The Blue Jackets and Red Wings meet today in a clash of two teams allowing over 3.1 goals per game. The Red Wings have the league's eighth-worst penalty kill while the Blue Jackets have the 13th. The Red Wings are also the sixth-most penalized team and have allowed the third-most scoring chances against this year. The over has now hit in each of Columbus’ past five games. With the over/under at just 5.5 goals, going over here feels like the easy play of the night.
Top Line Stack
Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets
Dylan Larkin ($6,400) — Lucas Raymond ($5,100) — Tyler Bertuzzi ($6,500)
As mentioned above, the Blue Jackets really aren’t that great a defensive team and have allowed 3.66 goals against over their past six games. Columbus has a below-average penalty kill and faces a Detroit first line that ranks 10th in the league in terms of goals (per line) in the entire league. On a short slate, this Red Wings top line has even more value given they play together at both even strength and on the power play.
All three of these players have solid shot on goal rates and Larkin still rates out among the elites in the league in terms of that category as he comes into this game averaging 3.5 SOG for the year. Larkin is coming off a two-goal game against the Canadiens and the 25-year-old looks to be intent on improving his career shooting percentage this year as he’s now above 14% in that area, a mark we’d expect from an elite forward.
Raymond is the value that really makes this line work, though, as he’s playing all his minutes with the Red Wings’ top center/wing duo while still remaining affordable at just above $5,000 for DFS. Raymond is averaging just under a point per game and has hit double-digit fantasy points in three of his past six starts. The Blue Jackets have been prone to getting in high-scoring games of late and have a spotty goaltending duo, so targeting the Red Wings’ top line here feels like the right move when starting lineups for this short slate.
Superstar to Target
Oliver Bjorkstrand, Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Detroit Red Wings ($6,700)
Obviously, I like the chances for this Detroit-Columbus game to delve into a shootout and with that in mind, the price on Bjorkstrand looks well worth attacking today. The Danish-born player has had a breakout start to 2021 as he heads into this great matchup against Detroit with eight points in his past seven games and is averaging 3.25 shots on goal per game. Bjorkstrand is second on this slate at his position in terms of fantasy points per game in 2021-2022 and also ranks third in long-term CorsiFor Rating.
The Red Wings have been more competitive this year, but they maintain their status as one of the weakest defensive teams in the league. The Blue Jackets have averaged 3.75 goals over their past six games and their best offensive players need to be targeted here on this two-game slate. Bjorkstrand is where you should start when looking at options from Columbus.
Value on Offense
Jakub Voráček, Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Detroit Red Wings ($4,200)
Voráček has had a nice start to his Columbus career. The long-time Flyer has averaged a point per game and has helped solidify the Blue Jackets’ power play as a legit unit. Six of Voráček’s 12 points on the year have come with the man advantage and (as already mentioned above) the Red Wings feature a bottom-10 penalty kill and make for a great opponent for a special teams specialist like Voráček. At just $4.2K here, he’s too cheap and makes for a great way to get exposure to the Blue Jackets’ PP1.
Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders ($3,600)
The Lightning are at home tonight and have the biggest implied team total of the slate, so there’s no reason we can’t look to their forwards today, especially when good value is on offer. Cirelli is likely to suffer from some low sentiment here as he’s a low-shot volume player to begin with (1.5 shots per game) and has gone pointless in three of his past four games. Still, he’s been moved up to the top-line wing position for now alongside Brayden Point ($6,200). The Tampa Bay top-line isn't in a great matchup here against the Isles (who have the NHL’s fifth-best GAA) but even on a big slate Cirelli’s sub-$4K salary would peak out interest given his increased role. Fitting him in here as a lineup filler makes sense and a mini-stack of Tampa’s top-line also gives us good exposure to the offense with the highest implied puck total on the slate tonight.
Alex Nedeljkovic, Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets ($7,600)
When we look at this slate, we have two very close games in terms of the odds. Both underdogs come in at +110 (as of writing) on the DraftKings Sportsbook. Without a massive favorite to hang our hat on, we should be looking to the underdog goalies here for some potentially good ownership and upside in GPPs.
Nedeljkovic has now stooped 95 of the last 102 shots he’s faced and comes in on a three-game win streak, which includes a win over the high-powered Oilers. If he starts for Detroit, targeting him here at $7,600 saves you cash but also provides access to a goalie who has averaged 33 shots against in his last three starts. The upside here with the Detroit goalie is worth taking on given the close odds on offer today between these two weaker defensive teams.
Value on Defense
Noah Dobson, New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning ($3,900)
The Islanders have limited Dobson to around 18-20 minutes per game, but it hasn't stopped the former first-round pick from being a very productive daily fantasy play. He’s averaging 4.0 blocked shots + shots on goals per game, which puts him in elite status in that category, especially given how few minutes he plays. Dobson still gets power-play exposure as well, so any type of heavy penalty game is likely going to feature him in good special teams situations. This is the kind of defenseman we like targeting under $4K, one who produces good stats in limited minutes and still gets us exposure to his team's power play. Take the savings here if you’re looking for a solid punt on defense today.
Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets at Detroit Red Wings ($6,500)
Werenski leads this slate in long-term form when it comes to shots per game at 2.68 SOG and also has the best goal rate among defensemen available to us over the past 12 months at 0.21 goals per game. He’s still anchoring the Blue Jackets’ power play and comes into this game averaging an outstanding 4.33 shots per game over his last four outings. With Werenski coming in $700 cheaper than Victor Hedman ($7,200), I’m not sure if there’s much debate about who the better points per dollar play is here. Werenski could easily break this slate if he finds a goal today and he’s shooting below his career 7.7% shooting percentage at the moment. Positive regression could come in bundles here against a weak opponent.
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