The NHL Cheat sheet is your nightly look at some key matchups, fantasy studs, value plays, and important fantasy news and notes for the upcoming slate.
Totals and Favorites
Biggest Favorite: The Nashville Predators are -200 to beat the Colorado Avalanche
Largest Totals: The Blue Jackets and Islanders have the biggest probability of going over 5.5 goals tonight according to oddsmakers.
Ben Bishop ($7900): The Lightening haven’t been playing great this season but they are winners of 3 of their last 4 and goaltender Ben Bishop has been a huge part of that run, posting a save percentage of .923 or better in each of his last four starts. The matchup tonight for Bishop is tough as he gets the Capitals but the Lightening as a team have been much better at home and Bishop has recorded 7 of his 5 wins at home this year. At the very least I would consider not using too many Capital players tonight as a big offensive game against Bishop is unlikely. Another great game from Bishop here seems likely.
Curtis McElhinney ($6900): The Blue Jackets are without their starting goaltender at the moment and backup Curtis McElhinney got off to a rough start as the fill-in allowing 5 goals versus the Jets in the Blue Jackets last game. McElhinney has had a rough season thus far and is sitting with a save percentage of .896 and a GAA of 3.15… he also has zero wins in 6 appearances. The Jackets play the Islanders tonight and so things don’t get any easier. The Islanders have a talented group of forwards and a pretty effective power play (11th in the league), I’d definitely be targeting their skaters tonight.
Sean Monahan ($5800) – Johnny Gaudreau ($6400) – David Jones ($3300)
The Flames have been on fire recently (haha) and have now scored 4 or more goals in their last 4 games. The duo of Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau has scored 6 points in their last two games and been seeing plenty of ice time both at regular strength and on the PP. The Flames play the Rangers tonight who are a tough matchup but will be starting backup Antti Raanta, which is a whole lot better for the Flames skaters than seeing Henrik Lundqvist in net. Both Monahan and Gaudreau are priced fairly considering their recent production and I think using at least a piece of the Flames top line tonight makes sense, at least until they cool off.
Top Upside and Value at Defense
Shea Weber ($5900): Weber has really picked up his play recently and the Preds have an excellent matchup tonight against the Avalanche. Colorado has struggled defensively most of the year and has the fifth worst power play in the league, an area where Weber excels. Four nights ago Weber recorded a hat trick on three PP goals and while you shouldn’t expect that type of production this game does set up great for the Nashville PP. At $5900 Weber is priced well below other elite options but carries as much upside as anyone at D. Consider him if paying up tonight, I love the potential of Nashville’s skaters.
Ryan Murray ($3500): I’ve been using Murray here and there all season as he’s typically been seeing over 50% of the playing time on the Power Play for the Blue Jackets and almost always been very cheaply priced. Tonight is no different and with Columbus heating up offensively of late (3 or more goals in 3 straight games) I’m prepared to overlook the matchup and consider Murray as a nice value play at defense once again. The talented youngster should see a lot of ice time in a game that has the highest projected goal total on the night
Vladimir Tarasenko ($7700): Tarasenko hasn’t had any huge nights lately but he’s still been consistent and is still on pace for over 45 goals this season. Tonight the Blues get the Dallas Stars who have been the best team in the league this season bar none but still struggle keeping the puck out of their net at times, ranking in the bottom half of the league in penalty killing and goals against. I think the Blue will be up for this matchup and will need a big night from their superstar winger if they’re going to get by Dallas. I like this spot for Tarasenko and would recommend him as a cornerstone for your lineups tonight regardless of format.
Best Value Plays
Brock Nelson ($4200): Nelson has been playing alongside John Tavares for some time now and will see first line PP time in this game against a team that has one of the worst goals against in the league. With Columbus’ best goalie and best player—Sergei Bobrovsky—out the shoot first nelson is in a great spot to produce for you tonight. While Nelson’s production has been sporadic at times the ice time and opportunities have been very consistent. In this matchup he’d be one of my top value picks and a great to get exposure to the Isles offense.
Valarie Nuchushkin ($3500): There’s not much that needs to be said here. Nichushkin is playing alongside two of the best players in the NHL right now on the team that scores the most goals in the NHL. He’s an immensely talent winger who looks to be finally coming into his own offensively after a slow start. Get him while his price remains low.
Also consider: Kevin Hayes ($4000) has a great matchup and looks like he’ll be playing on the Ranger top line tonight.
**this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries
Martin Hanzal is day to day for ARZ
Sergei Bobrovsky is out indefinitely for the Blue Jackets
Jiri Hudler is day-today with an illness and might not play tonight
Gabriel Landeskog is day to day for the Avalanche and won’t play tonight
Jason Demers is day to day for the Stars
Devan Dubnyk is day to day for the Wild and won’t play tonight
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!