We have a huge slate tonight with 11 games on tap in the NHL. The Wild, Canadiens, Flyers, Blues and Sharks are skating in the second half of back-to-back sets. Colorado is the only team that will also play tomorrow night. With nearly 400 skaters from which to choose, the possibilities are endless. Therefore, when possible, today’s post will attempt to cover some of the less obvious plays.
FLA @ PIT – 7:00pm EST
NJD @ BUF – 7:00pm EST
MIN @ BOS – 7:00pm EST
CAR @ NYI – 7:00pm EST
CBJ @ TBL – 7:30pm EST
MTL @ DET – 7:30pm EST
PHI @ WSH – 7:30pm EST
DAL @ STL – 8:00pm EST
COL @ WPG – 8:00pm EST
NYR @ VGK – 10:00pm EST
EDM @ SJS – 10:30pm EST
LAST NIGHT’S RESULTS: Last night was another great night for FTA. The FanDuel lines cashed, the DK lines cashed and Derek had another fire line. Starting with the negative, Brent Burns was a massive disappointment. He managed just 4.8 fantasy points, making him a complete waste of money. Fortunately his ownership was roughly 60 percent, but it was still a frustrating situation. However, the other defensemen used in the main lines had strong nights. Erik Karlsson picked up three assists, five shots and 35.7 FP, while Mattias Ekholm grabbed 26.9 FP with a goal and an assist as well as two shots and two blocks. But there was another eyesore in the lineup: Zach Parise. Parise had been on quite a roll but came out flat, registering just one shot and two blocks for 4.8 FP. Also, several of the value wingers had irrelevant nights as well, though using them made it possible to accommodate some pretty hefty price tags, which more than paid off. Calle Jarnkrok tallied an assist and 9.6 FP, and Lukas Radil had a few chances but couldn’t convert. Like Minnesota, San Jose was another team that just wasn’t able to do much despite coming away victorious. The two value players in my main recommended lines were Radil and Joel Armia. Armia was in a very a strong spot but put up a goose egg; Rocco Grimaldi and Andreas Johnsson earned just 3.2 and 4.8 FP, respectively.
But there were some great performances last night as well. Johnny Gaudreau came through as expected, scoring two goals on four shots for 30.4 FP. Linemates Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm also had multi-point efforts, coming away with 36.5 and 22.9 FP, respectively. Monahan scored a goal and an assist on 10 shots, while Lindholm recorded two assists, three shots and a block. Also, both Ryan O’Reilly and Brayden Schenn had solid nights as well. It was pretty surprising to see their ownership so low, but that just meant their combined three points were that much more significant in helping the lines cash easily. O’Reilly tallied two assists and one shot for 17.6 FP, while Schenn scored and added two shots and two blocks for 18.4 FP. Evander Kane recorded an assist and seven shots for 17.6 FP.
In an ironic twist after posting the Home Alone gif in yesterday’s article, I actually went 4-for-4 on goalies on last night’s questionable slate. The two main safe cash lines pinned in chat had the two “safe” options in Martin Jones and David Rittich, both of whom picked up wins and 25.6 FP. After unearthing a particularly interesting stat regarding Devan Dubnyk and the Minnesota-Montreal matchup, I knew Dubnyk was a must for several lineups. Dubnyk came through with a 1-0 shutout, making 32 saves and coming away with 45.6 FP. Though he wasn’t able to top that, Jordan Binnington also blanked his opponent, earning 40 FP with 25 saves in his first career start.
Obviously there are plenty of elite options on tonight’s slate. Connor McDavid ($9,100) is a game-changer, Nathan MacKinnon ($8,800) is always a strong cash bet even though he was held off the scoresheet the last time these teams met, Tyler Seguin ($7,800) enters tonight’s game with points in five straight, etc. However, there are some solid mid-range options as well, which will allow you to spend up elsewhere if you so choose.
Dylan Larkin ($6,700) has become a regular in these posts, but he continues to produce. His matchup tonight against Antti Niemi and the Canadiens in the second half of a back-to-back is intriguing, and he has been one of the more consistent and reliable mid-range performers. Larkin skates on Detroit’s top line and top power-play unit and has points in 16 out of his last 17 games, scoring eight goals and 19 points in that time. The downside with Larkin is that he hasn’t been a multi-point producer, but considering his mid-range price tag, you’re not exactly paying for that to begin with. As far as basic cash contests are concerned, it can be much more frustrating to pay up for an elite center and have him deliver a single point than to get modest but consistent production from a cheaper option. With Larkin, you’re not necessarily getting the highest ceiling, but the floor is there. Even though Niemi gave up just two goals in his most recent start, the first time all year he had given up fewer than three, he’s still susceptible, and it’s very unlikely he’ll record a shutout. These are all good things for Larkin, who is averaging 16.4 fantasy points per game this season.
Mathew Barzal ($6,800) and Sebastian Aho ($6,400) have been relatively reliable options of late, but both centers have just two assists in three total games between the Hurricanes and Islanders this season. This matchup will be affected greatly by the starting goalies, so that’s something that will have to be looked at later today once those confirmations are revealed.
Both Ryan O’Reilly ($6,500) and Brayden Schenn ($5,500) had points last night against Philadelphia. They will be in the second half of a back-to-back after putting forth an impressive 60-minute effort last night, but both have point streaks in the works. O’Reilly has three goals and eight points during his current six-game point streak, and Schenn has goals in back-to-back games. With an injury to Alex Steen in the first period of last night’s game, the Blues could shuffle the lines for tonight’s contest, so that’s another thing to keep in mind as you build your lineup(s).
Another mid-range option is Nico Hischier ($5,800). He will take on the Sabres who are likely to be without Jack Eichel once again. Hischier skates on the Devils’ first line and first power-play unit and has points in three straight games and in five out of his last six games (three goals, six points).
I continue to like the Sharks’ third line, and FanDuel has finally gotten with the times and made Tomas Hertl ($5,300) a center. He skates with Evander Kane and Joonas Donskoi, and Hertl also plays on the Sharks’ top power-play unit. He scored a beautiful backhand goal last night against the Kings, and he scored a goal and an assist for 28 fantasy points against the Oilers in late December.
Also consider: Connor McDavid ($9,100), Nathan MacKinnon ($8,800), Patrice Bergeron ($8,200), Tyler Seguin ($7,800), Brayden Point ($7,700), Mark Scheifele ($7,500), Henrik Borgstrom ($3,600), Chris Wagner ($3,600), Oscar Lindberg ($3,500), Jordan Weal ($3,300)
In typical FanDuel fashion, Nikita Kucherov ($9,300) has seen a price increase despite putting up a goose egg in his most recent performance. However, Kucherov has been one of the hottest players in the NHL over the last few months, so it’s unlikely he’ll be silenced two games in a row. He and the Lightning are at home against the visiting Blue Jackets, a favorable spot for Kucherov and Co. to get back in the swing of things. His price tag is quite hefty on an 11-game slate, though, so he might not be worth the splurge. That being said, Sergei Bobrovsky has given up at least three goals in four straight games, and Kucherov has proven what he’s capable of with 13 goals and 51 points in his last 24 games.
Normally I would have been interested in considering Leon Draisaitl ($7,200), and there’s still some underlying interest there, but he was centering the Oilers’ third line in practice yesterday, which lowers his appeal. Of course, things could change during the game and he could be right back on the top line with Connor McDavid, but there’s added risk that seems unnecessary on such a huge slate. It’s still worth monitoring throughout the day, though.
Alexander Radulov ($6,700) is often a go-to cash play, though he’ll have a tough matchup against Ryan O’Reilly. That being said, the Stars have shown flashes in recent games, so it’s possible DAL 1 will overcome whatever the Blues throw at it. In that case, Radulov makes for a nice start given his role on the top line and top power-play unit. He has points in three straight games and in four out of his last five, collecting three goals and eight points in that stretch. Radulov is averaging 17.2 fantasy points per game.
San Jose’s third line was one of my favorite stacks on last night’s slate, and all three players came through with points in the Sharks’ 3-1 victory over the Kings. Evander Kane ($6,600) is really starting to heat up and now has points in five straight games. He has recorded three goals and seven points as well as 18 shots in that stretch. Joonas Donskoi ($4,800) has also been hot lately, though he had a goose egg the other night before scoring in last night’s game. Donskoi skates on the team’s third line but does not see time on the power play. However, he has goals in four out of his last five games and points in five out of his last six, collecting five goals and seven points in that span for an average of 16.4 fantasy points per game (which includes the goose egg).
Tomas Tatar ($6,500) is having one of his best seasons in the NHL and is certainly off to his most promising start in some time. One of his more successful games came against his former team, which is who he will be facing tonight as the Canadiens head to Detroit. Montreal will be in the second half of a back-to-back after losing 1-0 to the Wild last night; however, Tatar should be plenty motivated. He has not played a revenge game this season (against Detroit or Vegas) in which he failed to find the scoresheet, so his narrative games have gone well. He skates on the team’s second line and first power-play unit but has gone pointless in three straight, so he’s not without risk. Joel Armia ($3,000) did absolutely nothing in my lineup last night, so expect him to have a huge game tonight (just kidding…sort of).
Speaking of the Golden Knights, Vegas in general is a great play tonight as the Knights take on the Rangers. For one thing, the Rangers are on the road; for another, they will be without second-line center Kevin Hayes. Plus, most significantly, they will be without the King as Henrik Lundqvist is not expected to start tonight’s game. Alexandar Georgiev has already been confirmed, and he gave up six goals in his most recent start. Georgiev has had a few surprising performances this season, but Lundqvist was the only reason the Rangers didn’t get completely blown out of the water when they hosted the Knights in the Big Apple in mid-December. Max Pacioretty ($6,100) tallied an assist, three shots and a block for 14.4 fantasy points in that game, though he now has goals in back-to-back games after coming back from injury for the second time this season. Pacioretty has produced identical performances in his last two games, scoring a goal and registering six shots for 21.6 fantasy points. There’s certainly a chance he’ll be able to do the same tonight, and he’s priced fairly reasonably. Vegas’ line combinations will become more clear later today, but assuming the second line remains intact, Alex Tuch ($5,800) is also a strong play once again. Tuch hasn’t been overly productive over his last few games but he is a consistent contributor. He has points in six straight games, scoring two goals and seven points in that time, and he is averaging 13.7 fantasy points per game this season. Tuch scored a goal and an assist when these teams met in New York, finishing the game with 24.8 fantasy points. There’s a chance he could be moved to the top line to skate with Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson if Reilly Smith’s injury keeps him out of the game; either way, he’ll have a top-six role and time on the power play with a team in a very favorable matchup.
But you can’t mention the Knights without discussing Brandon Pirri ($3,500), who is back with the team after getting sent down to the AHL the other day. Pirri was recently recalled as a result of Smith’s injury, though he is not a lock to play in tonight’s contest. One would have to assume head coach Gerard Gallant will keep Smith out of the game for precautionary reasons, especially since Lundqvist isn’t starting, but it’s something that’ll have to be monitored throughout the day. Pirri could also take Smith’s spot on the top line, but he could also slot back in on the second line if Pacioretty gets the promotion to skate on VGK 1. Regardless of where in the lineup he plays, though, Pirri is a great value pick once again. FanDuel lowered his price after the demotion, so you’re getting incredible value at $3,500 for a player who has six goals and nine points in seven games this season, averaging 19.3 fantasy points per game. If Pirri plays, he could be incredibly chalky, but I’ll eat that chalk all day long at $3,500.
With Alex Ovechkin ($8,600) facing an imploding Flyers team that has lost seven games in a row, some might say it’s an easy choice to ice him. However, it’s a little more complicated than that, especially on a huge slate. For me, Ovi likely will be GPP only tonight, though that could change depending on Philadelphia’s starting goalie. No matter what, though, you’re going to have to fade star players on tonight’s slate. But you can get some Ovi exposure through Tom Wilson ($4,900), who scored a goal the other night in his first full game back on the top line with Ovechkin. Wilson should be plenty involved in what could be a physical game between these two teams. Wilson’s production has dried up considerably since his hot streak in November, but he’s still capable of finding twine. He has 20 points in 22 games and is averaging 14.7 fantasy points per contest.
Kyle Connor ($4,600) remains a solid play as a member of Winnipeg’s top line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. Connor scored a goal the other day against Dallas and has a favorable matchup against a visiting Avalanche team that has been giving up plenty of goals in recent games. Connor also skates on the top power-play unit.
Dominik Simon ($3,800) is a sub-$4,000 value option getting top-six minutes on one of the hottest teams in the league. He skates with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist at even strength but does not see time on the power play. However, he has points in three straight games, scoring two goals and four points on nine shots in that stretch. Simon has earned 11.2, 24.8 and 21.6 fantasy points in his last three games, respectively.
Also, it’s still worth noting that Zack Kassian ($3,600) is still skating on Edmonton’s top line with Connor McDavid. As of yesterday’s practice, Jujhar Khaira ($3,600) was the third member of the line, though Kassian has been a more consistent linemate over the last few games.
As always, Mikko Rantanen ($7,800) and Gabriel Landeskog ($6,500) are worthy options. The trio was limited the last time these teams met, but Colorado’s top line is one of the best in the league.
Also consider: David Pastrnak ($8,400), Artemi Panarin ($7,900), Joe Pavelski ($7,900), Cam Atkinson ($7,300), Zach Parise ($7,200), Jonathan Huberdeau ($6,800), Mike Hoffman ($6,500), Andreas Athanasiou ($4,700), Justin Williams ($4,700), Travis Konecny ($4,400), Blake Coleman ($3,600), Miles Wood ($3,500), Lukas Radil ($3,400), Anthony Duclair ($3,300)
Despite his down performance last night, Brent Burns ($7,600) remains one of the most lethal DFS plays on any given night. Erik Karlsson ($7,600) has finally come into form and is now the same price as Burns. Both are strong plays and both are producing. Karlsson scored a goal and three assists for 42.4 fantasy points when these two teams met at the end of December, while Burns secured 22.4 fantasy points with two assists, three shots and one block. Both skate on San Jose’s top power-play unit and both are playing roughly 30 minutes a game, which is nuts.
An interesting pivot is Kris Letang ($7,100), who has points in seven straight and in 10 out of his last 11 games. He skates on Pittsburgh’s top power-play unit and is averaging 16.6 fantasy points per game this season. Letang has earned at least 20 fantasy points in three straight games and at least 18 in six out of his last seven.
A cheaper option is Josh Morrissey ($4,400), who is coming off a great performance over the weekend. Morrissey, who is skating on Winnipeg’s top power-play unit in place of the injured Dustin Byfuglien, scored a goal and an assist and added five shots and a block for 31.6 fantasy points in Winnipeg’s recent matchup against Dallas. His goal was a short-handed tally, which shows that Morrissey is getting ice time in all situations. That’s a good thing, which makes him a steal at this price point. This is especially true since Colorado has been struggling defensively for quite some time now.
Also consider: Seth Jones ($6,000), Tyson Barrie ($5,600), Jeff Petry ($5,000), Dougie Hamilton ($4,900), Ryan Pulock ($4,400), Nick Leddy ($4,300), Michal Kempny ($4,100), Travis Sanheim ($3,800), Mike Reilly ($3,600), Caleb Jones ($3,500), Marcus Pettersson ($3,500)
Marc-Andre Fleury ($9,000) seems like the obvious choice on tonight’s slate given the matchup, especially in the crease. He will take on Alexandar Georgiev, who gave up six goals in his last start. Georgiev has talent but could be overwhelmed by the circumstances of today’s matchup. He’s on the road, the Knights are going for seven straight wins, Fleury loves playing the Rangers and Kevin Hayes is out of the lineup for the Blueshirts. This is the kind of situation where the goalie in the “smash” spot will give up three goals and either hang on for a win or just blow the opportunity. But it’s tough to plan for that, especially when you’re competing in FanDuel cash contests in which chalk can be overwhelming. The one thing working against Fleury is his price tag. That being said, other elite options are right behind him.
As usual, goalies will be reevaluated throughout the day once confirmations have been made.
Also consider: Tuukka Rask ($8,900), Matt Murray ($8,800), Braden Holtby ($8,700), Robin Lehner ($8,300)
Join us in the FTA+ DFS NHL discord chat to discuss tonight’s slate and lineups.
Featured image credit: Ethan Miller-Getty Images