NHL Breakdown – 11/3/16
After last night’s 3-game affair, we are back tonight with another huge 12 game slate. With so many games on tap there are several places to look for offense with the Sharks, Capitals, Blackhawks and Rangers being the biggest favorites and likely the most popular in DFS. I will take a look at the stronger plays from those games as well as some high upside options from the lower owned games.
Edmonton Oilers at New York Rangers
The Edmonton Oilers got off to a great start this season going 7-2-1 in their first 10 games. However, most of those games were at home and against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season. They are entering a much more difficult road stretch against some of the better teams in the league starting tonight against a very powerful Rangers offense that just lit up the Lightning and Blues for 11 goals in consecutive games. The Oilers shown improvement defensively this season as their goals against per game is way down, however they still give up way too many shot attempts at even strength and on the penalty kill. The Rangers offense is very deep and balanced which makes them a difficult team to figure out exactly where the offense is going to come from on any given night. As a result I think it is smart to have some exposure to both of their top two lines in this one. The top line of Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello have been the most dominant line from a puck possession standpoint and have recently been matched up pretty evenly against opposing teams top three lines. The second line of Rick Nash, Derek Stepan and Jimmy Vesey have exclusively matched up against opposing teams’ second lines recently and that is the best matchup as the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins line has been the worst possession line for the Oilers. Both lines can be played as a full stack as they stay together on the power-play, but I think the Stepan line will be the lower owned of the two. Given the even strength matchup and the ownership, I think I will slightly favor the second line stack in this one.
On the Oilers side, they have a tough matchup in New York and are coming off a disappointing offensive showing against the Leafs. Along with all the options for offense tonight and I think that you can get superstar Connor McDavid at his lowest ownership of the whole season tonight which makes him worth a look in GPPs.
Winnipeg Jets at Washington Capitals
These two teams are playing the second leg of a home-and-home series with the Capitals winning a closely contested battle late in the first one. Despite the close contest, the Capitals are the biggest favorites on the board tonight at -225. Their offense has not been as dominant as usual in the early part of the season, but playing at home often brings out their best as they are able to get superstar Alex Ovechkin away from tough individual matchups. The Jets have not been a very good road team this season and their defense is depleted with the losses of Tyler Myers and Mark Stuart to injury. I think this is a great spot to pay up for Ovechkin as he has hat-trick upside every time he takes the ice. He can be paired with linemate Nicklas Backstrom and defenseman Jon Carlson as a mini PP stack. The other part of this offense that I am going to have exposure to tonight is Marcus Johansson who has been absolutely on fire lately. He joins the top PP unit and can be used as a one-off play, or added to the PP stack with Ovi as a way of getting differentiation in your lineups. Winger Justin Williams has had a slow start to the season but he is not a bad cheap option tonight as he gets to skate with Ovechkin and Backstrom at even strength.
Calgary Flames at San Jose Sharks
The Sharks are the second largest favorite tonight at home to a Calgary Flames squad who has played better defensively lately but still give up a lot of shots and have the 28th ranked PK unit in the league. The Sharks have been dominant at home to start this season which is a complete 180 from last year. Defenseman Brent Burns is a DFS beast as he leads the league in shots on goal and puts up huge numbers night in and night out, even when he does not find the score sheet. This makes him one of the safest cash plays in any matchup even though he carries a heavy price tag. The top PP unit of the Sharks is the main target in this one with Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture being my favorite options at forward. I like stacking either with Burns or even all three as a way to differentiate your GPP lineups as most will use Joe Thornton over Couture. Thornton is a good play as well in GPPs because of his very cheap price but he just does not shoot the puck, so he is likely to put up a zero if the assists are not there.
Nashville Predators at Arizona Coyotes
This is a great game to target tonight in GPPs since both teams have played awful defense to start the season and both are dealing with key injuries tonight so lineups will not be fully revealed until pre-game warm-ups. Center Mike Fisher of the Preds left the last game with an injury and it is unknown if he will play tonight and Martin Hanzal and Tobias Rieder are the question marks for the Coyotes. Both teams have awful penalty killing units so that is where I want to get my exposure in this one. The top line of the Predators is the safest place to look for offense in this one as James Neal, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen were reunited last game and broke out in a big way in a win over the Avalanche. They are one of my favorite stacks of the night as they play together at even strength and on the PP. They are priced much cheaper on DK than on FD so I think they make for better plays there. Defensemen Roman Josi and PK Subban are both great plays for the Preds, but I prefer Josi as he mans the top unit. Subban might step up to the top unit in place of Fisher but we are not going to find that info out until after the game starts.
If Fisher does sit, that is a nice boost for the Coyotes offense but with their injury issues they make for a tough team to stack. Their best plays are defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forwards Max Domi, Radim Vrbata and Jamie McGinn who all play together on the top PP unit.
Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders
The Flyers have been one of the better offensive teams and worst defensive teams in the early part of the season with a league worst save % from their goaltenders. The Islanders have not been much better from a defensive perspective. With the Flyers playing on a back-to-back I think the Islanders make for a great target in this one. John Tavares is always the top option for the Islanders and the winner of the game of musical chairs for his winger spot goes to Shane Prince, who now becomes the top punt play on the night. The duo is joined by underpriced winger Josh Bailey who has remained a constant on the top line and has performed quite well so far this season. All three can be stacked together as they provide excellent salary relief allowing you to fit in any other stack you like. It should be noted that Prince does not join them on the PP but at his price it should not matter.
The Flyers side is also worth looking at given their offensive prowess and the Islanders shoddy goaltending. I think their ownership will be down tonight given that it is a back-to-back for them but the top line of Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn is worth a look tonight in tournaments.