It’s a busy 11-game slate tonight with plenty of solid fantasy matchups. The most intriguing might be the Lightning at the Maple Leafs, but both Sharks-Blackhawks and Oilers-Devils offer plenty of big offensive names and puck totals set at 6.5. This should be a high-scoring slate with lots of opportunities to get creative with lineups.
Top Line Stacks
Brayden Schenn ($5,600) – Jayden Schwartz ($4,800) – Vladimir Tarasenko ($7,100)
Blues at Senators
The defending Stanley Cup champions take on the Senators tonight in a plus fantasy matchup for their forwards. The Senators have essentially picked up right where they left off last season, losing their first two games while allowing the first lines of the Rangers and the Maple Leafs to amass huge fantasy nights against them. Ottawa allowed the most goals against last season, and the Senators may challenge for that title again. The Blues’ top line plays together in all situations, and offer one of the better stacking correlations in the league as a result. All three players have gained points on the two goals the line has produced through three games. Despite the great matchup and inclusion of a high volume shot-taker like Vladimir Taresenko (12th-most SOG last season), this top-line stack is quite affordable, with two players under $6K, which offers upside similar to some of the most expensive stacks on the slate given the opponent.
Superstar to Build Around
Patrick Kane ($7,700), CHI vs. SJS – The Sharks have started their season in the most terrible fashion, losing four straight games while allowing four or more goals in three of those starts. Last year’s conference finalists look ripe for the picking against the Blackhawks, who have played in just one game (in Prague), and have been off since Oct. 4, a game in which they lost to the Flyers. Patrick Kane finished third in NHL scoring last season, but is just the fifth-most expensive forward on this slate, and is coming off a three-point effort in which he played over 21 minutes. The 30-year-old looks poised for another big year as he tries to get the Blackhawks back into the playoffs. He has every chance of landing a big game here against San Jose, a team that looks like it will be involved in plenty of shootouts this year given their current goaltending situation. Kane’s a nice pay-up target most nights, but his upside looks off the charts in this particular spot.
Value on Offense
Nikita Gusev ($4,200) – It didn’t take long for Gusev to get bumped up to the first line for New Jersey. The former KHL star has seen his minutes increase every game thus far, playing well over 17 minutes in New Jersey’s last outing alongside Taylor Hall ($7,200) and Nico Hischier ($5,300). The Devils have not looked good this year, going 0-3 to start the season, but play the Oilers tonight, a team that featured the second-worst penalty kill in the league last season. Given his playing time and role on the first line, and power play first unit, Gusev ia solid value at this price regardless of the opponent.
Jordan Weal ($2,600) – I featured Weal here the last time I wrote this article at a similar price and he scored a goal for us and took four SOG. Not much has changed since then, as he’s still playing on the Canadiens’ first power-play unit, and even saw his biggest minutes of the season in his last start, getting over 15 minutes of ice for the first time all year. He’s averaging three SOG per game, going up against a softer opponent in Detroit and, if anything looks like an even better value than he was last the time out.
Pekka Rinne ($7,900), NAS vs. WAS – The 37-year-old Rinne has started the season strong for the Predators, posting two wins in two starts and a .932 save percentage. Despite Washington being somewhat of a difficult matchup for goalies, the Capitals have started a tad sluggish offensively, and make for a decent target here in a home matchup. Rinne and the Preds have gotten off to a fast start and are (-135) favorites on a slate with not a ton of huge favorites to choose from. At under $8K in price, Rinne’s in solid form and, given the way these two teams have started, is in a better than advertised spot to collect a win bonus tonight.
John Gibson ($7,400), ANH at PIT – Gibson has gotten off to a fantastic start, posting three wins in three games, while stopping 98 of the 101 shots he’s faced. Normally a matchup with Pittsburgh would be a no go, regardless of his form, but the Penguins are facing a serious injury crisis with the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Hornqvist, Alex Galchenyuk, Nick Bjugstad and Bryan Rust all potentially missing this game. Gibson and the Ducks are just (+120) underdogs here and, given the fact he’s stopped 30-plus shots in each of his last three games, Gibson most certainly gives you a realistic shot at achieving both the win and the 35-plus save bonus on DraftKings tonight, making him a fine GPP target on this slate.
Value on Defense
Esa Lindell ($3,400), DAL vs. CGY – The Stars top-four defensemen have played a lot of minutes through their first few games and Lindell’s ice time, which has him topping out between 22-25 minutes at the moment, makes him an attractive value target because of it. The volume hasn’t meant much to his offensive stats yet, as he has just one assist through four games, but he has recorded two or more blocked shots in three of four starts, putting him in line to make a run for the blocked shots bonus on a nightly basis. Lindell’s also a part of the second power-play unit for the Stars, so while he’s not a prolific scorer, there will be the odd time he contributes in all categories, making his upside a lot better than his price suggests.
Tyson Barrie ($5,800), TOR vs. TBL – Barrie’s set up to have a massive season on his new team. The power-play specialist has already posted two multiple-point games, posted four or more SOG in two games, and has seen his playing time rise to the low-to-mid 20 minutes range. The Lightning may have a solid penalty kill but tonight’s game against the Leafs carries the highest implied puck total on the slate, and the Leafs come into this game second in goals scored and third in power-play efficiency. Barrie’s a great upside target at an affordable price on defense tonight.
Erik Gustafsson ($4,700), CHI vs. SJS – As mentioned above, the entire Blackhawks’ offense looks to be in a great spot tonight against the Sharks, who have started the new season in terrible fashion allowing the most goals against as a team thus far on the season. Gustafsson plays on the top pairing and first power-play unit for the Hawks, so his role alone more than justifies his sub-$5K price point in a game with a 6.5 puck total in which the BlackHawks are favored. He’s played over 25 minutes a night in the first game for Chicago — three minutes more than his average from last year — and put up two points, making him a solid stacking target for those wanting exposure to Chicago’s power play.
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