The NHL Cheat Sheet is your quick-hit daily look into odds, fantasy studs, value picks, and more to help you navigate your DFS Hockey lineups. With four games on the slate for Wednesday night, let’s take a look:
Highest Vegas Totals
– Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Buffalo Sabres – 5.5
– Carolina Hurricanes vs. Colorado Avalanche – 5.5
– Detroit Red Wings vs. Edmonton Oilers – 5.0
Stud Goalies (to avoid playing skaters against)
Michal Neuvirth ($6,300): With the Flyers on the second night of a back-to-back, and Steve Mason getting the start last night, most would expect the Flyers to roll Neuvirth in net tonight against the Bruins despite Mason’s solid performance against Dallas. Neuvirth was thrust into the starting role for Philly over the last few games and promptly shutout both the Panthers and Blackhawks in back-to-back games. In three games played this season Neuvirth is 2-0-0 and has posted a 1.04 GAA and .964 SV%. The Bruins have been up and down this year offensively, doing their most damage their previous two contests. Ride the hot hand of Neuvirth if he gets the nod for Philly.
Top Line of the Night
Detroit Red Wings
Henrik Zetterberg ($6,700) – Dylan Larkin ($3,900) – Justin Abdelkader ($4,700)
I’ve written about this line at least once before, but with the way they are clicking and producing it’s hard not to. Zetterberg comes into Wednesday night riding a five game point streak to open the season that has him tied for the NHL lead in points with nine. Larkin has burst onto the scene as a 19-year old rookie with six points in his first five games and leads the Wings with 14 SOG. Abdelkader has been shutout the last three games but will continue to see top-line minutes and ample power-play time.
Top Upside and Value at Defense
Justin Faulk ($5,300): The Hurricanes are near the bottom of the league in scoring but Faulk has been a bright spot for the team from the backend. Faulk on the season has four points in five games and is near the top of the league for SOG by defensemen. He’s added six blocked shots and is averaging 4.7 points per DK fantasy hockey contest. He is a solid play against a Colorado team that has struggled defensively at home this season.
Rasmus Ristolainen ($4,000): Ristolainen seems to have taken the reigns of the Sabres blueline and is not letting them go anytime soon. The young Finnish defensemen has managed three points in the Sabres five games, with seven blocked shots. He is also second on Buffalo in shots and will have a great chance for production on Wednesday night in a matchup with Toronto and their goalie Jonathan Bernier.
Best Superstar to Build Lineups Around
Nathan Mackinnon ($7,000): MacKinnon has enjoyed a great start to the season for the Avalanche. The former first overall pick is tied for the team lead of six points with linemate Gabriel Landeskog. He leads the team in SOG, has 12 blocked shots and is averaging 5.5 fantasy points per contest on the season. He is a great play on Wednesday night against the lowly Hurricanes.
Best Value Plays to Fill out your lineup with
Nazem Kadri ($4,900): Riding a two game scoring streak (1G, 1A) Kadri is a great value play to put into your lineup against Buffalo. The former top prospect is getting plenty of chances to produce for the Leafs as their top-line center with linemate James Van Reimsdyk. Kadri is averaging over five shots per game, 4.3 DFS points per contest and will have a great chance to produce Tuesday vs the Sabres.
John Mitchell ($3,600): Mithcell, the Avalanche third-liner, had his four-game goal streak snapped on Sunday but will have a good chance to bounce back against Carolina at home on Wednesday night. The Avalanche are seeing production from up and down the lineup so expect Mitchell to see plenty of offensive chances at even strength and on the power-play and not he won’t break your bank in the process.
Cody Franson ($3,400) Franson was held out of practice and is listed as day-to-day. It is presumed just as a maintenance day, but if you were thinking about putting him in your lineup against his former team monitor his status throughout the day.
Tyler Bozak ($4,300) Bozak hasn’t played since the 16th thanks to a nagging lower-body injury. Like Franson, monitor his status during the day as Bozak could be back in the lineup for the Leafs. Bozak was riding a two game scoring streak before the injury, so expect him to come back and see immediate opportunities to produce.
Make sure to check out my NHL Line Stacks and Pete Jensen’s NHL Targets posts later in the day. As always for any DFS Hockey questions or comments this season, find me on Twitter at: @JHarding_Hockey