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: Islanders -210 over the Flames
Largest Totals: Flames v Islanders — 5.5 (most likely to go over that total)
Stud Goalies (to avoid playing skaters against)
Frederik Andersen ($7000): Anderson has yet to pick up a win on the season (0-3-1) but don’t let that fool you as he has been outstanding to start the year and currently boosts a GAA of 1.86 and a SV% of .938… Vezina type numbers. The Ducks have had a really slow start to the year offensively and so playing him might mean putting the 3 point DK win bonus at risk but then again on a short slate you may not have too many other options. At the very least my recommendation would be to not play too many Chicago skaters tonight, there’s a good chance Anderson shuts them down as his play has been stellar to start the year.
Dud Goalies (to possibly target skaters against)
Joni Ortio ($6100): The Flames have had huge issues keeping the puck out of their own net so far in 2015. Their goalies have been so bad that tonight they are starting third-string netminder Joni Ortio, whom the Flames kept on the roster to start the season so as to avoid losing him on waivers. Ortio gets his first start of the year tonight and while the youngster played well for them in spurts last year he’s going to be on the road in this game facing a potent offense in the Islanders. This isn’t the spot you want to chance a Flames turn around occurring. Don’t be afraid to use some Islanders in your lineup tonight.
Nazem Kadri ($4900) – Leo Komarov ($3200) – James van Riemsdyk ($6400)
The Leafs top line got it going last game as both Komarov and van Riemsdyk recorded a goal and an assist as the Leafs narrowly missed taking down the undefeated Habs. This trio gets the Coyotes tonight and the weaker competition should help keep the fun times rolling for fantasy. Komarov has been an absolute revelation this year when he’s played for the Leafs on their top line and at a mere $3100 he might be the best value play at forward on the board tonight. I also wouldn’t want to leave out van Riemsdyk of any lineups as he’s simply the Leafs best offensive player and a staple on the PP for Toronto. I love the spot this trio is in and think it’s a good idea to have some exposure to them on DK considering the short slate.
Top Upside and Top Value at Defense
Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($5000): Ekman-Larsson isn’t flashy but he’s easily the best player on the Coyotes and seeing a ton of ice in every situation imaginable for the Yotes. With a lot of minutes come a lot of blocked shots and SOG, both of which really help his nightly fantasy totals. Larsson and the Coyotes have a great matchup tonight as well as they face the Leafs and James Reimer who are a good bet to allow multiple goals regardless of the competition. If paying up for someone on D I’d definitely consider Larsson, he might be in the best spot of any D-man for a big night.
Nick Leddy ($3400): Leddy’s had a slow start to the year but with some injuries affecting the Isles on defense he’s again being pushed into a more prominent role on their blue line. Leddy is now taking time on the first power play unit for the Isles and seeing well over 20 minutes a night. On top of getting to play with all of New York’s stud forwards on the PP he also contributes a lot of blocked shots every night too, giving him a nice floor for fantasy purposes. At only $3400 he’s great value and a nice play on D, someone I’d definitely consider on a short slate.
Best Superstar to Build Lineups Around
John Tavares ($8200): There’s admittedly not a whole lot of thought that went into this pick as I think using Tavares as much as possible in fantasy tonight is an incredibly easy decision. Tavares has started the season out strongly after narrowly missing out on winning the overall point’s race last season. As the team’s offensive leader he sees a ton of PP time with both units and gets a tasty matchup against the young and currently floundering Calgary Flames. On a three game slate Tavares is the best player who also has the best matchup against a weak defensive team starting its third-string goalie. He’s a must play for cash game lineups tonight and will be heavily owned across the board (for good reason).
Best Value Plays to Fill out your lineup with
Rickard Rakell ($3100): Rakell has started the season slowly for the Ducks but does have two points in his last three games and is playing alongside sniper Corey Perry as the Ducks try and find some consistent offensive production from their top 6 forwards. Rakell is also being given time on the first power play unit of late and even though I don’t love the matchup against the solid Blackhawks on a short slate Rakell offers some of the best value at the forward position tonight. I’d consider him if you needed room to fit in one more top priced player.
Leo Komarov ($3200): **see my write-up above in the “Hottest Line” section.
Duncan Keith: Out indefinitely
Thomas Hickey: Placed in IR and is out indefinitely
As always hit me up on twitter as @thefantasygrind with lineup questions or other DFS questions GL!