently, forcing the Flyers’ 22-year old netminder Carter Hart to step up for the team. He fluctuates between allowing one goal or three goals, the latter of which typically results in losses. This happened to Hart on Thursday against the reigning champion Tampa Bay Lightning so expect him to step up his game against the Boston Bruins on home ice. The Bruins and Flyers both have 41 goals scored this season, so their style of play mirrors each other. Vegas has 5.5 total goals set as the over/under line, indicating that this could be a low-scoring contest on a busy slate. This is the type of game where Hart should rise to the occasion and stifle the Bruins offense to one goal, which raises his appeal in Saturday lineups.

View daily consensus odds from all major sportsbooks for the NHL at BettingPros >>

Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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