We made it. This will be my final NHL Cash Game Breakdown of the 2018-19 season. It’s been a long and…
Salary differences between DK & FD have gotten out of hand, so there may be times a player is much more cash-game-viable on one site than the other. In those cases, we will highlight the better site/price in GREEN. However, reading each player’s breakdown should give you an idea of how we feel about him on each site.
Be sure to read our DFS NHL FAQ that goes through the important information you’ll need to know as an Elite Fantasy NHL subscriber.
Also, the following is of the utmost importance if you want to be successful at NHL DFS…
Keep track of each team’s lines (who plays w/ whom) & goalie confirmations (who is starting). These things can change daily & are incredibly important. Below are the three best resources for keeping an eye on developments:
Kenneth Le’s List of Twitter Beat Writers
Goalie Confirmations (via LeftWingLock.com)
Current Line Combinations (via LeftWingLock.com)
Each team’s beat writer follows their practices & games closely. If anything important comes up (e.g. line changes, goalie confirmations, late scratches), they learn & report it earlier than any NHL or DFS site can.
LeftWingLock is our favorite source for tracking “official” goalie confirmations & checking a team’s line combinations from previous games. Be aware, though, that a team’s lines can change throughout the day: If a beat writer reports a team has made a line change during their morning skate, it’s likely those new lines will be used in that night’s game.
We made it. This will be my final NHL Cash Game Breakdown of the 2018-19 season. It’s been a long and winding road, and I hope I’ve helped you grow as a cash game player throughout the season. I’ve got one more to get through, though, and it’s a large one – 12 games on the schedule tonight! Here’s a brief overview of the slate, followed by some analysis on my favorite players with which to build your cash game lineups:
As always, I will do my best to keep the article updated to reflect any late scratches, line changes or surprise goalie confirmations. Please follow me on Twitter @RyanClifford as I will always post any updates that affect my article there, as well.
Good luck tonight!
Top Cash Plays
1) Nathan MacKinnon, COL (DK $7600 FD $8800) – MacKinnon has registered at least 4 shots on goal in 10 of his last 11 games – averaging over 5 per game. He’s dropped below a point-per-game pace in that stretch, but has a solid matchup against the Winnipeg Jets tonight – a game in which the Avs are projected for 3.1 goals. If the way the lines looked towards the end of their last game are any indication, MacKinnon will also be getting his old pal Gabriel Landeskog (also a fine cash play) back on his left wing, as well.
2) Jack Eichel, BUF (DK $7200 FD $7400) – I have a feeling the Sabres come out swinging tonight. It’s the last home game in an extremely disappointing season, Ottawa will be playing for the second consecutive night on the road, and they’ll be starting undrafted goaltender Joey Daccord tonight. Eichel has just a goal and an assist in his last six games, but is averaging over 3 DK points per game, thanks in part to his high shot volume. I’m listing Olofsson under the wingers, but I would avoid stacking Eichel and Olofsson tonight – pick one or the other.
3) Steven Stamkos, TB (DK $7400 FD $8700) – Stamkos is crushing right now. I’m trying to stay away from players playing in meaningless games, but how do you ignore #91 right now? Stamkos has 9 goals and 7 assists in his last 10 games, and has failed to reach at least 3 DK points just once in those 10. He’s averaging 4.6 peripherals per game over his last five, so there hasn’t been any slowing down for him, despite his team having secured home-ice advantage long ago.
4) Ryan O’Reilly, STL (DK $6800 FD $6800) – O’Reilly had a point in five straight games before last night. He’s piled up 18 shots on goal over his last five, and has another nice matchup tonight, on home ice against Philadelphia. The Blues have the slate’s third-highest implied total, currently sitting at 3.5, so O’Reilly makes the cut in my center rankings tonight. The Blues need this game, and should be putting a full-court press on the Flyers tonight.
Daily Dumpster Dive: Joel Eriksson-Ek, MIN (DK $2900 FD $3500) – The Bruins are scratching half of their team tonight – including their two shut-down defensemen (Chara/McAvoy), and one of their top defensive forwards (Marchand). Although I’d be more comfortable with Eriksson-Ek if Zach Parise wasn’t announced as a scratch tonight, he is still a solid value as the team’s current second-line center, playing alongside of Jason Zucker, and getting matchups against a slew of AHL-caliber Bruins.
1) Jared McCann, PIT (DK $4100 FD $4200) – McCann’s salary was $800 higher than its current mark the last time he was playing on the Pens top line. He’s back there tonight, next to Crosby and Guentzel (both fine cash plays, as well), and he’s on top of my winger rankings with a $4,100 price tag. McCann is likely to hit value with just one point tonight, but we saw him put up multiple points four times in eight games the last time he was in this position, so there is a ton of upside here, as well.
2) Alex Ovechkin, WSH (DK $7800 FD $9000) – The Caps are fighting to keep hold of the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, and host Montreal tonight. Ovechkin has face the Habs twice this season, and scored twice in each of those previous meetings. Ovechkin is averaging nearly 6 shots on goal per game over his last seven, giving us that desired combo of floor plus ceiling. This should be an entertaining game, with Montreal fighting for their playoff lives, as well.
3) Justin Williams, CAR (DK $5400 FD $5400) – Williams and the Hurricanes have the slate’s highest projected total, slated for 3.7 goals tonight, on home ice against the lowly Devils. Williams has a point in four of his last five, while averaging nearly 4 peripherals per game. He’s receiving nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game, playing on Carolina’s top line and PP1, and is known for his clutch play when the pressure is on. Carolina needs this win tonight, and I’d like Williams to be on my side in a must-win game.
4) Evander Kane, SJ (DK $6000 FD $6600) – Kane seems back to his pre-injury form. He’s piled up 21 shots on goal in his last five games, with a couple goals to show for it. The Sharks have struggled to get wins this past week, but are in Edmonton tonight. The Oilers have lost 7 of their last 9, allowing over 4 goals per game in this stretch. San Jose has a hefty total (3.5) tonight, so I’m liking Kane’s chances of getting onto the score sheet.
5) Anthony Mantha, DET (DK $5800 FD $6100) – Mantha may be the league’s hottest player at this moment. He’s registered 7 goals and 7 assists in his last six games, while averaging over 5 peripherals per game. This combination of floor and ceiling would generally land a player towards the top of my rankings, but the matchup couldn’t be worse for the Red Wings tonight. They’re in Pittsburgh, facing a Penguins team that is getting Malkin and Letang back, and will be playing in both must-win, and revenge mode. (Detroit just beat PIT 4-1 on Tuesday)
6) Victor Olofsson, BUF (DK $3800 FD $3500) – Olofsson is a kid that has been a high-volume shooter at every level he’s played in. He’s managed 13 shots on goal in his first four career NHL games, and will be facing a Senators team that allows more shots against than any other in the league. Add in the fact that he’s priced at sub-$4k, and playing alongside of Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, and you have my very interested in this kid for cash games tonight.
7) Phil Kessel, PIT (DK $5900 FD $7400) – This is more of a DK play, where Kessel is priced $1,500 cheaper than his FD tag. The Penguins need to win tonight, and are on home ice, facing a Red Wings team that just got done embarrassing them on Tuesday night. Kessel is getting Evgeni Malkin back at center, which gives him a huge boost. There’s not a huge floor here, so I’d only look at Kessel if the rest of my lineup was filled with high floor players.
8) Richard Panik, ARI (DK $3900 FD $4100) – Panik is a little cheaper, mainly due to the fact that he has just one point in his last 10 games. He is averaging 4 peripherals per game over his last five, however, and is getting nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game – skating on the Coyotes top line, with Stepan and Keller, as well as the PP1. If I need the salary savings, I’ll gladly take a 2-point floor on DK, with the potential for a lot of minutes and opportunity to put up a real point or two against Vegas tonight.
Daily Dumpster Dive: Brian Gibbons, OTT (DK $2600 FD $3600) – Umm, DraftKings: anyone home? Gibbons has piled up 4 goals and 4 assists in his last nine games, playing on the Sens “top line”, alongside of Colin White and Brady Tkachuk. Yet, his salary hasn’t moved an inch on the site. Fanduel has at least moved him up a bit (I prefer Olofsson for value on FD), but I’ve got to at least consider him on DK. There is very little consistency here, and almost no floor, but 8 points in nine games isn’t too shabby.
1) Dougie Hamilton, CAR (DK $5800 FD $6200) – Hamilton has reached 2.5+ DK points from peripherals alone, in eight of his last nine games. He’s scored 5 goals in his last eight games, and Carolina has the slate’s highest projected total tonight, as they host the Devils. I’d really like to pay up at center and defense tonight. Hamilton is high on my wish list, as a high floor player with a recent scoring touch.
2) Shea Weber, MON (DK $6200 FD $5800) – Weber is another defenseman I’d like to cram into my cash lineup tonight. He’s reach 4+ peripherals in 17 of his last 18 games – going for 5+ in 16 of those. We’re almost guaranteed a 2.5 points floor on DK, and Weber has 9 points in his last 14 games, so there is some clear upside here, as well. He’s a better value on FD, but I don’t even mind the $6,200 price tag in a must-win game for Montreal.
3) Alex Pietrangelo, STL (DK $5900 FD $6000) – Speaking of must-win games, St. Louis finds themselves in the same position tonight. They’re on home ice, hosting a Flyers team that has lost 5 of 6, and are allowing over 4 goals against per game in this stretch. Pietrangelo is, of course, the Blues top producing defenseman, getting almost 27 minutes per game TOI, and averaging nearly 5 peripherals per game in his last five.
4) Brent Burns, SJ (DK $6800 FD $7200) – Burns sort of disappeared for a bit, but seems to be back to his old self – averaging over 5 peripherals per game in his last five, and putting up 7 points in his last nine. He’s mighty expensive tonight, and I strongly prefer the two options at the top of my rankings, but you just can’t go wrong with Burns in cash games when he’s playing like this.
5) Ryan Pulock, NYI (DK $4900 FD $4400) – For a slight discount, Pulock provides a lot of the same numbers as those above him, just without the degree of consistency. He’s averaging 4.6 peripherals per game over his last 10, but has 4+ in just six of those. He’s skating nearly 24 minutes per game, and is a better FD value – definitely a name to consider if you’re needing to pinch pennies.
6) Ben Chiarot, WPG (DK $3700 FD $3600) – Chiarot has hit 2+ DK points in six of his last seven games – averaging over 4.5 peripherals per game. He’s not a guy that’s going to put up real points, but he is skating 20+ minutes per game, with Dustin Byfuglien as his partner, and has hit cash value in five of his last seven. This is strictly a floor play.
Daily Dumpster Dive: Dante Fabbro, NSH (DK $2500 FD $3500) – Personally, I’d prefer to pay down for the upside a guy like Dante Fabbro brings to the table. This kid is a highly skilled offensive-defenseman. He debuted on Saturday night, recording 3 SOG and 3 blocks. His ice time was scaled back a bit for his second game, but Nashville has a good matchup tonight, and if Fabbro gets back to 15-ish minutes, he could easily hit cash value with peripherals alone, with the upside to score an actual point or two, as well – all for the stone-cold min-price.
1) Carter Hutton, BUF (DK $7900 FD $7200) – Call it a gut feeling – or maybe it’s just my homer-ish ways – but I think Buffalo easily handles the Sens tonight. The Sabres allow the seventh-most shots against league wide, so Hutton does have some upside; but he doesn’t need that much to hit value on his $7,200 salary on Fanduel. The Sabres have 65% projected odds to win tonight, pushing Hutton to the top of my goalie rankings.
2) Matt Murray, PIT (DK $8300 FD $8800) – The Penguins are actually the largest favorite on the slate (73% projected odds), despite just losing 4-1 to these same Red Wings on Tuesday night. Malkin and Letang return for the Pens, however, and this is a must-win game for Crosby and company. Pittsburgh goalies always bring upside to the table, as the Penguins allow the sixth-most shots against league wide.
3) Thomas Greiss, NYI (DK $8000 FD $7700) – The Islanders are just slight favorites, despite playing a fairly important game in Florida. The Isles seem to be back on track, winning 4 of their last 6, allowing just 13 goals against in those six games. They still lead the league with 2.38 goals against per game – they’ve done a great job of locking things down all season long. Griess isn’t confirmed yet, so keep an eye on pre-game news to make sure he is indeed your starter tonight.
Daily Dumpster Dive: Joey Daccord, OTT (DK $6500 FD $7100) – I actually don’t mind Daccord at all tonight. He is min-priced, and playing a Sabres team that has managed to score just 8 total goals in their last six games. Buffalo has won just one game since March 2, going 1-13-2. Ottawa just beat this same Sabres team 4-0 ten days ago, and has won 2 of 3 against this team this season. We know Daccord will see a ton of shots, so there’s a lot of upside here, and frankly, he could lose a 2-1 game, and still hit cash value. My heart says Buffalo tonight, but all the data points towards Ottawa pretty soundly.