NHL Plays will highlight the best and the most underrated daily fantasy options among forwards, defensemen and goaltenders.
Please note, these players were chosen early in the day, so make sure to check NBC Sports EDGE's player news for any lineup changes, injuries and potential changes in the crease for starting goaltenders.
Additionally, it is worth reminding everyone that FanDuel allows you to roster nine players (2C, 2W, 2D, 2UTIL 1G) with a salary cap of $55,000, while DraftKings has a cap of $50,000 for nine players (2C, 3W, 2D, 1G, 1UTIL) and Yahoo has a $200 budget for nine players (2C, 3W, 2D, 2G).
Thursday night has nine games on the schedule.
Auston Matthews (Toronto) - C - $9,000 (FanDuel), $9,000 (DraftKings), $35 (Yahoo)
Matthews has registered at least one point in each of his last 14 appearances. That includes 12 goals and four assists during an 11-game point streak. Matthews has been credited with 40 shots on target during that span. Additionally, he has compiled four goals and two helpers in four previous outings versus Ottawa this campaign.
David Pastrnak (Boston) - W - $8,600 (FanDuel), $8,900 (DraftKings), $35 (Yahoo)
Pastrnak has five goals and 10 points in seven matches this year. He has been credited with 26 shots during that span. He wasn’t available for Boston’s first two games against New Jersey this season, but he had two goals and two helpers in three contests versus the Devils in 2019-20. Pastrnak is slated to play alongside David Krejci, which could make for a good stack play. He should also continue to see time on the top power-play combination.
James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia) - W - $6,400 (FanDuel), $5,400 (DraftKings), $20 (Yahoo)
van Riemsdyk had seven goals and 18 points in 13 games prior to Philadelphia’s COVID-19 shutdown. The team is set to return to action on Thursday night and JVR will be looking to pick up where he left off. He has collected one goal, two assists and eight shots in three games versus the Rangers last season.
Cam Atkinson (Columbus) - W - $6,400 (FanDuel), $5,800 (DraftKings), $20 (Yahoo)
Atkinson has four goals and four assists during a four-game point streak going into Thursday night’s action. He has been credited with 17 shots on target during that stretch. He has heated up following a sluggish start, while playing on the same line as newcomers Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.
T.J. Oshie (Washington) - W - $5,700 (FanDuel), $4,600 (DraftKings), $10 (Yahoo)
Oshie has some bang for the buck upside on Thursday night. He picked up an assist and had two shots on goal in Tuesday’s win over Pittsburgh, but it is his previous performances against Buffalo this season that make him an intriguing roster choice. Oshie has generated two goals and five points in four games versus the Sabres in 2020-21.
Bargain Bin: David Krejci (BOS) - C - $5,500 (FanDuel), $4,900 (DraftKings), $16 (Yahoo), Tom Wilson (WSH) - W - $4,400 (FanDuel), $5,000 (DraftKings), $15 (Yahoo), Joe Thornton (TOR) - W - $4,500 (FanDuel), $3,800 (DraftKings), $13 (Yahoo), Jean-Gabriel Pageau (NYI) - C - $4,500 (FanDuel), $4,400 (DraftKings), $19 (Yahoo), Joel Farabee (PHI) - W - $5,100 (FanDuel), $4,200 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo)
Ryan Pulock (New York Islanders) - $4,700 (FanDuel), $5,100 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo)
Pulock still hasn’t quite found his range yet in terms of scoring goals, but he has contributed five assists and 13 shots in the past seven matches. He also has 15 blocked shots during that stretch. Pulock has picked up an assist in each of his last two games against Pittsburgh and he has some bang for the buck potential.
Ty Smith (New Jersey) - $3,800 (FanDuel), $4,000 (DraftKings), $17 (Yahoo)
Smith is another low-salary option with plenty of fantasy point upside. The 20-year-old rookie was held off the scoresheet in New Jersey’s return to action on Tuesday, but he posted four shots and had two blocks over 23:51 of ice time. Smith has two goals and eight points in 10 matches this campaign, which includes one goal and one assist in his first two outings against Boston.
Bargain Bin: Ryan Ellis (NSH) - $5,200 (FanDuel), $17 (Yahoo), Justin Schultz (WSH) - $4,200 (FanDuel), $4,000 (DraftKings), $19 (Yahoo), Justin Faulk (STL) - $4,500 (FanDuel), $5,100 (DraftKings), $22 (Yahoo), Matt Dumba (MIN) - $4,000 (FanDuel), $5,200 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo), Jakob Chychrun (ARI) - $4,900 (FanDuel), $5,800 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo)
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Vitek Vanecek (Washington) - $7,600 (FanDuel), $8,100 (DraftKings), $26 (Yahoo)
Vanecek halted his losing skid on Tuesday when he stopped 26 of 27 shots in a 3-1 win over the Penguins. He will probably get another start on Thursday night against an opponent he is fairly familiar with in Buffalo, In three previous outings versus the Sabres, Vanecek has gone 2-0-1 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. He has stopped 99 of 106 shots in those matches. This will also be the third game in four nights for Buffalo coming off COVID protocol and the team has scored just one goal in two matches going into Thursday’s contest.
Kaapo Kahkonen (Minnesota) - $7,700 (FanDuel), $7,800 (DraftKings), $30 (Yahoo)
Kahkonen is coming off a 4-0 loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday in Minnesota’s return to action from COVID-19 protocol. He surrendered three goals on 28 shots, but has a good chance to bounce back on Thursday. Anaheim is coming off a 3-2 loss to San Jose on Monday and the team is tied for last in the league with 1.94 goals for per game played. Kahkonen also picked up his first win of the season versus the Ducks back on Jan. 20 when he blocked 22 of 24 shots.
Bargain Bin: Juuse Saros (NSH) - $6,800 (FanDuel), $7,700 (DraftKings), $22 (Yahoo), Mackenzie Blackwood (NJ) - $7,200 (FanDuel), $7,000 (DraftKings), John Gibson (ANH) - $6,900 (FanDuel), $7,500 (DraftKings)