Fantasy HockeyFront Office

Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: March 21st, 2017

Below we’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by player rankings for Tuesday’s 11-game evening slate of NHL contests on DraftKings and FanDuel.

As always, make sure to check Twitter for any injury news, and check LeftWingLock for starting goalies and line combos.

Game Breakdowns

Vancouver Canucks @ Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks have been an unstoppable force over the last couple of weeks, and there’s no reason to believe that success doesn’t continue tonight. The Canucks are pretty much eliminated from playoff contention, while the Blackhawks have already clinched their spot for April. It’s a mismatch on paper, and it will be the same on the ice.

Over the last 20 games, Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin have been virtually unstoppable. While captain Jonathan Toews has also found his game, the other two have taken their game to another level, which has helped Chicago soar to the top of the Western Conference. Both Kane & Panarin are expensive chalk options on this slate ($8900 and $7100 respectively on FanDuel), but you can’t go wrong with these two tonight. Build your lineup around them and good things will happen.

In goal, Corey Crawford is likely to get the start in this contest. The Canucks are ranked 16th in GF/60 on the road (5v5 adj.), which isn’t that great even if it’s considered league average. Again, Crawford is a chalk option on this slate, but with Colorado also in action tonight, most DFS players will turn to Jake Allen as their goaltender of the night, which should help drop Crawford’s ownership.

St. Louis Blues @ Colorado Avalanche

Speaking of Jake Allen, the St. Louis Blues are in Colorado tonight to take on the Avalanche. Colorado was eliminated from playoff contention back in November, so they’ve just been an easy target for DFS players to exploit. Tonight is no different. Anytime the Avalanche step on the ice, you stack the opposing team, that simple.

There is one small flaw with the Blues on the road: they can’t score goals. St. Louis is ranked 28th in GF/60 on the road, which is #NotGood. Just to give you an idea, the New Jersey Devils score more goals on the road five-on-five than the Blues. Yes the Avalanche are an  AHL team, but bad defence doesn’t mean a good offence for the other team. It’s best to limit your exposure to this game in cash games and not go all out.

That being said, if anyone is going to destroy the Avalanche tonight, it’s going to be Vladimir Tarasenko. He’s an absolute stud, and no one on that Colorado team will be able to slow him down. He’s not a cheap option to roster, so you’re going to need to get real creative to fit him into a lineup with Kane/Panarin.

To make life a little easier, Paul Stastny and Jaden Schwartz join Tarasenko on the top line and on the top power play unit. They are both below 6K on FanDuel, which makes them great bargains on this slate. Someone is going to have to feed the puck to Tarasenko, and it’s probably going to be Schwartz or Stastny.

On the blue line, Alex Pietrangelo joins the big boys on the top power play unit. He’s an option to consider in GPPs, but his price tag isn’t that appealing in cash. Everyone has their own strategy, but paying over 5K for a defenceman is not in my philosophy. Again, if you’re stacking the Hawks in cash, you’re going to need to save some salary, and paying for Pietrangelo isn’t the wise play. He’s not a bad option, but there are better bargain plays available.

As mentioned earlier, Jake Allen is going to be the chalk goalie of the night. He’s relatively expensive on FanDuel ($8800), but DFS players won’t mind that, because he’s playing Colorado and the upside of a shutout is worth the inflated price tag. Nothing wrong with using him in cash game and GPPs.

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Buffalo Sabres

There are a ton of great matchups tonight that are better than this one, but with Buffalo playing two games in two night, the penguins get a slight boost in the rankings. Besides, it’s hard to ignore the second best GF/60 team on the road.

Let’s exclude Sidney Crosby from this discussion, because we know he’s a smart play tonight. His wingers Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel are the players to be targeted in this game. Sheary’s price tag is a little high for my liking, but he’s been exceptional all season long. Guentzel is getting an opportunity to play with Sid and see some time on the second power play unit. If you can’t fit Crosby into your lineup, his wingers are excellent options to consider.

On the back end, Justin Schultz is no longer a bargain. His $6100 price tag is just not worth it. If you can fit him into your lineup, great, but don’t force the issue.

Other Options to Consider:

Calgary Flames @ Washington Capitals: The Flames have been on a tear over the last 15 games, but the Capital are never to be taken lightly. Alex Ovechkin went a handful of games without scoring a goal, but that phase has passed. Look for the Capitals to put a few past Brian Elliott in this one.

Arizona Coyotes @ Tampa Bay Lightning: The Coyotes were officially eliminated from the playoffs yesterday thanks to a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Nashville Predators. They are in Tampa Bay tonight and there’s a good chance Louis Domingue gets the nod in this contest. Nobody talks about him, but Nikita Kucherov is an elite player in the NHL, and he should be in every DFS lineup tonight. He’s the best single bullet option out there. Not a cheap option, but worth every penny.

Player Rankings

Note: Player rankings are based on projected value, not on who will score the most points.

Centers

  1. Paul Stastny– St. Louis Blues
  2. Matt Duchene–Colorado Avalanche
  3. Brayden Point–Tampa Bay Lightning
  4. Jonathan Toews–Chicago Blackhawks
  5. Sidney Crosby–Pittsburgh Penguins
  6. Phillip Danault–Montreal Canadiens
  7. Nicklas Backstrom–Washinton Capitals

Wingers

  1. Artemi Panarin–Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Jake Guentzel–Pittsburgh Penguins
  3. Jaden Schwartz–St. Louis Blues
  4. Conor Sheary–Pittsburgh Penguins
  5. Patrick Kane–Chicago Blackhawks
  6. Vladimir Tarasenko–St. Louis Blues
  7. Nikita Kucherov–Tampa Bay Lightning
  8. David Pastrnak–Boston Bruins
  9. Alex Ovechkin–Washington Capitals
  10. Alexander Radulov–Montreal Canadiens

Defenceman

  1. Justin Faulk–Carolina Hurricanes
  2. Oliver Ekman-Larsson
  3. Ivan Provorov–Philadelphia Flyers
  4. Alex Pietrangelo–St. Louis Blues
  5. Duncan Keith–Chicago Blackhawks
  6. John Carlson–Washington Capitals
  7. Justin Schultz–Pittsburgh Penguins

Goalies

  1. Jake Allen– St.Louis Blues
  2. Corey Crawford–Chicago Blackhawks
  3. Al Montoya–Montreal Canadiens (GPP only)
  4. Braden Holtby–Washington Capitals
  5. Antti Raanta–New York Rangers
  6. Andrei Vasilevskiy–Tampa Bay Lightning
  7. Devan Dubnyk–Minnesota Wild (GPP only)
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