NHL Daily Plays: Thursday, February 26th
Happy Thursday, fellow NHL DFSers! Following Wednesday’s 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 just two games in the association tonight, you may find that NHL games fill quickly, so be sure to book your contests early.
As a public service announcement, in doing a survey of the pricing for these “Daily Plays,” 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 Canucks (-210 over the Sabres) and the Predators (-160 over the Wild). The Rangers also look to be heavy favorites, but that line has yet to post. Of the eighteen teams in action, only the Senators 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
Cameron Talbot, New York Rangers – The Rangers are going to be heavy favorites playing at MSG tonight. And with one of the other heavily-favored goalies being Rob Zepp, whose defensively challenged Flyers are visiting the dreadful Leafs, Talbot (along with Eddie Lack) will being heavily-owned in cash games, especially given his beneficial salary. At $8.4K on FD (and $8.4K on DK), Talbot is just the 14th-most expensive netminder on the night (but the eighth-most expensive on DK) despite having one of the best matchups on the night. The Coyotes have lost seven straight and have scored just nine goals during those losses. The play here has to do with the simple fact that the Rangers have one of the best chances of winning on a large slate of tight matchups and, in using up just 15.3% of your cap on one player, you have room for error and can afford to give up a goal without it hurting you too much, which is unlike the case when you start an expensive goalie against a poor offensive team. Aside from a shootout loss three games ago, Talbot has won six of his seven most recent starts and he has averaged 5.71 FDP over that span. Unlike some of the more expensive options tonight, when spending $8.4K on Talbot, you have a sense of security in points. Although to hit his value target, a win is a must, as the Coyotes are averaging the 21st most shots per game in the NHL (29.3 S/GP) and the Rangers are giving up the 29.1 SA/GP.
Other Goalies To Target (Cash Games) – Pekka Rinne, Carey Price, Eddie Lack
Other Goalies To Target (Tournaments) – Corey Crawford, Jonathan Bernier, Brian Elliott
Disclaimer – Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Max Pacioretty, Joe Pavelski and Phil Kessel carry a high price tag and may also be used as you see fit.
Jeff Carter – Los Angeles Kings – The Senators roll into the Staples Center this evening following a late night bus ride from Anaheim following a 3-0 win over the Ducks, while the Kings are riding an eight-game winning streak in which they have only surrendered an average of 1.63 goals per game while scoring an average of 3.25 goals per game. During this streak, the second line and second power play unit center, who skates with Dwight King and Tyler Toffoli, has recorded ten points (4 Gs, 6 As) and has averaged 3.63 shots per game. While Ottawa has skated well over the last twelve days, as a team they are still giving up the fifth-most shots per game (32.5 SA/GP). Contrast this statistic to the Kings who are averaging the fifth-most shots per game (31.2 S/GP) and skate much better on home ice where they are 20-6-3 while the Senators are just 10-13-3 on the road. With at least one point in each of the eight game win streak, look for the Carter line to score at least one goal and notch a few assists tonight with the centerman leading the scoring.
Martin St. Louis – New York Rangers – In what should be a high-event hockey game tonight, in which the Rangers should have no trouble handling the visiting Coyotes, the Rangers’ second line RW (who skates with Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan) and first power play unit defensemen (who is paired with Dan Boyle) will start a fresh point streak after failing to register a point his last game out. With four goals and three assists in his last six games, St. Louis is now averaging .75 points per game through 59 games and has averaged 4.87 FDP over his previous six games, which includes two games in which he was held pointless. The Coyotes are carrying an atrocious seven-game losing streak and are now giving up the sixth most shots per game (32.0 SA/GP) and have the NHL’s fourth-worst penalty kill unit. The Rangers’ snipers, including St. Louis, will prove to be valuable commodities tonight as they will attack the visiting team with their sixth-most shots per game average (31.2 S/GP) which should be too much for Mike Smith, who has lost six in a row and has surrendered an average of 2.83 goals per game during his losing streak.
Zack Kassian – Vancouver Canucks – The top value play of the night skates on the right wing of the Canucks’ first line along with Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin as well as on the team’s top power play unit with the Sedin twins. That power play unit may be just league average (converting just 18.4% of its PP opportunities), but tonight it gets a crack at the NHL’s second-worst penalty kill unit in the Sabres (75.4% PK rate). With goals in three straight games and an average of 6.26 FDP per game during the goal streak, Kassian should be in line for another goal (or at least one helper) this evening as the Canucks face the Sabres. Buffalo is giving up the most goals per game (3.30 GA/GP) and are surrendering the most shots against per game (35.1 SA/GP). At near minimum price on FD and DK, Kassian is worth the roster spot as the cap flexibility he provides will allow you to roster high-priced snipers at your other forward slots.
Other Forwards To Target (Cash Games) – Daniel Sedin, Marian Hossa, Filip Forsberg, Jonathan Toews, James van Riemsdyk, Chris Kreider
Other Forwards To Target (Tournaments) – Tyler Bozak, Bryan Little, Derick Brassard, Ryan Johansen, Gustav Nyquist
Disclaimer: Shea Weber, Erik Karlsson and Dustin Byfuglien are elite fantasy defensemen and can be used with confidence.
Roman Josi – Nashville Predators – One of the toughest tasks to wrap your head around is trying to decide which of the two top Predators’ defensemen will have the biggest game on any given night. While Josi’s defensive partner, Shea Weber is a superstar, keep in mind that his price tag reflects that status. Tonight, lineup construction may not allow you to roster Weber. Instead, grab Josi who has a $1,000 cheaper price tag as compared to Weber and he has put up the better offensive numbers as of late (1 G, 3 As in his last four games) and he is averaging a slightly higher number of minutes of ice time per game (26:28 ATOI). While the Wild have started to play better hockey over the past week, they are coming off a brutal loss to the Oilers on home ice while the Preds have won two in a row. With both teams skating at a high-pace (Nashville averages the third-most shots per game and Minnesota averages the fourth-most), the home team will have the advantage with its big D-men controlling the rush up the ice which will lead to distributions and assists in a 4-1 win over the Wild. Josi should record at least one assist to go along with a minimum of two SOG.
P.K. Subban – Montreal Canadiens – It was not long ago that the Canadiens’ superstar defenseman was a pillar in the disclaimer section above. But with a down 2014-2015 campaign, Subban’s price has dropped below the $6K range where it was much of last season. At $5.4K tonight, Subban is coming off a two assist and a 7.3 FDP game in St. Louis. In fact, Subban has recorded at least one point in six of his last seven games. While all eight of his points in those games have been assists, he has averaged 3.63 FDP during those seven games primarily due to the heavy shot volume that he gets each game. The Canadiens have won two in a row and are on the road facing a Blue Jackets team that has lost three straight, which includes a loss at the hands of Montreal five days ago. Subban should be able to hit his average of shots per game against Columbus, as they are giving up the second-most shots per game in the NHL (33.1 SA/GP). Considering the Blue Jackets’ shaky goaltending, the Habs should find a way to put four pucks in the net and Subban will continue his point streak.
Other Defensemen To Target (Cash Games) – Ryan McDonagh, Niklas Kronwall, Alex Pietrangelo, Duncan Keith
Other Defensemen To Target (Tournaments) – Andrei Markov, Mark Streit, Dan Boyle, Brent Seabrook, Fedor Tyutin