The NHL Cheat Sheet is your quick-hit daily look into the top lines and line changes, fantasy studs, value picks and more to help you navigate your DFS Hockey lineups.
Top Lines of the Night
Washington Capitals vs Detroit
Nicklas Backstrom ($6,500) – T.J. Oshie ($6,000) – Marcus Johansson ($5,100)
This line had a night against the Penguins on Wednesday, with Oshie and Backstrom providing the crux of the Capitals offense. Backstrom had by far his best game of the season netting two goals and adding three assists, two on the power play (PP). Oshie added two markers and two helpers himself, with three special teams points. Johansson’s offense has dipped as of late, two points in his last seven games, but he did add an assist against Pitt and added four shots on goal (SOG). This line looked good quickly and could have another big night against Detroit tonight.
New York Rangers @ Columbus
Mats Zuccarello ($6,600) – Mika Zibanejad ($6,100) – J.T. Miller ($5,600)
The Rangers offense leads the league by almost a full goal scored per game over their closest competitor. This line has been a key cog for them as of late. Zibanejad has been great for NY this year and has four points in his last four games including two assists on Tuesday. Zuccarello added three points against the Canucks and he has eight points in his last 10 games. Miller has been one of the hottest scored in the league lately with 11 points in his last 10 games. He notched two goals against the Canucks on Tuesday. They face the Blue Jackets, the second-highest scoring team in the league in what could be a high-scoring affair.
Superstar to Build Around
Sidney Crosby ($8,500) – While Crosby is on my list of borderline-must-play skaters every night, he is especially on that list when playing the Islanders. Crosby owns the Isles in his career, with 96 points in 55 games against NY. It is the most points against any opponent he’s played in his career. He has 13 points in 10 games so far this season, including a goal and an assist in his only game against NY in October.
Value on Offense
Sam Gagner ($4,200) – Gagner has been a great surprise for the Blue Jackets this season and is tied for the team lead with six goals. He has points in three straight games posting three goals, an assist and nine SOG and is seeing time on the Columbus first PP.
Matthew Tkachuk ($4,200) – Tkachuk continued to skate on a line with Michael Frolik and Mikael Backlund and netted his fourth goal of the season on Wednesday. With Johnny Gaudreau out, this line will be relied upon for offense and an increase in playing time, making Tkachuk a solid value play in my opinion.
Corey Crawford ($8,300) – Despite taking the loss to the Jets 4-0 on Tuesday, Crawford has been brilliant as of late. The loss was his first in regulation in his last 10 starts, a span he’s posted a 7-1-2 record and a 1.72 GAA. He’ll get the nod tonight in a favorable matchup against the offensively depleted Flames who are settling in to life without Johnny Gaudreau.
Matt Murray ($8,100) – Murray had his outing against the Capitals cut short the other day after an inadvertent stick to the face. He has cleared all protocols and should be in line to get the start tonight against the Islanders with Marc-Andre Fleury struggling. Either is a solid starting option tonight against the offensively anemic (inept?) as of late Islanders, who have lost six of seven.
Value on Defense
Ryan Sproul ($3,300) – Sproul found his way back into the Red Wings lineup after a slew of scratches and promptly netted a goal and an assist, both coming on the PP. He added two SOG and totaled 6 FPTS on the night. He should continue to see solid opportunities if he stays in the Wings lineup.
Brady Skjei ($3,400) – Skjei has looked very impressive for the Rangers this season and has eight points, all assists, in his last 10 games. He has 10 assists on the season and is averaging one SOG and one blocked shot per game. He posted an assist against the Canucks on Tuesday.
Power Play Defensemen
Shea Weber ($6,700) – Weber continues to be a dominant force for the Canadiens defense, especially on the PP. After a small lull in his production Weber has three power play goals (PPG) in his last five games. He leads the league with six PPGs and continues to provide great all-around fantasy coverage averaging well over two SOG and two blocked shots per game. He leads all defensemen tonight with a 4.3 FPTS per night average.
Duncan Keith ($5,500) – Keith is having another strong year for the Blackhawks and has a fantastic opportunity to put up some points tonight. He has six of his 12 points in his last 10 games, and despite only having two points on the PP this season, he is still one of the best options for blue line production. He is averaging over two shots on goal per game and is running their first pairing and the point on their first PP unit.
Make sure to check out the Cheat Sheet every day, and, as always, for any DFS Hockey questions or comments this season, find me on Twitter at: @JHarding_Hockey.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is HardingJ2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.