The Blues enter this game off an upset win vs. the Avalanche. The Avs were admittedly without their captain in that game, but it still speaks to the fact we probably shouldn’t discount this St. Louis team after just one subpar year. They have a healthy Vladimir Tarasenko back to begin the year and a deeper forward group than we saw at any time last season. The Coyotes project as one of the worst teams in the NHL this year and got absolute destroyed by the Blue Jackets in their opener, 8-2. The Blues are favored here, as they should be, but the odds-on offer for a puck-line cover looks too generous and likely doesn’t factor in just how bad this Coyotes team will be just yet. I like taking the big plus odds here on a Blues cover.
As mentioned above, we like this spot for the Blues offense. So targeting their top two lines and top power-play unit for some production is also a decent idea for betting. The odds on Schenn grabbing a point look the most tempting, as we’re getting plus money on a player who has averaged 0.74 points per game over the last two seasons. Schenn is centering a newly formed second line for the Blues, which includes a solid goal scorer in Pavel Buchnevich, so his assist totals in 2021 could certainly rise. He’s also still a part of the Blues power-play, one which landed a 50% success rate in its first game and was sixth in the league last year. He’s a nice Blue to target in this tasty matchup.
Top Line Stack
St. Louis Blues at Arizona Coyotes
Ryan O’Reilly ($6,300) - David Perron ($6,000) - Torey Krug ($5,000)
The Blues have to be high on your list of targets for this slate, and we can safely target their first line here without having to pay through the roof. Arizona gave up the seventh-most scoring chances against last season and make for excellent targets given they’ve also seen a clear downgrade at goalie this season. Carter Hutton allowed eight goals against in his first game while backup Karel Vejmelka has little to no experience playing at this level.
The Blues top power-play unit is undervalued many a night given they were the sixth-most efficient unit in the league last year, but the group looks really undervalued in this spot vs. the Coyotes. We can target two of their members here in Perron and O’Reilly, who correlate with even strength and special teams usage, as well. These two combined for three goals vs. Colorado, with Perron landing four SOG and a PPG, as well. Combining them with another forward like the aforementioned Brayden Schenn ($4,800) — who sees PP1 usage — is fine, but we may get better correlation with point-man Torey Krug, who had 30 assists in 51 games last year (12 of which came on the power play).
The Blues are underpriced in a great matchup. While pivoting to their third or second line with players like Schenn or Vladimir Tarasenko ($4,700) does have some merit in GPPs for ownership purposes, just paying up for their top-line players/power-play unit is truly one of the best moves you can make on this slate.
Superstar to Target
Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs ($7,200)
The Rangers head into Monday’s game vs. the Maple Leafs as +160 underdogs, but I still don’t mind targeting their top players in this situation. The Leafs’ studs are all available at over $8,000 in price on DraftKings Monday while the Rangers studs are much more affordable. Zibanejad then rates out as a nice pivot play on a slate where many will be looking at the favorites in Toronto here. Zibanejad has started the season nice with three assists and has landed four SOG in each of his last three games. Outside of Auston Matthews ($8,400), he’s the only center on this slate that is averaging over three SOG over the last 12 months, and the Leafs still ranked out with the eighth-worst penalty kill in the league last year. Zibanejad is almost always a good play when he’s priced this low, and on a slate where all eyes will be on Matthews’ return, he makes for an elite pivot in tournaments to build around.
Value on Offense
Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks at Calgary Flames ($4,300)
Silfverberg has shot off like a rocket to start the season, landing a goal and two assists for the Ducks in their first two games. He’s also landed four SOG already and comes in averaging over two SOG per game over the last year. Silfverberg suffered through an injury-plagued season last year but is one of the Ducks’ most dependable forwards, so we should even see his usage rise as the season progresses. The Ducks tends to rotate their power-play units more than most teams, and Silfverberg has already seen the ice on over 40% of the Ducks’ power-play time in 2021. Until his price rises, keep targeting him as a solid value play at forward, especially on these shorter slates where we have limited options.
Ryan Donato, Seattle Kraken at Philadelphia Flyers ($3,400)
The Kraken have a hodgepodge of forwards but no elite star. There’s certainly value in targeting some of their second lines as a result, as players like Donato are getting better opportunities than they would on deeper squads. Donato has melded well onto a third line for the Kraken, but his upside from DFS comes form the fact he’s a high-volume shooter and is now getting a shot on the first power-play unit for the undermanned Kraken. Donato saw his ice time shoot up past 15 minutes in the Kraken’s last game, and he comes in having landed at least two SOG in each of Seattle’s first three games while also averaging 2.02 SOG over the last 12 months. He’s a solid value target here against a bad defensive team in the Flyers.
Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks ($8,200)
The Flames enter this game off an embarrassing opening game loss vs. the Oilers but are in a solid bounce-back spot at home for game two. The Ducks have certainly started the season nicely, but they’re still one of the bottom teams in the league in terms of overall talent. Since the start of last season, the Ducks have the seventh-worst expected goal percentage in the league, so they’re one of the worst teams in creating solid goal-scoring chances. They also have given up the fifth-most quality chances against in that same time frame, so the Flames top two lines, where they have a clear advantage, shouldn't have much trouble getting on the board here. Markstrom is a -200 favorite, who is fairly priced at just $8,200 here and should pay if he just plays even a solid game in net Monday.
Value on Defense
Jacob Trouba, New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs ($4,400)
Trouba is seeing solid usage through his first couple and remains an integral part of their blue line. He’s not an elite point producer, but from a DFS standpoint, he does pile up the peripheral stats better than most in this range. Trouba comes in averaging an elite four SOG + blocked shots per game over the last 12 months and remains a part of the Rangers power-play rotation, having been on the ice for over 30% of the Rangers’ power-play opportunities thus far in the new season. Taking the discount here can certainly work out, as he gives you a great shot at hitting at least one bonus while also offering heightened goal opportunity on special teams.
Rasmus Andersson, Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks ($5,000)
I don’t hate targeting Andersson here at all in a solid match-up vs. the Ducks Monday for value either. He’s currently manning the point for the Flames’ first power-play unit, which only ranked 19th in the league last year, but also faces a below-average Ducks penalty kill. Six of Andersson’s 21 points last year came on the power play, so the fact he’s now slotted in this role is significant. For a player who typically doesn't push much past 20 minutes on the ice, he produces solidly in other areas and is averaging 2.92 blocked shots and SOG over the last 12 months. He’s a good stacking target if chasing the Flames top forwards on Monday.
Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes vs. St. Louis Blues ($6,500)
The Coyotes are not a great team, but they do have one fantasy stud in Jakob Chychrun, who should get a ton of usage this season since the Coyotes have limited other avenues for offensive production. Chychrun is averaging 13.2 DKFP per game and an elite 4.74 mark in blocked shots and SOG combined, over the last 12 months. While he’s gone scoreless through two games, Chychrun saw an elite 27 minutes of ice time in his last game and landed nine SOG. The Blues are certainly the better team here, but they’re not without their flaws on the defensive side. St. Louis featured the seventh-worst penalty kill in the league and was middle of the pack or slightly below average last year in goals against and scoring chances allowed.
Stacking with Chychrun will be hard to impossible this year, but paying up for the elite defenseman will still have a ton of value against weaker opponents given his elite DFS production. He looks underpriced Monday based on the long-term numbers and should have a great chance of landing his first points against a middle of the pack defensive team in St. Louis.
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