Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: March 28, 2016
Welcome to The Fantasy Fix daily fantasy hockey strategy. Below you will find rankings and projections for tonight’s NHL action. Building a winning lineup isn’t easy, so we’ll do our best to guide you in the right direction and help you win some serious cash. With that, let’s take a look at some match-ups you should be targeting tonight.
As always, make sure to check out LeftWingLock for goalie confirmations.
All shot attempt numbers discussed are at even strength and score-adjusted unless otherwise noted.
TEAMS TO TARGET
Los Angeles Kings V. San Jose Sharks
This is our headline game for a reason, and it is not necessarily for the goaltending. San Jose still is having trouble at home as evidenced by their 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars at home on Saturday. What was a cute early season trend still has some legs as San Jose fell kind of flat against Dallas, went down three, and then could not complete the comeback.
As for Los Angeles, they had a bit of an adventure on Saturday night as they held on to beat the Edmonton Oilers in a game that looked like a possible blowout. The final score was 6-4 but this was a 5-2 game and pretty late at that. The Tyler Toffoli-Milan Lucic-Jeff Carter show was on full display in this one as they torched the Oilers secondary units early and often. Toffoli actually had a chance at the hat trick and passed it up for an empty net goal which was scored by Carter. The line had ten points overall on the night and is hot at just the right time to face San Jose.
The Sharks first line and power play will be vital if they expect to beat Los Angeles. San Jose has a defenseman in Brent Burns that has an outside chance at scoring 30 goals this year and more likely 70 points. His numbers and projections are in the holy good god category when it comes to this season and facing the Kings specifically. The goofy part is he had a mini cool off period leading to the game against Dallas. It really is a case where the bigger the game, Burns and his offensive exploits just seem to always come to light. He has five points, 17 shots, and ten scoring chances (six high danger) against Los Angeles this year. His ranking on this slate is just about immune to price sensitivity as one will see below.
San Jose’s first line will be pushed early and often by Los Angeles. The games are physical and that may lead to some boosts in penalty minutes also. If it seems these games often take a life of their own, then you would be correct. This game must feature Joe Pavelski early, often, and late. Why? The winger has eight points in four meetings against the Kings this year. In huge games like this, Pavelski tends to find the open spots and space needed to generate chances. His shots per 60 over the last four games is nearing 15 in all situations which is really good. He also has three power play goals this year against Los Angeles. Again, Joe Thornton and Thomas Hertl help a lot there but remember goals are king in daily fantasy with assists and shots (plus other categories) taking a secondary and tertiary role respectively.
Hertl is an interesting middle class play because his home split is much better than his road split. He has 27 points in 37 contests at home, including 11 goals. His match-up numbers are not great against the Kings, but the forward could be a breakout candidate tonight. Speaking of odd splits, Thornton is an intriguing case study. He has four goals at home only compared to 13 on the road. The center does not shoot more on the road oddly enough. Against Los Angeles, throw those out the window and worry more about the six points in four meetings against the rival.
Logan Couture and Anze Kopitar may be the true wildcards here. Couture often plays a hybrid second/third line at even strength then the first unit on the man advantage. The Kings have more to worry about when he is on the ice because he takes the heat off other players and can score himself. He is afraid of no one which bodes well. His biggest asset will be secondary scoring and helping create space on the power play. Then there is Kopitar, who has done everything in this business but this year just is not excelling against the Sharks (one point in four games). He does have five goals and five assists in his last ten games and Los Angeles will definitely need him in this one.
Goaltending in these games has not been horrible but understand that better options exist out there when two heavyweights face off. Jonathan Quick is 0-2 facing San Jose this year with a 4.52 GAA and .833 save percentage while Martin Jones is 2-1-1 with a 2.70 GAA and a .906 save percentage. Neither’s stat lines exactly jump out at anyone.
It will be a late night slate’s dream as these two teams play once again. Expect a little of everything and watch for a little of the unexpected, too.
Calgary Flames V. Arizona Coyotes
Lets think about this. Arizona has the hottest goalie in the game right now in Mike Smith? That is right! Smith has stopped 165 of his last 171 shots and has not had a save percentage below .931 in his last five starts. The first question to always ask here is when does the bubble burst. However, what if it doesn’t? The goalie has arguably been his most healthy in a few years.
Calgary could only dream of such a luxury. Their goaltending and team defense reminds one of a bad B horror chop shop movie. They have given up 3.31 goals a game on the road and have only won 11 times all year away from the “Sea Of Red”. Their numbers all dip dramatically. Johnny Gaudreau, who is still a solid play tonight, sees his points per game dip from 1.4 to 0.61. That is one catastrophic dip. Part of it is having the last line change so the match-ups are optimized for the diminutive winger. He is still a great player but playing on the road, the Calgary first line is often exposed for the defensive shortcomings they have.
That being said, Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and Mark Giordano are all at or above a point a game pace in March. However, they cannot still quite stop the bleeding on the other side of the equation. Coaching has few answers for that.
The good news is Arizona has not been scoring a ton lately. They have won three of their last five games while scoring and allowing just nine goals. The Coyotes have been giving up nearly 35 shots per 60 in that span. Simply it comes down to great goaltending and that will be essential for tonight. If Arizona is patient, chances will come. Shot projections even suggest that the team may be able to out shoot Calgary. Those numbers were approximately 30-26 in favor of the Coyotes.
Basically line two from Calgary which includes Michael Frolik may be a sneaky play especially if offense breaks out early which is a slight possibility. Keep an eye on the status of Shane Doan also. He should be able to go but just watch anyway. That will affect Martin Hanzal and Max Domi. The “French Connection line of Tanguay-Duclair-Vermette is another stack chance.
Colorado Avalanche V. Nashville Predators
It should be another goofy night in Nashville as Colorado travels in trying to keep its playoff hopes alive against a Nashville team that fired the kitchen sink on Columbus Saturday in a 5-1 rout. The Predators fired 27 shots in the first 20 minutes which no doubt softened up the Blue Jackets for what came later.
Colorado will be without Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon for at least the next two games. That is just a huge part of their offense which presses Blake Comeau and John Mitchell into roles they are not exactly suited for. The Avalanche already had problems generating scoring chances but in the last several games, they are 29th in the league. It is why Gabriel Landeskog has probably felt like a man on an island lately. He really is the only top talent other than Tyson Barrie on the roster. That is a big problem when the goaltending is inconsistent and the defense is questionable at best.
Nashville’s first unit power play is kind of a stack factor here. Though Colorado’s penalty kill has been around 83% this year, the Predators have converted around 21% for about the last month now. Things are heating up and either of the Preds top two lines can be looked at here. Shea Weber also has to be looked at just for his 13 power play goals which leads the entire league. On DraftKings, it is feasible to try and play Roman Josi as well. There is a lot to like here from the home team’s standpoint.
It does not mean Colorado will come out with some urgency. Yes, that has been tough to come by over the last couple games but the first periods have been pretty good. If Colorado could score an early goal, that would be a game changer. Again, who does it come from? Landeskog and Jarome Iginla have been pretty invisible. Maybe their assistance would be greatly appreciated. After that, the defense has to create more of the play but almost cannot when their scoring chances for is 27th in the league. Colorado has to just dig deep and hope Semyon Varlamov can steal a game for them. Varlamov should face 30+ shots easily and would be a contrarian goalie pick as Pekka Rinne only has a .915 save percentage in his last ten games despite going 8-1-1.
Again, it should be a wild and crazy night on the balanced slate. Something different we may do is list some value plays on Twitter so keep an eye out for that.
Rankings are price sensitive
- Ryan Johansen — Nashville Predators — $5300
- Antoine Vermette — Arizona Coyotes — $3700
- Sean Couturier — Philadelphia Flyers — $4300
- Mark Scheifele — Winnipeg Jets — $6100
- Sean Monahan — Calgary Flames — $6000
- Jeff Carter — Los Angeles Kings — $6300
- Claude Giroux — Philadelphia Flyers — $7200
- Corey Perry — Anaheim Ducks — $6500
- Nik Ehlers — Winnipeg Jets — $4300
- Patrick Maroon — Edmonton Oilers — $3800
- Michael Frolik — Calgary Flames — $4200
- James Neal — Nashville Predators — $6400
- Joe Pavelski — San Jose Sharks — $7500
- Filip Forsberg — Nashville Predators — $6900
- Alex Ovechkin — Washington Capitals — $8900
- Wayne Simmonds — Phiadelphia Flyers — $6800
- Tyson Barrie — Colorado Avalanche — $5900
- Brent Burns — San Jose Sharks — $8400
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Arizona Coyotes — $6000
- Mattias Ekholm — Nashville Predators –$ 4400
- Hampus Lindholm — Anaheim Ducks –$4800
- Shayne Gostisbehere — Philadelphia Flyers — $6300
- Radko Gudas — Philadelphia Flyers — $4500
- Mark Giordano — Calgary Flames — $7300
- Shea Weber — Nashville Predators — $6700
- Pekka Rinne — Nashville Predators — $8200
- John Gibson — Anaheim Ducks — $7800
- Steve Mason — Philadelphia Flyers — $7700
- Semyon Varlamov — Colorado Avalanche — $8200
- Chad Johnson — Buffalo Sabres — $7500
- Ryan O’Reilly — Buffalo Sabres — $4200
- William Nylander — Toronto Maple Leafs — $3900
- Ryan Johansen — Nashville Predators – $6500
- Mark Scheifele — Winnipeg Jets — $7400
- Sean Monahan — Calgary Flames — $7500
- Claude Giroux — Philadelphia Flyers — $8200
- Connor McDavid — Edmonton Oilers — $7200
- Ryan Getzlaf — Anaheim Ducks — $7600
- Blake Comeau — Colorado Avalanche — $4300
- Tyler Toffoli — Los Angeles Kings — $5300
- Michael Frolik — Calgary Flames — $4400
- James Neal — Nashville Predators — $6900
- Corey Perry — Anaheim Ducks — $7000
- Joe Pavelski — San Jose Sharks — $7900
- Patrick Maroon — Edmonton Oilers — $4800
- Nik Ehlers — Winnipeg Jets — $4700
- Ondrej Palat — Tampa Bay Lightning — $6800
- Filip Forsberg — Nashville Predators — $8400
- Johnny Gaudreau — Calgary Flames — $8300
- Alex Ovechkin — Washington Capitals — $9300
- Zach Hyman — Toronto Maple Leafs — $3900
- Jordan Oesterle — Edmonton Oilers — $3000
- Shea Theodore — Anaheim Ducks — $3700
- Radko Gudas — Philadelphia Flyers — $4300
- Hampus Lindholm — Anaheim Ducks — $4900
- Tyson Barrie — Colorado Avalanche — $4700
- Shayne Gostisbehere — Philadelphia Flyers — $5300
- Mark Giordano — Calgary Flames — $6500
- Ondrej Pavelec — Winnipeg Jets — $7700
- John Gibson — Anaheim Ducks — $7900
- Mike Smith — Arizona Coyotes — $8000
- Chad Johnson — Buffalo Sabres — $8500
- Pekka Rinne — Nashville Predators — $8900
- Martin Hanzal — Arizona Coyotes — $8500
- Rickard Rakell — Anaheim Ducks — $10,200
- Ryan Johansen — Nashville Predators — $11.000
- Joe Pavelski — San Jose Sharks — $15,500
- Mark Scheifele — Winnipeg Jets — $12,600
- Connor McDavid — Edmonton Oilers — $15.100
- Claude Giroux — Philadelphia Flyers — $15.000
- Jeff Carter — Los Angeles Kings — $13,100
- Darren Helm — Detroit Red Wings — $6000
- Oliver Bjorkstrand — Columbus Blue Jackets — $6100
- Michael Frolik — Calgary Flames–$8400
- Anthony Mantha — Detroit Red Wings — $6800
- James Neal — Nashville Predators — $13,300
- Tyler Toffoli — Los Angeles Kings — $11,800
- Filip Forsberg — Nashville Predators — $14,200
- Corey Perry — Anaheim Ducks — $13,600
- Alex Ovechkin — Washington Capitals — $17,900
- Johnny Gaudreau — Calgary Flames — $14,600
- Anthony Duclair — Arizona Coyotes — $7100
- Jordan Oesterle — Edmonton Oilers — $6300
- Shea Theodore — Anaheim Ducks — $7000
- Tyson Barrie — Colorado Avalanche — $12,000
- Radko Gudas — Philadelphia Flyers — $9100
- Shayne Gostisbehere — Philadelphia Flyers — $13,000
- Mark Giordano — Calgary Flames — $15,200
- Brent Burns — San Jose Sharks — $17,400
- Shea Weber — Nashville Predators — $13,800
- Buffalo Sabres –$15,200
- Arizona Coyotes — $14,300
- Philadelphia Flyers — $15,800
- Anaheim Ducks –$16,200
- Washington Capitals –$17,200
- Tampa Bay Lightning –$16,500
- Nashville Predators — $16,600