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: The Boston Bruins are -210 favorites to beat the Edmonton Oilers tonight
Largest Totals: The Bruins and Oilers have the best chance of going over 5.5 goals according to oddsmakers
Braden Holtby ($8100): I personally want nothing to do with any Pittsburgh skaters tonight as Caps goalie Braden Holtby has been terrific lately posting save percentages of well above .900 in each of his last 6 games. Holtby’s only suffered one loss in that same span and been a pillar of consistency this season for the Caps who also rank 3rd in the league in goals allowed as a team. Pittsburgh’s a tough matchup but I’d still consider Holtby as a goalie tonight and definitely try to avoid paying up for any Pittsburgh skaters. This game doesn’t project to have huge upside fantasy wise for skaters on either side.
Chad Johnson ($6600): It wasn’t long ago that I featured Johnson in the stud goalie column for a night but since that time he and the Sabres have been headed in the wrong direction. Johnson himself has lost two games in a row and allowed 8 goals in those two losses, posting save percentages of well below .900 for each start. As losers of three of their last four games the Sabres as a team have also been bad of late and have started to show some serious holes in their defense on a nightly basis. The Red Wings have been playing great recently and their offensive depth will likely give Johnson and the Sabres trouble again. Avoid Johnson and target the Red Wing skaters tonight.
Leon Draisaitl ($4700) – Taylor Hall ($7300) – Teddy Purcell ($3700)
This line has recorded an absolutely unbelievable 21 points in their last 3 games. Taylor Hall has been playing the best hockey of pretty much anyone in the league the past week or so and he’s showed clear chemistry with Leon Draisaitl since the day these two got paired together. These three also play on the Power Play together so if one of them scores you can expect some kind of correlation. The best thing about this line is that the prices on Draisaitl and Purcell continue to be very cheap making it easy to fit into your lineup. Versus Boston, who has not been great killing penalties this year and is starting their backup goalie tonight, this line is in a decent spot to continue scoring. They’re easily the hottest line in hockey at the moment and I would want a piece of them in every lineup I made tonight.
Top Upside at Defense
Torey Krug ($6100): The Boston blue liner has been one of the most consistent performers at D all season. Krug sees a ton of action on the PP for the Bruins (over 70% of the work over his last three games) and Boston plays the Oilers tonight who are improved on special teams but still rank only league average in penalty killing. Krug plays a ton for Boston every night and has had some big games with blocked shots in the past as well. He’s in a great spot to accumulate some points tonight in a game that has a high projected game total.
Ryan Murray ($3600): Murray keeps seeing the bulk of the power play time on the blue line for the Blue Jackets which is great for his fantasy value. Over his last three games he’s averaged over 3.5 fantasy points and keeps being slightly underpriced considering his role on the Blue Jackets. Columbus plays the Lightening tonight who have struggled on he penalty kill all year and have played poorly on he road this season. I love Murray in this spot and think he’s great value at his price.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Taylor Hall ($7300): Hall is also featured in the hottest lines section but his level of play lately has been so good lately that I’ll recommend him here too. Besides the hot point production (34 through 30 games) Hall is also firing a ton of shots on net this season and is fifth in the league in that category amoung all skaters at the moment. Hall’s a great young talent who’s taken the leap from above average to elite this season and at $7300 he’s still slightly underpriced in my opinion for the upside he brings every night. He has a great matchup against the Bruins and I’d advocate using him if you can spare the roster room tonight.
Alex Wennberg ($3000): Wennberg has been playing on the Blue Jackets top power play unit for the past few games and gets a good matchup tonight versus the Lightening who haven’t been great at defending the power play all year. At only $3000 he’ll be featured a lot in scoring situations in this game and has shown he can produce when given the chance as he has 5 assists over his last 4 games. He’s a great value play tonight and also centres a pretty decent third line for the Blue Jackets as well.
Jonathan Marchessault ($2600): Marchessault has been recalled by Tampa in the wake of the Tyler Johnson injury and is getting plenty of time on Tampa Bay’s power play. News out of Tampa is that he’ll actually be playing on the top unit tonight and while he might not see a ton of regular strength time the fact he’ll be playing a lot with Tampa’s skilled forwards makes him attractive at this bottom barrel price.
Also consider: Teddy Purcell ($3700) as mentioned in the hottest line section above.
This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries
Tyler Johnson is out tonight for the Lightening
Ondrei Palat is doubtful tonight for the Lightening
Sergei Bobrovsky is out indefinitely for the Blue Jackets
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions!