Some top-end, and bargain bin, options to use tonight in the NHL on DraftKings
As far as Thursday night slates go, this is a fairly light one with only seven games. That does not mean there is a lack of top-end, and bargain bin, options to use, however.
As with all Thursday DraftKings columns, there will be one skater listed per position, and at the opposite ends of the cost spectrum. In other words, there will be two forwards listed at $7000 or more, with the defenceman at $6000 or more, and three skaters listed at $3000 or less.
Be sure to check out the $3 entry, $45K guaranteed Sniper contest on DraftKings tonight! Enter through this link, and follow the instructions below for your chance at a $3000 top prize.
– $45,000 prize pool
– First place wins $3,000
– FREE for new users or $3 to join
– Top 3,525 scores win money guaranteed
– Starts on Thursday, December 10th at 7:30pm EST
– Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 9 spots. 8 players and 1 goalie
– Roster Format: 2 C, 3 W, 2 D, 1 G and 1 Util
Robby Fabbri (STL-C) – $2800
All told, it hasn’t been a bad rookie season so far for the Blues forward. Fabbri has eight points in 22 games so far this year, and that has been done while playing a little over 12 minutes of ice time per night. Not too bad at all.
Tonight, the Blues are hosting the Philadelphia Flyers, and while Fabbri doesn’t get a ton of ice time, he will get a good matchup: most of the forwards outside the top-6 for the Flyers are on the ice for 30 scoring chances or more per 60 minutes at even strength. While the top half of the Flyers roster has actually fared reasonably well this year, the bottom half has been pretty bad.
Not only does Fabbri get a pretty nice matchup playing on the third line for the Blues, but he is also getting time on the second power play unit as well. While he may not get a lot of ice time, he is certainly in a prime matchup for production tonight.
Sven Andrighetto (MTL-W) – $2800
The Montreal Canadiens have had to mix up their lines a fair amount with the injury to Brendan Gallagher and waiving of Alex Semin. Last night against Boston, the Habs lined up Andrighetto on the right side of Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty. It’s safe to say that is as good as spot as it gets on the Habs.
The unfortunate part for now is that Andrighetto is not getting power play time. All the same, Andrighetto has three goals in eight games so far, and has been ascending in usage ever since his call up from the AHL. While it would be preferable to use a player getting more than 12 minutes in ice time, Andrighetto is in as good a spot as any to produce tonight, even playing back-to-back on the road.
The problem tonight is that Montreal goes into Detroit, and that team has looked different, at least by possession numbers, since the return of Pavel Datsyuk. Because it is a reasonably difficult matchup, I’d rather use Andrighetto as relief in a cash game. All the same, he may not last long on Montreal’s top line, so now is the time to take advantage of his deployment.
Mattias Ekholm (NSH-D) – $3000
I will say that tonight is not a good night to be spending down at the defence position. There are really solid matchups for guys like Kevin Shattenkirk, Mark Giordano, and another player that will be listed later. However, Mattias Ekholm has a floor that works out to about half of his price, and that’s not a bad start when discussing cheap options.
It has been an impressive third season for Ekholm, playing on likely the deepest blue line in the league. Ekholm is on pace for 25-30 points, which is a big improvement on last year’s 18 points.
Nashville is hosting the Blackhawks tonight, and in their matchup on Tuesday, Ekholm managed three shots on goal with one blocked shot, as the Predators put up 37 shots on goal. Seeing as they’re at home tonight, if Ekholm can repeat that performance, he’ll be just fine as a bargain option.
Steven Stamkos (TBL-C) – $7200
There have been rumours surrounding Steven Stamkos and his future in Tampa Bay, and while that makes nice fodder for page clicks, it’s irrelevant for DFS right now. The fact is that Stamkos is starting to play a lot more minutes – his ice time has gone up every month so far this year, and he’s now playing over 20 minutes a game like he used to. This is largely a function of the injuries, but all the same, more ice time means a higher floor.
With the increase in ice time, Stamkos has managed about a half shot more per game than he was landing in October, which is reflected in his floor. Few forwards play over 20 minutes a game, and that’s part of what makes Stamkos valuable.
Tonight, the Lightning host the Senators, and while Ottawa is a fairly bad five-on-five team, it’s the penalty kill that makes Stamkos a decent bet for a goal tonight; not only is Ottawa a bottom-10 team in penalty kill percentage, but they’re bottom-10 in scoring chances allowed while short-handed. That means their PK percentage isn’t a mirage, they’re that bad.
Blake Wheeler (WPG-W) – $7100
Winnipeg is home to Columbus tonight, and the Blue Jackets look as if they will be without Sergei Bobrovsky for the time being. He had started to play very well after a horrific start, and that’s very bad news for a Columbus team whose season is hanging by a thread.
What is nice for the top line in Winnipeg tonight is that they should be facing the Ryan Johansen line for Columbus. While Johansen is a very good point producer, he’s still not very good defensively. In fact, he’s been on the ice for more scoring chances than any other regular Jackets forwards since the start of last year, on a per minute rate. That should be good news for the Ladd-Little-Wheeler line.
Not only is Johansen not elite defensively, but Columbus is a team that gives up more power plays than most. In fact, they’re among a handful of teams that have given up over 100 power play opportunities so far this year. Not only is the top line in a good situation to produce at five-on-five, but on the penalty kill as well.
Dustin Byfuglien (WPG-D) – $6500
Between his blocked shots (36) and his shots on goal (93), Byfuglien has one of the higher floors of all the top-end defencemen. It means Byfuglien starts at 2-2.5 points every game out (on average), and that can recoup about half of his cost. That is a solid floor for an expensive d-man.
Like Wheeler, Byfuglien is in a great spot tonight, as he should be able to take advantage of the Johansen matchup, and all the power play minutes. It’s not usually a must to play an expensive defenceman, but Byfuglien seems to be an exception to that tonight. It is hard to fade him in cash games this evening.
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