Here are some plays to consider for tonight’s slate:
CENTERTonight is probably a night to stack the Anaheim Ducks, who are going up against a Chicago team that is giving up a ton of offense. Anaheim is coming off an impressive come-from-behind win against the Capitals in which the Ducks fought back from a 5-1 deficit to win 6-5. Anaheim is getting production out of all its lines, though the top line, centered by Ryan Getzlaf ($7,100), is never a bad place to start. Getzlaf has 22 points in 23 games this season while averaging 14.7 fantasy points per game. He has goals in back-to-back games and points in three straight, scoring two goals and five points in that stretch. Though he doesn’t often provide a steady shot volume, he has recorded at least three in each of his last three games, earning 34.4, 18.4 and 14.4 fantasy points, respectively. Getzlaf skates on the team’s top power-play unit, earned 9.6 fantasy points with four shots and two blocks when these teams met earlier this season and had three assists in two games against the Blackhawks last year. With Cam Talbot expected to start for Edmonton, St. Louis is another team that might be worth targeting on tonight’s small slate. It appears as though the team has shuffled its lines, with Ryan O’Reilly skating with Zach Sanford and Robert Thomas on the top line, Brayden Schenn skating with David Perron and Jordan Kyrou on the second line and Vladimir Tarasenko moving to the third line to play with Patrick Maroon and Tyler Bozak. The top power-play unit (at least in yesterday’s practice) consisted of O’Reilly, Tarasenko, Bozak, Maroon and defenseman Vince Dunn. As for the centers, Ryan O’Reilly ($6,900) has been the best player on the Blues all year, though his overall appeal takes a hit with his new linemates. However, he’ll still be on that top unit and has been pretty reliable this year, so he’s still in play. The third matchup on the slate sees Joe Pavelski ($7,900) and Logan Couture ($7,200) going up against a stingy Carolina defense. That being said, the Sharks are playing well, and both centers have been involved offensively in recent games. The Sharks had new-look lines in yesterday’s practice, though it’s unclear if that’s because Timo Meier was not a participant. Since he’s expected to return tonight, assume the lines will revert back to what they have been in recent games; I will provide an update in chat later today. Pavelski skates on the team’s top line and top power-play unit and is averaging 15 fantasy points per game. He has points in four straight games, collecting four goals and six points as well as 16 shots and three blocks in that stretch. He was held to just two shots when these teams met in Carolina earlier this season, but San Jose’s power play could overcome Carolina’s surprisingly-strong goaltending. Couture, on the other hand, centers the Sharks’ second line but also skates on the top power-play unit. He is averaging 14 fantasy points per game and has points in three out of his last four games, recording four assists, 11 shots and seven blocks in that time. Couture should be getting Timo Meier back in the lineup, though it is worth noting that Couture and Pavelski skated together with Tomas Hertl on the top line in yesterday’s practice. Couture tallied an assist, two shots and a block for 13.3 fantasy points when these teams met earlier this season. Both centers recorded just one point in two games against Carolina last year. Obviously, Connor McDavid ($9,100) is always a candidate for a cash lineup, though I’ve steered clear for most of this season and will unlikely play him in cash contests tonight. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a popular play, especially considering St. Louis does not exactly defend well. Sebastian Aho ($6,200) will also face shaky goaltending; even though Martin Jones is coming off a strong performance, he and Aaron Dell have been like Swiss cheese on numerous occasions this season. Aho’s mid-range price tag could earn him some ownership, and he’s been pretty productive this season. Adam Henrique ($4,900) has points in five straight games. His fantasy point totals haven’t been particularly inspiring, but he’s been a reliable option, scoring one goal and five points in his last five. He skates on Anaheim’s second line, and he played with newly-acquired winger Daniel Sprong as well as Nick Ritchie in yesterday’s practice. He also plays on the team’s top power-play unit and shouldn’t have a heavy defensive workload, which could put him in a good spot tonight. If you’re looking for a lower-owned option, Tyler Bozak ($4,300) could be in a good spot skating on a line with Vladimir Tarasenko and also seeing time on the Blues’ top power-play unit. Also consider: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($5,600), Jordan Staal ($4,700)–depending on line combos, Dylan Strome ($4,600), Tyler Bozak ($4,300), Victor Rask ($3,000), David Kampf ($3,000)–depending on line combos
WINGERAs mentioned, Anaheim is a strong team to stack on tonight’s slate given the Ducks’ matchup against the Blackhawks. Anaheim has a ton of value on the wing, but Rickard Rakell ($7,300) is never a bad choice. He skates on the team’s top line and top power-play unit; while he’s not having an overly impressive season on the whole, he has points in back-to-back games, scoring a goal and four points in that time. He makes for a sensible stack with Ryan Getzlaf; Rakell scored a goal on three shots and added a block for 18.4 fantasy points when these teams met earlier this season. The third member of the top line is Pontus Aberg ($3,700), who has goals in back-to-back games and points in three out of his last four, scoring three goals and six points and registering 11 shots in that stretch. Aberg skates on the Ducks’ second power-play unit. Recently, Ondrej Kase ($3,900) and Nick Ritchie ($3,500) have skated on the team’s second line with Adam Henrique, though things were different in yesterday’s practice. That’s certainly something to keep in mind before constructing lineups for tonight’s contests, since Kase was demoted to the fourth line in that practice (though he remained on the second power-play unit). That being said, Kase has been a reliable value play all season. He has points in four out of his last five games, picking up a goal and five points in that span. His peripheral stat coverage has also been consistent; Kase has 34 shots in 11 games this season, averaging more than three per game. But Ritchie has also had his moments this year. He’s been held to just 3.2 fantasy points in back-to-back games but had goals in each of the previous two games and points in six of the previous seven. Ritchie should skate on the second line with Henrique regardless of who skates on the other side. If that player is Daniel Sprong, who could make his Ducks debut tonight after getting traded from the Penguins just a few days ago, he might be worth a look as well. Again, we come back to St. Louis and San Jose as two appealing options, especially St. Louis (assuming Cam Talbot is Edmonton’s starter). Vladimir Tarasenko ($8,300) will skate on the third line at even strength but remains on the top power-play unit and should have a more favorable matchup given his new line assignment. It’s also more than possible that Tank will get moved up to the top line if the Blues find themselves trailing or struggling to get offensive opportunities. While Tarasenko’s numbers haven’t been great this year, he’s provided a solid floor in recent contests, earning 9.6, 18.4, 15.7, 21.6, 16 and 11.2 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively. Two other Blues options include former Oilers forwards Patrick Maroon ($4,100) and David Perron ($4,800). Both players played some of their best hockey in their time with the Oilers, and both will have a little extra motivation tonight, especially Maroon. Perron is set to skate on the team’s second line and second power-play unit, while Maroon will slot in on the third line and first power-play unit. Leon Draisaitl ($6,800) and Alex Chiasson ($3,600) are also on the table since they skate with Connor McDavid at even strength and on the power play. I have preferred Draisaitl over McDavid for most of the year, and though his overall production is down, he’s been fairly consistent in recent games. Specifically, Draisaitl has earned 11.2, 14.4, 14.9 and 9.6 fantasy points in his last four games, respectively. Clearly, that’s not the kind of result you’re looking for when you spend nearly $7,000 on a winger, but there’s something to be said about consistency, and he has massive upside skating with McDavid, regardless of how inept Edmonton’s offense has been at times this season. As mentioned earlier, Timo Meier ($5,600) is expected to return to the Sharks’ lineup. Meier is another solid floor guy, earning 11.2, 8, 18.9, 8, 24, 9.6, 6.4, 12.8, 12.8 and 21.6 fantasy points in his last 10 games, respectively. Meier generally skates on the Sharks’ second line and second power-play unit, though it’s unclear how San Jose’s lines will shape up for tonight’s game against the Hurricanes. A value option not skating on any of these teams is Andrei Svechnikov ($3,600), who continues to be a popular cash play at just $3,600. Svechnikov skates on Carolina’s third line and first power-play unit. Also consider: Micheal Ferland ($5,400)–DTD, Tomas Hertl ($5,300), Kevin Labanc ($4,400)
DEFENSEBrent Burns ($7,400) has points in four straight games, registering one goal and five points as well as 14 shots and four blocks in that span. Burns skates on San Jose’s top power-play unit and is averaging 16.1 fantasy points per game. He has earned 30.1, 14.9, 13.3 and 16 fantasy points in his last four games, respectively. Oscar Klefbom ($5,600) has followed up a few brilliant performances with a few mediocre ones, though he has still provided a steady floor. He has earned 8, 12.8, 30.6, 28, 37.3 and 11.2 fantasy points in his last six games, respectively. Klefbom skates on Edmonton’s first power-play unit. But we can’t ignore the Anaheim Ducks, who got Hampus Lindholm ($4,700) back in the lineup over the weekend. Lindholm made his presence felt with a power-play goal and an assist as well as three shots and one block for 27.4 fantasy points in his return. Lindholm has provided a consistent shot volume for most of the year and will likely skate on the team’s second power-play unit, with Brandon Montour ($4,400) remaining on the top unit. Also consider: Erik Karlsson ($6,800), Dougie Hamilton ($5,400), Brandon Montour ($4,400), Adam Larsson ($3,700), Vince Dunn ($3,600)
GOALIEThere aren’t many options on tonight’s slate, so it might make sense to go for the goalie that plays on a team with the best chance to win. Updated Vegas odds as well as starting goalie confirmations will be available later today; goalie options will be discussed in chat accordingly. At this point, it looks as though John Gibson ($8,600) might be the safest play for the win (even though he could give up a lot of goals in the process), but the matchups could change drastically based on starting goalies, line combinations, etc.
Join me in the FTA+ NHL discord chat to further discuss tonight’s slate and lineups.Featured image credit: Jae C. Hong-Associated Press Fantasy Hockey