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 Kings are -290 favorites to beat the Sabres
Largest Totals: The Senators v the Flames has the highest probability of going over 5.5 goals according to oddsmakers
Jonathan Quick ($8400): This probably isn’t a good time to be going with Buffalo Sabres players as Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has caught fire (again) and now posted a save percentage of .935 or better in each of his last five games. The Kings are also riding a three game winning streak and haven’t allowed more than one goal against in each of those three wins. As the team with the lowest goals against per game in the entire league LA makes for a bad target most nights but with Quick playing this well they are a complete fade for opposing skaters. I’d consider Quick a great cash game play and avoid Buffalo’s young guns tonight if possible.
Jonathan Bernier ($7100): As much as I distrust the Montreal goalie situation I distrust the Leafs situation even more. Jonathan Bernier has gone through a pretty much horrific campaign and has now posted save percentages of .882 or worse in four of his last five games. He also comes into tonight with a yearly save percentage of .898 (brutal considering league average is well above .910 these days). Outside of one decent outing versus the low scoring Hurricanes the Leafs continue to get waxed on a nightly basis and have fallen to 7th worst in goals allowed per game. I’d consider Montreal players a great target in this home matchup and would avoid both sides goalies in all likelihood, but would feel better about the Canadians Mike Condon as a tournament play if he starts.
Early Pick: Alex Barkov ($6200) – Jussi Jokinen ($5100) – Jaromir Jagr ($5600)
Alex Barkov returned with a bang with two goals in his first game back with injury. His two line mates for the night (Jagr and Jokinen) have a combined seven points between them in their last three games. The trio will see power-play time together and have a great matchup against the defensively deficient Blue Jackets. I’d get some exposure here if playing the early slate.
Late Pick: Matt Duchene ($6600) – Jarome Iginla ($4800) – Mikhail Grigorenko ($3200)
This Colorado line has been in great form lately with 11 points in their last four games. Jarome Iginla is still very under priced and continues his late season surge with three goals in his last four games, while young Mikhail Grigorenko continues to be a decent source of cheap assists. This line will all see time on the power-play and even in a tough matchup versus the Red Wings make for a good target—especially considering Detroit tends to be a much worse road team defensively (18th in GAA on the road).
Top Upside and Top Value at Defense
Drew Doughty ($6200): Doughty continues to play well for the Kings and play a ton of minutes, as he’s now seen his ice time crack 30 mins for the last five games. On top of being a nice source of blocked shots and SOG Doughty’s offensive production has shot up lately and he’ll be in a good spot tonight versus the Sabres at home to build on his totals. The Kings have the fifth best overall power-play unit the league (which Doughty quarterbacks most nights) and the Sabres are a much worse penalty killing team on the road. Doughty is significantly less than many expensive options but has big upside tonight in this matchup and he’s one of my favorite targets on D for this slate.
Jake Gardiner ($3700): I like targeting the Leafs and Canadians matchup in general tonight for fantasy and think Jake Gardiner makes for a pretty intriguing target as a value play on D. Gardiner has seen his ice time ramp up because of the trade of Dion Phaneuf and is now one of the main point men seeing consistent power-play time, along with team mate Morgan Rielly. Gardiner is much cheaper than Rielly though and is consistently getting a couple of SOG every night now and seeing well over 20 mins of ice. I like the value here and the matchup and think Gardiner’s a good lower priced target on D.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Anze Kopitar ($6400): This is again a case where there might be bigger names on the slate you could use but, for the price, I think Kopitar makes for the overall best elite play. Kopitar is one of the more heavily used forwards in the league seeing over 20 mins of ice time every night, and after a slow start he’s started to pile up the points fairly quickly. The Kings also have a great power-play (which he is a fixture on) and have a nice matchup tonight against the Sabres. At only $6400 Kopitar has put up 5.5 fantasy points or more in three of his last six games and is well situated for another big performance. I love him for the price you can get him at and think he makes for a great backbone for your rosters.
Early-Chris Kreider ($4500) or JT Miller ($4600): The Rangers play the Dallas Stars tonight which isn’t a great matchup for their goalie but should be a good one for their forwards. With Rick Nash out the Rangers young forwards have been getting more playing time and so I think both Kreider and Miller (who are playing on the top two lines) make for good targets today. This is a good game to target in general if playing early and I like using the cheaper players from New York a lot.
Late-Jiri Hudler ($4500): The Flames top line has been pretty consistent of late and you can get one of the main cogs in that line (Hudler) for well under 5k in price. The Flames play the Senators tonight in the game with the highest O/U on the slate and so using Flames offensive targets is a decent idea based on that stat alone. I like Hudler though as the Flames play their top line a ton at even strength and with the man advantage. He’s a great value target who’s been producing lately, think about him if you need a cheap winger.
Also check out: Mikhial Grigorenko and PA Parenteau
This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries
- Jonathan Huberdeau is out for the Panthers
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!