Before getting into my DFS suggestions for today, I wanted to share my thoughts on the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant. There are few things in life that bring me more joy than sports, although Sunday certainly wasn't one of those days. While I obviously didn't know Kobe Bryant personally, there were many times when I was Kobe hitting a game-winning shot alone in my driveway. Other times I was using Kobe in a video game to lead the Lakers to another title. And when I wasn't doing either of those, I was watching SportsCenter for the fourth time in a row to catch Kobe's highlights from the night before. Lakers fan or not, which I wasn't, I'm sure many of you did the same things. And it's partly because of these memories that this news was so sad for me. Not the type of sadness from the loss of my own family member or friend, but more like the loss of a piece of my childhood. My thoughts are with Kobe's family along with the families of all the other victims from Sunday.
As for hockey, I hope everyone enjoyed some time off with the All-Star break. With many teams having been off for ten days, there hasn’t been much but a few games per day for about two weeks. I am looking forward to Saturday as nearly all teams are back in action. The main slate starting at 7 p.m. EST has 11 games so there will be no shortage of options. All players and prices used are from DraftKings but can be applied to FanDuel as well.
C – Auston Matthews ($8,300)
It may seem like a broken record, seeing Matthews listed here nearly every week, but passing him over in a home matchup against Ottawa would seem downright foolish. Over the past two months, Ottawa is allowing 3.9 goals per game on the road and the home/road splits for Matthews are impressive to say the least. At home this season Matthews has scored 27 of his 36 goals while averaging 4.64 shots per game and 21.5 DraftKings points. In 25 home games Matthews has only failed to reach double digit DraftKings points twice and has scored at least 14 points in every game dating back to December 4. Ottawa has a quick turnaround after playing Friday night so Matthews and his teammates are primed for a big night.
C – Nick Bonino ($3,600)
On a slate with several high-priced options in good spots, a strong source of salary relief can be found with Nashville’s Bonino. Often times a fantasy afterthought due to his third-line role, Bonino quietly ranks second on the team in goals with 15. He enters Saturday having recorded a point in each of the last three games as Nashville has found themselves in some shootouts with 27 total goals scored in those three contests. It could be another high scoring affair Saturday with a pivotal game against the Vegas Knights, where both teams are fighting for a playoff spot in the very tight Western Conference.
W – Artemi Panarin ($7,400)
The most productive player in terms of points over the past month has been the New York Rangers’ Panarin, who has been on a two-point-per-game pace since Christmas. His 25 points leads the league despite missing the team’s last game before the All-Star break with an upper-body injury. Panarin says he is 100 percent and played Friday in what was the first game of a home and home between New York and Detroit where he recorded another two points. The Rangers won comfortably 4-2 and there is little reason to think that result can’t be duplicated tonight.
W – David Perron ($6,000)
While the Blues have been a bit inconsistent as of late having lost four of their last five, Perron has put up steady fantasy production. The forward has a six-game point streak and at least one in ten of his past 11. During that 11-game span Perron has averaged 13 DraftKings points led by eight goals. The Blues’ struggles pale in comparison to Winnipeg’s, as the Jets have lost seven of eight and continue to drop down the standings. In their last five they have allowed 22 goals. This feels like a good spot for the Blues to get right and if that does happen Perron is sure to be involved.
W – Ondrej Palat ($4,100)
The obvious choices for Tampa Bay would be to play Nikita Kucherov or Steven Stamkos, and there is nothing wrong with going that route, but if looking to get off the beaten path the Tampa second line should find themselves in a favorable spot against the Sharks. Things in San Jose continue to get worse, now losing their All-Star Tomas Hertl (who should have been MVP) to a season ending injury. This comes on the heels of Logan Couture’s injury and Kevin Labanc’s trade request. Palat and his line mates have accounted for 15 points over the past five games, with Palat himself putting up six of those. At a very affordable price you can stack this trio with any of the higher-priced options.
D – Brady Skjei ($4,000)
D – Jake Muzzin ($3,900)
While paying up for defensemen is often a preferred strategy, if the need arises to save some salary this pair of blueliners will do just that. Both are not the top targets on their respective teams and neither find themselves on the top power-play unit, but both will come with practically no ownership in two of the best scoring environments on the slate. For tournaments, this could be a contrarian approach to get access to those high total teams without paying the hefty price tags. Both skaters have put up over 20 DraftKings points in one of their past three games, so the potential is there.
Goalies (Be sure to confirm goalies at Goalie Post before rostering)
Ben Bishop ($8,100)
Jordan Binnington ($8,000)
Curtis McElhinney ($8,200)
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.