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
Winnipeg Jets vs. Boston Bruins
Blake Wheeler ($7,000) – Mark Scheifele ($6,700) – Patrik Laine ($5,200)
In what is a glimpse into the future in Winnipeg, the Jets placed second-overall pick Laine on this line in practice over the weekend. Scheifele and Wheeler picked up right where they left last season off, starting the year impressively with points in both Jets games. These two were lethal together to close last season, and they are right back at it this year. Laine became the third-youngest player in franchise history to score a goal when he did so on Thursday night against Carolina. Now he gets a shot on the Jets top line where this trio could potentially put up big numbers.
New York Rangers vs. San Jose Sharks
Mika Zibanejad ($5,400) – Chris Kreider ($4,900) – Pavel Buchnevich ($3,700)
This has been by far the Rangers best, and most complete, line so far in the early going. Zibanejad and Kreider developed great chemistry in the preseason and have carried that over so far. Both have notched four points each in their first two games, thanks to multi-point efforts against the Islanders and Blues. Buchnevich had a gorgeous assist on Kreider’s goal in their opener against the Islanders and played solidly against the Blues despite going pointless. The rookie has seldom looked out of place so far, and this line will only get better as the season moves forward. They have a difficult matchup against Martin Jones and the Sharks tonight, but they will see plenty of opportunity to create offense for New York.
Superstar to Build Around
Brad Marchand ($7,600) – After a career-high 37 goals last year, Marchand has picked up right where he left off with six points, five in his first game, in his first two games. He managed only an assist and zero shots in his second game, but with a favorable matchup against the Jets tonight, Marchand could easily tally a point or two. Playing with Pastrnak and Backes right now is a solid line, but Marchand is the cog of the offense at the moment.
Value on Offense
Andreas Athanasiou ($3,000) – Athanasiou is penciled in on a line with Frans Nielsen and Henrik Zetterberg, prime placement for a 22-year old with less than 40 games in the league. He had solid scoring numbers last year, posting 14 points in 37 games with Detroit. At $3,000 and with a favorable matchup against the Senators, I think he is a solid pick for your DFS lineup.
Conor Sheary ($4,000) – The Penguins lineup is in flux right now but that hasn’t stopped Sheary from putting up a point in both games for Pittsburgh so far. He has moved up and down the lineup so far, but saw ample time on Saturday on a line with Evgeni Malkin. If that trend continues, he is more than worth a look in your DFS lineup in a good scoring matchup against the Avalanche.
Top Line Adjustments
These are the players that have moved up the depth chart to play on a better line.
• Mikhail Grigorenko ($3,600), Colorado Avalanche
• Scott Wilson ($2,900), Pittsburgh Penguins
• Danton Heinen ($2,900), Boston Bruins
• Zack Smith ($4,200), Ottawa Senators
• Mathieu Perreault ($4,300), Winnipeg Jets
Martin Jones ($7,800) – Jones has been a force in the early-goings this season for the Sharks. He has allowed only three goals in his first two games, posting a 1.50 GAA and a .940 SV%. Jones has a strong team in front of him, and he is quickly showing that his breakout season last year was no fluke. I have full confidence in him tonight against the Rangers.
Marc-Andre Fleury ($8,000) – Fleury has stepped back into the starting role for the Penguins to begin the year and has been dominant. He has shut down two top teams, the Capitals and Ducks, on his way to a 1.92 GAA and a .948 SV%. He has a great matchup tonight against the Avalanche, a team that he has dominated in his career. In 13 games against the Avs, Fleury is 9-3-0 with a 2.18 GAA and a .920 SV%.
Value on Defense
Brandon Carlo ($2,900) – A 19-year old rookie, Carlo has yet to look out of place playing on the Bruins top defensive pairing with Zdeno Chara. He notched his first assist in the Bruins opener against the Blue Jackets and has produced good peripheral categories so far. In two games he has four SOG and four blocked shots. He is worth a look if you need to save salary for your lineup.
Nikita Zadorov ($2,900) – Zadorov cracked the lineup for the Avs this season and right now finds himself on their top pair. The 22-year old had a solid offensive season in the AHL last year and seems poised to get a long look in the Avs rotation. He had an assist and three shots in the Avs first game on Saturday.
Power Play Defensemen
Brent Burns ($8,200) – Burns has started the year on a tear for San Jose with three points, one PPA, in two games. He has a goal, two assists, six blocks and 10 SOG so far, and despite only the one power play point (PPP), he will put up big numbers with that unit this year.
Kris Letang ($6,900) – Letang posted a career-high 27 PPPs last season, and that was with missing nine games. He has notched one PPP this season so far. He faces the Avalanche, who have only four penalties so far but have allowed two PPGs.
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.