We had a real solid FanDuel lineup last night with the exception of the Stars stack that was shutout by the Ducks. The Blackhawks three-man stack was productive as was value play Alex Tuch who scored a goal and an assist as well as Marc-Andre Fleury who earned a win. We were one stack away from a huge night, instead we will look forward to tonight’s 11-game slate and try for that big night this evening.
C – Auston Matthews (TOR) – $7,900 vs. NYI
It can certainly be argued that the Maple Leafs have the top matchup on the slate as they play host to the New York Islanders. The Islanders enter play sporting the league’s worst overall defense as well as the worst road defense at an ugly 3.57 goals against per game. Although they scored just one goal in Tuesday’s win over Florida, Toronto is white-hot right now after winning nine of their last 11 games. Matthews brings a solid floor and high ceiling with him considering his 27 goals and 154 shots to go along with 54 blocked shots in 54 games this season.
C – Dylan Larkin (DET) – $6,100 vs. BUF
The Red Wings should see some ownership tonight, but on an 11-game slate I don’t imagine their second line will be too highly owned so they fit real nice in this optimal lineup. Larkin has enjoyed a real nice playmaking season with 35 assists across 59 games for the season. That said, he has scored just nine goals on 151 shots. That 6% shooting percentage is well under his 8.9% career mark, so I’m actually looking for more goal scoring from the young pivot moving forward, but of course we will take the helpers when we can get them too.
W – William Nylander (TOR) – $6,300 vs. NYI
You’ll never see me roster Matthews without Nylander so here we go again with one of the league’s very best duos. Nylander has been cooled off with just one assist over his last four games, but players with this type of talent don’t stay quiet long and the Islanders have snapped cold streaks for opponents all season long. Nylander enters play with 14 goals and 46 points on 140 shots this season while I believe he and Matthews could very well have a massive game in a favorable home matchup tonight.
W – Tomas Tatar (DET) – $5,700 vs. BUF
As trade rumors continue to swirl around him, Tatar has been rather productive for the Red Wings as of late. Over his last six games, Tatar has scored four goals, including one on the power play, and added an assist for five points over that stretch. He’s up to 16 goals for the season, eight of which have come on the power play. That power play could be a big factor tonight as the Sabres enter play with the league’s 23rd-ranked road penalty kill at 76.8% for the campaign.
W – Andreas Athanasiou (DET) – $4,100 vs. BUF
I really like Athanasiou tonight at this price in a very favorable matchup. Athanasiou’s speed has the ability to give defensemen fits and a thin and weak Sabres’ defensive group will most certainly have their hands full with that speed tonight. He’s scored 11 goals and added 15 assists on a healthy 117 shots in 48 games this season as he completes a three-man 5v5 and power play stack this evening.
W – Mikko Rantanen (COL) – $6,700 vs. EDM
With the return of Nathan MacKinnon, the Colorado Avalanche finally have their big three reunited again. This trio exploded against the Canucks earlier in the week as they are set for another favorable matchup tonight in Edmonton. Grabbing a couple pieces of the opposition’s power play against the Oilers is a good idea considering Edmonton’s atrocious 56.3% penalty kill rate at home. They also own the NHL’s worst home defense at 3.59 goals against per game so let’s go ahead and roster a couple of Avalanche stars tonight.
D – Jake Gardiner (TOR) – $4,900 vs. NYI
Gardiner completes a three-man stack that is also a three-man power play stack tonight for the Leafs against the Islanders. The Toronto power play has real solid upside tonight considering they take on an Islanders road penalty kill that ranks 29th at just 70.5% for the season. Gardiner has a point in back-to-back games and has hovered around a point per game in the second half of the season so I have high hopes for this Maple Leafs’ group tonight.
D – Tyson Barrie (COL) – $5,400 vs. EDM
While we can’t expect him to repeat his five-point effort against the Canucks tonight in Edmonton, he could certainly build on that performance in another favorable matchup. With those five points, Barrie is now up to a very impressive 36 points in 45 games this season on 113 shots on goal. Three of his six goals this season have come on the power play and although Colorado’s power play is weak on the road they clearly have a nice opportunity against by far the league’s worst home penalty kill tonight.
G – Jimmy Howard (DET) – $7,700 vs. BUF
Goaltending is real interesting on tonight’s slate but I will go cheaper and turn to Red Wings’ netminder Jimmy Howard in a nice matchup against the visiting Sabres. Buffalo’s offense ranks dead least with just 2.38 goals per game for the season, a number that doesn’t stand much of a chance to improve without their top player in Jack Eichel. Howard hasn’t been all that great lately, but a win is certainly in the cards tonight against the last place Sabres on home ice.