Here are some plays to consider for tonight’s slate:
Top Play: Nathan MacKinnon ($9,000)It’s another night where all faith is in the Mac Attack, as Nathan MacKinnon continues to be fantasy gold. He centers Colorado’s top line and top power-play unit and is averaging 23.4 fantasy points per game. MacKinnon has goals in three straight games and points in six straight, recording six goals and 15 points in that stretch. The Avalanche are tied with the Panthers for the highest implied total of the night at 3.4, and MacKinnon should have very high ownership in cash contests. Also consider: Nicklas Backstrom ($7,500), Jack Eichel ($7,400), Ryan O’Reilly ($6,900), Anze Kopitar ($6,700), Jordan Staal ($4,900), Adam Henrique ($4,600), Jared McCann ($3,600), Mark Jankowski ($3,200), Lucas Wallmark ($3,200)
Top Plays: Mikko Rantanen ($8,400), Gabriel Landeskog ($7,100), Tom Wilson ($5,200)Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog make up the other two-thirds of Colorado’s top line with Nathan MacKinnon, and both are having excellent seasons. Rantanen is $1,300 more but often presents a higher ceiling; that being said, stacking either one with MacKinnon is a strong play, especially in cash contests since the entire line should be pretty popular tonight. Rantanen leads the league in points with 42 in 25 games; he is averaging 20.1 fantasy points per game. However, Landeskog is no slouch, putting up 15 goals and 28 points in 25 games with an average of 17.4 fantasy points per game. Tom Wilson and Alex Ovechkin should be popular plays on tonight’s slate as well. Wilson has been particularly effective given his price tag. Even with Evgeny Kuznetsov likely to return to Washington’s lineup tonight, Nicklas Backstrom will remain on the top line with Ovi and Wilson. Wilson has been electric since returning to the team following a 16-game suspension. He has 12 points in eight games and is averaging 20.4 fantasy points per game; Wilson is currently on a four-game goal streak and six-game point streak, racking up five goals and 11 points in that time. He will remain on the top power-play unit, with Lars Eller moving back down to the second unit. Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart have a favorable matchup against Panthers goalie James Reimer, who has been giving up plenty of goals; both skate on the Sabres’ first line and first power-play unit but are playing in the second half of a back-to-back. Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Hoffman will be on the other side of that matchup, and both have been strong in recent games. Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar are finally starting to heat up, as Brown has goals in three straight games (five goals, six points); they will be going up against the Flames’ stingy second line, but goaltender Mike Smith has been very shaky this year. Also consider: Alex Ovechkin ($8,800), Jeff Skinner ($7,100), Mike Hoffman ($6,600), Jonathan Huberdeau ($6,200), Dustin Brown ($6,100), Teuvo Teravainen ($5,100), Sam Reinhart ($5,100)
Value Plays: Nick Ritchie ($3,500)Nick Ritchie has goals in back-to-back games and in three out of his last four games, and he has points in six out of his last seven games, scoring four goals and eight points in that span. He skates on Anaheim’s second line and second power-play unit and is averaging 10.2 fantasy points per game this season. Linemate Ondrej Kase has provided a solid floor for most of the season, averaging 11.8 fantasy points per game. Also consider: David Perron ($4,900), Ondrej Kase ($3,800), Jesper Bratt ($3,600), Andrei Svechniko ($3,600)
Top Plays: Rasmus Ristolainen ($4,700), Samuel Girard ($4,300)There are several elite options on the back end that are particularly appealing on tonight’s slate, including John Carlson of the Washington Capitals and Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames. There are also other value options to consider, many of which are listed below. But instead of discussing the numbers of two of the better fantasy defensemen in the NHL, I figured I would highlight two cheaper options, especially with some of the elite forwards eating up so much of the budget. One of those players is Samuel Girard, who should have high ownership once again tonight (assuming Tyson Barrie remains out of the lineup for Colorado). Girard skates on Colorado’s top power-play unit and has points in back-to-back games, scoring a goal and two assists while registering three shots and three blocks. The other player is Rasmus Ristolainen, who finds himself at an interesting price point at $4,700. He’s a tad expensive to be a true value play, though he’s much cheaper than the actual elite options on the slate. That being said, Risto has points in three straight games and in five out of his last six, collecting one goal and six points in that time. He has earned 14.4, 18.4, 13.3, 9.6, 9.6 and 19.2 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively, providing a solid floor in each. He might not be the worth the money if it will sacrifice someone up front, but he could be an overlooked option with some upside. Also consider: John Carlson ($6,900), Mark Giordano ($5,900), Drew Doughty ($5,700), Brandon Montour ($4,300), Noah Hanifin ($4,000), Mike Matheson ($4,000), T.J. Brodie ($3,900), Josh Manson ($3,600)–goals in two straight
GOALIENot all goalies have been confirmed, but three options are Semyon Varlamov ($8,800), Braden Holtby ($8,600) and Curtis McElhinney ($7,500). Varlamov has won five games in a row and gets a favorable matchup on home ice against the Blues, and Holtby also has a favorable matchup on home ice against a Devils team that has really struggled on the road. New Jersey handed the Capitals a 6-0 loss earlier this season, but Holtby wasn’t playing and the game was in New Jersey. The Capitals have been winning up a storm of late (Holtby is riding a four-game win streak), and with Evgeny Kuznetsov’s return to the lineup, things could continue to go in that direction. McElhinney has been surprisingly strong in recent games, earning 28-plus fantasy points in four straight games, all wins. He and the Hurricanes take on the Ducks, who have won two in a row. McElhinney will save you at least $1,000 but doesn’t have the same pedigree as the other starters. The choice may come down to how much you spend up front; in any case, goalies will be further discussed later in chat once more confirmations are announced.
Join me in the FTA+ NHL discord chat to further discuss tonight’s slate and lineups.Featured image credit: Michael Martin-NHLI via Getty Images Fantasy Hockey