FanDuel NHL: Thursday Targets
FanDuel NHL: Thursday Targets

This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.

SLATE PREVIEW

The Maple Leafs and the Lightning highlight tonight's featured game, as the Atlantic Division rivals are also among the Stanley Cup favorites. Enjoy the raw firepower here, as these two clubs won't meet again until after the trade deadline in February. 

The Penguins are in rough shape for their fourth straight road game. Evgeni Malkin, Alex Galchenyuk and Nick Bjugstad are all battling a lower-body injury while Bryan Rust is dealing with a hand issue. This isn't a traditional Penguins team, meaning the Ducks may continue their unexpected run. 

Teams are starting to show their true colors with a few games under their belts. It's time to decipher who's legit after the adrenaline of a new season wears off. 

GOALIES

In a game that has the highest O/U at 7.0 according to Fanduel Sportsbook, Andrei Vasilevskiy ($8,900) is the highest-priced goaltender with Frederik Andersen ($8,800) a hair behind him. Tampa Bay is slightly favored on the road, but it's tough to get excited about either goalie against the opposing offense, as the Lightning led the league last year with 3.89 goals per game while the Maple Leafs came in fourth at 3.49. 

Jordan Binnington ($8,400) is slightly cheaper, and the Blues (-200) are the heaviest favorites in this slate despite being on the road. Last year's magic hasn't worn off, either. Binnington already has a .928 save percentage and a 2-0-1 record, and he has faced off against the Capitals, Stars and Maple Leafs – all contenders. The Senators are in the opposite tier after scoring just four goals in the first two games.

The Ducks are surprisingly 3-0-0 to start the season in large part because John Gibson ($8,300) has been spectacular, allowing just one goal in each game while sporting a .970 save percentage. The Penguins have been torched with injuries to start the year, and Evgeni Malkin (leg) and Alex Galchenyuk (lower body) leading the bunch. This is an excellent opportunity for the Ducks to extend their win streak, but keep an eye out for Ryan Miller ($7,600) to make his season debut in the first half of back-to-back games. 

Darcy Kuemper ($7,400) looks like a bargain in this slate. He's been remarkable during three road games against Vegas, steering away 108 of 111 shots – a .973 save percentage – and winning twice. The Golden Knights are averaging 32.7 shots on net per game, so Kuemper will have plenty of opportunities to be a fantasy stud even if the Coyotes' offense is absence again. 

VALUE PLAYS

It's necessary to mention James Neal ($5,200) here after his four-goal performance Tuesday. This guy is real, he's not going anywhere and he still comes in at an incredible value. DFS gamers in tournaments should consider fading him, though, as he'll likely be highly owned after his best game ever. 

A long shot but a major money-saver is Barrett Hayton ($3,000). He was the fifth-overall pick in 2018, and he's set to make his NHL debut Thursday. The Coyotes will work him on the man advantage alongside power-play guru Phil Kessel ($7,400) right away. It's a solid opportunity, too, since the Golden Knights posted a 78.6 penalty-kill percentage against the Yotes last year. 

Roope Hintz ($5,500) is establishing himself in Dallas with four goals in as many games. He has earned consistent minutes on the power play as well, which bumps up his value since Washington posted a 79.2 penalty kill percentage last year, 24th in the league. 

If Jason Spezza ($3,300) draw into the lineup, he'll be a cheap way to get a piece of the Maple Leafs' offense. He notched an assist in his last game, and the veteran works gets time on the man advantage as well. His ceiling is still low with a fourth-line role, but he has high upside for the price. 

LINE STACKS

Edmonton Oilers at New Jersey Devils (6.5 O/U)

C - Connor McDavid ($9,200)

W - Leon Draisaitl ($8,400)

W - Zack Kassian ($4,500)

McDavid and Draisaitl have been on a tear to start the season, combining for three goals and 12 assists over three games, and Kassian is also in on the action with a goal in each game. This is one of the most-expensive stacks of the evening, but it may be worth it against the Devils, who have allowed at least four goals in every game thus far. 

Chicago Blackhawks vs.San Jose (6.5 O/U)

C - Dylan Strome ($5,000)

W - Alex DeBrincat $6,500)

W - Andrew Shaw ($4,600)

Chicago will be stoked to have Shaw back in its shade of red after he racked up 47 points in 63 games with the Canadiens last year. This line will revolve around DeBrincat and Strome, however, who combined for 59 goals last year with the former accounting for 41 of them. They'll get their first crack on North American soil against the winless Sharks. This is an appealing matchup since Aaron Dell ($7,400), who posted an .886 save percentage last season, will be in net for the Sharks. 

Winnipeg Jets vs. Minnesota Wild (6.0 O/U)

C - Mark Scheifele ($7,800)

W - Patrik Laine ($7,600)

W - Blake Wheeler ($7,400)

Scheifele and Laine combined for six assists in Tuesday's win against the Penguins, but the stack fell short of its potential since three defensemen accounted for the goals. The chemistry's clearly present, though, and these three will look to keep it going against the Wild, who have allowed nine goals over the first two games. It's an added bonus that this line is also the Jets' top power-play unit. 

St. Louis Blues at Ottawa Senators (6.0 O/U)

C - Ryan O'Reilly ($6,600)

W - David Perron ($5,600)

W - Sammy Blais ($3,600)

Blais leads this line with four points (two goals, two assists) so far, and Perron and O'Reilly aren't far behind with three and two, respectively. The Senators are still deep in the rebuild with nine goals against over two games, so this cheap unit has a chance to be highly productive again. 

DEFENSEMEN

It's going to be popular to pick a Maple Leafs stack, but it'll also difficult to choose between Auston Matthews' ($8,900) or John Tavares' ($7,800) line. However, a nice workaround is plugging Morgan Rielly ($6,500), who works on a power-play unit with both studs, into your lineup. The Lightning have allowed two power-play goals in each of the last two contests, too, making this a prime contest to deploy him. 

It's also worth considering Cody Ceci ($4,100), who's Rielly's blue-line partner and is on a three-game point streak. 

Is this a breakout campaign for Oscar Klefbom ($5,200)? The 26-year-old is averaging 25:52 TOI with substantial power-play minutes, and it's paying off with four assists over the last two outings. He slots in with the top power-play unit, too, which makes him a viable stack with McDavid & Co. 

If you're considering the Jets' forwards, Neal Pionk ($3,900) or Ville Heinola ($3,800) are solid complements. They both have three points in four games so far, and Pionk shares a power-play unit the previously mentioned Jets' stack. 

The Bruins didn't kill penalties well on the road last year, finishing 25th in the league with a 78.3 penalty-kill percentage. The opportunity is there for Cale Makar ($4,600), who is averaging a whopping 6:34 TOI on the man advantage through two games, which has converted into an assist in each contest.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Jordan Mazzara plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Mazz30, Yahoo: Mazz30.
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NHL Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NHL fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jordan Mazzara
Jordan has produced NFL and NHL content for RotoWire since 2017. He's the beat writer for the St. Louis Blues and Seattle Seahawks.
NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week
NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week
DFS NHL Breakdown: Thursday Line Stacks and Strategies
DFS NHL Breakdown: Thursday Line Stacks and Strategies
FanDuel NHL: Thursday Breakdown
FanDuel NHL: Thursday Breakdown
DraftKings NHL: Thursday Breakdown
DraftKings NHL: Thursday Breakdown
Yahoo DFS Hockey: Thursday Picks
Yahoo DFS Hockey: Thursday Picks
FanDuel NHL: Wednesday Targets
FanDuel NHL: Wednesday Targets