Spend up for: Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers ($6,400)
Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau ($5,500) have been on fire since returning from their respective injuries, and each is a safe investment in DFS -- whether drafted individually or stacked. Barkov has seven goals, four assists and 34 shots on goal in 11 games since returning, and Huberdeau has two goals, six assists and 12 SOG in his five games back. Barkov is eighth among centers and Huberdeau is tied for 16th among wings.
Value pick: Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks ($5,800)
Thornton has at least a point in each of the Sharks' past 26 wins. He has climbed to eighth on the NHL scoring list (67 points in 69 games) and is tied for 20th in power-play points (21). He also has 78 points in 73 games against the Arizona Coyotes. The affordable 36-year-old center has become a daily lineup lock regardless of opponent.
Spend up for: Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders ($6,100)
Okposo has been much more consistent of late with four goals, five assists, 10 blocks and 26 SOG in his past 10 games (4.0 DraftKings points per game), yet is still tied for ninth in price among wings. He's seeing even-strength exposure to John Tavares again, and the two line up together on the power play as well. He scored a goal on two SOG against the Nashville Predators earlier in the season and is one of three Islanders with 10 or more multipoint games (Tavares 13, Okposo 12, Frans Nielsen 12).
Value pick: Kris Versteeg, Los Angeles Kings ($3,700)
Versteeg, acquired by the Kings prior to the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline, has been skating on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Milan Lucic of late. He has two goals, one assist and four SOG in his past two games and is priced outside the top 50 wings in DraftKings. He's averaging 2.5 DraftKings points per contest this season with strong totals in all three major categories for such a low-priced forward (36 points, 31 blocks, 143 SOG in 70 games).
Spend up for: Roman Josi, Nashville Predators ($7,000)
Normally you wouldn't feel inclined to spend up for a player who has not scored a goal since Feb. 9 (16-game drought), but Josi's coverage has not wavered in that stretch. He has 11 assists, 42 blocked shots and 41 SOG in the span for 4.0 DraftKings points per contest -- in line with his season average. He plays more than 25 minutes per game and on the Predators' top power-play unit, so he'll have exposure to all situations against the Islanders. If he breaks out of his goal-scoring slump, he'll lift your lineup to even greater heights.
Value pick: Kris Russell, Dallas Stars ($4,700)
Russell has returned value in DFS more times than not since joining the Stars prior to the deadline. He has four assists, 24 blocks and 10 SOG in seven games for 3.6 DraftKings points per contest. To put that number in perspective, only five defensemen in action Thursday average more for the season. He's 22nd among defensemen in price.
Spend up for: Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers ($8,200)
This is a glaring bounce-back opportunity for Luongo, as the Panthers squandered a 2-0 lead in the third period Monday against the New York Islanders with him in net to lose in regulation. Luongo defeated the Maple Leafs earlier in the season, allowing one goal on 23 shots faced for 8.4 DraftKings points. He's the third most-expensive goalie in DraftKings on Thursday, but is a much safer bet than tapping into the New York Rangers-Los Angeles Kings game. Luongo has a .921 save percentage at home and on the road this season, so his consistency is worth banking on with Florida battling for the Atlantic Division title.
Value pick: Matthew Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins ($6,400)
The Penguins are starting their backup Thursday, but that doesn't mean they're letting their guard down. Murray is the cheapest available starting goalie and has been effective through six starts this season (3-2-1, .934 SV%). He allowed two goals on 26 shots faced in a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes earlier in the season, so he'll look for payback with the Penguins desperate to improve their Eastern Conference wild-card standing.
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