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
- The Islanders are -140 favorites over the Flyers.
- The Rangers are -140 favorites over the Panthers.
- The Flames v the Maple Leafs is the only game with a 5.5 goal total on the slate.
- The other 3 games have projected totals of 5 goals.
Jonathan Quick ($8400): There’s quite a few big named goalies for such a short slate tonight but the one I’d be most apt to avoid rostering skaters against is Jonathan Quick. The Kings in general have been very solid of late recording wins in six of their last seven games and Quick has been a big part of this surge. Quick’s only recorded a save percentage under .900 in one of his last 6 games and comes in on a three game win streak, a span that includes a 32 save shutout. The Predators have been playing well of late too but this game has the lowest O/U total on the slate tonight and Quick isn’t a goalie I’d want to be testing right now as far as fantasy goes. I’d go light on Predator forwards in this matchup and definitely consider using Quick. The Kings are on the road but I’d still give them and Quick the edge in this matchup.
Garret Sparks ($6800) or Jonathan Bernier ($7200): Sparks made me look silly in his last game out as I included him here in Saturday’s column and he proceeded to stop 20 of 21 shots in a win over Buffalo. I’m not going to be tricked by one good game though and I think given the matchup tonight and the slate Toronto’s net minders have the biggest question marks behind them for fantasy by far. Neither goalie has a save percentage of better than .905 for the year and the Defense is being anchored by young, unproven players. The Flames have surprisingly been on a nice role recently, especially on offense, and their hot play makes this a great game to target Calgary skaters and avoid using the Leafs goalies. Anything is possible with goalies but I’d not want to test one of the hottest offenses in the league right now with a sub-par play in net and will be avoiding Sparks or Bernier tonight.
Nick Bjugstad ($4800) – Teddy Purcell ($4000) – Jiri Hudler ($4200)
Its not often that you can refer to a team’s third line as one of the best offensive producers in hockey, but right now the Florida Panthers third unit is exactly that. Over their last three games this line has recorded ten points between them and just generally been clicking at exactly the right time for Florida. With Nick Bjugstad finally healthy and playing better this line, which features two trade deadline additions on the wings, has been getting time on the power play and playing a much bigger role for the Panthers who are now incredibly deep up front. While the matchup with King Henrik (if he starts) isn’t great tonight this line is still very affordable across the board and, with only four games on tap, makes for a very interesting stacking option given their recent level of play. I’d consider any of these three nice value plays at their respective positions today and particularly like Bjugstad who’s a really talented centre man who seems to be fully recovered from early season injuries.
Top Upside at Defense
Mark Giordano ($7500): Giordano doesn’t get the same fanfare as many other top fantasy options on D but truth be told he’s one of the best defensemen in the league and a huge cog in the Calgary offense. Giordano doesn’t just play most of the power-play for the Flames but he’s legitimately one of their best weapons and sits fifth in the league for defenseman with eight PP markers on the year. With question marks around all of the cheaper options paying up for the best defenseman on the hottest offense (in the best matchup) seems like a pretty standard play and one I’d advocate, especially in cash games (double ups, 50/50’s and HU play).
Dan Boyle ($3800): Boyle doesn’t exactly play a ton anymore (only around 18 mins a night) but he’s still doing his thing on special teams and remains one of the most used defenseman by the Rangers on the power-play. Boyle has never lacked for talent and now has two goals in his last two games as well, so he’s coming in hot for fantasy purposes. While he doesn’t pile up the same number of SOG and blocked shots other players with higher minutes do his point scoring upside is better than most and as a cheap value play on defense I can think of worse options. I like him as a tournament play tonight and think the savings you’re getting (and his offensive upside) outweigh the higher risk of a low output night.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Anze Kopitar ($6600): There’s no sense in getting fancy with who you should be targeting at centre tonight. Anze Kopitar has been one of the best players in the league of late and is now up to seven points in his last five games. Kopitar is a fantastic play at his price tag since he plays in every situation for the Kings and sees a ton of ice time, meaning he can legitimately contribute to your fantasy totals in a number of different ways. There aren’t a ton of big priced players on the slate anyways but Kopitar really doesn’t break the bank so to speak and will still let you roster with impunity at your other positions. He’s been great of late playing on a line with Milan Lucic for the most part and I’d expect his fantasy roll to continue, even against a solid opponent like the Predators. Kopitar’s a great way to start building lineups tonight.
Mikael Backlund ($4300): Backlund has been centring the second unit for Calgary lately and lately that second unit has been super productive. Backlund has five points in his last six games and been playing a larger role for the Flames up front lately, averaging nearly 20 minutes. The Flames offense has been picking up steam in general in their past few games and come into this one having scored three or more goals in each of their last four starts. Backlund’s a great value pick in a great matchup and someone I’d be extremely interested in using tonight regardless of price.
“Parenteau has really been one of the more consistent forwards for the Maple Leafs on the entire season with 36 points overall…”
PA Parenteau ($4300): Parenteau has really been one of the more consistent forwards for the Maple Leafs on the entire season with 36 points overall. Parenteau is also closing in on a 20 goal campaign and coming off a nice two assist night against Buffalo on Saturday. The Leafs could be very shorthanded for this game (Soshnikov is out and Komarov is questionable) meaning Parenteau would probably see more ice than usual. Against the Flames, who have been playing well but struggle killing penalties, I’d definitely consider him as a nice play on wing tonight as an increased role could really boost his value in a plus matchup.
Also check out: The Leafs William Nylander
This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries.
- Nikita Soshnikov is out Monday for the Leafs
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!