A ten-game slate is on tap for Saturday and while fantasy will be my main focus, there are surely some great real-life matchups out there as well with six games featuring both teams currently in a playoff spot. The benefit to us with so many perceived close matchups is that ownership for tournaments should be low across the board. Outside of Ovechkin, which I’ll touch on below, I don’t perceive any line to be much more than 10% owned. That means if you could find the right spot you can really separate yourself from the field. The main slate starts at 7 p.m. EST and all players and prices used are from DraftKings but can be applied to FanDuel as well.
C – Evgeni Malkin ($7,700)
The Penguins are in the midst of a tough three game road stretch against Washington, Tampa Bay, and Florida – all of which are currently in playoff positions. They’ve split the first two games but will look to take two of the three against a Florida team who is coming off a 7-2 loss on Thursday. Despite Sidney Crosby being back in the lineup for a few weeks now, Malkin continues to produce at a high level. In 11 games since January 7, Malkin has put up 17 points (6g-11a) and has averaged 15 DraftKings points per game. Florida isn’t known for their defense as they rank in the bottom third of the league in both shots and goals allowed per game. The chances will be there for Malkin and the Penguins and we’ve recently seen what could happen when Florida doesn’t get top-notch goaltending.
C – Elias Pettersson ($6,600)
Vancouver has some pretty drastic home/road splits and their scoring reflects that. On the road the team is just 13-15-2 and average 2.83 goals per game. However, at home, where they find themselves Saturday, the Canucks are 17-5-3 and average 3.64 goals per game. Pettersson missed Thursday’s game, so be sure to verify he is in the lineup Saturday, but reports from the team’s beat writers indicate he should be. Pettersson has points in six of the past eight and centers what is the highest upside line on the Canucks. Injury concerns along with the fact that Vancouver enters Saturday having lost three straight, albeit all on the road, should keep ownership levels to a minimum. This presents a great opportunity for tournaments in the hopes a return to the Rogers Arena is just what the Canucks need to get back in the win column.
Stacking Options: See pre-game rushes
W – Alex Ovechkin ($8,700)
Speaking of home/road splits, Philadelphia is another team who can’t seem to replicate their home success elsewhere. A trip to Washington is a tough place to try and right the ship, especially when Ovechkin is playing like he is now. With a whopping 14 goals, including three hat tricks, in just the last seven games not rostering Ovechkin could be very costly. While there is almost always reasoning in fading someone like Ovechkin in tournaments where he could carry heavy ownership, that is not the case for cash and locking him in there makes a lot of sense. Ovechkin has only failed to score 23 DraftKings points once during that seven game span and his average output has been 30.5 points!
W – Steven Stamkos ($7,800)
While not on the level of Ovechkin’s, Stamkos is on a heater of his own with a goal in five of the past six games and an active nine game points streak. During this streak Stamkos has cracked the 30 DraftKings point mark twice and has averaged north of 18 per game. The Lightning seem to have found the form that led them to the Presidents Trophy a year ago, having rattled off wins in 17 of the past 20 games. Their opponent on Saturday, the New York Islanders, have struggled defensively of late having allowed the second most scoring chances, most high danger scoring chances, and fifth most goals over the past ten games. If those opportunities continue to present themselves then a team playing at the level Tampa Bay currently is should have no problem taking advantage.
W – Blake Coleman ($5,500)
The season may be a lost one for the New Jersey Devils, but don’t tell that to Blake Coleman. The winger is in the middle of the best season of his career where he needs just two more goals and four assists the rest of the way to match his career highs. Perhaps the best part of his game for fantasy purposes is his propensity to shoot the buck. Over the past 25 games Coleman has racked up 108 shots, good for 4.32 per game. A total of 12 times during that stretch, he has taken five or more shots, which is the number needed to achieve the DraftKings scoring bonus. And when that bonus is met, the player already has 10 DraftKings points regardless of whether they add any goals, assists, or blocks so you can imagine how quickly the points can add up if they can find themselves on the score sheet. The Kings are bottom ten in the league in shots allowed on the road and second to last in goals allowed, so this could be a sneaky spot for a Devils team who has scored at least four goals in four of the past five games.
Nikita Zadorov D – ($2,500)
On slates like tonight when trying to jam in someone with an outrageous price tag, like Ovechkin above, punting a position may be necessary. Enter Zadorov and his DraftKings site minimum price of $2,500. Rostering a guy who has never eclipsed 20 points in a season may seem to be a stretch, but Zadorov is certainly on a bit of a hot streak. The blue liner has recorded seven points, over half of his entire season’s total, in the past five games and has averaged 11.5 DraftKings points during that span. At his price, anything above six fantasy points is a bonus and he has scored 13 DraftKings points or more in four of the past seven. Seldom will be there a player at minimum price capable of this type of production, so hopefully Zadorov has one more big night in him before retreating back into fantasy obscurity.
Goalies (Be sure to confirm goalies at Goalie Post before rostering)
Mackenzie Blackwood ($8,100)
Jacob Markstrom ($7,800)
Elvis Merzlikins ($7,400)
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.