Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by cash game and GPP rankings for today’s DraftKings contests. I’ve got discussion and rankings for both the six-game early slate and the seven-game evening slate. I have not included the normal research chart at the bottom of the post because I had a separate chart for each slate today.

Make sure to check Twitter for any injury news and line changes, and check LeftWingLock for starting goalies.

Teams to Target

Early Slate

The large slate of games on Thursday looked screwy from the get-go, and I warned in Thursday’s post that there really were no obvious plays. I missed on a ton of picks yet still cashed in my cash games because screwy nights are screwy for everyone. I didn’t luck into any GPP hits, but it was nice to see that a large number of players struggled with a difficult slate as well. Thankfully, both of today’s slates make a bit more sense.

The obvious plays in the early slate are Pittsburgh hosting Arizona and Philadelphia hosting San Jose. Both Arizona and San Jose rank top five in most Corsi events allowed per 60 over the last 20-ish games, and both teams are starting goaltenders today who own a .902 save percentage this year. Focusing primarily on those teams in cash games is the safest bet.

Assuming Evgeni Malkin ($7,500, C) is back and centering the second line for the Pens, you probably have to take advantage of his been-out-for-awhile reduced price. It’s a little uncertain who he’ll be paired with, but my best guess is Chris Kunitz ($4,400, W) and Blake Comeau ($4,200, W). I’d prefer to pair him with Kunitz, but Comeau would be fine, as would David Perron ($4,200, W) or Patric Hornqvist ($6,000, W) if he’s back in the lineup (doubtful). If Malkin is out, I’ll pivot to Sidney Crosby ($9,000, C) and one of his wingers. On the blue line, both Kris Letang ($6,000, D) and Derrick Pouliot ($2,500, D) are options depending on your budget.

As for the Flyers, the first line is really the only option with Wayne Simmonds out of the lineup. Claude Giroux ($8,700) is pretty pricey, and it may be tough (if not impossible) to work him into a lineup with an expensive Pittsburgh center. I prefer a Pens center to Giroux if you’re making that choice. Your other options to get exposure to the top line and derivatively to Giroux are his wingers, Jakub Voracek ($6,300, W) and Michael Raffl ($4,300, W), as well as Mark Streit ($4,500, D) who plays on the top power play unit with Giroux. Voracek/Streit is probably how I’ll get exposure to Philly.

The next best matchups belong to both participants of the Ducks at Islanders game. Both top lines in the game don’t represent great value, but the Getzlaf/Perry pairing is way too pricey for me. The price tags on John Tavares and Kyle Okposo aren’t as bad when combined, but you’re probably not going to be able to fit that pair in along with pricey Pens and Flyers. If you can fit in the Tavares line in some fashion, go for it, but more likely you’re going to have to go with a cheaper line. The best value is probably the Ducks’ second line centered by Ryan Kesler ($5,200, C). I’d prefer to pair him with Kyle Palmieri ($3,600, W) who joins Kesler on the second power play unit. To get some exposure to the top power play unit, I might play them along with Sami Vatanen ($4,400, D) in cash games.

Evening Slate

Once again, we’re presented with two obvious plays, Colorado hosting Buffalo and Ottawa in Toronto. Like Arizona and San Jose in the early slate, both teams allow a healthy number of pucks to be directed toward their net, and both teams have subpar goaltending. Both starting goalies for Buffalo and Toronto sport .903 save percentages this year, compared to the .902 mark shared by the goalies we’re picking on in the early slate.

Colorado’s second line centered by Ryan O’Reilly had a big game on Thursday night, so their prices are up and out of my price range for the night. I’m leaning toward the Matt Duchene line ($5,900, C). I’d prefer to pair him with Jarome Iginla ($5,900, W), but you could pair him with John Mitchell ($3,600, C) if you need salary relief.  On the blue line, Tyson Barrie ($4,500, D) is a great value, and Nick Holden ($2,700, D) is a decent cheap option if needed.

As for the Senators, both of their top two lines are options. I’d probably lean towards Kyle Turris ($6,000, C) or Mark Stone ($4,600, W), but I’m also good with Mika Zibanejad ($4,300, C) and one or both of his wingers, Bobby Ryan ($5,700, W) and Mike Hoffman ($4,800, W). If you can afford Erik Karlsson ($8,500, D), feel free to plug him in. Patrick Wiercioch ($3,300, D) is also a cheaper option on the blue line.

The other options are both participants in the Dallas at Vancouver game and St. Louis hosting Columbus. Dallas’ offense is obviously great, but they played last night, and it’s hard to trust any Stars other than Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who are both very expensive. So I’ll go with Vancouver and St. Louis at home hosting teams that played last night. The problem is that there is basically no value on either team. For Vancouver, I like the mini-stack of Nick Bonino ($4,700, C) and Radim Vrbata ($8,100, W). For St. Louis, I like the top line centered by David Backes ($6,100, C). If you can afford it, pair him with Alex Steen ($7,600, W) as his other regular winger, T.J. Oshie might be out of the lineup with an illness. Because they’re not great values, these are pairs best deployed in GPPs.

Update: Keith Kincaid is starting for the Devils, which makes Hurricanes at home interesting. I prefer the second line pair of Victor Rask ($4,000, C) and Jeff Skinner ($4,900, W), but Jordan Staal ($3,700, C) and Eric Staal ($5,900, C) are also an option. On the blue line, you can use Justin Faulk ($5,300, D) with either pair in cash games.

Player Rankings

Mini-Stacks (Early Slate)

  1. Evgeni Malkin/Chris Kunitz – Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. Sidney Crosby/David Perron – Pittsburgh Penguins
  3. Claude Giroux/Jakub Voracek – Philadelphia Flyers
  4. John Tavares/Kyle Okposo – New York Islanders
  5. Ryan Kesler/Kyle Palmieri – Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks
  6. Patrice Bergeron/David Krejci – Boston Bruins (GPP play)
  7. Tyler Johnson/Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning (GPP play)

Mini-Stacks (Evening Slate)

  1. Matt Duchene/Jarome Iginla – Colorado Avalanche
  2. Kyle Turris/Mark Stone – Ottawa Senators
  3. Phil Kessel/James van Riemsdyk – Toronto Maple Leafs
  4. Mika Zibanejad/Mike Hoffman – Ottawa Senators
  5. Mika Zibanejad/Bobby Ryan – Ottawa Senators
  6. Victor Rask/Jeff Skinner – Carolina Hurricanes
  7. David Backes/Alex Steen – St. Louis Blues (GPP play)
  8. Nick Bonino/Radim Vrbata – Vancouver Canucks (GPP play)

Defense (Early Slate)

  1. Nick Leddy – $3,200 – New York Islanders
  2. Kris Letang – $6,000 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  3. Derrick Pouliot – $2,500 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. Mark Streit – $4,500 – Philadelphia Flyers
  5. Torey Krug – $5,000 – Boston Bruins
  6. Sami Vatanen – $4,400 – Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks

Defense (Evening Slate)

  1. Tyson Barrie – $4,500 – Colorado Avalanche
  2. Nick Holden – $2,700 – Colorado Avalanche
  3. John Klingberg – $3,900 – Dallas Stars
  4. Alex Pietrangelo – $5,200 – St. Louis Blues
  5. Alexander Edler – $5,200 – Vancouver Canucks
  6. Erik Karlsson – $8,500 – Ottawa Senators

Goalies (Early Slate)

  1. Thomas Greiss – $7,100 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. Braden Holtby – $9,000 – Washington Capitals
  3. Steve Mason – $8,700 – Philadelphia Flyers
  4. Frederik Andersen – $6,900 – Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks
  5. Alex Stalock – $7,000 – San Jose Sharks

Goalies (Evening Slate)

  1. Semyon Varlamov – $7,700 – Colorado Avalanche
  2. Craig Anderson – $8,000 – Ottawa Senators
  3. Carey Price – $9,600 – Montreal Canadiens
  4. Keith Kincaid – $6,900 – New Jersey Devils
  5. Eddie Lack – $7,000 – Vancouver Canucks

Goalies with an asterisk next to their name are second on their team’s depth chart, 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 Daily Faceoff for starting goalie updates in case I am unable to update the list throughout the day.

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