Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top Lines, Values, Goalies for December 4

It’s a busy 10-game fantasy hockey docket in the NHL with Tampa Bay and Buffalo the only two teams playing the second leg of a back-to-back set. While a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Finals will take place between the Capitals and Golden Knights, the matchup between Pittsburgh and Colorado also should be must-watch television as Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia natives Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon square off for the second time in less than a week.

Top Line Stacks


Wild at Canucks


Jason Zucker ($5,700) – Eric Staal ($6,300) – Mikael Granlund ($6,300)

This is a soft matchup for Minnesota’s mid-priced top line, as the Canucks have lost 11 of their past 12 games and allowed 3.55 goals per 60 during the skid. Dating back to last season, Staal, Granlund and Zucker have combined for an impressive 4.22 goals and 18.91 high-danger scoring chance per hour at 5-on-5, and the trio skates on the same power-play unit.

Senators at Canadiens


Ryan Dzingel ($5,700) – Matt Duchene ($6,900) – Drake Batherson ($4,900)

The Canadiens have fizzled off since the beginning of November with a 6-7-3 record while allowing the second-most goals per 60 minutes (3.28) and owning the third-worst team save percentage (.898) in the league at 5-on-5 during that span. It’s a good setup for a clicking line, as Duchene, Dzingel and Batherson have connected for a respectable 3.38 goals and 13.51 high-danger scoring chances per 60 at even strength.




Superstar to Build Around


Nathan MacKinnon, COL at PIT, $7,900 — With nine multi-point showings through his past 11 contests, MacKinnon is not only scorching hot, but he’s sporting a manageable salary. The Penguins also are mired in a disappointing 4-8-3 slump since Nov. 1, and MacKinnon scored a goal and added three helpers against Pittsburgh last week.


Value on Offense

Jonathan Marchessault, VGK vs. WAS, $5,500 — Washington has struggled defensively on the road with 3.53 goals and 13.89 high-danger scoring chances allowed per hour this season, so this sets up as a great spot for Marchessault. His price is down because of a recent scoring lull (two goals and four assists through his past 11 outings), but he still owns a solid 2.8 points per 60 minutes over the past three years.

Nazem Kadri, TOR at BUF, $4,100 — Being bumped down the lineup isn’t always a value killer, and in Kadri’s case, he still skates with the No. 1 power play unit and mans the slot. Additionally, he could see soft 5-on-5 matchups throughout the game with Buffalo looking to low down the top two lines centered by Auston Matthews ($8,100) and John Tavares ($6,700).

Ondrej Palat, TB at DET, $3,500 — The Czech jumped up to the No. 1 line with Steven Stamkos ($6,100) and Yanni Gourde ($4,600) against New Jersey on Monday and responded with an assist. While the trio hasn’t played much together, Palat and Stamkos have shown chemistry with 4.1 goals per 60 minutes over the past two seasons.




Stud Goalies


Frederik Andersen, TOR at BUF, $8,400 — The Sabres went winless on their recent three-game road trip and now draw the dangerous Maple Leafs. Andersen, on the other hand, has won three straight games and made exactly 38 saves in each. The stretch has him up to a .931 save percentage for the campaign, and his 16.47 goals saved above average paces the NHL. Edward Pasquale, TB at DET, $7,800 — This is definitely a risky recommendation. This will be Pasquale’s NHL debut, and the Lightning also are playing their second road game in consecutive nights. Still, Detroit has the fourth-worst Corsi For percentage (46.3) and is generating the second-fewest high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes (8.6) at 5-on-5 since the beginning of November. It doesn’t hurt that Tampa Bay has won eight of its past 10 contests, either.




Value on Defense


Drew Doughty, LA vs. ARI, $4,500 — It’s rare to find a No. 1 defenseman in this price range, and while Doughty’s offensive numbers are down this season, he’s still the power play quarterback on the No. 1 unit and averaging 26:49 of ice time per contest. Additionally, his recent form showcases his high floor. Doughty’s collected five points, 16 shots and nine blocks through his past eight outings.

Colin Miller, VGK vs. WAS, $3,100 — Projected to quarterback the No. 1 power play unit, Miller’s stands out as a significant bargain. His 1.46 points per 60 minutes top all regular Vegas defensemen, and as noted, Washington hasn’t played well on the road this year. This might also be a tough schedule spot for the Caps, as they played Sunday at home and have to adjust to traveling three times zones.




Power Play Defensemen


Matt Dumba, MIN at VAN, $5,500 — Now two contests removed from a seven-game point streak that consisted of five goals, five assists, six power play points and 30 shots, look for Dumba to rebound against the Canucks — and with a discounted salary. Additionally, Dumba checks out as solid stack option with Vancouver in its noted miserable current form.

Victor Hedman, TB at DET, $5,400 — This is an egregious price for the veteran. Hedman has recorded two goals, eight assists, six power play points, 31 shots and 11 blocks while logging 23:31 of ice time per contest (3:23 with the man advantage) through 12 contests since returning from injury Nov. 10. Detroit has surrendered a healthy 3.08 goals and 12.1 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes this season, too.




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