With 13 games on the docket for Thanksgiving Eve in the United States, DFS owners should start their lineup-building process with their goaltender and two high-floor defensemen. You can be thankful that there are a ton of centers and wings in the middle-tier price range, allowing you to not only make your lineup fit within the $50,000 salary cap but also squeeze in an expensive player here and there.
Cory Schneider ($7,200) – The Devils are currently in Stanley Cup Playoff position and what better way to head into the holiday by beating the Blue Jackets — a divisional opponent that was widely predicted to qualify on paper in the preseason. Schneider is 4-3-1 at home this season but has sparkling peripherals (1.86 GAA, .926 SV%) and one shutout in those games. He’s tied for 20th on the goalie price scale with Sharks netminder Martin Jones, who faces the Blackhawks at home. Of all the mid-level goalies in the contest, Schneider may have the best shot at the DraftKings win bonus.
Anders Nilsson ($6,200) – Let’s face it: you should not hesitate to take a cheap goalie most nights on the road in Carolina. The Hurricanes are only scoring slightly over two goals per game (2.18) at home this season and Nilsson has a .931 road save percentage. He has the cheapest price tag of the night at his position and a high likelihood of returning DraftKings value in terms of saves and the win bonus considering the Hurricanes average more than 32 shots per game at PNC Arena.
Others to consider: Jonathan Quick ($7,500), Devan Dubnyk ($7,400)
Kevin Shattenkirk ($5,000) – Shattenkirk has ignited of late with six-game point and blocked shot streaks and is priced $2,300 cheaper than the most expensive defensemen on Wednesday (Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson). He’s facing the Penguins, who have been vulnerable at home with seven power-play goals allowed in 11 games at Consol Energy Center this season.
Erik Johnson ($4,900) – Speaking of high-floor options, you won’t find a safer play on ‘D’ for this busy night than Johnson. He averages upwards of two SOG (56) and two blocked shots (48) per game through 21 games and has had his moments on the power play as well this season. He plays 23 minutes a night for a team that should capitalize on the Senators playing their second game in as many nights. Ottawa has also allowed the most DraftKings points to defensemen this season, so any points for Johnson would be like adding whipped cream to the pumpkin pie.
Others to consider: Justin Faulk ($5,900), Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($5,400), Ryan McDonagh ($4,800), Jake Muzzin ($4,500), Oscar Klefbom ($4,000), Shayne Gostisbehere ($2,800)
Matt Duchene ($5,700) – After a slow start, Duchene has been sensational since moving to Nathan MacKinnon’s line. Only Patrick Kane (18) has more points since the start of November than Duchene (17), and the Avalanche forward is priced $2,800 cheaper than Kane in DraftKings. Duchene plays on the top power-play unit for Colorado, who’s coming off a huge road win in Winnipeg and has converted on 31.3 percent of its home man-advantage chances (second in NHL). Ottawa is fresh off a surprising rout of Dallas on Tuesday, but will be out there on short rest having only killed 76.7 of its road PK chances (22nd in NHL).
Dylan Larkin ($4,700) – – Larkin is back with his original running mates in Henrik Zetterberg ($6,400) and Justin Abdelkader ($4,600), surviving the flurry of recent line changes in Detroit. The rookie has goals and blocked shots in four straight games with 15 SOG in that impressive span. He faces a formidable road team in the Bruins, but Larkin has four goals and four assists with nearly three SOG per game (29) in 11 home games and provides tremendous bang for your buck in DraftKings.
Leon Draisaitl ($4,100) – Draisaitl will likely have high ownership in GPP contests, but is an excellent cash-game play in DFS considering he leads all centers in DraftKings points per game (5.0). He plays with Taylor Hall ($6,900), an elite wing who’s priced affordably, and presents a strong line-stacking option on the road in Carolina. His five-game point streak ended Monday against the Capitals, but he provided value with a pair of SOG and blocked shots. For this price, the risk-reward factor continues to be worth your while. He has 17 points in 11 games overall with a plus-10 — efficient stats that has been unheard of in Oilers country for much of the past decade.
Others to consider: Claude Giroux ($6,500), Ryan Getzlaf ($6,400), Patrice Bergeron ($6,300), Paul Stastny ($5,100), Boone Jenner ($4,500)
Bobby Ryan ($5,600) – As much as I like the Colorado-Ottawa game from the Avalanche’s standpoint, how can you ignore the touchdown that the Senators dropped in Dallas on Tuesday. Ryan scored a goal to extend his point streak to nine games and now has 20 points in 21 games this season. He racks up SOG (51 in 21 games) and sees more than three minutes per game with the man-advantage, and faces a Colorado team that has allowed well over three goals per game at Pepsi Center this season (28 in eight such games). Yes, he’s the hot hand, but he’s still a must-draft player every night out as long as he’s priced under $6,000.
Filip Forsberg ($5,500) – Nashville hasn’t scored a goal in three straight games to kick off its road trip, but should snap out of it in its visit to Buffalo on Wednesday. Forsberg, priced in the middle range among wings, has not scored a goal since Oct. 15, but does have 40 SOG in that 16-game drought. His ownership should be scattered, so there’s a ton of potential return on this against-the-grain investment in larger contests. The Sabres have allowed the third-most goals per game (35 in 12 games) at home, so the flood gates could open up for the goal-starved Predators.
Kyle Palmieri ($4,200) – There’s been so much talk about Artemi Panarin ($5,700) of the Blackhawks, and he’s certainly still a value pick against the home-weary Sharks. But did anyone realize Palmieri averages the same number of DraftKings points per contest (3.6) at a fraction of the cost? Palmieri has been at his best on the road but is still so cheap based on his production (16 points, 10 blocks, 57 SOG) through 20 games. Palmieri scored a goal against the Blue Jackets earlier in the season and should be rolled out with confidence as your FLEX. He has four-plus SOG in each of his past four games, the type of foundational production you don’t normally see out of a wing this cheap.
Others to consider: Taylor Hall ($6,900), Artemi Panarin ($5,700), Mike Cammalleri ($5,200), Kevin Hayes ($4,200), Anthony Duclair ($4,100), Teemu Pulkkinen ($3,100), Devante Smith-Pelly ($3,000)