UPDATE: Mats Zuccarello will NOT play tonight.
Tuukka Rask is NOT starting for Boston; former Hurricane Anton Khudobin will get the nod.
Today’s post is for the seven-game Main Slate, which does not include the Blues-Flyers or Oilers-Stars afternoon matchups. The only team on tonight’s schedule that played last night is the Ottawa Senators, and the Sens were involved in a wild comeback effort that ultimately resulted in a 6-5 overtime victory. Several players had multiple points and played key roles in the win, though tonight’s game against Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning will be significantly more difficult. Today’s post provides an overview of options at various price points, including several players that could see high ownership rates in cash contests. As always, make sure to check out the “Also Consider” options listed at the bottom of each position section.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out via Twitter (@JillianSydney). FTA+ subscribers can tag me (@JWagner) in the NHL Discord chat to discuss tonight’s slate, matchups, lineups, etc.
Summary of Last Night’s Results
Last night’s lineup cashed easily. Sidney Crosby’s dominance against the New York Islanders continued as he had a hand in all four of Pittsburgh’s goals, finishing the game with a goal and three assists and 39.7 fantasy points. Blake Wheeler had a strong game as well, picking up a goal and an assist (both on the power play) and 24.2 fantasy points. As for the wingers, it was the value plays that came through with huge performances, though that was somewhat expected. Andreas Athanasiou got the Red Wings on the board early with a goal just 42 seconds into the game; he finished the night with a goal and an assist and six shots for 29.6 fantasy points. Vinnie Hinostroza had a monster game as well, which was especially satisfying given his $3,300 price tag. He scored a goal and added two helpers in the Blackhawks’ 5-4 loss to the Golden Knights, finishing the game with 31.2 fantasy points. Timo Meier did not find the scoresheet in a wild game against the Senators but managed three shots and a block for 6.4 fantasy points. The other value choice was Kyle Connor, who was on the list solely because he would be a popular play in cash contests given his role on the Jets’ top line. Once again, his popularity was through the roof (60-plus percent in several FanDuel 50/50’s) and, once again, he came up short. However, his 3.2 fantasy points were not damaging given the ownership rate. For the “elite” winger options, Patrik Laine proved to be a worthwhile stack with Wheeler once again, tallying a power-play assist and adding six shots for 18.1 fantasy points. If you went with Patrick Kane, he was largely ineffective as Chicago’s first and third lines did most of the scoring. That being said, based on the production from the rest of the lineup, Kane and his 3.2 fantasy points would not have prevented your lineup from cashing. In the end, assuming the rest of the picks were the same, it would have been the difference between a 205.3 and a 190.4, both of which should have been top-three scores in cash contests. If you decided to not play Athanasiou and you went with Kane over Laine, your score of 164 would have cashed easily as well, most likely finishing in the top 15-20 percent of 50/50’s. That’s partly thanks to a very strong performance by Brent Burns, who scored a power-play goal and a short-handed assist and added six shots for 31.2 fantasy points. Jordan Oesterle’s point streak came to an end but his ownership rate neutralized his dud performance (3.2 FP). Lastly, Connor Hellebuyck, who was chosen primarily because he figured to be by far the most popular play in cash contests, came through with a 4-3 win, finishing the night with 20.8 fantasy points. His ownership rate was between 70-80 percent in most cash contests, which is insane. However, sometimes the chalk dictates the options. Last night there were a few plays thrown in there purely for chalk purposes, but guys like Crosby, Athanasiou and Hinostroza made things interesting and got the job done.
- Tampa Bay @ Ottawa – 7:00pm EST
- Carolina @ Boston – 7:00pm EST
- Vancouver @ Toronto – 7:00pm EST
- NY Rangers @ Arizona – 8:00pm EST
- Minnesota @ Colorado – 9:00pm EST
- Anaheim @ Calgary – 10:00pm EST
- Nashville @ Los Angeles – 10:30pm EST
- TBL: Andrei Vasilevskiy (confirmed) vs. OTT: Craig Anderson (confirmed)
- CAR: Cam Ward (confirmed) vs. BOS: Anton Khudobin (confirmed)
- VAN: Jacob Markstrom (confirmed) vs. TOR: Frederik Andersen (confirmed)
- NYR: Henrik Lundqvist (confirmed) vs. ARI: Antti Raanta (confirmed)
- MIN: Devan Dubnyk (confirmed) vs. COL: Jonathan Bernier (confirmed)
- ANA: John Gibson (confirmed) vs. CGY: Mike Smith (confirmed)
- NSH: vs. LAK: Jonathan Quick (LIKELY)
For further goalie confirmations and other player news updates, check out DailyFaceoff and LeftWingLock throughout the day.
FanDuel DFS NHL 1/6/18
Nathan MacKinnon ($7,900)
Nathan MacKinnon extended his point streak to four games with an assist and seven shots the other night against Columbus. He now has two goals and seven assists as well as 17 shots and three blocks in his last four games, earning 19.2, 26.4, 28.2 and 39.2 fantasy points in those games, respectively. He skates on Colorado’s first line and first power-play unit and is averaging 17.4 fantasy points per game; MacKinnon has 37 points in 22 home games this year.
Auston Matthews ($7,800)
Auston Matthews could be a popular play tonight at home against a Canucks team that has given up nine goals in its last two games. Matthews has goals in two out of his last three games, picking up three goals, 11 shots and two blocks in that span. He skates on Toronto’s first line and second power-play unit and is averaging 17.2 fantasy points per game this season.
Ryan Getzlaf ($7,500)
Ryan Getzlaf managed just eight fantasy points the other night against Cam Talbot and the Oilers but is still a worthy fantasy play given his recent production. He had points in three straight games before Thursday night’s tilt against Edmonton, recording a goal and seven points in that span. Getzlaf, who skates on the Ducks’ first line and first power-play unit, has 23 points in 18 games and is averaging 15.2 fantasy points per game this season. He tallied two assists and earned 22.9 fantasy points when the Ducks and Flames faced off Dec. 29.
Brayden Point ($5,600)
Brayden Point has not found the scoresheet in two straight games but managed eight shots and three blocks for 17.6 fantasy points the other night against Montreal. He continues to be a solid mid-range option, especially as a cheaper alternative to Steven Stamkos. Point did not have a great game against the Senators the last time these teams met (Dec. 21) but has been pretty reliable for most of this season; he has 16 goals and 36 points in 40 games and has averaged 14 fantasy points per game. Point has earned 17.6, 9.6, 19.2, 15.2, 20 and 8 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively. He skates on Tampa Bay’s second line and second power-play unit.
Mikko Koivu ($5,400)
Mikko Koivu and the rest of the Wild’s second line had an explosive game the other night against Buffalo, which could make all three skaters (Koivu, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter) popular plays for tonight’s contests. Koivu scored a goal and two assists and finished the game with 31.2 fantasy points. While he is averaging under 10 fantasy points per game on the year, this line should be a popular stack, which could make him a safe and affordable choice.
Charlie Coyle ($4,700)
Charlie Coyle, however, has quietly picked up points in back-to-back games. He scored a goal and an assist and earned 26.9 fantasy points Thursday against Buffalo and scored a goal and earned 16.8 fantasy points Jan. 2 against the Panthers. Coyle skates on Minnesota’s third line. However, he does not play on either of the Wild’s power-play units, which is a major drawback. For that reason, he may be better suited for GPP play since he will not be a top target on the Wild.
Derek Ryan ($4,500)
Derek Ryan’s three-game point streak came to an end Thursday against Pittsburgh, but he didn’t let that stop him from having an effective fantasy performance. In fact, he registered seven shots and two blocks for 14.4 fantasy points. He has earned 14.4, 11.2, 18.4 and 13.6 fantasy points in his last four games, respectively. Though he and the Hurricanes have a very difficult matchup against Tuukka Rask and the Bruins, Ryan’s line should not match up with the Bergeron line, which should give him some room on the ice. Ryan skates on Carolina’s second line and second power-play unit.
Riley Nash ($4,300)/Sean Kuraly ($3,300)
The Bruins have a few value centers of their own, with Riley Nash playing well on the third line with David Backes and Danton Heinen and Sean Kuraly meeting value as part of a strong fourth unit. Nash has points in three out of his last four games, collecting two goals and five points in that time. Kuraly has points in two out of his last three games. Nash has significantly more upside but both are worth a look if you’re right up against the budget. That being said, there are better value options at the wing position for tonight, so it may be worth spending up for centers in cash contests.
Also Consider: Steven Stamkos ($8,800), Patrice Bergeron ($7,400), Sean Monahan ($7,200), Derek Stepan ($5,700), Matt Duchene ($4,600)
Nikita Kucherov ($9,200)
Nikita Kucherov continues to be a money player and has 26 goals and 57 points in 40 games this year, averaging 20.3 fantasy points per game. He tallied two assists and seven shots for 27.2 fantasy points against the Senators Dec. 21. Kucherov skates on Tampa Bay’s first line and first power-play unit and should be a popular play as usual.
Brad Marchand ($7,500)/David Pastrnak ($7,100)
The Boston Bruins had a snow day the other night as their game against Florida was postponed due to the weather. The team should be well-rested for tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes, who are coming off an impressive 4-0 shutout against the Penguins. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak skate on the Bruins’ first line and first power-play unit with Patrice Bergeron and are always worth serious consideration. Marchand scored a goal and an assist in his most recent game, picking up 28 fantasy points, and he is averaging 16.4 fantasy points per game this season. He went three games without a point before that, though two of those games were against Ottawa and one was against Washington in the second half of a back-to-back. Otherwise, Marchand has 16 goals and 34 points in 30 games this season. Pastrnak, on the other hand, has assists in back-to-back games but often doesn’t exceed Marchand’s ceiling. He has earned 17.6 and 11.7 fantasy points in his last two games, respectively, and he is averaging 14.1 fantasy points per game this year.
Rickard Rakell ($6,700)
Rickard Rakell’s six-game goal-scoring streak came to an end the other night against Edmonton, though the Swedish winger has a chance to get back on the scoresheet tonight against Calgary. He scored a goal and an assist against the Flames Dec. 29, picking up 25.3 fantasy points in the contest, and he still has seven goals and 10 points in his last seven games. Rakell skates on Anaheim’s first line and first power-play unit.
Mikko Rantanen ($6,600)
Mikko Rantanen had another strong game the other night against Columbus, recording a goal and an assist and picking up 25.3 fantasy points in Colorado’s 2-0 win. He skates on the Avs’ top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog and has points in 10 out of his last 11 games, collecting five goals and 14 points in that stretch. The Avalanche’s top line has been very good at home; in fact, Rantanen has 29 points in 22 home games this season.
Sebastian Aho ($6,500)
Sebastian Aho has points in six straight games, scoring six goals and 10 points in that stretch. He skates on Carolina’s first line and first power-play unit but will have a very tough matchup against the Boston Bruins tonight, especially since his line likely will match up with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. That being said, Aho has been very reliable of late, earning 40, 14.4, 14.4, 15.2, 32.5 and 26.4 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively. He could be a better GPP play because of the matchup, though he’s a better bet in all formats on DraftKings where he is a full $1,000 cheaper.
Tyler Johnson ($5,800)
Tyler Johnson appears to be cooling off after recording points in 12 straight games. However, he remains a decent mid-range option, especially since he continues to get shots on goal and has a favorable matchup against Ottawa tonight. While he managed just one assist for eight fantasy points when these teams met Dec. 21, Johnson’s role on Tampa Bay’s second line and second power-play unit make him a reasonable start, especially since he should be relatively popular in cash formats.
Nino Niederreiter ($5,700)
Nino Niederreiter scored a hat trick Thursday night in his return to the lineup as the Minnesota’s second line exploded for a combined nine points; Niederreiter finished the game with 42.9 fantasy points and the notice of almost everyone in the DFS community, which should give him high ownership rates tonight. For this reason, he could be a safe cash play even though he will go up against a goaltender in Jonathan Bernier who is coming off a shutout performance and who has won three games in a row. Niederreiter skates on Minnesota’s second line and second power-play unit; he scored a goal and earned 17.3 fantasy points when these teams met Nov. 24.
Danton Heinen ($5,100)
Danton Heinen skates on Boston’s third line and first power-play unit, giving you exposure to Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and David Backes, among other skaters. However, he has become a legitimate fantasy player in his own right, and his price tag reflects that. Heinen has points in three out of his last four games, collecting two goals and six points in that time, and he has points in seven out of his last 10 games, recording four goals and 13 points in that stretch.
Tanner Pearson ($5,100)
Tanner Pearson is now skating on Los Angeles’ first line and first power-play unit with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, which elevates his fantasy status and relevance. He has points in back-to-back games, picking up two goals and four points in that time.
Craig Smith ($4,400)
Craig Smith remains a safe cash play given his shot volume and steady ownership rates. He scored a goal on five shots and added a block for 21.6 fantasy points the other night against Arizona, and he has recorded 24 shots in his last four games. He skates on Nashville’s second line and second power-play unit.
Noel Acciari ($3,700)/Tim Schaller ($3,600)
Noel Acciari has goals in three straight games, earning 16.8, 15.2 and 15.2 fantasy points in his last three games, respectively. He skates on Boston’s fourth line; while it’s very possible he could come up with zero fantasy points tonight, he might be worth a shot since Boston is rolling four lines at the moment. Tim Schaller is a member of that fourth line as well; he has points in back-to-back games, scoring a goal and two assists and adding six shots and four blocks in his last two contests.
Also Consider: Johnny Gaudreau ($7,400), Mikael Granlund ($6,800), Brock Boeser ($6,700), Mike Hoffman ($6,400), Clayton Keller ($5,500), Jakob Silfverberg ($5,400), Bobby Ryan ($5,400), Teuvo Teravainen ($5,400), Micheal Ferland ($4,600), Antoine Vermette ($3,700), Ryan Dzingel ($3,500), Scott Hartnell ($3,400), Anthony Duclair ($3,100)
Erik Karlsson ($6,900)
Erik Karlsson and the Senators fought back from a 5-2 deficit last night to defeat the Sharks 6-5 in overtime. Karlsson tallied two assists, two shots and four blocks, which came out to 26.1 fantasy points. He also found the scoresheet the last time he faced the Lightning, tallying an assist, three shots and a block for 14.9 fantasy points. While he’s always worth a mention given his high ceiling, I prefer Victor Hedman ($6,600) and other mid-range or value options to Karlsson today. But Ottawa is coming off a big victory and could carry that momentum into tonight’s matchup.
Victor Hedman ($6,600)
Victor Hedman has points in four out of his last five games and has recorded five assists, 17 shots and 12 blocks in his last five games. He tallied an assist and registered an impressive nine shots on goal against the Senators Dec. 21, finishing the game with 22.9 fantasy points. Hedman got off to a terribly slow start to the season but has been playing at an elite level for weeks now. In fact, he has points in nine out of his last 11 games, with two goals, 13 points, 46 shots and 16 blocks in that stretch. He skates on Tampa Bay’s first power-play unit.
Cam Fowler ($5,400)
Cam Fowler has points in three out of his last four games, registering two goals, two assists, 13 shots and five blocks in that time. He skates on Anaheim’s top power-play unit and scored a goal on four shots for 20 fantasy points against Calgary when these teams met Dec. 29.
Jared Spurgeon ($5,200)
Jared Spurgeon has been a popular play in recent contests. He has four assists, three shots and three blocks in his last two games and skates on Minnesota’s second power-play unit.
Morgan Rielly ($5,200)
Morgan Rielly is in the midst of an impressive stretch of six games during which he has collected seven assists, 20 shots and seven blocks. He has earned 14.9, 12.8, 16, 9.6, 26.1 and 21.3 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively. Rielly skates on Toronto’s first power-play unit.
Alexander Edler ($4,800)
Alexander Edler has been streaky this season but is on another one of his hot streaks, earning 17.6, 11.2 and 20.8 fantasy points in his last three games, respectively. He scored a goal and earned 21.6 fantasy points the last time these teams met (Dec. 2), and he plays on the Canucks’ first power-play unit with superstar winger Brock Boeser. Even if Edler does not find the scoresheet, his peripheral stat coverage in recent games has been stellar (13 shots, 13 blocks in his last three games).
Alex Goligoski ($4,200)
Alex Goligoski isn’t necessarily a strong pick for tonight’s contests but is being highlighted simply because he will be overlooked by most. However, he has points in four straight games, scoring a goal and three assists and adding five shots and two blocks in that time. Goligoski plays on Arizona’s second power-play unit.
Jacob Chychrun ($3,900)
Jacob Chychrun has been an excellent value play and is an excellent value option once again tonight. He has earned 20.8, 14.4, 22.4, 14.4, 8, 10.1 and 8 fantasy points in his last seven games, respectively. He skates on the Coyotes’ top power-play unit.
Also Consider: Drew Doughty ($6,200), Mark Giordano ($5,700), Roman Josi ($5,600), Ryan Ellis ($4,800), Erik Johnson ($4,700), Josh Manson ($4,200), Patrick Nemeth ($3,700), Samuel Girard ($3,600), Kevan Miller ($3,600)
Andrei Vasilevskiy ($9,600)
Andrei Vasilevskiy was phenomenal the other night despite taking a 2-1 shootout loss to the Canadiens. He made 37 saves and earned 25.6 fantasy points even without a win, which is indicative of the success he has achieved all season. He leads the league in wins with 26 and is averaging 26.1 fantasy points per game. Though Ottawa scored six goals last night against the Sharks, Vasilevskiy and the Lightning are heavily favored tonight. Even if he gives up a few goals, Vasilevskiy should take home the W.
Tuukka Rask ($8,900)
Tuukka Rask has won six games in a row, giving up a combined six goals in those six contests. He has been sensational of late and is favored tonight at home against the visiting Hurricanes despite Carolina’s recent success. Rask is averaging 18.9 fantasy points per game this season but has been phenomenal in recent starts, which explains the significant increase in his price tag. He has earned 28, 40, 28, 32, 37.6 and 16.8 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively, and should be a popular play tonight.
Frederik Andersen ($8,400)
Frederik Andersen and Toronto’s defense have struggled mightily over the past few weeks, with Andersen giving up four goals against Arizona and five against Vegas at the end of 2017. However, his play in 2018 has been much better, as he has surrendered two goals in each of his last two games. While Toronto is favored at home against Vancouver, the Canucks’ offense can be sneaky, especially considering the ability of rookie Brock Boeser. That being said, Toronto is favored, which should make Andersen a popular option.
Antti Raanta ($7,200)–GPP
Antti Raanta was injured the first time the Rangers and Coyotes squared off this season, so tonight will be his first opportunity to face his former team. That doesn’t make him safe or even an appealing option in cash contests, however. But he could pull off an upset, which makes him an intriguing contrarian option in GPP formats.
Also Consider: Henrik Lundqvist ($9,100), Jonathan Quick ($9,000)
FanDuel DFS NHL 1/6/18 Lineup
NOTE: Lineup will be updated closer to puck drop.
TBL 1 & 2 and TOR 1 should be very popular tonight, making those players prime targets in cash contests.
- C: Nathan MacKinnon ($7,900)/Auston Matthews ($7,800)–safer cash play
- C: Brayden Point ($5,600)–safer cash play/Derek Ryan ($4,500)
- W: Nikita Kucherov ($9,200)–safe cash play
- W: Tyler Johnson ($5,800)/William Nylander ($5,900)–safer cash plays/Nino Niederreiter ($5,700)/Rickard Rakell ($6,700)/Mikko Rantanen ($6,600)
- W: Craig Smith ($4,400)–safe cash play
- W: Anthony Duclair ($3,100)–hunch/Paul Carey ($3,300)
- D: Victor Hedman ($6,600)–safe cash play
- D: Jacob Chychrun ($3,900)
- G: Frederik Andersen ($8,400)–safe cash play/Andrei Vasilevskiy ($9,600)
Other players I like that are less safe for cash/more suited for GPP’s include C-Patrice Bergeron ($7,400), C-Ryan Getzlaf ($7,500), W-Brad Marchand ($7,500), W-Rickard Rakell ($6,700), W-Brock Boeser ($6,700), W-Mikko Rantanen ($6,600), W-Sebastian Aho ($6,500), C-Derek Ryan ($4,500), D-Cam Fowler ($5,400), D-Alexander Edler ($4,800)
Alternates (much less safe for cash)
- C: Nathan MacKinnon ($7,900)
- C: Brayden Point ($5,600)
- W: Nikita Kucherov ($9,200)
- W: Rickard Rakell ($6,700)
- W: Craig Smith ($4,400)
- W: Ryan Dzingel ($3,500)
- D: Cam Fowler ($5,400)
- D: Jacob Chychrun ($3,900)
- G: Frederik Andersen ($8,400)
- C: Nathan MacKinnon ($7,900)
- C: Derek Ryan ($4,500)/Riley Nash ($4,300)
- W: Rickard Rakell ($6,700)
- W: Mikko Rantanen ($6,600)/Brock Boeser ($6,700)
- W: Sebastian Aho ($6,500)/Brock Boeser ($6,700)/David Pastrnak ($7,100)
- W: Tyler Johnson ($5,800)
- D: Alexander Edler ($4,800)/Erik Johnson ($4,700)/Alex Goligoski ($4,200)
- D: Jacob Chychrun ($3,900)
- G: Frederik Andersen ($8,400)
Photo: Christian Petersen-Getty Images