The NHL Cheat sheet is your nighty look at some key matchups, fantasy studs, value plays, and important fantasy news and notes for the upcoming slate.
Highest Vegas Totals and Biggest Favorite
Biggest Favorite: the Washington Capitals are -290 favorites over the Maple Leafs
Largest Totals: The Flyers/Jets, Leafs/Capitals and Penguins/Flames all have totals of 5.5 and have similar odds of hitting the over tonight.
Goalies to avoid skaters against
Marc-Andre Fleury ($7700): The fact Marc-Andre Fleury isn’t the highest priced goalie tonight is most certainly something I’d suggest taking advantage of. Fleury has had an amazing start to the year and is also now riding a 4 game win streak. With a GAA of well under 2 and a save percentage approaching .950 Fleury is the early candidate for the Vezina and the main reason the Penguins are on a 5 game winning streak. Definitely lay off using any Flames skaters tonight and consider him as your start in goal. He’s worth paying up for.
Goalies to target skaters against
Mike Smith ($6200): Smith started the year strong but has regressed badly of late posting a sub .900 save percentage in 7 of his last 8 games. The Coyotes have accumulated some nice players but as a team will be outclassed in most areas tonight by the Rangers. I don’t trust Smith even when he’s playing well and given his recent bad run a 4-5 goal night from the Blue-shirts won’t be out of the question. Target Ranger skaters and avoid using Smith.
Bryan Little ($5300) – Blake Wheeler ($7200) – Andrew Ladd ($5600)
This line has actually been on fire for most of the season as all three are at or near a ppg pace at the moment. The trio has certainly not slowed down lately as they have recorded 6 points between them in their past two games and get a very nice shot to keep that hot streak rolling tonight as they take on the defensively challenged Philadelphia Flyers. Of these three centre Bryan Little is by far the best value for me and as the Jets #1 centre often gets overlooked. All three play big minutes and also get a lot of time on the PP together. This is a great line to use as a stack tonight in a weak matchup, keep riding the Jets top unit.
Top Upside and Top Value at Defense
Kris Letang ($5700): Letang was my choice here last night and came through with a point but I think he can do better tonight. As bad as the Oilers are defensively the Flames are worse and their starting goalie tonight is sporting a save % of well under .900. Letang is still the best offensive D-man on the Penguins and will get lots of time on the PP playing alongside Malkin/Crosby and Kessel. On such a big slate there’s certainly more than one good option at D if you’re paying up but I’m all about targeting players versus the Flames right now and Letang gets them tonight. Consider him if you want a defenseman with big game upside.
Nathan Beaulieu ($2700): My value play at defense is really an extreme value play as Nathan Beaulieu of the Canadians is priced near the min on tonight’s slate. Beaulieu’s an offense-first type of defenseman who was known for strong skating and a nice shot in junior. The Canadians have started giving him more of an offensive role of late by using him on the second PP unit and he’s responded by putting up 3 points in 4 games. There’s real talent here and the Canadians opponents tonight, the Bruins, have been giving up a lot of goals all season. If you want to go low on defense Beaulieu gives you the best upside tonight.
Evgeni Malkin ($7200): Malkin has looked pretty impressive to me over Pittsburgh’s last handful of games and while the points haven’t been there recently he seems very close to a breakout game. On a big slate tonight I don’t feel like there’s any one superstar player in action who’s playing head and shoulders above the rest which is why I’d recommend thinking about using Malkin tonight. He has the best matchup versus the swiss-cheese Flames D and is playing almost the full 2 mins anytime Pittsburgh gets a PP. This smells like a breakout game for me as Pittsburgh is rolling right now.
Best Value Plays
Eric Fehr ($3900): Pascal Dupuis is out for the Penguins and that means that Fehr has seen a bump up in the pecking order and will be playing with Sidney Crosby for the second straight game. Fehr isn’t a sniper by any stretch but he does have a bit of a scoring touch and already has two shorthanded goals this season. At $3900 you’re getting a player who will be playing alongside one of the best playmakers in hockey against one of the weakest defensive teams in the NHL. Fehr’s in a nice spot tonight and could easily net you a point or two and some SOG too.
Emerson Etem ($2700): Etem is my extreme value pick of the night and like Fehr he’ll be playing on New York’s top line due to injuries. Etem’s a young player who hasn’t been able to stick in the NHL and is already on his second NHL team. He was known for his scoring in junior though and versus the struggling Mike Smith and the Coyotes this could be a spot for a mini-breakout. If you’re looking for a min-priced forward play tonight Etem looks like the best of the bunch to me and should see ample time playing with the Rangers first line. At his price even a few SOG will be enough to make him a worthwhile play.
Pascal Dupuis: is out for the Penguins
Rick Nash: is out for the Rangers
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!