After an Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres matinee, we are granted with an 11-game main slate on Saturday. The Montreal Canadiens, who are one point behind the Atlantic-division leading Tampa Bay Lightning, will play the Lightning on Saturday night and try to build on a surprisingly successful first 30 days of the season. The New York Islanders will attempt to win their fifth straight game when they face Taylor Hall’s (Kyle Palmieri’s?) New Jersey Devils, while the Toronto Maple Leafs will look to stay perfect away from home. And the last place Los Angeles Kings will be entertained by the Columbus Blue Jackets in La La Land to complete the night’s action. Mikko Rantanen, the NHL’s leading point scorer, and Gabriel Landeskog, the NHL’s leading goal scorer both have the night off so we’ll have to look elsewhere for some studs to lock into our lineups. Let’s take a look at a few, potential DFS targets for Saturday.
C – Ryan O’Reilly (DK $6,600, FD $6,200)
Here’s some trivia for you: What NHL player has averaged the most fantasy points per game on both DraftKings and FanDuel over the past two weeks? If you guessed Ryan O’Reilly, you’re wrong. Sorry, I couldn’t make it that easy on you considering there’s a “Ryan O’Reilly” headline directly above this paragraph. But Ryan O’Reilly has averaged the second-most fantasy points per game on both of the previously mentioned DFS sites over the past two weeks. It’s a good thing you stumbled across this article—anyone who could’ve guessed Ryan O’Reilly has been doing this well as of late is a liar.
C – Nazem Kadri (DK $5,800, FD $5,300)
It’s impossible for one to not notice how Kadri has been the beneficiary of Auston Matthews going on the IR list. Kadri has played 21:14 and 19:50 in the games that AM34 has been on the shelf, which is a significant increase in his average TOI. The Penguins can create lots of scoring opportunities, but they can also give up lots of scoring opportunities. Plugging Kadri into your lineup allows you to get some exposure to what should be an exciting Leafs/Pens game at a reasonable price.
W – Justin Williams (DK $4,700, FD $5,000)
The forward line of Williams, Staal, and Foegele has the highest CF% in the NHL so far this season with a minimum of 50 total minutes played at 5v5. Also, no line has taken more shot attempts than theirs when using the same criteria for analysis. The Canes like to shoot the puck—Williams is no exception. Mr. Game 7 recorded six shots on goal in his last game and eight shots on goal in his game previous. Playing with Aho and company on the power play only increases Williams’ desirability.
W – Drake Caggiula (DK $5,000, FD $3,900)
Anyone who gets the chance to play with Connor McDavid should always be considered. The undrafted winger out of Pickering, Ontario, doubled his season goal total as well as his point total in his last time out where he was playing on a line with McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins (one of Caggiula’s goals was shorthanded). Caggiula and the Oilers take on a Red Wings team that has been a bottom-ten NHL team this year in allowing scoring chances against per 60 minutes and high danger scoring chances against per 60 minutes. The Wings are also a bottom-ten team in shots against per 60 minutes and goals against per 60 minutes. Caggiula and the Oilers will be in play on Saturday.
W – Tomas Tatar (DK $5,400, FD $4,800)
Perhaps the Golden Knights should have given Tatar more of a look during last season’s Cinderella story. The 27-year old Slovakian is the second-highest point scorer on the Canadiens thus far. His line has also been excellent. Taking into consideration all NHL forward lines that have played a minimum of 100 minutes together at even strength, the line of Tatar, Danault, and Gallagher ranks second in both CF% and GF%. Tatar was recently replaced by Armia on Montreal’s first power-play unit, which does negatively affect his value to an extent. It may also be a tall task to ask a player to put up numbers against the powerhouse that is the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, the Lightning have given up four or more goals four times already this season including seven to the Coyotes in one outing. The Lightning will also be without Victor Hedman again on Saturday.
D – Thomas Chabot (DK $6,100, FD $4,400)
Heading into Thursday night, Thomas Chabot has averaged the third-most fantasy points per game among all NHL defensemen on both DraftKings and FanDuel over the past two weeks. Chabot then proceeded to tally two assists, five shots on goal, and three blocks against the Sabres on Thursday. The Senators aren’t a great team, but they do have some talent, mainly embodied in their big three upcoming unrestricted free agents. Hotsam Batcho’s (shoutout to @brian5or6) price is simply too low on FanDuel for what he’s been accomplishing this season and is usable on Saturday.
D – Brent Burns (DK $6,900, FD $7,200)
The San Jose Sharks began the season as Pacific Division favourites, and they are still Pacific Division favourites even though people have been expecting a slightly better showing in their first 13 games where they’ve collected six wins and seven losses. Individual fantasy production, however, does not have a direct correlation with team standings, and Brent Burns is still a great, daily play. He’s quietly been a top-two defenseman in terms of DFS production over the past couple weeks. He’s had exactly three shots on goal in each of the past six games while playing over 25 minutes per game in his last four. Brent Burns is still the fantasy beast that we’ve become accustomed to over the past several years.
D – Shea Theodore (DK $4,200, FD $4,400)
The 5.2 million dollar per year man is a viable option in Saturday’s main slate. The Carolina Hurricanes, the Golden Knights’ opponent on Saturday night, took the fewest minor penalties in the NHL last season. So far this season, they’ve taken the 14th most penalties. Not only that, they have the worst penalty kill percentage in the entire league so far. Theodore has been quarterbacking the Knights’ top power-play unit where he has been seeing an average of 4.82 minutes of power-play ice time per game over the past five games heading into Thursday night. Theodore also has a stable floor as only two players in the Golden Knights’ brief team history have more total shots per game than Theodore—one of those two players is James Neal.
- Ramblings: An Underrated Star Returns With a Bang, Goalie Controversy Thoughts, Kubalik Kontinues (Jan 20)
- Ramblings: The Amazing Ovechkin, Another Elvis Sighting, Kubalik Continues To Score (Jan 19)
- 21 Fantasy Hockey Rambles
- Top 10 Grit Producers
- Wild West: Post Christmas Trends
- Geek of the Week: Blake Goalman
- Ramblings: Updates on Schultz and Kahun; Buchnevich; Bjork; scoring rates - January 21
- Fantasy Hockey Podcast: If You Danault, Now You Know