The Blues’ offense comes in rolling having now scored 20 goals in their last five games. Once a huge victim of the early season COVID outbreaks, the Blues mostly have their full roster in tact and are rolling three balanced scoring lines. They get the Canadiens today which means we should see another outburst. The line at -125 isn't ideal on this big of a total, but the current form and health of the Blues—plus the fact that they are playing the absolute worst defensive team in hockey—means the over is still the stronger play.
The Blue Jackets have played a little better of late and now only sit three points out of ninth place in the Eastern Conference with games in hand. They’ve won three of their last four games and have averaged 3.85 goals per game over their last six starts. The Blackhawks have benefited from hot goaltending of late, but they’re also 2-4 in their last six starts. They are the sixth-worst in expected goal rate and the fifth-worst in penalty kill. The productive Columbus offense is worth backing today against a weaker team like Chicago.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks
Connor McDavid ($9,300) — Zach Hyman ($4,300) — Jesse Puljujarvi ($4,200)
The Oilers have started to show better consistency of late and will be taking on a Ducks team who is playing the tail end of a back-to-back. Anaheim has allowed 3.5 goals per game over their last six starts and has shown some midseason fatigue after a hot start.
Connor McDavid has also shown some fantasy fatigue in the middle of this season, but that should lower his ownership today (in a good matchup). McDavid has averaged just 14.6 DKFP over his last 10 starts (two points below average), but he has scored five points in his last three games. He’s moved back to having Zach Hyman on his wing, and the two were very productive in spurts for Edmonton early in the year. Hyman has landed three or more shots on net in each of his last four games and grabbed goals in two of those starts. Against an Anaheim team that’s regressing defensively in a lot of areas right now, pairing Hyman with McDavid provides multi-goal upside and really brings down the cost of the stack.
Jesse Puljujarvi is also good to target when he’s this cheap. He’s gone through a bit of a slow patch of late but is still getting first-line power-play time alongside McDavid. This is a well correlated trio that offers two high-upside value options to pair with a player in McDavid who looks poised to deliver a lot of fantasy goodness against a struggling team.
Superstar to Target
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues at Montreal Canadiens ($6,400)
As mentioned above, I do think this is a good slate to pivot to the Oilers’ top center if you are paying up for a star. However, there’s plenty of cheaper options to build around on this slate, and Vladimir Tarasenko should be high on your list of upper-tier values. The Russian winger has picked up his play of late, landing 11 points in his last 10 games. He has really come on in the Blues’ recent offensive explosion, landing four goals in his last four starts.
Tarasenko’s shot volume isn’t as consistent as other top forwards, but he’s also available for under 7k and has hit the DK shot bonus three times in his last 12 starts. Montreal allows the third most shots and comes in third-worst in penalty-kill efficiency. This is a great upside spot for Tarasenko to continue crushing, and his salary won’t break the rest of your roster, allowing you to pay up in other areas if need be.
Value on Offense
Dylan Cozens, Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa Senators ($3,500)
The Sabres and Senators meet up today in a battle between two of the worst defensive teams in hockey. Buffalo’s offense comes in rolling with 11 goals scored over their last two games. This is a young team that is hard to trust, but in a matchup against a team like Ottawa that allows the sixth-most shots on net, we can certainly look to top-six players like Cozens as potential values for GPP lineups. The center has averaged over 10.0 DKFP over his last 10 games and plays alongside a nice scoring winger in Victor Olofsson ($3,300) who has heated up lately.
Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers ($3,800)
The Capitals make for strong targets today as they’ll play the Flyers, who are essentially in play-out-the-string mode. Philadelphia remains a bottom-10 defensive team in penalty-kill percentage, scoring chances allowed and shots on net allowed. It’s a perfect time to target a top-line value like Wilson who skates alongside Alex Ovechkin ($9,300) and has averaged over 0.6 points per game this year. Wilson has been getting power-play minutes of late for Washington as they’re still missing key forwards due to injury. Take the sub-4k value on the feisty winger in a great matchup.
Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks at San Jose Sharks ($7,700)
The Canucks take on the struggling Sharks who have now lost six of their last seven games. San Jose has struggled to score of late and are dealing with injury issues to key offensive players, which makes this a solid matchup for any goalie right now. Demko has been very good of late for fantasy purposes and comes into this game having stopped 100 of the last 104 shots he’s faced (over the last three games).
This slate doesn’t have a ton of huge favorites on it, so it is worth noting that the Canucks are the slight favorites at -115 on the DraftKings Sportsbook, making Demko’s price look quite affordable. We should expect the Rangers’ starter to be heavily rostered at under $7,000, which will potentially leave a nice value like Demko lower owned. He’s flashed tons of upside of late and is in a very plus matchup today, making him the preferred goalie target over pretty much anyone else on the slate.
Value on Defense
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Vancouver Canucks at San Jose Sharks ($4,100)
The Canucks offense has been a lot more productive since their coaching change and are now fielding a respectable power play. While injury issues have helped, that improvement has pushed Oliver Ekman-Larsson into becoming a more productive player for fantasy purposes and a great value play.
Ekman-Larsson is now averaging 10.5 DKFP over his last 10 games and has grabbed five points alone in his last four games. The Canucks are due to get Quinn Hughes back from COVID today, but with him being out for a while (and Ekman-Larsson being so productive of late) we will likely see Ekman-Larsson still get plenty of power-play exposure against a struggling Sharks team. The value on the Swedish defenseman remains top end, and he’s a good way to bring down the overall cost of your lineup.
Power Play Defensemen
John Carlson, Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers ($6,200)
Defense is an interesting position today, as there’s no clear cut number one option. The deeper slate means there is good value in the upper echelon, and of that group, John Carlson’s affordable 6.2k salary stands out the most. Carlson has now grabbed points in four straight games with three of those being power-play assists.
The veteran is averaging a strong 4.2 blocked shots + shots on net for the Capitals in his last 10 games, and he faces a squad who allow over 34 shots per game and are near the bottom of the league in penalty-kill efficiency. The Capitals offense has been more consistent of late and the juicy matchup should push Carlson to the top of your list on defense today.
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