Flipping the Script (NHL) - Monday 3/25
I am just your average DFS player who has found a way to become profitable in a cash game setting. For most of us, DFS is a losing battle and I am here to give an easy break down of the top plays in both the NBA and NHL on larger slates.
Monday, March 25
We’re back for another week of Flipping the Script. Hopefully everyone had a great weekend and spent some quality time with family and friends. We’re on a five night win-streak after Friday’s big lineup. Hopefully you followed along, as almost every single one of my picks ended up being the top players of the night. We’ll get into the recap in a second to explain why some of the highest owned players were not on my radar. My final NBA cash-game lineup for 3/22 was as follows:
PG – Russell Westbrook (63.9)
PG – Fred VanVleet (20.9)
SG – Delon Wright (36.4)
SG – Tyler Dorsey (47.1)
SF – Kawhi Leonard (48.2)
SF – Rudy Gay (17.8)
PF – Kyle Kuzma (25)
PF – Ersan Ilyasova (23.5)
C – Jonas Valanciunas (64.3)
Recap: This was one of the slates where I honestly had zero trouble creating my lineup and sticking to what my projections were stating. I started each cash-game lineup with Russell Westbrook, Fred VanVleet, Tyler Dorsey, Kawhi Leonard, and Jonas Valanciunas. I knew Westbrook had one of the safest floors on the slate in what was going to be an uptempo and competitive game, which I then paired with VanVleet and Leonard since Kyle Lowry would not be suiting up. As I said in my article, Dorsey was going to be an automatic lock for me in my cash-games as he was going to play minutes in the low-30’s at a near minimum value and I paired him with Valanciunas with Joakim Noah being ruled out. Although VanVleet did not provide much statistically, he was 88% owned so it did not greatly affect my lineup.
To fill in the rest of my lineup I went with Delon Wright as my second shooting guard, having the complete guard stack of the Grizzlies with their expanded opportunity in a game I expected to stay relatively close. The masses went with D’Angelo Russell in the revenge game against the Lakers, as he was 59% owned in my double-ups. I personally did not have him on my radar at all with the Nets backcourt being completely healthy and Russell having seen his minutes decrease back to the low-30’s and upper-20’s. I had one of two options at shooting guard: either pay up for James Harden (who dropped 61 real points on San Antonio) or pay down with the value that was open for cheap.
After shooting guard, Rudy Gay and Kyle Kuzma were shoe-ins as they both were projected to see minutes in the low-to-mid 30’s and be involved offensively. Neither really panned out but also did not hurt my lineup. With my final spot I was tempted to follow Ivan Rabb to the pits of despair at 37% ownership and only $3,700 but I sided with Ersan Ilyasova as he was going to see more opportunity against Miami with Mirotic on the shelf and had more of a chance to be an offensive presence in a blowout.
Looking back I wish I had faded VanVleet for Spencer Dinwiddie as he was another guy that I was high on while others looked to D’Angelo Russell. JaVale McGee had the game of his life dropping 75 FDP at just $5,600, but sadly we do not have the option to play two centers on Fanduel and Valanciunas had the safer floor for both minutes and production. Overall we finished with a final score of 329.3 which was easily good enough to cash in all of my double-ups and quintuple-ups, as well as a solid return in the $1 single-entry tournament.
Tonight we have ourselves a smaller four game slate NBA slate, so I will be switching over to the NHL tonight with a nine game slate on tap. As always, if you have any questions about the NBA games tonight shoot me a message or reply in the comment section below and I will do my best to get back to you as I will still be playing a few GPP lineups.
Let’s get to today’s top NHL cash-game plays of the day.
Top Teams to Stack
1. vs. Detroit Red Wings
Tonight we have some of our best games from a DFS standpoint out on the west coast, whereas I will be prepped and ready to watch the Bruins and Lightning battle it out on the east coast. The Red Wings head into “The Tank” tonight to battle a San Jose team that is 23-8-5 at home but losers of their last five games. I fully expect the Sharks to get back in the win column tonight going up against the fourth worst scoring defense in the NHL. When looking at the top players to stack from this game I would start with Tomas Hertl ($6,500), who has put up double-digit fantasy points in eight of his last eleven games. After Hertl it becomes difficult, as guys like Logan Couture ($7,500) and Joe Pavelski ($7,500) are priced identically despite struggling to provide consistent offense. I do not mind Timo Meier ($5,700) paired with Hertl as it provides a way to get exposure to the offense without breaking the bank to do so. I also really like the top San Jose defenseman, but we will get to that in a little bit.
2. vs. Los Angeles Kings
Calgary will welcome the Kings into town tonight as the heaviest favorites on the board according to the opening Vegas lines. The Kings have struggles mightily this season, posting the second worst scoring offense and tenth worst scoring defense in the NHL. It won’t get any easier tonight as they face a Flames team that has quietly posted the second highest scoring offense in the league only behind the Tampa Bay Lightning. We face a similar issue with stacking this team as we do with the Sharks, where Johnny Gaudreau ($8,200) and Sean Monahan ($7,400) are both priced as if they have been putting up crazy numbers. However, when we look at the statistics Monahan has games of 1.6, 0, 0, 6.4, and 3.2 FDP, with a 37.6 FDP game sandwiched in as an outlier. Gaudreau also has three single-digit scoring games in his last four. The one guy who has been ridiculously consistent offensively has been Matthew Tkachuk ($6,900) who skates on the second line and top power-play. I do think that tonight could be the big coming out party for this offense and I expect these top three skaters to be heavily involved in that, so mix and match as needed to fit your salary constraints.
3. vs. Florida Panthers
Sticking with the theme of picking on the basement dwellers of the worst NHL defenses, the Maple Leafs welcome in a Panthers team that is giving up 3.32 goals-per-game, which is good for fifth worst in the NHL. The Panthers just got shellacked 7-3 on home ice against the Bruins and now get to face another high-scoring offense on the road. Looking at the line pairings for the Maple Leafs, John Tavares ($8,300) and Mitch Marner ($7,800) stand out as one of the top two-man stacks on the slate. If you have a little extra money to spend I would look at spending up to get Auston Matthews ($8,600) instead of Tavares, while still pairing him with Marner. Either way you really cannot go wrong as each of the three skaters are a solid bet to produce against a poor Florida squad.
4. vs. St. Louis Blues
I will definitely be making an effort to fill my lineup with an emphasis on the first three games I mentioned. However, I am going to briefly touch on the Golden Knights as a potential for one-off plays. Vegas has been one of the hottest offenses over the last two weeks and I felt as though I would be doing a disservice not to mention probably the hottest individual hockey player in the NHL right now, Reilly Smith ($6,400). At his price, I am not sure how I am going to not have him in my lineups despite the tough matchup against the Blues who have the sixth best scoring defense in the NHL. Over his last 20 games, Smith has scored double-digit fantasy points in 16 of those, with 11 of them being 16.5+ FDP. The craziest part of all this is that his price was at $5,300 when this run started and has only managed to go up $1,000. The Blues present a tough task for the Vegas offense, but I will be giving Smith a hard look in my cash-games tonight.
Best Plays – Reilly Smith
1. Kris Letang ($7,300) vs. New York Rangers – Letang grades out as my top defenseman tonight as he has played three games since returning from almost a month-long absence and has quickly put up a point in each of those games. With Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup, Letang will continue to be tasked with added responsibility on the offensive end of the ice. He sees a strong matchup against a weak Rangers team and should be able to get on the scoresheet again tonight.
2. Mark Giordano ($7,200) vs. Los Angeles Kings – I mentioned earlier how the top line of the Flames has been very inconsistent over the last couple weeks, but Giordano has been the one guy on the ice who has continued to carry this Calgary team. He is only the third blue-liner over 35 years old to ever eclipse 70 points and has a point in seven straight games. Look for Giordano to continue to roll tonight.
3. Brent Burns ($7,100) vs. Detroit Red Wings – Erik Karlsson is out again tonight, paving the way for Burns to lead the attack from the blue-line against a weak Red Wings defense. Burns may be my third favorite play from the top three guys, but each of them have fantastic matchups so I would make an emphasis to get at least one of them into your cash-game lineups.
1. Tony DeAngelo ($3,700) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Although the Penguins are heavy favorites, they play at one of the faster paces in the NHL which tends to lead to extra offensive opportunities for the opposing teams. DeAngelo is under $4,000, sees time on the second power-play unit, and has put up quite a few double-digit fantasy point games over the last month as the Rangers continue to evaluate for next year.
2. Deryk Engelland ($3,500) vs. St. Louis Blues – Not entirely known as a prolific blue-line scorer, Engelland has quietly put up 6+ FDP in seven of his last ten games. At the minimum price you cannot ask for much more than that, making Engelland a perfect pairing with one of those top defenseman previously mentioned.
David Rittich ($8,400) vs. Los Angeles Kings – Rittich is expected to get the start in goal tonight for the Flames and he could not ask for a better matchup. He gets to start at home where they are 25-7-5 against the second worst offense in the NHL in terms of point production. Calgary also comes into tonight’s game as the heaviest favorite according the Vegas oddsmakers. I will be watching for confirmation on Rittich, but he grades out as the top cash-game goalie of the night.
Martin Jones ($8,400) vs. Detroit Red Wings – Aaron Dell started on Friday and was downed by the Anaheim Ducks. I expect Jones to be back in goal for the Sharks tonight, despite his poor recent play. San Jose is trying to work out all of the kinks in their armor before the playoffs begin and the biggest issue of them all is Jones and his .898 save percentage. I personally do not think that Jones is a must play in cash-games as that title should go to Rittich, but if I were playing a GPP lineup Jones makes for a solid play. The Red Wings have a terrible offense and are currently projected to score the second lowest point total on the night behind the Kings. Just know that this play comes with plenty of caution as you can play David Rittich at the same exact price.
I hope all of this information helps those who have been struggling a bit and I look forward to continuing to cover both the NBA and NHL (and soon MLB!). Best of luck tonight flipping the script! As always, leave any comments or suggestions below.