Nylander and Matthews

It’s a five-game slate this Friday that features a mix of boom-or-bust type fantasy matchups. The low-scoring Islanders are in a good spot to break out as they’ll be in Ottawa to take on the Senators. The same can be said for the Sabres and their young, talented group of forwards as they’ll be in Detroit to take on the Red Wings. The game of the night, meanwhile, features the slow-starting, but still dangerous, Sharks who will be in Toronto to take on the short-handed Maple Leafs.


Top Line Stacks

Tor vs. SJS

Auston Matthews ($7,700) – William Nylander ($4,600) – Andreas Johnsson ($4,600)

Auston Matthews and the Leafs should be a good spot to rebound from a loss to Boston in their last matchup, as they’re taking on a Sharks team that played in Montreal last night, and has had a poor start to the year. San Jose has allowed 3.5 goals against per game thus far, and recently allowed Jack Eichel ($7,800) to post 42 DKFP against them in their last matchup. With John Tavares out, Matthews is essentially assured of big minutes here and his line-mates should also expect to see close to 20 minutes of ice in this game. Both William Nylander and Andreas Johnsson are featuring on the first unit power-play with Tavares out, and come in here at well under $5K in price on DraftKings. While neither are heavy shooters, they are both averaging over two SOG per game, played well over 17 mins in their last outing and figure to be alongside the dynamic Matthews most of the night. It’s an affordable unit with a good correlation that is in a nice spot to payoff this Friday.


Superstar to Target

Matthew Barzal ($7,000), NYI at OTT Barzal has come on strong after a slow start, recording six points over his last four games. The second-year player gets a great matchup for some continuation on Friday, too, as the Islanders take on the Senators, a team that is allowing 35 SOG per game. Skating over 19 minutes a game every night, Barzal looks to be just hitting his stride here as he’s averaged over three SOG per game over his last three starts, and has yet to even start producing much on the power play. The Islanders wingers don’t have a ton of appeal due to small shot totals or just lack of talent but Barzal, who’s managed to go off recently no matter who he skates with, is a good anchor target on his own here in a great matchup.


Value on Offense

Andreas Athanasiou ($3,800), DET vs. BUF Athanasiou has had a rough start to the year pointwise, as he enters this game with the Sabres with just two assists on the year. Still, double AA is getting lots of opportunities for Detroit right now, skating on their second line but seeing first line power-play minutes every night. Averaging well over 16 minutes of ice per game, and well over two SOG per game, the 30-goal scorer from last season is primed for some serious positive goal-scoring regression soon and could be in a spot to cash in tonight against Buffalo, who allowed six goals against in a loss to the Rangers on Thursday.


Stud Goalies

Semyon Varlamov ($8,100), NYI at OTT Varlamov has posted a couple of strong starts for the Islanders and is coming off back-to-back wins where he stopped 67-of-70 shots. The former Capital has adjusted well thus far to life as an Islander and has always been a bit of a streaky goalie throughout his career. The Islanders enter tonight’s game as favorites and are facing a Senators team that is averaging over 30 SOG per game, but also scoring the fourth-fewest goals per game, making them a fantastic fantasy matchup for the in-form Varlamov.

Jacob Markstrom ($7,700), VAN vs. WAS Markstrom will be facing off against a Capitals team that lost in OT last night against the Oilers. The Canucks starter has gotten off to a strong start, posting save percentages of .938 in four straight games (all wins). This game is essentially a pick-em at the moment and with the Capitals averaging over 30 SOG per-game coming in, the potential here for a big night for the red-hot Markstrom looks promising. He’s a nice GPP target at under $8K for those who don’t want the risk that comes with rostering a solid goalie against a potentially high-scoring opponent.


Value on Defense

Johnny Boychuk ($4,000), NYI at OTT Boychuk has been seeing consistent power-play time of late for the Islanders, a team that enters this game with the third-best power-play in the league. The veteran is playing just 18-20 minutes a night but has averaged right around two SOG and two blocked shots per game thus far, giving him a really nice floor in the DraftKings scoring format. He’s scored points in four of his last six games now and gets a great matchup against the Senators tonight, a team that is among the league leaders in shots allowed.

Sami Vatanen ($3,600), NJD vs. ARI Vatanen has taken over main point duties for New Jersey on the power-play and comes in averaging over two minutes per game in man-advantage situations for the Devils. The former Duck is also playing over 22 minutes per game, overall, and averaging two blocked shots per game. Arizona’s only been average on the penalty-kill this season making this a nice spot to deploy Vatanen, who is still absurdly cheap and looks set to record a few more solid fantasy days soon given his current role with the Devils.


Power-Play Defensemen

Brent Burns ($6,900), SJS at TOR Tonight’s game against the Leafs seems like a great time to pay up for Burns. The Sharks defenseman hasn’t recorded a ton of blow-up games yet but his numbers still look solid. Averaging over 26 minutes of ice per game, while still recording over three SOG per game, Burns could be in a nice spot tonight to hit the SOG bonus against the Leafs, a team that has allowed the most shots against in the entire league to date thus far. The Sharks’ power play hasn’t been great to start the year, but it’s shown improvement of late, and the unit did manage to convert two of three power-play chances last night against Montreal. Burns isn’t cheap, but he’s still tracking as one of the top fantasy defensemen in the league and should be primed for a big game here in a great matchup.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.