5 NHL FanDuel Studs to Target on 1/28/21

Spending up in any daily fantasy lineup is how to get the superstars and the highest upside players in your lineup. In NHL DFS, it’s different from paying up in sports like NBA or NFL. Someone can be one of the highest-salaried players at his position and put up a total dud of a performance, and paying that much for him would be a huge mistake. Let’s make sure we are paying up in the right spots when building our lineups tonight.

Thursday night presents the first mega slate of the DFS NHL season. Let's take a look at what studs we may find.

[Editor's note: The St. Louis Blues and Vegas Golden Knights game has been postponed.]

Nathan MacKinnon, Center, Colorado Avalanche

FanDuel Salary: $8,500

All I keep seeing is Connor McDavid talk versus the Toronto Maple Leafs and I get it. This is why. The North Division is averaging over 6.8 goals per game combined and as expected both teams have an implied total approaching seven. However, the Colorado Avalanche scored seven times on Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks. They play San Jose again tonight and Nathan MacKinnon may be due. WHAT?

With MacKinnon's line generating tons of chances, he should be able to stretch the San Jose team defense again. San Jose yields 31.3 shots per game but gave up 35+ shots a night to the Avalanche across the last two seasons. San Jose easily could yield four or more goals tonight because of the center and how mobile the Avalanche defense is. It will not be long before MacKinnon starts piling up goals considering he has just two on the season so far.

If you want to slide down a little in salary, Jack Eichel ($7,600) is still in the top tier when it comes to production and is facing a New York Rangers that has had difficulty in stopping top lines this season.

Mark Stone, Wing, Vegas Golden Knights

FanDuel Salary: $7,600

Mark Stone gets a prime matchup against the St. Louis Blues once more. The Blues on special teams, in particular, have been horrid. They are giving up the fourth-most minor penalties in the league, have the fifth-worst penalty kill (69.4%), and are allowing 3.71 goals per contest. They are a team yielding 33.3 shots per game and nearly 20 scoring chances a night.

The Golden Knights have been one of the more impressive teams when it comes to creating opportunities and chances. Stone and Max Pacioretty are quite a duo. They create tons of chances and Pacioretty comes off a hat trick (six goals overall). Stone has 11 real-world points and 9 helpers. This may be another case where one gets the feeling the goals will come. Another possibility on Thursday may be Andrei Svechnikov versus the Tampa Bay Lightning. Svechnikov and the Carolina Hurricanes come off a 10 day break.

Brad Marchand, Wing, Boston Bruins

FanDuel Salary: $8,300

The Brad Marchand we know is starting to assert himself again. He followed up a huge night against the Philadelphia Flyers with a short-handed goal versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had just two shots on goal but had a goal and assist on Tuesday night. Pittsburgh is just not the same team they once were as their team's defense and goaltending confidence are very fragile at best.

The Boston Bruins have superior special teams, (5th on the power-play, 1st on the penalty kill), while Pittsburgh cannot say the same with a middle of the pack power play and a bottom third penalty kill. That makes a difference and the fact that a player like Marchand can play in all phases with Patrice Bergeron should scare their opposition once more on Thursday night. This duo creates too many opportunities for themselves and others.

Shea Theodore, Defenseman, Vegas Golden Knights

FanDuel Salary: $6,200

There is this fear sometimes of including more than one player from the same team. However, Shea Theodore is one of those players with such a floor that can help tonight. He is $900 cheaper than Victor Hedman who may be rusty. Also, the Blues are not a tough matchup from a defensive standpoint. Theodore has had 3+ shots on goal in all seven contests this season for the Vegas Golden Knights.

The good news for Theodore owners is that Vegas only employs five defensemen typically. This means more power-play chances and ice time for the defenseman who will play more like a rover at times. Defensemen who get their shot on net more than half the time with Theodore's kind of power are assets on any and every slate.

Anton Khudobin, Goalie, Dallas Stars

FanDuel Salary: $8,200

Anton Khudobin has seen low shot volume in his last two starts and may again against the Detroit Red Wings tonight but he also has the greatest chance of getting a win. That win possibility makes him an attractive start in cash games specifically. Can Detroit get to 25-30 shots against the Dallas Stars? That is the question.

The Red Wings have been horrendously inconsistent at generating opportunities. So, there is volatility. Khudobin only faced 21 shots against Detroit on Tuesday night while yielding just one goal. He would need that kind of performance if the shot total comes in low again.

Wait for other confirmations first for possible alternatives, but the Colorado starter is a good choice on this night. Also, one could take a risk with Carter Hart ($8,100) or even Jaroslav Halak ($8,300).

Chris Wassel is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Chris Wassel also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username chriswassel. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.