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
- Anaheim -250 favorites to beat New Jersey
- St. Louis is -155 favorites to beat Calgary
- Nashville is -150 favorites to beat Edmonton
All games tonight have an O/U of 5 goals currently. Below are the games with the highest Vegas probability of going over 5 goals
- Panthers at Islanders (-150 to go over 5 goals)
- Jets at Canucks (-145 to go over 5 goals)
- Blues at Flames (-140 to go over 5 goals)
Jake Allen ($7800): There’s not a ton of goalies I really trust on the slate tonight but Jake Allen has certainly been trending in the right direction of late. Allen has posted a .925 save percentage or better in five of his last six starts and also been the victor in six straight games as well. The Blues are one of the best defensive teams in the league (lowest GAA average as a team) and are coming in hot as well as winners of six in a row. This game screams mismatch and Allen truly looks like one of if the most reliable targets in net tonight for fantasy. I’d stay away from the Flames big players and seriously consider paying up Allen.
Keith Kincaid ($7400): Kincaid looks like an interesting play given his recent play—two straight wins and 52 of 53 shots saved—but I think he’s more of a mirage than the real thing. With Cory Schneider out Kincaid will be called on tonight to make the start against a hot Ducks team and I think he’s likely in line for some regression. While his recent play may not suggest a poor performance coming his season long save percentage of .911 and a 2.44 GAA means expecting another great performance is probably foolhardy. I’d not hesitate to target the Ducks skaters tonight and think they make for excellent tournament targets as many may assume Kincaid to be up to the same level as normal starter Cory Schneider, which he’s not.
This line has steadily been getting more and more playing time and offensive responsibilities for the Panthers as the season has gone on, and also been steadily producing for fantasy. The Panthers second trio is now up to fourteen points in their last three games and they are all being played twenty minutes or more a night. For stacking purposes, you really can’t go wrong with these three either as they are playing together on the power-play and at even strength. Facing the Islanders isn’t the greatest scenario for this trio but given the level of play of these three and their current usage I think using one, two or all three of these players makes sense given their relative cheapness. As one of the hottest lines in hockey you can definitely do worse than these three right now when looking for offensive options.
Kevin Shattenkirk ($6600): There’s a couple big names on D tonight which make for strong plays but given the weakness of the Flames in defending the power-play, paying up for Shattenkirk—the Blues blueline anchor on the power-play—makes sense. St. Louis has been scorching teams recently and are now up to seventh best in the league with the man-advantage. Coming off maybe his best game of the year and a monster fantasy outing (11 points on DK) I’d not hesitate to use Shattenkirk again and hope for a repeat performance.
“Hutton’s been a nice play of late for the Canucks and for fantasy players as well scoring at least four fantasy points in four of his last six games”
Ben Hutton ($4000): Hutton’s been a nice play of late for the Canucks and for fantasy players as well scoring at least four fantasy points in four of his last six games. The youngster is now taking most of the time on the first unit power-play for the Canucks and it’s starting to show on his nightly totals. While the Canucks don’t exactly have a great offense (the term popgun comes to mind) they do have a decent matchup against the Jets tonight who have the 6th worst penalty kill in the league. With Hutton getting decent playing time every night and more offensive opportunities paying 4k for him seems reasonable and he makes for a good value target tonight.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Vladimir Tarasenko ($7300): Tarasenko has been getting hot lately and is now up to six points in his last three games played. The Blues take on the Flames in a complete mis-match tonight in a game the Blues should dominate from start to finish. As only the third most expensive player on the slate and $1200 less than Patrick Kane, who has a tough matchup against the Kings, Tarasenko feels like a bargain and would be the player I’d target for most of my lineups in the upper reaches of the salary chart tonight. While the Blues have been getting balanced offensive production from their forwards of late Tarasenko is certainly capable of a monster game in a situation like this and he’s someone I’d want a lot of exposure to if making multiple lineups. The Russian sniper already has 33 goals on the year and might just be keen on reaching 40 before the season ends.
Best Value Plays
Jake Virtanen ($2900): Virtanen is another young player the Canucks are giving more playing time to down the stretch. With Vancouver out of things in the West Virtanen is the latest to “try-out” as the third wheel on the Sedin-line and has recorded multiple shots on net in five of his last six games. The Canucks have won a couple in a row now and against the defensively deficient Jets Virtanen could be in a good spot to have a decent game playing alongside Vancouver’s best offensive players. I’d target him if you need a really cheap option at wing today.
“The Blues skaters all make for good targets in general tonight given their matchup with the Flames…”
Robby Fabbri ($3700): The Blues skaters all make for good targets in general tonight given their matchup with the Flames and targeting Fabbri, who’s now a fixture on the Blues second line and second power-play unit, makes sense if you need a value target at centre. Fabbri has points in four straight games and is generally excelling in his role on an extremely deep St. Louis Blues squad. A goal or more here is possible in this matchup and Fabbri provides plenty of upside for his small pricetag.
Also check out: The Oilers – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($4800)
This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries.
- Bryan Little is out for the season for the Jets
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!