NHL Daily Plays: Thursday, March 5th
Happy Thursday, fellow NHL DFSers! Following Wednesday’s typically small four-game slate, the NHL gives us a typically busy slate on Thursday with eight 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 (and a few games with no Vegas lines posted yet), 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,” 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 Lightning (-275 over the Leafs), Canucks (-190 over the Coyotes), Bruins (-185 over the Flames), Predators (-145 over the Islanders) and Capitals (-140 over the Wild). Of the sixteen teams in action, only the Canadiens are playing on back-to-back nights after taking a short bus trip from Anaheim to Los Angeles last night. 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
Eddie Lack – Vancouver Canucks – As of the writing of this piece, the Vegas moneyline for the Canucks and Coyotes game in Phoenix currently has Vancouver as the second biggest favorite of the night. With just one more lop-sided favorite according to Vegas and with one of those goalies being Ben Bishop, who is at risk to give up two goals on home ice against the Leafs, Lack will being heavily-owned in cash games especially given his beneficial salary. At just $6.7K on FD (and $7.0K on DK), Lack is just the 29th-most expensive netminder on the night (and the 22nd-most expensive on DK) despite having one of the best matchups on the night from a matchup viewpoint as the Coyotes have lost ten straight and have scored just fifteen goals during those losses. The play here has to do with the simple fact that the Canucks have one of the best chances of winning on a large slate of tight matchups and, in using up just 12.2% 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 an embarrassing loss three games ago in Buffalo, Lack has looked strong in filling in for Ryan Miller and is a stark contrast to AHL goalie, Jacob Markstrom, who was pulled in favor of Lack after giving up three goals on four shots against the Blues two games ago. Unlike some of the more expensive options tonight, when spending $6.7K on Lack, you have a sense of security in points, although to hit his value target a win is a must, as the Coyotes are simply a horrendous offense at the moment and struggle to even get shots on net.
Other Goalies To Target (Cash Games) – Ben Bishop, Braden Holtby, Tuukka Rask
Other Goalies To Target (Tournaments) – Jonathan Quick, Kari Lehtonen, Brian Elliott
Disclaimer – Steven Stamkos, Alexander Ovechkin, Jamie Benn, and John Tavares carry a high price tag and may also be used as you see fit.
Henrik Sedin – Vancouver Canucks – With at least one point in eight straight games, at $5.4K on FD, Henrik is a must play in cash games as his Canucks roll into Arizona as the second heaviest favorite on the night. In fact, despite scoring six goals and recording seven assists during his current eight game point streak, Henrik is actually $800 cheaper than his brother, Daniel, with whom he skates on both the first even strength line and first powerplay unit along with Zack Kassian on the right wing. Vancouver should have no trouble putting a minimum of four pucks in the net tonight against the Coyotes, who have lost ten in a row, have the fourth-worst penalty kill unit (77.4%), give up the sixth-most shots per game 32.1 SA/GP), and give up the most goals per game in the NHL (3.33 GA/GP). With the offensive clinic that the Canucks should put on tonight, you will want a piece of their top line in Henrik.
Tyler Johnson – Tampa Bay Lightning – As the heaviest favorite on the night, the Lightning host the Leafs in what should be a high-event hockey game that should have both lines of the home team scoring goals. If you want exposure to the NHL’s top goal-scoring team (3.25 G/GP) and cannot afford superstar, Steven Stamkos, look to the team’s second line center in Johnson, who skates with Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, who is $1,300 less than Stammer on FD and has recorded at least one point in four straight games and in six of his last seven games. Johnson and his second powerplay unit linemates (Palat and Ryan Callahan) will also get crucial PP time against a league average penalty kill team that has given up shorthanded goals in two straight games and in seven of their last eight games. The Lightning’s first line will score at least one goal, but the team’s second line will score the most and record the most points with its center leading the way.
Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators – Despite not recording a point in four straight games, Nashville’s third line left wing (who skates with Calle Jarnkrok and Mike Santorelli) and first powerplay unit left wing (along with Mike Fisher and James) is in play as the Predators, as a team, play far better on home ice. With a 26-5-0-1 on home ice, the Predators will try to snap a four game losing streak against the Islanders, who have dropped two straight games and four of their last six, including two in a row on the road. Even with the atrocious recent game streak, Nashville is still 8th in the NHL in goals per game (2.88 G/GP) and third in shots per game (32.1 SA/GP) and their powerplay units will get a crack at the NHL’s second-worst penalty kill unit. In this high-event game (both teams are top three in shots per game), Forsberg should be able to snap his point skid with recording at least two helpers. With an $800 price drop over the last week and a half, Forsberg should have no problem paying off his $5,300 (FD) price tag.
Other Forwards To Target (Cash Games) – Daniel Sedin, Nikita Kucherov, Radim Vrbata, Alex Steen, Jaden Schwartz, Nicklas Backstrom, Ondrej Palat
Other Forwards To Target (Tournaments) – Jannik Hansen, Jimmy Hayes, Alex Killorn, Nick Bjugstad, James Neal
Disclaimer – Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara are elite fantasy defensemen and can be used with confidence.
John Klingberg – Dallas Stars – Even with a slowly rising price tag, there are a few primary reasons to roster Klingberg tonight: for one, his defensive partner, Trevor Daley, will be out and secondly, the Panthers will likely start Dan Ellis or Sam Brittain in place of the injured, Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya. The Vegas line is currently off for the Stars and Panthers game and it will likely stay off until a goalie is confirmed, but the Stars should be able to control the pace of the game as both Dallas and Florida are in the top seven in average shots per game (both at 31.2 S/GP) and both are also in the bottom ten in shots allowed per game (30.9 SA/GP, 30.0 SA/GP, respectively). With points in two straight games, as the primary defenseman tonight, Klingberg should be able to record at least two assists against a Panthers team that has given up at least three goals per game in six of their last seven games.
Roman Josi – Nashville Predators – Whenever the Predators are on home ice, depending on their price tags, you must roster one of the team’s top two defensemen. While Josi’s defensive partner, Shea Weber logs significant ice time and can take over a game from the blue line, 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 $800 cheaper price tag as compared to Weber, and who has almost identical numbers on the season. With both teams skating at a high-pace (Nashville averages the third-most shots per game and the Islanders averaging the second-most shots per game), 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 4-2 win over the Islanders. Josi should record at least one assist to go along with a minimum of two SOG.
Other Defensemen To Target (Cash Games) – P.K. Subban, Mike Green, John Carlson, Dougie Hamilton, Jason Garrison
Other Defensemen To Target (Tournaments) – Alex Pietrangelo, Victor Hedman, Torey Krug, Johnny Boychuk