Growing up it was Friday Night Lights and Saturday Night Fights but with those days gone in the NHL, we are left with the lights – hoping to snag some DFS players that can light the lamp. For the most part I will be referencing DraftKings where pricing is a little bit tighter, but if you read between the lines you can fit more players (basically everyone you want!) in on Fanduel. So with a perfect 8 game late slate let us just jump right into it with some spots we can attack.
Anaheim at Edmonton
Anaheim travels to Edmonton where they will take on an Oilers team that is talented offensively but still relinquishing tons of scoring chances, resulting in this game featuring several elite options. On the Anaheim side of the puck both the 1st and 2nd lines are in play for me in all formats. Ryan Kesler (C2) and Corey Perry (W1) lead the entire slate in expected goals (10+ each) and while Kesler has found the net more frequently, he still has never been more than 10% owned on a full slate of games. Perry meanwhile is primed for a breakout and won’t continue to shoot at his current 5% clip. Perry is my preferred option paired with Getzlaf and/or Rakell but the 2nd unit presents you with some nice savings and if they are ahead, Kesler should get the 1st crack at empty net ice time. On the Edmonton side of the puck I don’t need to waste too many words talking about how dynamic McDavid is and because of that, Leon Draisaitl makes for a nice priced play at $5400. Coming off of a 3 point night in Winnipeg where he generated 8 shots, he is cash viable and an interesting tournament consideration. One concern for McDavid would be that all of Anaheim’s lines are solid 5v5 and McDavid has been a bumhunter this season, averaging 5.5 and 5.8 DK points in what I classify as A or B matchups versus only 2.9 and 3.5 in C and D matchups.
Columbus at Arizona
Columbus has quietly been one of the better hockey clubs and could soon lead the Metro Division with two strong scoring lines and getting great goaltending from Bobrovsky. Tonight as a team they project for the 4th most scoring chances putting both lines in play. Arizona runs out a turnstile of poor defensive lines that even Oliver Ekman Larsson can’t cover up. The Saad-Wennberg-Foligno line comes in at a reasonable $17,200 price tag, while the Jenner-Dubinsky-Atkinson line will cost a bit more at $18,500. It will be interesting to see if the market is interested in paying these prices or would rather seek name brand value. Perhaps the only negative of Columbus is that correlation can be hard to find with the lines mixed throughout power play units. On the blue line Zach Werenski and Seth Jones both see power play time and are firmly in play, so don’t let DailyFaceoff trap you into thinking Werenski lost his role. On the Arizona side of the puck I think you could consider the 1st unit of Domi-Hanzal-Vrbata who as a line have the 6th most shots on the slate, and pair them with OEL but I wouldn’t go too much deeper.
Dallas at Colorado
Colorado as a team doesn’t project for a ton of chances mainly because they are hashtag bad, thus leaving them as a home pick’em. But they do catch a Dallas team giving up an ample amount of chances and the 5th worst xGA per 60 minutes on the slate. If looking at Colorado, Nathan McKinnon is the guy, though his linemates are in a blender, so my preferred approach would be a naked McKinnon. The other option would be to pair up with Matt Duchene as Dallas has allowed the 4th most power play goals in the NHL this season. Erik Johnson projects high in my model given Dallas’ high shot volume EJ can pick up points for you tonight both offensively and defensively at a reasonable price. Colorado has been a different team this year and is actually allowing the fewest scoring chances per 60 minutes on the slate tonight, but I still can’t fault you for playing Tyler Seguin or Jamie Benn who have been disappointing, but are matchup proof caliber players and get a Colorado team that has seen poor goaltending.
Detroit at Pittsburgh
I don’t want to waste too many words on this game. Saahil Sud will probably play Henrik Zetterberg and he will probably score leaving me super tilted. Detroit skill players are cheap and Pittsburgh has been allowing chances, but they have above average goaltending. On the Penguins side Crosby is doing otherworldly things and making me set aside all analytics. Detroit is arguably playing the worst goaltender on the entire slate, which makes things even more interesting. If you can afford him, he is the #1 play almost every night at this point, but it is a tough fit on DraftKings. With Brent Burns not playing Kris Letang gets the honors as the #1 d-man on the night for me, although Erik Karlsson is right there as well. Malkin is of course also a consideration, perhaps paired with Letang, as I’m not in love with his even strength linemates, and similar sentiments are due to the HBK line where Phil Kessel represents the highest ceiling.
Edit: As of 145pm it may be Malkin with Kessel and Kunitz which is an interesting combination for tournaments.
Florida at Ottawa
This game projects as the slowest on the night, which would put one of the goalies in line for a low goal against total and a victory, although more realistically it will end up being the night I move off of chasing positive regression from Barkov and he goes off for a hat trick. With Guy Boucher tightening up Ottawa defensively and the Panthers implementing a zone following the firing of head coach Gallant, the Ottawa side has a little bit of intrigue as new systems can take time. The Hoffman-Brassard-Stone line will be popular after producing in back-to-back games and they are still afforable. Erik Karlsson can always be played – it just isn’t a dream, fast-paced game for him.
Winnipeg at St. Louis
Winnipeg got lit up at home by the Oilers and now go to St. Louis where Tarasenko just posted a hat trick on a popular DFS slate. The double recency bias (H/T Ryanoss) play will bring many onto the Blues and I can’t blame them, particularly the power play unit, as Winnipeg as given up the 3rd most power play goals in the NHL. Vlad Tarasen & Co. are good plays along with PP QB Kevin Shattenkirk. Winnipeg is not a bad 5v5 club, however, and their worst defensive forward unit is their best offensive one, so St. Louis is likely to use the Stastny line against them. This likely means Tarasenko could face a more challenging 5v5 test if you are looking for a reason to fade this line. I rarely target St. Louis opponents on a full slate, so the Jets side is mostly a fade for me, particularly given the $20,400 price tag it would cost to stack the first line. The 2nd line of Little-Stafford-Wheeler at least has some intrigue from a price perspective and knowing they may draw a better offensive matchup.
Toronto at Vancouver
Toronto projects as my highest team for scoring chances generated tonight even on the road in Vancouver. The challenge for the Leafs is of course two-fold, they have three competent offensive lines and they also relinquish a bunch of scoring chances on their own. The Leafs would love to get Kadri out there against the Sedin unit, but Vancouver would prefer to go toe-to-toe with Sedin vs. a Matthews or Bozak lead line. Whoever draws the Canucks 2nd line would be my preferred Toronto attack. Matthews line has the highest upside (Individuals average 6+ points on 21% of games) while Bozak’s line is only narrowly behind in expected goals and comes at a $2,500 discount. You can grab pieces of Toronto cheap with Zach Hyman from the Matthews line or Bozak from the 2nd line, with Hyman my preference. For Vancouver it is pretty easy – look to Daniel Sedin or Brandon Sutter if you want shots, and slide in Henrik if you want the GPP correlated assists. Defenseman Troy Stetcher will be the most popular defenseman tonight by sharp DFS players and he should be in your mix. Cheap price? Check. Great matchup? Check. Increase ice time due to injury? Check mate.
Washington at Tampa Bay
The Lightning have given up 14 goals in their past three games and now face an Ovechkin lead squad that is usually popular. Tampa’s recent play is certainly cause for concern, but the return of blue liner Anton Stralman should help some with that. Tampa makes for an interesting spot to ponder, as you wonder if their poor play shows how much the loss of Stamkos hurts their depth or is simply variance. On the Washington side, the Capitals depth has also been tested with Oshie out of the lineup. The 2nd line duo of Kuznetsov-Burakovsky needs to be better for the Capitals to win and should see a better matchup. AHL call-up Jakub Vrana is listed on their line but saw just 10 minutes of ice in his first game. His speed and skill is intriguing but could be a trap, so that situation is a pass for me until Trotz shows him at least 14 minutes of play. Justin Williams will share some of that load in addition to his PP1 role and he had a goal called back last game if you want a one-off punt. If you have the cap space Ovechkin, Backstrom and Johansson will be expected to shoulder the scoring load – though at least on DraftKings I would prefer to spend my salary elsewhere. On the Tampa side of the puck, Stralman and Victor Hedman will log 50 minutes collectively, making them interesting with plenty of opportunities to accrue points. Offensively I wouldn’t look beyond the triplets (Johnson-Palat-Kucherov) who play with speed and should draw much of the offensive zone faceoffs and power play responsibility.