With an interesting first three days to the 2015-2016 NHL season in the books, our attention turns to a massive thirteen game slate today. On a slate this large, we suggest that you play multiple cash game lineups so that you can get enough exposure to our favored plays. Please note that because we are not playing the all-day slates, our projections and suggested plays will not cover players from the Lightning and Sabres game.
Note: All prices referenced below refer to FanDuel pricing unless otherwise noted.
Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins – $9,000 – The Pens had Friday night off and spent the day traveling from Dallas to Arizona where the Coyotes pulled off an upset of the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center last night. Tonight, we are going back to the well with the Crosby line. Yes, we are going back to the line with a center who somehow managed to go fantasy pointless. The Crosby line matches up with any Arizona line better as that line has the better puck control numbers. If stacking this line, also grab Phil Kessel who shoots at will and Chris Kunitz who has an affinity for sniping in goals from the left wing.
Artem Anisimov – Chicago Blackhawks – $3,800 – Anisimov started off the season hot in the Blackhawks first two games with a goal and four shots on goal skating on the team’s second line with Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane. The theme today is to pay for cheap exposure to superstars in order to roster other superstars. Here, we are going to pay a fraction of Patrick Kane’s price to get exposure to him as the Hawks will likely get to face backup netminder, Thomas Greiss, on the back end of a home-and-away series in which the Hawks took the first game 3-2 in OT with Kaner logging the winning goal.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Washington Capitals – $5,900 – Given the amount of games on today’s slate and the number of high-priced skaters in play, you may need to save cash at the wing position. The thought here is to pay a small price to get exposure to a superstar. In rostering Kuznetsov, you get exposure to both Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie on the team’s first even strength line as well as to the same duo as well as Marcus Johansson on the team’s first power play unit. Playing on back-to-back nights, the New Jersey Devils also struggled on the penalty kill last season and did little to improve coming into this season.
Others: Colin Wilson, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews, Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan Getzlaf
Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals – $9,500 – Ovie is our top overall play this evening as he is skating in the Capitals’ home opener and, as noted above, host a Devils’ team that is playing on back to back nights. Lock in Ovechkin in your primary cash lineup and find value at your LW and RW slots. When paying for Ovechkin, you will get a fairly safe floor as the winger will shoot the puck a ton (our model suggests upwards of four shots with an upside of seven) with more than a fifty percent chance at scoring. Other than Patric Hornqvist, no other skater tonight has a better chance at scoring. Of course, at $9.5K, you are hoping for a high ceiling and in a high-paced offense, you get that with Ovie.
Mike Hoffman – Ottawa Senators – $4,700 – At just $4,700, Hoffman is a steal against a defenseless Toronto Maple Leafs team who struggled in containing the Montreal Canadiens’ top line and will struggle against the similarly constructed Senators’ line of Hoffman, Kyle Turris and Mark Stone. Hoffman is an alternative to rostering his linemates and comes at a $300 discount to Stone and a $1,200 discount to Turris and will likely be less-owned despite handing out both of the primary assists on his line’s two goals on opening night.
Others: Rick Nash, Jamie Benn, Filip Forsberg, Daniel Sedin, Tomas Tatar
Brandon Sutter – Vancouver Canucks – $3,600 – Sutter will skate on the right wing along with Daniel and Henrik Sedin and the three linemates had a fantastic game to open the season in surprising the DFS world by shutting down the Calgary Flames upstart offense. On a night where you will want to pay up for a few superstars, you need a few value plays that will unlock those stars. In Sutter, you get cheap exposure to the Sedins, who should put a few pucks in the net tonight against a team with poor puck control statistics and play a loose style of hockey.
Mark Stone – Ottawa Senators – $5,000 – The Senators first line of Mike Hoffman, Kyle Turris and Stone recorded two goals (and six total points) in their first game and are in play tonight against a Maple Leafs team that dropped its home opener to the Habs two nights ago. Moreover, the Leafs also gave up thirty shots and while the Senators tend to cycle the puck before shooting, they should be able to play a more open brand of hockey tonight against the Leafs. The Senators will score three goals tonight and the Turris line should be in line for at least two of them.
Others: Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel, Jakub Voracek, Marian Hossa, Corey Perry
Jakub Kindl – Detroit Red Wings – $3,600 – The Red Wings are just -117 ML favorites tonight in Carolina and take on a Hurricanes team that played Nashville tight in their road opener and gave up just twenty-five shots, but they gave up three goals (with one shorthanded). However, Nashville played a defensive game as they tend to do at home to limit the number of shots Pekka Rinne faces. Meanwhile, the Wings shot the puck just twenty-two times, but connected on four goals with one of them coming on the power play. In rostering Kindl, you are paying a cheap price tag to get exposure to that first Wings power play unit in Justin Abdelkader, Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg. You will want some exposure to the Wings offense tonight and if you look elsewhere for your forwards, grab Kindl at just $3,600.
Seth Jones – Nashville Predators – $4,400 – If you can afford Jones’s fellow blueliners, Shea Weber and Roman Josi, then roster them, but they are each about $1,600 more expensive than Jones, who opened the season by assisting on two of the Predators three goals against the Hurricanes on opening night and one of them came on the power play. When filtering through defensemen, you want to pay attention to their ATOI (average time on ice) and Jones played just forty seconds less than Josi. At a significant savings, Jones is in play tonight.
Others: Kris Letang, Keith Yandle, Shea Weber/Roman Josi, Erik Karlsson, Kevin Shattenkirk
Braden Holtby – Washington Capitals – $9,200 – Holtby and the Capitals host the New Jersey Devils in front of an always energetic (at least when they are winning) home crowd and should have no trouble earning the all important win as Vegas has them as the heaviest favorite on the night. The creativeless Devils offense managed just twenty-one shots against the Jets last night and the Capitals defense should be able to limit the Devils from putting back any rebounds. At his high price tag you are also paying for a chance at a shutout.
Pekka Rinne – Nashville Predators – $ 9,200 – Rinne is one of the top netminders in the NHL right now and he opened up the season with a win and stopped twenty-five of twenty-six shots from the Hurricanes in Nashville. If you are playing two cash game lineups as we suggest, you should split your exposure to both Holtby and Rinne as both should get the win and both have shutout potential. Both goalies have a risk that they will face a low number of shots, but the Predators have the slightly tougher matchup in the Oilers, who do have skaters that are talented and can finish off a shot.
Others: Craig Anderson, Marc-Andre Fleury, Henrik Lundqvist, Petr Mrazek