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.
Highest Totals and Biggest Favorite
Biggest Favorite: The Kings are -270 favorites over the Vancouver Canucks
Largest Totals: The Sharks v Flames and the Coyotes v Avalanche have the best shot at going over 5.5 goals tonight according to odds-makers.
Frederik Anderson ($7800) or John Gibson ($7600): It doesn’t really matter who is starting in net for the Ducks right now as both goalies have performed out of this world lately winning eleven games in a row between them and going 18-1-1 over their last twenty starts. While the matchup with the Capitals is obviously a poor one the Caps haven’t exactly been lighting teams up lately going eight games now without scoring more than three goals. While there’s definitely softer matchups on the schedule tonight the Ducks are quite frankly the best team in the league at the moment and should be up for this one given their opponent. I’d be fearful of rostering too many Capitals and would seriously consider either Ducks goalie as a tournament play today.
Jonas Hiller ($6800) or Joni Ortio ($6800): The Flames are coming off nice win the other day versus the Penguins but goaltending-wise this is still a team you want to target every time they’re on the ice with opposing skaters. The goaltending duo of Ortio and Hiller have been awful all year, with Hiller being particularly awful of late (14 goals allowed in three games). It’s not been announced yet who will start for Calgary but regardless, the Sharks skaters make for great targets tonight as neither of these goalies have save percentages of anywhere near .910 for the year. While Ortio got the hero win the other night against Pittsburgh it’s not a trend I’d rely on and would look to target Calgary’s goalies in this matchup and stay from rostering either man the rest of the year.
Tyler Johnson ($5600) – Nikita Kucherov ($6700) – Ondrej Palat ($4700)
Well, it took 80% or so of the season but the Triplets look like they’re back and ready for a nice late season fantasy run. The Lightning’s young talented trio now have nine points in their last three games and have finally put together some good, extended play. While all three have suffered from injury or bad patches this year I think its important to put that all aside for fantasy and focus on the now. With Tampa rolling two big lines at the moment (this and the Stamkos line) all three of these men will be seeing time together against potentially weaker opposition and with the man advantage. While Kucherov’s price has stayed high the other two can still be had for cheap compared to their potential. I also like the matchup tonight with the Flyers who have played better in the second half of the season but are still a good target for opposing offenses. Tampa has won nine in a row and given how well this line has played recently I’d want some exposure to them if possible tonight.
Top Upside at Defense
Brent Burns ($8300): I could make a case for a cheaper defenseman, but given the matchup here and Burns’ night in and night out consistency why bother. If you’re paying up on D tonight I’d definitely go all the way to the top as the Sharks top defenseman has been on fire in his last three games with three goals, five points and 18 SOG. The matchup with the Flames couldn’t be any better either as—on top of extremely weak goaltending—the Flames also have the worst penalty-kill in the league. Given the fact Burns is ninth in the league in power-play points this matchup has fourth big game in a row written all over it. I love the Sharks players in general tonight and think Burns might be the best way to get exposure to a great matchup.
Jake Gardiner ($3800): I’ve been targeting Gardiner in weak matchups ever since the trade of Dion Phaneuf and will likely continue to do so tonight. Gardiner has seen an increase in ice time and responsibility since Phaneuf left and has seen the most time on the power-play of all Toronto defenders in the past three games. Adding to his value is the fact that he’s now recorded multiple SOG in four straight games. At under 4k there isn’t a ton of talent on this slate but I think targeting Gardiner for his consistent playing time and offensive skill makes sense. He’s someone to look at if you need a value pick on D in a decent matchup against the Sabres.
Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Corey Perry ($6600): Perry has been the straw that stirs the drink lately for Anaheim and his recent play is a big reason why Anaheim is currently winners of 11 straight. Perry has scored five times over his last four games while recording eight points overall. The matchup tonight doesn’t appear to be the greatest but with Washington travelling across the country and the Ducks just absolutely hot fire right now I think its likely you’ll see Perry and the Ducks offense get up for this game. The thing I love about Anaheim is that they’ve split up their two best players which makes shutting down either one extremely tough, and so I wouldn’t expect Perry or his line to get shadowed necessarily as the Ducks are simply too deep for Washington to simply try and shut down one line. Overall I think the matchup makes Perry more of a tournament play, but his price really makes him affordable and a great cornerstone for any lineup.
Jamie McGinn ($4000): McGinn has making the best of it since being traded from the Sabres to the Ducks and is now playing on a line with the aforementioned Corey Perry. McGinn already has three points in his first three games as a Duck and looks like a great fit. At only $4000 you’re getting a top 6 player on the hottest team in hockey for fantasy, which isn’t a bad thing, and with Mcginn also getting some second unit power-play time I think he makes for a great value pick at wing tonight.
Lee Stempniak ($4400): Stempniak is another player who is really making the best of his new situation. Since being traded to the Bruins Stempniak has recorded three assists in three games and is playing on the top line alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, two players who have been fantasy gold most of the season. At only $4400 I love using Stempniak as a value pick for the time being as he makes for an easy way to get a piece of one of the most productive lines in hockey fantasy wise this season. Take a look at him if you’re looking for a cheap winger also, or just want some exposure to Boston skaters.
Also check out: The Panthers Jiri Hudler ($4200)
**This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive and will only update significant, more recent injuries
Jakub Voracek is day to day and questionable tonight for the Flyers
PA Parenteau is questionable tonight for the Leafs
Henrik Sedin is questionable tonight for the Canucks
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!