14 games on the slate tonight, so we’ve got plenty of options available at every price point. Here’s a breakdown of my favorites.
14 games on the slate tonight, so we’ve got plenty of options available at every price point. Here’s a breakdown of my favorites.
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!
POSITIONAL CASH GAME RANKINGS
1a) Sidney Crosby, PIT (DK $7700 FD $8700) – The Penguins have the second-highest projected total on the slate, so Crosby is firmly in consideration for my cash game lineup tonight. Without Malkin in the lineup, Sid is the centerpiece of this Pittsburgh roster. He averages nearly 4 peripherals per game, so in order to hit cash value, we’re looking for either a goal (he has 23 in 50 games) or a multi-point game (of which he has 20 in 50 games).
1b) Nick Bjugstad, PIT (DK $3800 FD $4400) – If you’re not as confident in one of those two things happening, Bjugstad – who will be playing on Crosby’s wing – can be had for half the price. He’s a guy that loves to shoot the puck, and he’s got a great opportunity to play top line minutes with one of the best in the game tonight. He’s still looking for his first goal as a member of the Penguins, and what better place to do that than in Sunrise, Florida – against his old team, the Florida Panthers. NOTE: Don’t play both Crosby and Bjugstad – pick one or the other.
3) Bo Horvat, VAN (DK $6200 FD $5400) – Vancouver will be on the road tonight, but they get a matchup against a surging Blackhawks team. Although Chicago has won five straight, they still rank 30th in both shots and goals against, and ice the league’s worst PK. Horvat, who gets time on the Canucks top PP unit, has Brock Boeser back on his wing, which should lead to more assists for the 23-year-old center. I’m probably not paying $6,200 on DK, but Horvat’s value is pretty high on FD tonight.
4) Logan Couture, SJ (DK $5900 FD $6900) – While Horvat is a better FD play, I like Couture’s sub-$6k price tag on DK. Couture has points (4G 3A) in five of his last six games, after going through a five-game drought. I like this line much better with Joe Pavelski on the wing, and even with a likely matchup against Calgary’s “3M” line, and a hot goaltender in David Rittich, I can get behind using Couture for cash games tonight, with his nice floor to go with some decent upside.
5) Derek Stepan, ARI (DK $4500 FD $5600) – Another DK favorite, Derek Stepan has been shooting the puck on net seemingly every chance he gets. In his last six games, he’s averaging nearly 3 DK points per game with peripherals (SOG/BS) alone. Columbus is a team that seems to be falling apart, losers of five of their last six, and allowing nearly 4 goals against per game in this stretch. With 3 goals and 2 assists in his last seven games, there’s a bit of upside with Stepan in this one too.
6) Luke Glendening, DET (DK $3800 FD $3300) – Back to Fanduel – as you can have Bjugstad for the same price on DK – Luke Glendening has surprisingly turned into a pretty reliant cash game play. He’s right near min-price on FD, and is averaging nearly 5 peripherals per game in his last seven – that pretty much gets you to value for $3,300. Should Glendening get onto the scoresheet – and he has 2 goals and an assist in his last three – he smashes value.
1) Patrick Kane, CHI (DK $8200 FD $9200) – Kane has points in 12 straight games (10G 18A), and 19 of 20 (17G 24A in 20 games). He’s averaging 2 points per game over his last 23 – this run is reminiscent of what Nikita Kucherov did throughout the month of December. All of a sudden, the once basement-dwelling Blackhawks have won five straight – scoring 27 goals in the process – and find themselves just 3 points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They’ve got a big game tonight against the Canucks, who currently sit in the 8th and final spot – look for Kane to be Kane-like once again.
2) Alex Ovechkin, WAS (DK $7900 FD $8500) – Ovechkin and the Caps have the slate’s highest projected total. Not only does #8 provide a nice floor, but he’s one of – if not the – most dangerous goal scorer the league has ever seen. He leads the NHL with 37 this season, and seems well on his way to the 8th 50-goal season of his career. He’s the only player to even come close to breaking Wayne Gretzky’s career record of 894 goals – Ovechkin sits 250 back…I won’t be surprised if that number is lower after tonight.
3) Valentin Zykov, VGK (DK $2500 FD $3100) – Zykov was pushed up to the Vegas top line over the weekend. In his two games in that spot, he’s scored a goal and registered 8 SOG. Well, he remains min-priced, and should probably be a lock for cash games tonight, as the Golden Knights have a projected total of 3.4, facing the Red Wings in Detroit. Zykov possesses some scoring upside, and should continue to pile up shots while getting top line minutes.
4) Viktor Arvidsson, NSH (DK $7300 FD $7300) – Arvidsson has piled up 37 shots on goal in his last eight games, and has an impressive 21 goals in just 31 games played this season. Arvidsson would likely be in the same tier as Kane and Ovechkin if it weren’t for a tough matchup tonight. The Stars have allowed just 18 goals against in their last 10 games, including a 3-1 victory in Nashville this past weekend. If there’s a glimmer of hope for Nashville, it’s that Dallas is coming off a game in which they allowed 4 to the lowly Coyotes.
5) Charlie Coyle, MIN (DK $4400FD $5400) – Mikko Koivu is out for the remained of the season, after tearing his ACL in Buffalo on Tuesday night. Charlie Coyle steps into the 2nd line center role for the Wild, and we should immediately see his value jump. He is a really solid play on DK tonight for just $4,400, but I’m not even writing him off for $5,400 on FD, as there aren’t many cash options that I love in the same pricing tier. Minnesota is on home ice against an Oilers team that has been absolutely dreadful – allowing 30 goals against in six straight losses entering tonight.
6) Blake Wheeler, WPG (DK $7200 FD $7800) – Wheeler is an elite cash player on most nights, but Montreal tends to slow their opposition down, and Wheeler is priced up a little too high for me tonight. Wheeler has scored at least 2.5 DK points in ten straight games, giving him a solid floor should he fail to get onto the score sheet – something he’s done in five of his last six games. Scheifele can also be considered from this top line, but I’d lean Wheeler if given the choice.
7) Jordan Eberle, NYI (DK $5000 FD $5200) – The Islanders are 3-0 against New Jersey this season, and have outscored the Devils by a 11-4 margin in those games. For cash game lineups, Jordan Eberle is the best option from this Isles squad, as he’s averaging a peripheral floor of 2 DK points over his last five games. He has just 3 goals and 2 assists in his last ten, however, which moves him down my list a bit, despite a really nice matchup against the Devils and Cory Schneider tonight.
8) Evander Kane, SJ (DK $6300 FD $7100) – Kane has 10 goals and 9 assists in his last 15 games, after a long quiet stretch throughout the months of November and December. He’s averaging just about 5 SOG per game since early January, giving him a massive floor to fall back on. This SJ/CGY game should be one of the highest paced games on the slate, and has one of the highest projected totals as well. I don’t love targeting David Rittich when he’s in goal, but at this point, Kane has to be considered no matter the matchup.
9) Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA (DK $5600 FD $6100) – Huberdeau is a guy that averages about 4 peripherals per game, and will get onto the scoresheet more often than not. In fact, through 51 games this season, he’s playing just below a point-per-game pace (50 points). Despite having the best statistical season of his career, the 25-year-old’s shooting percentage is nearly 3 points lower than it was a season ago, leading me to believe Huberdeau still has room to improve before his season is over.
10) C.J. Smith, BUF (DK $2600 FD $3100) – Listen to these numbers: at 5v5, amongst skaters with at least 60 minutes of ice time, C.J. Smith ranks 2nd – behind only Viktor Arvidsson – in goals per 60 minutes. Amongst the same player pool, Smith ranks 6th in shots on goals per 60 minutes. This sounds like a perfect recipe for a cash-game player, and Smith can be had for just $100 over stone-cold minimum price, on both sites. Zykov is a far better option, but Smith should also be in consideration if you are looking to go with a stars and scrubs build.
1) John Carlson, WAS (DK $6200 FD $6400) – With Washington having the slate’s highest projected total, and Carlson averaging 6 peripherals per game over his last seven – he tops my defensemen rankings for tonight. The former first-round pick is playing near a point-per-game pace this season (8G 40A in 52 gms). Colorado allows over 10 SOG per game to opposing defensemen, and when these two teams met back in November, Carlson ended the night with 4 shots, 5 blocks and an assist.
2) Kris Letang, PIT (DK $6400 FD $7000) – The Penguins have a beautiful matchup against a Panthers team that ranks 29th in goals against per game (3.41). Letang skates about 28 minutes per night, which allows him to pile up peripherals – he averages nearly 5 per game. Pittsburgh has the slate’s second-highest projected total (3.5), so don’t be surprised to see Letang wind up with a point or two before the night’s over.
3) Mark Giordano, CGY (DK $6600 FD $5900) – Giordano is on a roll, with 5 goals and 9 assists in his last ten games. He’s averaging nearly 5 peripherals per game, which gives him a similar floor to guys like Carlson, Letang, Josi, etc. The Flames are projected for 3.5 goals tonight, tying them with Pittsburgh for the slate’s second-highest number. The Sharks are allowing over 5 goals against per game in their last five on the road, so Calgary has a decent chance of breaking this slate wide open tonight.
4) Shea Theodore, VGK (DK $4700 FD $4500) – Theodore is another defender that’s averaging nearly 5 peripherals per game of late. The difference, of course, is that Theodore costs about $1,500 cheaper than the other options in that group. We don’t know if Dylan Larkin is healthy, but he looks like he may go tonight, so there’s a chance he’s ineffective as he’s coming back from a muscle strain. If so, Vegas could thump the Red Wings tonight, and we’re likely to see Theodore get onto the scoresheet if that happens.
5) Ben Hutton, VAN (DK $4100 FD $3600) – With Alex Edler out, Ben Hutton takes his spot on the team’s top power play unit. In his new role, he skated nearly 30 minutes TOI, while putting up 5 peripherals and recording an assist on Tuesday night in the nation’s capital. Tonight, he’ll line up against the league’s worst PK – giving him a good chance to smash value tonight. Hutton’s price should only go up from here, at least until Edler returns, so jump in now while he’s cheap.
6) Connor Murphy, CHI (DK $3500 FD $3500) – On the other side of that contest, Connor Murphy provides salary relief if you’re looking to fit an extra stud into your lineup. Murphy is more of a floor play, with just 1 goal in his last 15 games, but he is averaging 4 peripherals per game over his last ten, so he’s getting you real close to cash value with SOG/BS alone. If he records a point, all of a sudden you’ve got a guy that’s going 1.5x for just $3,500.
7) Ivan Provorov, PHI (DK $4600 FD $4300) – Provorov continues to get 25+ minutes of ice time per game, despite TOI-hogs Gostisbehere and Sanhiem in the lineup, as well. Provorov is the best of the bunch in relations to a floor – he’s averaging nearly 2 DK points per game in his last ten – adding 4 assists to the mix. I don’t see Provorov making his way into my lineup tonight, simply because of Hutton’s value, and Murphy’s similar floor that comes at a discount. Definitely wouldn’t completely write him off though if you like the Flyers tonight.
8) Roman Josi, NSH (DK $6500 FD $6700) – Josi is a cash-game rankings staple for me, and I couldn’t bring myself to leaving him off of this list today. Josi has recorded 4+ peripherals in nine of his last ten games, and is heating up lately, with 3 goals and 7 assists in this stretch. Unfortunately for Josi, I just don’t love this matchup for the Preds tonight, as they’re facing a Dallas team that’s only allowed 18 total goals against in their last ten.
1) Anders Nilsson, OTT (DK $7700 FD $7700) – Ottawa has 52% projected odds to win, facing Anaheim tonight – who is beginning to look like one of the worst teams we’ve seen in this league in some time. The Ducks have managed just 6 goals in their last five games. With the exception of his last game, Nilsson has been solid since coming over to Ottawa, going 4-3 in his first seven starts, allowing just 17 goals against in those games. He’s projected to see 30 shots tonight, giving him some decent upside as well. NOTE: Nilsson hasn’t been confirmed just yet, please check pre-game to make sure he’s in.
2) Connor Hellebuyck, WPG (DK $7600 FD $8400) – Hellebuyck’s Jets are in Montreal tonight, in what is essentially a “pick-em” against the Habs. Hellebuyck is 3-0-1 in his last four starts, with a solid GAA under 3.00 in those games. He has a bit of upside, as the Canadiens are projected for 32 SOG tonight, so Hellebuyck is likely my goalie of choice on DK.
3) Colin Delia, CHI (DK $7800 FD $7800) – The Blackhawks have won five straight games, and enters tonight with a GAA of 2.99 – which looks pretty bad until you consider his 92.2% save percentage, and the fact the Chicago, as a whole, ranks dead-last in goals against per game. Delia has been sharp this season, and with a projected 30 shots coming his way tonight, I like the combination of his upside, his price and the Hawks 55% projected odds to win.
4) Casey DeSmith, PIT (DK $7800 FD $8000) – The Penguins have 53% projected odds to win in Sunrise tonight, and DeSmith has good upside, as he is projected to see 32 shots. He’s had a rough stretch, allowing 17 goals against in his last four starts, but Florida has managed only 6 goals in three home games since returning from their bye week, which was also when they shipped Bjugstad and McCann out of town – coincidence?