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FanDuel has made today’s slate somewhat of a disaster, spreading out the games so that there are two two-game slates and one all-day slate starting at 1:00pm EST (just in time to compete with the NFL playoffs; smart thinking, FanDuel!). Anyway… today’s post will provide a brief overview of the options on today’s schedule, including plays for all three slates (which includes the seven games on the All Day slate).
CAR @ OTT – 1:00pm EST
NJD @ VGK – 4:00pm EST
NYR @ ARI – 4:00pm EST
DAL @ WPG – 5:00pm EST
WSH @ DET – 5:00pm EST
CHI @ PIT – 8:00pm EST
EDM @ ANA – 8:00pm EST
LAST NIGHT’S RESULTS: Last night was a disappointing night as two of the four lines I posted in chat were able to cash. There were a few main things that kept the others from cashing on an otherwise low-scoring night. For one thing, Nikita Kucherov was held to a goose egg, which is somewhat remarkable given his recent pace. For another, the chalk goalie on the slate recorded a shutout, which meant that even though Robin Lehner came away with the win, it was a difficult hill to climb to make up for the popularity of Michael Hutchinson. John Tavares scored a goal but was outperformed by Auston Matthews in the ever-evolving Maple Leafs DFS drama. However, Andreas Johnsson had a solid game, scoring a goal and an assist and coming away with 24.8 fantasy points. But there were too many picks that did way too little, including Mathew Barzal, Brayden Point, Kucherov, David Pastrnak, Zack Kassian, Joonas Donskoi, Ryan Pulock, etc. There were some strong performances, though. Brent Burns tallied three assists and added six shots and three blocks for 38.9 FP, which was the best of the night. Mike Hoffman and Jonathan Huberdeau found the scoresheet for the Panthers, Alex Edler hit value with five shots and two blocks for 11.2 FP, Dustin Brown tallied an assist and came away with 11.2 FP and Mattias Ekholm had a big night with a goal and an assist for 24.8 FP.
Tyler Seguin ($7,800) could be a popular play on today’s slate since he has points in four straight games and has four goals in his last two games. Plus, he scored two goals and four points in a game against the Jets earlier this season (though that came at the beginning of the season). However, I am often wary of using Seguin in cash contests since he often fails to come through. The reason why he’s in today’s post, however, is because of the determination he has shown since getting publicly criticized by Dallas’ CEO. Winnipeg is a strong team on home ice but hasn’t been all that reliable this year, which puts Seguin and his linemates in a good spot tonight. I probably won’t end up using him in a lot of my cash lines, though.
That’s partly because I prefer some of the mid-range options, including Dylan Larkin ($6,600), who has points in 15 out of his last 16 games. He skates on Detroit’s first line and first power-play unit and has been very consistent in recent games, exceeding value given his reasonable price tag. Larkin is averaging 16.5 fantasy points per game this season and scored a goal against Washington the last time these teams met. He has some competition as far as the scoresheet is concerned with the recent returns of Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou, but Larkin rarely comes up empty and continues to be a safe choice in cash contests.
Sebastian Aho ($6,400) is another player who seems to come through much more often than not. He centers Carolina’s first line and first power-play unit and is averaging 16 fantasy points per game this season thanks to 16 goals and 43 points along with 119 shots in 40 games. However, the fact that this afternoon’s tilt will be in Ottawa could work against him. Carolina averages just 2.2 goals per game when away from home, which is one of the worst ratios in the NHL. At the same time, Aho and the Canes will face a netminder in Marcus Hogberg who has given up 11 goals in three appearances this season.
There are plenty of other solid choices, including someone on the other side of that matchup in Matt Duchene ($6,600). Jonathan Toews ($6,700) has provided a steady floor with assists in five straight games; he also scored three points when these teams met in Chicago in early December. Plus, Derek Stepan ($5,100) will face off against his former team, against whom he already has two points in one game this season. The Pittsburgh centers could be popular as well, especially since many forget that Chicago has been playing much better of late; between the two, I still prefer Sidney Crosby ($9,100) in cash contests.
Also consider: Sidney Crosby ($9,100), Jonathan Toews ($6,700), Matt Duchene ($6,600), Alex Galchenyuk ($5,300), Derek Stepan ($5,100)
Alex Ovechkin ($8,600) is in a league of his own when it comes to goal-scoring in today’s NHL. Though his torrid pace from earlier in the season has since slowed down, he’s still a threat for a big offensive outburst every time he takes the ice. He has already faced the Red Wings twice this season, though both games took place in D.C. That being said, he managed a combined four goals and five points on seven shots in those two contests, averaging 34.4 fantasy points per game. Another difference in tonight’s game is the fact that Washington could easily face Jimmy Howard in net for the first time this season. While Howard has been strong this year, there’s only so much any goalie can do when Ovechkin winds up for the one-timer. Now that the Penguins are catching up to Washington in the standings, the Capitals should feel some urgency to get back in the win column. Plus, the fact that the Capitals’ horrendous power play is finally being acknowledged publicly is another good sign for Ovi’s ceiling moving forward.
Jamie Benn ($7,200) and Alexander Radulov ($6,600) could be popular options on tonight’s slate (Benn is a stronger play on DraftKings, while Radulov makes more sense on FanDuel). However, the two make up the other two-thirds of Dallas’ top line (along with Tyler Seguin), which has been picking up the pace in recent games. Part of that has been motivation to respond to critical remarks made by the Stars’ CEO, but it’s also just time for this talented trio to get it together. Benn and Radulov both recorded three-point games when these teams met earlier this season, though that game took place at the start of the season. Even so, it might not be a bad move to have some DAL 1 exposure in your cash lines. Benn is set to return to the lineup and will seek to add to his current two-game scoring streak, while Radulov has seven points in his last four games, scoring two goals and five assists in that span.
One value option that will not have high ownership is Conor Garland ($3,300), who continues to excel despite seeing fourth-line minutes at even strength. However, it appears as though he has now been moved to the top power-play unit, giving him a boost in value right there. Garland has points in five out of his last seven games, scoring three goals and five points while registering 15 shots in that span.
Mark Stone ($7,000) has goals in back-to-back games and in four out of his last five games, while Andreas Athanasiou ($4,600) has goals in three straight and in four out of his last five. Another player who has been scoring in recent games is Chicago’s Dominik Kahun ($3,900), who has goals in back-to-back games and points in three out of his last four games. He skates on the Blackhawks’ top line and second power-play unit. Another Dominik, Dominik Simon ($3,500), has goals in back-to-back games as well; he has recorded two goals and three points as well as eight shots and a block in his last two games. One player worth noting is Kyle Connor ($4,600), who will be back on Winnipeg’s top line tonight with the injury to Nikolaj Ehlers. Kyle Connor’s stock has dropped considerably but has a chance to rebound tonight alongside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.
Also consider: Patrick Kane ($8,300), Mark Stone ($7,000), Alex Tuch ($5,800), Andreas Athanasiou ($4,600), Kyle Connor ($4,600), Ondrej Kase ($4,600), Dominik Kahun ($3,900), Dominik Simon ($3,500), Blake Coleman ($3,400), Daniel Sprong ($3,400), Zach Aston-Reese ($3,400), Miles Wood ($3,300)
Kris Letang ($7,000) has points in six straight games and in nine out of his last 10 games, recording three goals and 12 points in that stretch. He skates on Pittsburgh’s top power-play unit but was unable to find the scoresheet when these teams met in early December. He still managed seven shots and 12.8 fantasy points in that effort, though.
But another Penguins rearguard is my favorite defenseman on today’s slate: Olli Maatta ($3,800). For some reason, FanDuel lowered his price by $400 despite the fact that he scored a power-play goal the other night and earned 20.5 fantasy points. But we’ll take it. Maatta has taken over on the Penguins’ second power-play unit and provides a solid floor through peripheral stat coverage. He tallied an assist, one shot and two blocks for 12.8 fantasy points against Chicago earlier this season, and he is averaging 3.2 shots+blocks per game in 40 games this season.
Chicago’s Erik Gustaffsson ($4,700) skates on the Blackhawks’ first power-play unit and has points in four straight games, collecting five assists, five shots and six blocks in that stretch. He has earned 10.1, 16, 11.7, 21.3, 3.2, 9.6, 18.9, 25.3, 8, 21.6 and 17.6 fantasy points in his last 11 games, respectively.
Dougie Hamilton ($4,700) has goals in back-to-back games and has earned 23.2, 26.9 and 11.2 fantasy points in his last three games, respectively. Josh Morrissey ($4,400) skates on Winnipeg’s top power-play unit and has earned 9.6 and 16 fantasy points in his last two games, respectively, since taking over that role. Hampus Lindholm ($4,300) skates on what is now considered Anaheim’s top power-play unit. He has points in two out of his last three games, earning 17.6, 8 and 14.4 fantasy points in his last three games, respectively. Michal Kempny ($4,100) has seen a steady price increase but has proven to be a worthwhile punt in many contests over the last few months. He hasn’t been quite as reliable recently, though he found the scoresheet in both games against Detroit this season, recording a combined two points, three shots and eight blocks. But don’t forget one of my favorite value plays in Jakob Chychrun ($3,600), who often hits value through peripheral stat coverage. Chychrun has earned 8, 4.8, 6.4, 16.8, 20.5, 17.6, 8 and 16.5 fantasy points in his last eight games, respectively. Additional options are listed below.
Also consider: Dougie Hamilton ($4,700), Darnell Nurse ($4,500), Hampus Lindholm ($4,300), Michal Kempny ($4,100), Jakob Chychrun ($3,600), Dennis Cholowski ($3,600), Filip Hronek ($3,500), Josh Mahura ($3,500), Marcus Pettersson ($3,500), Brad Hunt ($3,500)
Without many goalie confirmations available at the time of publish, it’s difficult to make recommendations at this time. However, one goalie worth considering is Matt Murray ($8,800). Murray has a difficult matchup against a Blackhawks team that has been much better of late, though Murray will at least have home-ice advantage in this one. Murray has been red-hot of late, winning seven games in a row. He has earned 46.4, 26.4, 32, 25.6, 51.2, 32.8 and 30.4 fantasy points in his last seven games, respectively, a stretch that includes two shutouts.
Featured image credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports