NHL Daily Plays: Thursday, February 12th
Happy Thursday, fellow NHL DFSers! Following Wednesday’s small three-game slate, the NHL gives us a typically busy slate on Thursday with nine games from which we may select players for our lineups. A quick glance at the games hints that we have some fairly close matchups with just a few large favorites, so tonight will depend on how accurately you can select your goal scorers from a large slate of tight games and a few high-tempo matchups. With no NBA DFS action this evening (since there is just one game on tap prior to the All-Star break), we have some excellent prize pools up for grabs in the NHL, including the Super Goal over on FanDuel.
As a public service announcement, in doing a survey of the pricing for these “Daily Plays,” as I am sure you all know, each daily site has the players priced rather differently. As such, some of the recommended bargain plays may not be bargain plays on, for example, Victiv or DraftDay.
Before we dig into today’s daily plays, let’s examine what the current Vegas lines are telling us. Any astute daily fantasy player must be in tune to Vegas lines and over/unders as “they” always know more than we do. Our job is to interpret what these numbers mean so that we can use them in populating a DFS lineup on your favorite site. In looking at the Vegas lines, the heavy favorites are the Islanders (-210 over the Leafs), the Predators (-170 over the Jets), the Wild (-160 over the Panthers), and the Kings (-160 over the Flames). Of the eighteen teams in action, only the Penguins are playing on back-to-back nights. This is good news as most top goaltenders should be in net today. That said, similar to NBA DFS, there will be times when we will make lineup decisions based off of which teams are the most rested.
Good luck! I will online for most of the day to answer questions in the comments section below or on Twitter @TheTonyM.
Make sure to check the RotoGrinders Starting Goalies Page to confirm that the goalies listed below are starting prior to puck-drop
Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild – As of the writing of this piece, the Vegas moneyline for the Wild and Panthers game in Minnesota is sitting at -160, which makes the Wild the third largest favorite on the evening. With a tight slate of games, it would be shocking to see Dubnyk at anything more than 35% owned in cash games this evening as the next largest favorite other than the Islanders (home against the Maple Leafs) and the Predators (at home against a Jets team that plays solid hockey on the road). At $8.9K on FD (and $8.6K on DK), Dubnyk is just the 11th-most expensive netminder (but the fifth-most expensive on DK) despite having one of the best matchups on the night. The play here has to do with the simple fact that the Wild have the best chances of winning on a large slate of tight matchups and, in using up 16.2% of your cap on one player, you need a sense of confidence that your goalie will not only earn the win, but also has a shot at earning the shutout. Prior to dropping an OT game to the Jets on Tuesday, the Wild had ripped off six wins in a row while scoring 2.67 goals per game during that streak. Contrast that to the Panthers, who scored an average of just 2.13 goals per game in their last eight losses, three of which came in their last four road games. Unlike some of the more expensive options tonight, when paying up for Dubnyk, you have a sense of security in points, even without a win, as the Panthers are averaging the ninth-most shots per game in the NHL (31.2 S/GP). If you are unwilling to risk this much cap space for your goalie, select one of the cash game targets below, which are listed in the order of my preference.
Writer’s Note: If Dubnyk does not get the start tonight, pivot down to one of the cash game selections below.
Other Goalies To Target (Cash Games) – Pekka Rinne, Dustin Tokarski
Other Goalies To Target (Tournaments) – John Gibson, Jonathan Quick, Jaroslav Halak
Disclaimer – Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Max Pacioretty, John Tavares and Corey Perry carry a high price tag and may also be used as you see fit.
Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators – As the second heaviest favorite on the night, the Predators are on home ice hosting a Jets team that has been going through some internal turmoil and traded away one its top, young skaters. With Pekka Rinne back in action after missing nearly a month off, the Preds have won three in a row and scored 2.67 goals per game in that span, including two power play goals, one of which was scored by Forsberg. Forsberg is the first line and first power play unit left wing, who skates with Mike Ribeiro and Craig Smith on the first line, and with Mike Fisher and James Neal on the power play. Prior to being held pointless on Tuesday, the LW, who has fifteen power play points this season, had recorded at least one point in six straight games. Look for a 3-1 or 4-1 win by the Predators, with Forsberg’s line being involved in two of those goals.
Jason Pominville – Minnesota Wild – As a top twelve forward today, Pominville skates into tonight’s game in Minnesota against a Panthers team that has given up an average of 32.2 shots against per game over the last six games, which is an important statistic to monitor when examining Wild skaters as Minnesota averages the fourth most shots per game in the NHL this season (31.8 SF/GP). This bodes well for Pominville, a sniper with a big shot, who is averaging 3.26 shots per game this season, and more recently, five shots per game over his last four games. With goals in two straight games, Pominville comes at a steep discount to his first power play unit teammate, Zach Parise. The second line unit right winger, who plays on the top power-play unit at point, does get you exposure Nino Niederreiter and Mikko Koivu (on the second line) as well as to Parise, Koivu, Thomas Vanek and Ryan Suter on the PP. Any time that you can lock in exposure to four other forwards on a high-octane offense that is a heavy favorite according to Vegas, you should feel good spending just 11.1% of your cap to do so.
Alex Galchenyuk – Montreal Canadiens – The top value play of the night is the Canadiens’ second line left wing, who skates with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher, who also plays on the team’s second power play unit alongside Plekanec and Lars Eller. At $4,600 on FD (and $5,000 on DK with C eligibility), Galchenyuk should have no trouble returning value against the Oilers, who have a bottom ten penalty kill that is middle of the pack in the NHL this season. While the Oilers have been playing a tighter brand of hockey lately, they have been susceptible to opposing teams’ second and third lines, which is where Galchenyuk comes in. In what should be a high-scoring game, paying below $5K for a piece of the Canadiens is the right price as Galchenyuk gets you exposure to the Habs’ other top three forwards and the team’s second PP unit that should score a minimum of one goal tonight. In order to fit in your high-priced goaltender and a few superstar skaters, lock in Galchenyuk, the top value play of the night, and watch him dazzle with soft hands and immense offensive talent.
Other Forwards To Target (Cash Games) – Patric Hornqvist, Eric Staal, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jason Pominville
Other Forwards To Target (Tournaments) – Tyler Bozak, Tomas Plekanec, Alex Tanguay, Nathan Gerbe, James Neal, Steve Downie
Disclaimer: Kris Letang, Erik Karlsson and Mark Giordano are elite fantasy defensemen and can be used with confidence.
Andrei Markov – Montreal Canadiens – As of the publication of this article, the Vegas line for the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers game in Montreal has not been posted, but with Dustin Tokarski between the pipes against an Oilers team that has dropped three of their last four games and have averaged just one goal per game during those losses, look for the Canadiens to be heavily favored. On FD, it is important to pay attention to a skater’s +/- tendencies as one minus may be tough to come back from. One key in rostering defensemen is to target those who log heavy ice time, see power play time, and are less likely to earn a minus as compared to a similarly priced player. The +/- statistic for DFS hockey purposes is analogous to the late swap debate, but with Markov, you are locking in a D-man who averages 24:53 ATOI and has been performing well in the offensive zone with at least one point in three straight games (2 Gs, 2As).
Travis Hamonic – New York Islanders – At just $4,400 on FD (and $4,500 on DK), the Islanders’ D-man is now averaging about 21:33 minutes of ice time per game and comes at a $500 discount (on FD) to his teammate Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk has not been playing nearly as well as Hamonic, but he does log more ice time per game. In what should be the highest-paced game of the night, if you can only afford one piece of the Islanders’ first power play unit, grab Hamonic, who plays the point opposite Lubomir Visnovsky, and will get a shot at raking up points against the Leafs’, who are giving up the sixth-most goals per game in the NHL (3.06 GA/GP) and have lost an astronomical fourteen (of sixteen) games since the start of the new year . With at least one point in three straight games (4 As) and in six of his last eight games, Hamonic offers you a steady source of fantasy points in a high event hockey game.
Other Defensemen To Target (Cash Games) – Shea Weber, P.K. Subban, Ryan Suter
Other Defensemen To Target (Tournaments) – Nick Leddy, Tyson Barrie, Justin Faulk, Lubomir Visnovsky