NHL DFS Primer: Thursday (11/11)
Tuesday was an unbelievably entertaining night in the league, with significant upsets like the New Jersey Devils pouring in seven goals to dominate the Florida Panthers, highlighting some of the wild outcomes. Fortunately, quite a few of the players that were recommended on Tuesday’s slate fared well, as Aleksander Barkov (C – FLA), Jesse Puljujarvi (RW – EDM), Cam Fowler (D – ANA), and Alex Pietrangelo (D – VGK) all scored goals. The game with the most eyeballs, Carolina versus Tampa Bay, was a low-scoring affair that required overtime to determine a winner. The Hurricanes’ Martin Necas (RW – CAR) buried a contested shot from the circle to earn the team its tenth win of the season. This was not the only overtime game on a busy slate, as Anaheim edged out Vancouver to extend their win streak to five games, while Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Los Angeles all earned wins in the extra period.
Thursday adds another game to bring its total to 11 matchups on the slate, offering a massive amount of players to analyze before setting your final lineups. To help sift through the overwhelming prospects, I’ve focused on several players to target based on their opportunity, skillset, or recent production. So let’s get right into the action!
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Logan Couture (C – SJ): $5,900
San Jose sits squarely in the middle of arguably the most competitive division in the league, as Anaheim and Los Angeles are riding five and six-game win streaks, respectively. The Sharks are led by long-time veteran center Logan Couture, who is tied for point-leader (11) with five goals and six assists through 11 games played. Earning additional minutes on the team’s top powerplay unit is always a plus. The 32-year old center has scored a goal in two of his last three matchups and typically yields three to four shots on goal, adding to his floor appeal. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (G – WPG) and the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday aren’t a stonewall by any means, as Hellebuyck carries a 3.21 GAA into Thursday’s contest. Couture has a hot hand finding the back of the net and should have every opportunity to add a point or two to his resumè. Couture is an excellent value on a team with enough talent to get him the puck in ideal scenarios, meaning he should be confidently inserted into lineups.
Pavel Zacha (LW – NJ): $5,100
The 24-year old winger for New Jersey managed to score one of the team’s seven goals during their surprise upset over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, making it his sixth of the season. While the Devils are still in the bottom half of the Metropolitan Division at 6-3-2, they are in the midst of a two-game win streak that hardly anyone saw coming. Zacha averages roughly 18 minutes of time on ice per game this season and skates on the first line and top powerplay unit, meaning he is continuously placed into scoring opportunities. He is second in total points (8) for New Jersey through 11 games and has produced at least one point in every other game played this season. Against a New York Islanders team with limited offensive firepower but a talented goaltender in Ilya Sorokin (G – NYI), Zacha will undoubtedly be challenged with his shots. However, he still possesses a decent floor should he be held without a point on Thursday due to his involvement within the Devils’ offense. He is one of the cheapest offensive skaters to roster near the top of his team’s total points leaderboard and could transfer his scoring momentum in their second consecutive home game of the week.
Damon Severson (D – NJ): $4,500
One of the most tenured players for the Devils franchise is defenseman Damon Severson. The 27-year old is in his eighth season with New Jersey and finally ended his point slump against the Florida Panthers of all teams, netting an assist with three shots on goal during the 7-3 rout on Tuesday. When deciding which defenseman to insert into lineups, looking at their blocked shots is crucial, as DraftKings values a blocked shot just below a shot on goal. Severson has at least three blocked shots or more in his last four games, which adds up to a solid floor, especially considering the eight shots on goal he has accounted for across the previous three games. He skates on the first defensive line and the second powerplay unit, averaging over 21 minutes of time on ice per game this season. It may sound odd or uncomfortable, but stacking New Jersey skaters against an Islanders team chasing them in the divisional standings creates enough incentive to warrant such stacking consideration. Severson is a quality defenseman and is relatively undervalued based on his salary, even as a standalone value.
James Reimer (G – SJ): $6,700
The Sharks’ top goaltender, James Reimer, is slated to make his sixth start in the crease against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. In his last start, the 33-year old netminder only allowed two goals on 28 shots, which unfortunately did not win the team. A big piece of the success a goaltender has in DFS lineups is predicated on the team’s ability to earn a win, as massive points are rewarded for the outcome. However, allowing minimal goals and racking up many saves can help stabilize lineups even with a goaltender on a losing team. Reimer has been solid thus far, surrendering three goals in only one start and maintaining a 3-2 record. The Jets are a quality team near the top of the Central Division with a plus-four goal differential. However, the Sharks have quite a bit of talented personnel skating in front of Reimer. He should be able to get the job done on the road as he has for most of the year and is available to roster at a fraction of the cost of some of the higher-profile goaltenders’ cost. This means more salary to save for blue-chip offensive prospects without being forced to insert a lousy goaltender into lineups. As a result, Reimer is a fantastic value on Thursday’s 11 game slate.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000
Pius Suter (C – DET): $4,000
In his second year in the league, 25-year old Pius Suter is a talented second-line center for the Detroit Red Wings. Suter was held without a point during the team’s 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday but, before that outcome, had consecutive multi-point games, where he totaled 11 shots on goal. Skating on the second powerplay unit provides additional minutes and an excellent opportunity for the young center, as he has started to heat up across the last couple of weeks. Detroit has fared surprisingly well with a 7-5-2 record that has elevated them to third in the Atlantic Division, as the offense has scored 43 goals, which is second-highest in the Eastern Conference. Facing a talented Washington Capitals team at home is no walk in the park, but goaltender Vitek Vanecek (G – WSH) has allowed three goals in three of his last five starts, resulting in four losses. He’s a more vulnerable netminder than meets the eye, so don’t be afraid to plug Suter into lineups, as he is significantly undervalued and could return a massive point total in Thursday lineups.
Matt Duchene (RW – NSH): $5,800
Matt Duchene appears to be settling in well with Nashville, as he is tied for second-most points scored (11) for the Predators to start the 2022 season. Despite playing in his 13th season, Duchene has been on a tear as of late, racking up five goals and two assists in his last seven games, which includes scoring a goal on his lone shot against Dallas on Wednesday to elevate the team to a 4-2 win. Duchene benefits from playing alongside first-line defenseman Roman Josi (D – NSH), who has 12 points and leads the Predators in total points through their first 13 games. Josi and Duchene often set up scoring plays in the offensive zone and will need to continue to be efficient against St. Louis on Thursday night. Goaltender Jordan Binnington (G – STL) is coming off a fierce performance, saving 39 of 41 shots to lead the Blues to a win on Tuesday. However, he could still be spent and did allow three goals on a mere 26 shots against Anaheim earlier in the week. Bottom line: Duchene is too good of an offensive talent to ignore in DFS lineups, particularly at his $5,800 salary.
Alex Pietrangelo (D – VGK): $6,500
I recommended Alex Pietrangelo during Tuesday’s slate, and he ended up paying dividends, yielding his second multi-point outing of the season with a goal and an assist on three shots. The 31-year old defenseman also collects two to three blocked shots per game, making his floor extremely high. Sure, the salary is very high for a defenseman, but he is among the most involved within his team’s offense, with most of the production occurring in the last four games. He is hitting his stride, which has helped lift Vegas out of a losing skid, and will face Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot (G – MIN) on Thursday night, who has allowed four goals in consecutive starts. Minnesota has enough offensive talent to overcome their goaltending woes. However, it’s a perfect recipe for Pietrangelo to continue racking up shots and points for the Golden Knights. He is worth the hefty salary and will be a big reason why many lineups wind up cashing during Thursday’s late-night slate.
Jacob Markstrom (G – CGY): $8,000
Calgary has been one of the more surprising teams to pop at the start of the 2022 NHL season, as veteran goaltender Jacob Markstrom has pieced together several impressive performances to help the team remain near the top of the Pacific Division. While Markstrom is only 5-3-2 in ten starts, he has a blistering 1.69 GAA, and .940 save percentage this season, producing three shutouts, including a 45 save outing against the Penguins late last month. In addition, the Flames have only allowed 26 goals this season, which is the best of any team in the league. This helps them achieve a plus-fifteen goal differential with good but not great offensive depth, making Markstrom the focal point of an early dark-horse playoff contender. Shockingly, acquiring arguably the best goalie in the league at this moment only costs $8,000, making him cheaper than six other goaltenders during Thursday’s jam-packed slate. So take advantage of the price discrepancy and insert Markstrom in lineups with extreme confidence.