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 Blues are -300 favorites to beat the Canucks
- All three games have totals of 5 goals
Brian Elliott ($8400): Elliott is coming off two straight shutouts and going up against a team who are massive underdogs from an odds perspective tonight in the Canucks. It’s nearly impossible not to put Elliott in this slot as a result and he seems like the closet thing to a sure thing in net tonight. While Elliott ceded some work to Jake Allen upon his return he’s really re-established himself lately as the number one and will likely be looking to carry that momentum into the playoffs with a strong finish. The Blues are so good defensively (and the Canucks so bad offensively) that it’s hard to see Vancouver putting up much of a fight in this one which could be bad for Elliott’s save totals. That being said there’s no doubt that Elliott is in a great spot to get the win points and probably post at least a decent fantasy game. He’s a tough fade with only three games going.
Keith Kinkaid ($7300) or Scott Wedgewood ($6700): The Devils are still without the services of Cory Schneider and have been rolling with backup Keith Kinkaid or youngster Scott Wedgewood in net (who’s actually been very good). Wedgewood played last night and posted a huge shutout against the Pittsburgh Penguins so he might get the start here too, but even if he does I’m not so sure I love his chances. The Capitals have a few injuries they’re dealing with but this is a pretty big mismatch on paper and Wedgewood is not going to keep making 35 saves a night (at least not without letting in a few goals). The Capitals should take advantage of this matchup regardless of who starts and I don’t see much upside here with either NJ goalie (especially Kinkaid who’s been bad in his last three starts). I’d make Washington skaters a target tonight and leave either one of these goalies at home.
Since the addition of Nikita Kucherov to the top line this trio has been incredibly productive for fantasy purposes and are now up to 13 points scored in their last three games. There’s no doubt that on a short slate you have to at least consider having a piece of this line in your lineups, especially since their opponents (the Islanders) have been less than spectacular of late. Even though New York gives up the eighth fewest goals against per game and has the second best penalty kill in the league they have dropped six of their last seven games and are without their best net minder in Jaroslav Halak. Tampa meanwhile has been on a nice late season surge and seems happy putting it’s best two offensive players on the same line. These three will see a ton of time together and make for great stacking targets as well as great individual plays considering the lack of options at every position today. Of the three Kucherov is likely the one that I’d want to roster the most since he’s been shooting a lot more since joining this line (14 SOG in four games) and should also benefit from higher assist totals over the long run when playing with a sniper like Stamkos.
Top Upside and Top Value at Defense
Victor Hedman ($6000): There aren’t a ton of ways to go tonight on defense but if you’re gonna pay up I really like using Victor Hedman. Hedman has been great recently and is riding a three game point streak heading into tonight. The anchor for the Lightning on defense doesn’t score a ton but he does everything for the Bolts (kill penalties, play on the power play) and as a result can get points in almost every category many a night. I think the Islanders are coming in a little flat to this game and think many of the Tampa skaters are in a good position for a decent game. Don’t be shocked if Hedman continues his point streak here and puts up another solid fantasy night.
John Moore ($2800): Again, there aren’t a ton of options on defense at any salary level today so if you’re looking for value using Moore, who just returned from injury for New Jersey, isn’t a bad idea. On top of being super cheap Moore generally sees time on the power play for the Devils (although he had his ice time monitored in his first game back). I expect you’ll see a little more of Moore tonight and he’s fully capable of piling up a few SOG or even landing you a garbage assist. I’d definitely consider him if you’re looking for a cheap way to fill out your defense today.
Best Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Vladimir Tarasenko ($7300): The last time the Blues played the Canucks Vancouver let Tarasenko loose for 8 SOG and a goal. He just missed a monster game in that matchup—and still had a big night—and I expect he’ll be in for the same kind of opportunity in this matchup again. Vancouver is really struggling right now having lost six in a row (some losses to very weak teams) and even though they haven’t been getting blown out its hard to see a team in this big a slide pulling out of it on the road against one of the leagues best. Tarasenko definitely took advantage of the weaker and inexperienced Canucks defenders in their last matchup, and with Vancouver having lost their best defenders to injuries (or trade) the people trying to stop Tarasenko from a second big game aren’t all that intimidating. I’d definitely want a piece of the Blues superstar tonight as he seems destined for at least a decent output in this matchup and again could easily explode against this lackluster opponent for a monster night.
Best Value Plays to Fill out your lineup with
J. Marchessault ($3100): Tampa Bay’s second line popped up in their last game and with the Bolts putting Vladimir Namestnikov back down to center on the third line, Marchessault is now getting to skate with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat on the second. Marchessault has had an up and down season but he’s an offensive player who could definitely flourish playing alongside a couple other highly skilled players. Marchessault has 7 SOG in his last two games while playing on this line and with added power-play opportunities could produce more than expected.
“The youngster [Fabbri] is playing 15 mins or so every night and coming in with eight points in his last eight games played”
Robby Fabbri ($4000): Fabbri has really been a consistent source of offense for the Blues in the second half of the season. Playing on the second line for St. Louis alongside Paul Stastny has allowed him to flourish this season on a deep Blues forward group and the matchup tonight dictates that there is probably good upside in the Blues second unit. The youngster is playing 15 mins or so every night and coming in with eight points in his last eight games played. I like him as a value play tonight in a fantastic matchup.
Also check out: The Capitals Marcus Johansson ($3,800)
This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries
Ryan Callahan and Valtteri Filppula are questionable tonight for the Lightning
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!