Before getting into fantasy talk I would like to take a moment to wish the best to Oskar Lindblom of the Philadelphia Flyers as it was announced this week that he has been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of cancer. I have a friend who is on this third bout with Ewing’s Sarcoma and my heart aches seeing what he has had to go through. I look forward to Oskar overcoming this and getting back out on to the ice, but until then #OskarStrong.
The past few weeks I have run through much of the strategy I employ when making my DFS lineups on a daily basis. Things such as how to target players, tournament lineup construction, cash lineup construction, and lineup reviews. If you missed any of those articles I suggest going back and taking a look at those as they might be able to help you with your game. As for this week, I’m just going to focus on the 10-game slate starting at 7 p.m. EST tonight.
Arguably the best real-life game on the slate is the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Washington Capitals. The Caps sit atop the Eastern Conference with 53 points while the Lightning continue to try and recapture the form they showed last season. If the season ended today, Tampa would not be in the playoffs. A road win at Washington could be just what Tampa needs to jumpstart a run. With one of the higher Vegas totals on the slate and plenty of offensive firepower in both lineups, this could be a fun game to stack up in DFS.
Another potentially fun game on the slate is the Nashville Predators at the Boston Bruins. Both these teams are top five in goals scored on the season and both come in off disappointing losses. The Predators fell in Ottawa on Thursday 5-4 and Boston lost in overtime to the Islanders 3-2. That is now seven losses in the last eight games for Boston. From a fantasy perspective these are two vastly different teams. For Boston the main focus is the top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand, and lineups are concentrated around these three players for good reason, as the trio has combined for 48% of Boston’s goals on the season.
For Nashville, however, scoring has been coming from everywhere. In the past three games Nashville has scored 17 goals but the top line during most of that time of Calle Jarnkrok, Filip Forsberg, and Ryan Johansen only scored four of them. Defensemen have accounted for six of those 17 goals with the remaining seven coming from depth lines. With so much production outside of the top line, don’t be afraid to slide down the depth chart or look to defensemen when rostering Predators.
Let’s take a look at some individual plays I am targeting for my lineups in tonight’s games. All players and prices are from DraftKings’s 7 p.m. EST main slate but can be applied to FanDuel as well.
C – Auston Matthews ($7,200)
Frequent readers of this article will be familiar with the “pick on Detroit” theme. It worked out well two weeks ago with Pittsburgh putting up five goals but no so much last Saturday as Montreal put up a dud. Time to get back on the horse this week and fire up the Maple Leafs. The hardest part here is deciding on who to play between Auston Matthews and John Tavares. It would be difficult to play both and while they are in equally good spots, Matthews has had the edge on home ice. He has 15 goals in 16 games in Scotiabank Arena, which is ten more than any other Leaf. With an average north of 15 DraftKings points across his past seven games and the dream matchup against these Red Wings and their league worst 3.89 goals allowed per game, Matthews is a great building block in cash.
C – Nathan MacKinnon ($8,000)
If playing cash lineups Nathan MacKinnon has almost become an automatic play. He has scored a point in 16 of the past 17 games, with two or more points in eight of those. During that span he has averaged a whopping 18.4 DraftKings points. In play for the five shot scoring bonus every night, MacKinnon has arguably the safest floor in all of fantasy. Colorado has absolutely torched the Blackhawks this season scoring 16 goals in three games. With a fully healthy compliment of forwards, there is no reason to think Colorado can’t put up another four or more goals tonight and if that happens you can be sure MacKinnon will be stuffing the scoresheet.
While there are certainly wingers worth paying up for on this slate such as David Pastrnak and Alex Ovechkin, if choosing to spend up at center then Oliver Bjorkstrand offers a nice discount compared to the higher-priced options. Bjorkstrand leads the Blue Jackets in shots with 3.3 per game and is second in goals with 10. With Cam Atkinson ruled out for this game, Bjorkstrand could find himself shooting early and often. Bjorkstrand has five points in his last three games while averaging just under 19 DraftKings points. A matchup at home against likely Louis Domingue and his .862 save percentage is just the icing on the cake.
James van Riemsdyk comes in having scored in three of the past four games for the Flyers. The matchup with Ottawa is one of the best there is as they’re 3.22 goals ranks sixth worst. Even better they allow the fourth most shots per game in the league at 32.7. Van Riemsdyk has shown in the past he isn’t afraid to take his chances, add to that his role on the team’s top power play unit and a $4,400 price tag just seems too cheap.
W – Craig Smith
The value trend continues here with Craig Smith who has been red hot. In the past two games Smith has 13 shots, three goals, and an assist to the tune of 60.3 DraftKings points. While these numbers certainly aren’t sustainable, Smith has averaged 21 goals over the past six seasons so he is a guy that can find the back of the net. A road matchup in Boston isn’t ideal, but if Smith keeps shooting at the rate he has the past few games, he doesn’t even need to score to reach value.
D – Thomas Chabot
Had to list Chabot here if for no other reason than to mention how on Tuesday he was just 17 seconds shy of breaking the NHL regular season record for ice time in a game. His 37:56 trails only Dennis Wideman’s mark of 38:05 from 2014. He followed that up with a 33:49 mark in Thursday’s game. Oh, and Ottawa just ruled out fellow defenseman Ron Hainsey for Saturday’s game. With a realistic shot at 30+ minutes once again, Chabot is instantly in consideration for fantasy as he has had 5 points in the last 7 games. Carter Hart who Ottawa figures to see hasn’t been the same goalie away from Philadelphia, 3.59 GAA away vs 1.53 GAA at home, so the matchup is better than it first appears.
D – Erik Johnson
While not really known for his offensive upside, Erik Johnson is a cheap way to get more exposure to the Colorado Avalanche and their high Vegas total. Johnson made his return from injury on Thursday and immediately saw 20 minutes of ice time, over two and a half of which was on the power play. Johnson put up 14 DraftKings points despite not recording a single goal or assist which shows what can happen when you take and block shots. In the five games prior to Johnson’s injury he racked up 7 shots while blocking another 16. This helped him average over 11 DraftKings points during that span. With all the talent skating around him in Colorado, if he can dish out one helper, he will greatly exceed his meager $3,100 price tag.
Goalies (Be sure to confirm goalies at Goalie Post before rostering)
Pavel Francouz ($8,300)
Braden Holtby ($8,100)
Joonas Korpisalo ($7,800)
The Five Hole
Five players to build cash lineups around:
Five tournaments stacks to consider not previously mentioned:
Feel free to reach out to me via Twitter for any NHL DFS questions. Follow me @SteveDotzel and I will do my best to tweet any major updates to players in the article throughout the day and before lock.