Tonight’s nine-game slate makes for another busy night of DFS puck. Here are some of my top picks of the night to help you get started.
Nikita Kucherov ($7,700)
Kucherov is in need of a bounce back performance after being held off the scoresheet in Edmonton Monday night, and tonight’s matchup against the Canucks gives him a prime opportunity to do just that. In terms of goals allowed, Vancouver is a bottom-ten team this year both at 5v5 and on the penalty kill, a potentially explosive combination against the league’s highest scoring team. Though Jakob Markstrom has performed well of late, tonight the Canucks turn to Anders Nilsson in goal. Nilsson hasn’t won a start since November 30th and has posted an embarrassing 4.38 GAA and .887 SV% in his last seven appearances.
As the Lightning continue to shuffle their lineup, Kucherov is expected to start on the second line tonight alongside Brayden Point ($6,200) and Alex Killorn ($3,600). While Kucherov is the most attractive DFS play in the Bolts’ lineup tonight, the Canucks don’t have the forward depth necessary to match up with either of Tampa Bay’s top two lines, so there’s a few different ways you can attack this matchup. The shot production of Point and Kucherov gives the second line a more stable floor, and the price of Killorn makes the full stack reasonably priced. But with Killorn also being featured alongside Kucherov on the top powerplay unit, squeezing Steven Stamkos ($7,200) into this stack could certainly pay huge dividends as well.
Mathew Barzal ($6,400)
With the Islanders set to take on the Sabres tonight, you can expect John Tavares to receive plenty of attention from DFS players and Buffalo’s coaching staff alike. As a result, most likely flying under the radar tonight will be Barzal and the Islanders’ recently renovated second line. Since Anders Lee was slotted onto the second line alongside Barzal and Jordan Eberle, the three have been nothing but productive at even strength, posting a 57.47 CF% at 5v5.
Despite the line combining for 23 shots in just the last two games, they’ve yet to find the back of the net, fueling a misconception that Barzal has struggled under its new look. This should be a high-event game; both of these teams give up a ton of shots. With his speed, Barzal should have no problem getting up and down against the Sabres inept defense all night. His shot production gives him a very stable floor against an abysmal defensive team. It shouldn’t take more than a single point for Barzal to hit his value.
Erik Karlsson ($5,900)
Despite his struggles this season, Karlsson has improved his consistency in DFS formats of late, averaging 4.3 fantasy points across his last six games. It’s not too often you’ll find Karlsson priced below $6,000, and in a home matchup against an opponent travelling on a back-to-back to boot. Of course, even if they’re slightly-fatigued the Predators are still far from an ideal matchup, but Karlsson and the Senators also get the added benefit of not having to face Filip Forsberg or Pekka Rinne tonight.
Still, the Predators are not without some real players in their lineup, which is why Karlsson should be leaned on heavily tonight by Guy Boucher. His ice-time can vary significantly on a game-to-game basis, and tonight’s matchup stinks more of a 29-minute night than a 20-minute night for Karlsson. At just $5,900, the price is beyond right for that kind of usage. The Senators powerplay has been effective of late, converting at 26.3% over their last seven games. Pairing Mike Hoffman ($5,700) with Karlsson could make for a decent powerplay stack.