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…
The New York Rangers are -230 favorites to beat the Sabres
The Sharks v the Predators has the greatest chance of going over 5.5 goals
Ben Bishop ($8300): While he doesn’t always get a ton of shots to stop, the shots he does get, get stopped at a pretty elite rate. That’s the best way I can describe Bishop right now who is going up against an anemic offense in the New Jersey Devils. Bishop carries one of the best save percentages in the league into this game (.928) and also has recorded two shutouts in his last five starts for Tampa. I don’t love the fact he might only see 25 SOG max tonight, which could kill his save points, but the fact is he’ll be in a great spot for a win and possibly even another shutout. Bishop’s probably the safest play on the slate although there might be more upside in other goalies. Either way, I have zero interest in Devils skaters here as the matchup is just too tough.
Garret Sparks ($6900): After a nice start in Toronto Sparks has really regressed as the season has worn on, to the point where his season long save percentage is now under .900 and his GAA is well over 2.50. Sparks hasn’t been awful of late for the Leafs but he hasn’t exactly been stealing games for them either and has allowed three or more goals in each of his last three starts. Detroit is in a death race for the last playoff spot with two other teams and they need a win bad here. I can’t see the Red Wings not getting to Sparks and would look elsewhere for a tournament play in net. Detroit skaters could be a sneaky play tonight.
Connor McDavid ($7200) – Jordan Eberle ($5900) – Patrick Maroon ($3800)
Although this line kind-of got stymied in their last game out overall they have been money for fantasy in their last 4 or so outings, a stretch which has seen them compile 13 points between them. While Patrick Maroon isn’t exactly known as a sniper he’s been the perfect guy to ride shotgun for the Oilers with their two skilled players and has contributed some pretty timely scoring and touch most people didn’t know he had. On top of the recent good play of this line they get a layup matchup against the equally bad Flames here who haven’t been able to stop anyone on the power-play this year. This game already has a pond hockey kind of vibe to it and I’ll be expecting a ton of goals and not a lot of defense tonight. McDavid and Eberle have posted some big games together already and another one could be on tap here. I’d consider all three of these players today for stacking and would want at least some exposure to this line in fantasy. After one slow game I’m expecting them to get back on track here.
Mark Giordano ($7300): While the most obvious play of the night on defense seems like Brent Burns—who is $8600 and doesn’t come cheap—remember that the Predators actually allow the fewest SOG per game in the league. With that in mind I think you can consider fading Burns since his price is so high right now and going with Mark Giordano, who has a plus matchup and seems like a nice swerve. Giordano faces the Oilers who allow the sixth most SOG per game in the league and aren’t exactly much better than the Flames at keeping the puck out of their net. I’m expecting that game to be a back and forth affair and for Giordano to be in the middle of things. While it’s certainly not a bad play to pay up for the Sharks stud defenseman, I think using Giordano gives you almost as much upside in this matchup at a very reduced price.
Matthew Carle ($2600): While it might seem hard to fit in all these high priced players tonight one way to do so might be to use Matt Carle on defense. Carle has really looked washed-up this year but is being forced to take bigger minutes with the injury to Anton Stralman. Carle is now seeing regular time on the power-play for Tampa and also playing alongside Victor Hedman. His minutes have jumped to over 20 per night suddenly and he’s going to be a big part of the story for Tampa whether fans want him to be or not. For fantasy he’s great value at $2600 and doesn’t need a huge game to pay off his price tonight.
Best Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Joe Pavelski ($7500): Pavelski has been sneakily on a roll here of late compiling 6 points in his last fives games while also posting at least 4 fantasy points in six of his last eight games as well. He comes into tonight with a great matchup in front of him as the Predators-Sharks game has the highest over-under of any game on the slate. With Pekka Rinne not exactly playing up to par of late or this season for that matter, I really like this spot for the Sharks offense and Pavelski, who continues to be the backbone of the Sharks team, and sees 17-20 mins a night on the regular. At $7500 he doesn’t come super cheap but given the matchup and expected goal total of this game I think he’s kind of a no brainer. You could also go with the more expensive Brent Burns tonight if you wanted to roster just one Shark, but I’ll take the savings and build around Pavelski instead. He’s been consistent of late and gives you more room to maneuver.
Best Value Plays to Fill out your lineup with
Joel Ward ($4200): Ward is a little boom or bust for fantasy but playing alongside the very talented Logan Couture and on the second power-play unit, Ward always brings plenty of upside. In his last ten games Ward has produced four games of 4.5 fantasy points or more so we know he can get us a big game and against the Predators, in the highest projected O/U game on the slate, I think Ward sets up as a great cheap way to get exposure to the Sharks offense. He’s one of my favorite value plays on the slate at wing.
Hunter Shinkaruk ($2500): The former first rounder is getting some good minutes on the Flames right now with their top unit (over 17 mins per game) and has recorded points in two of his first three outings in March. He should continue to see time with the top line against the Oilers in a terrific matchup tonight and is another min priced play you can use on this slate to fit in a few more big names into your lineup. I’m expecting the Oilers-Flames game to be high scoring so Shinkaruk could be a bigger play than people realize.
Also check out: Oilers center Leon Draisaitl ($4500)
**this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries
Vincent Trochek is questionable for the Panthers
PK Subban is questionable for the Canadians
Anton Stralman is out for the Lightning
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!