Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by player rankings for Monday’s seven-game evening slate of DraftKings contests. At the bottom of the post I’ve embedded my research chart for the day. Here is just a snippet of an old chart I’ll use to explain what you’re looking at.
First the colors. Purple/blue is amazeballs, green is great, yellow is good, orange is bad, red is awful and deep red is no effing way.
The first column that isn’t self-explanatory is the seventh one, the one that is titled ‘z’ to the right of salary. That is how far above or below average the player’s salary is compared to all other players in action today. ‘Proj.’ is a projection from numberfire.com’s rest-of-season projections, which I have cut down to a per-game basis and adjusted for matchup. The ‘z’ next to the projection is how far above or below average the projection is compared to all other players in action today. And then ‘Value’ is the projection z-score minus the player’s salary z-score.
All shot attempt numbers discussed are at even strength and score-adjusted unless otherwise noted.
And as always, make sure to check Twitter for any injury news, and check LeftWingLock for starting goalies and line combos.
Teams to Target
The best matchup of the night belongs either to the Bruins in Toronto or Winnipeg hosting Colorado. Colorado allows the most shot attempts per 60 of any team in the league, which is obviously a good thing for opposing offenses. The only question is whether Reto Berra is good enough to cover up some of those possession woes. He was covering up plenty of them for a time, but in his last three starts he has allowed four goals in each game. As for the Leafs, they were mid-pack in terms of shot attempts allowed per 60 after about 10 games, but they’ve been regressing in that department and have now allowed the sixth most shot attempts per 60 for the season. James Reimer has been playing great in net, so they’re not as good of a matchup as the Avs right now.
To pick on the Avs, you’ll want to target their second line centered by Carl Soderberg. The Soderberg line has not been as good of a possession unit as Colorado’s top line. This game will be in Winnipeg, so the Jets will largely control matchups with last change. At home the Jets have consistently matched up their top line with the opposition’s top line, so the Winnipeg second line centered by Mark Scheifele is the one to target. Scheifele is joined by Mathieu Perreault and Drew Stafford. Stafford stays with Scheifele on the second power play unit, while Perreault plays up on the top unit. If you end up using Perreault, he could be paired with Dustin Byfuglien who joins him on the top power play unit.
As for picking on the Leafs, you also want to avoid their top line. This game is in Toronto, and the Leafs also tend to match their top line up with the opposition’s top line, though they’ll also use a good fourth line checking unit against the opposition’s top guys as well. For that reason I would focus on Boston’s second and third lines. The problem is it’s hard to say what exactly is Boston’s second line. Is it the Krejci line or the Bergeron line? The Bergeon line is the better value play today, so I’m hoping they draw the better matchup. But I want to be clear that either of Boston’s top lines could end up drawing a bad matchup today. The safest bet is probably the third line with the wingers, Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly. A Spooner/Torey Krug mini-stack is probably where I’d be inclined to go with B’s today.
The next best matchups belong to St. Louis in Buffalo and Carolina in Philadelphia. Carolina played last night, and the top two lines for Philly are good possession units, so the only Canes I’d consider too seriously are the third liners, Victor Rask, Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm along with Justin Faulk who plays on the top power play unit with Rask and Lindholm. First liners Eric Staal and Kris Versteeg do have nice price tags, but I probably can’t bring myself to use them matched up with the Claude Giroux line.
As for the Blues, the spots you want to pick on with Buffalo are their second line and first defensive pair. Unfortunately, their top D pair plays with their first line, which is a good possession group. But the top D pair typically matches up with the opposition’s top power play unit, so ideally you would use St. Louis second liners who play on the top power play unit. That description only fits one man, David Backes. Backes is back on the second line after a stint on the top line, but his “demotion” may actually be a good thing in this matchup. He’ll match up with Buffalo’s second line at even strength and see the top D pair when he plays on the first power play unit. His price remains cheap despite good production on the top line, so he’s a solid value play. I would be inclined to stack him with Kevin Shattenkirk who joins him on the top power play unit.
And finally, I like Washington’s matchup with Edmonton. The Nugent-Hopkins line has been the one to pick on from a possession standpoint, and they’ve been on the ice a fair bit with Edmonton’s top D pair, which has been a bad possession pairing. That’s the quintet of Oilers you want to pick on. This game is in Washington so the Caps will largely determine the matchups, and they’ll send the Ovechkin line out against Edmonton’s top line, centered by Leon Draisaitl, the majority of the time. That means Washington’s second line, centered by Evgeny Kuznetsov, should have the better matchup. Kuznetsov has 21 points in 19 games and still hasn’t cracked the $6,000 mark in salary. He’s joined on that line by Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson. Johansson joins Kuz on the power play while Williams has been playing on the top unit lately.
- David Backes – $4,600 – St. Louis Blues
- Ryan Spooner – $3,900 – Boston Bruins
- Patrice Bergeron – $6,300 – Boston Bruins
- Mathieu Perreault – $4,000 – Winnipeg Jets
- Mark Scheifele – $4,600 – Winnipeg Jets
- Victor Rask – $4,300 – Carolina Hurricanes
- Eric Staal – $5,400 – Carolina Hurricanes
- Drew Stafford (RW) – $3,900 – Winnipeg Jets
- Brad Marchand (LW) – $5,300 – Boston Bruins
- Justin Williams (RW) – $4,800 – Washington Capitals
- Jimmy Hayes (RW) – $4,200 – Boston Bruins
- Alex Steen (LW) – $6,500 – St. Louis Blues
- Andrew Ladd (LW) – $5,200 – Winnipeg Jets
- Kris Versteeg (RW) – $3,900 – Carolina Hurricanes
- Colin Wilson (LW) – $3,400 – Nashville Predators
- Kevin Shattenkirk – $4,900 – St. Louis Blues
- Dustin Byfuglien – $6,400 – Winnipeg Jets
- Torey Krug – $5,800 – Boston Bruins
- Justin Faulk – $5,800 – Carolina Hurricanes
- Dion Phaneuf – $4,100 – Toronto Maple Leafs
- Alec Martinez – $3,500 – Los Angeles Kings
- Steve Mason – $6,800 – Philadelphia Flyers
- Michal Neuvirth* – $6,600 – Philadelphia Flyers
- Brian Elliott* – $7,100 – St. Louis Blues
- Jake Allen – $7,500 – St. Louis Blues
- Cam Ward – $6,400 – Carolina Hurricanes (GPP only)
- Eddie Lack* – $6,400 – Carolina Hurricanes (GPP only)
Goalies with an asterisk next to their name are not expected to start tonight but haven’t been ruled out, so don’t count on them playing. Any players in bold have been confirmed as the starter for the day. And players with a line through their name will not be starting tonight. Make sure you always check LeftWingLock for starting goalie updates in case I am unable to update the list throughout the day.