The NHL Cheat sheet is your nighty look at some key matchups, fantasy studs, value plays, and important fantasy news and notes for the upcoming slate…
Highest Vegas Totals and Biggest Favorite
Biggest Favorite: Capitals -235 to beat the Devils
Largest Totals: Stars @ Avalanche—5.5
– There’s a lot of games at 5.5 tonight but the Stars/Avalanche is the only one which is a small favorite to hit the over of that total
Stud Goalies (to avoid playing skaters against)
Henrik Lundqvist—Rangers ($8000): As much as I like the offensive upside of the Blue Jacket forwards this year facing Henrik Lundqvist at home is not a good matchup for any offense. King Henrik started off the season well turning away 31 shots in the opener (and only allowing two goals) and will likely will be the one in net tonight against the Blue Jackets in a re match of game 1. I’d avoid Columbus on this slate and possibly even think about paying up to get Henrik on your rosters, he can be dominate when he’s on a roll.
Dud Goalies (to possibly target skaters against)
Keith Kincaid—Devils ($6400): On the second night of a back to back the Devils have decided to rest starter Cory Schneider and go with second year net minder Keith Kincaid. Kincaid was solid enough last year but he’s in deep on the road against a really good offense. The Capitals made some serious moves in the offseason to bolster their offense and don’t be shocked if you see it pay off right away. Target the Washington forwards vs Kincaid tonight and look for a big game or two from one of their top 6.
Henrik Zetterberg ($6500) – Justin Abdelkadar ($4300) – Dylan Larkin ($3500)
This line absolutely destroyed the Toronto Maple Leafs last night as Larkin picked up his first NHL goal and Justin Abdelkadar landed a hat trick before the game was even half over. The Wings are playing a second half of a back to back tonight so I wouldn’t expect the same type of performance but the Hurricanes aren’t exactly a strong team either. This trio is so cheap that it almost makes sense to keep playing at least a player or two from this line every night to see if they can keep it going. Deploy at will until they show signs of slowing down.
Top Upside and Top Value at Defense
Brent Burns ($5700): Burns had a massive start to the year recording a goal and assist in his first game. His new partner Paul Martin is a steady influence and will likely afford Burns even more offensive chances this season meaning his even strength numbers could go up. He’s already a fixture on the power play, and with six defenseman priced more than him tonight on DraftKings I actually think Burns is worth paying up for as he offers just as much or more upside than those above him.
Cam Fowler ($4000): Fowler isn’t super cheap but the upside he brings means his price tonight makes him a pretty good value play. Fowler will see a lot of powerplay time and benefit from playing alongside a strong group of Anaheim forwards. The Ducks are playing their opener tonight against division rival San Jose and so I expect an up tempo battle with the possibility of a lot of goals.
Extremely value (left over from last night):
Jakub Kindl ($2600): If you don’t want to pay up for Mike Green you could always target Detroit’s other more offensive-minded defenseman Jakub Kindl. Kindl won’t see as much ice time as Green since he’s on the third pairing but he’s slated to be a part of the powerplay unit for the Red Wings to start the year. Kindl could be a cheap way to get assists for fantasy tonight…
Best Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Tyler Seguin ($8000): Seguin’s not cheap but he has a tasty matchup in a game which Vegas has pegged as the most likely on the slate to see 6 or more goals. Colorado gave up 5 goals to Minnesota in their first outing and the Stars offense is on par with anyone. You also have to love the fact that Seguin’s line saw the most work of any Dallas line at even strength in game one and that Seguin will also be leading the Stars in PP time most nights. Dallas is willing to ride its superstar and you should be willing to use that to your advantage for fantasy, roster him tonight where possible.
Best Value Plays to Fill out your lineup with
Kevin Hayes ($4200): Hayes is playing on the wing on the Rangers second line alongside Derek Stephan and Chris Kreider. Hayes/Stephen/Kreider might be the effective second line for New York but they actually saw more minutes than any group of Rangers in game one and also saw the most power play time of any unit as well. I love the cheap price you get with Hayes who scored 24 goals last season and is pegged for a breakout by many this year.
Michael Raffl ($3900): Raffl is starting the year on the Flyers top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. In game one he saw a lot of even strength time as Giroux’s line played the most of any Flyer trio by far and more importantly saw a ton of action on the powerplay as well. The Flyers seem committed to developing Raffl as a top 6 forward by playing him with offensive minded players in all situations, take advantage of his cheap price.
James Wisniewski: He’s out indefinitely with a torn ACL, do not use in your lineups
Zdeno Chara: He’s currently listed as doubtful. The best bet is to just avoid him completely and look elsewhere on a big slate tonight.
Paval Datsyuk: Datsyuk is out for the Red Wings to start the year meaning Zetterberg and Brad Richards should see more ice time.
David Clarkson: Clarkson is now a Blue Jacket and is out to start the year, there may be some cheap talent who sees more ice on the top two lines in Columbus early as a result.