Good morning everyone and welcome to volume 43 of the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Stacks! We have a cash-playable 10-game slate on this cool Saturday morning here in San Diego, California. I pride myself on having an article up early in the day so that you have time to read and then play with your children. I’ll make this quick today so sit back in your chair and enjoy!
If you are a new subscriber to our NHL Core Plays, please make sure that you are playing all of the lineups that I post on any given day. NHL is such a highly-variant sport and there is truly no telling which lineup will go off. I do have my favorites each day, but even the lineups that I may not think have massive upside sometimes, in fact, have the upside you need to take down a tournament.
The easy top stack of the night, and one that will be heavily-owned is Tampa Bay’s second line featuring Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov – Tyler Johnson. Johnson is the only one on this line that is averaging under a point per game over his last 10 games. Meanwhile, Point is averaging 1.7 points and Kucherov is averaging 2.4 points per game. Lock in Kucherov in cash games and grab a full stack of this line, plus Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos, for a power play stack. The Lightning are on the road, but they are facing a Buffalo Sabres team that is allowing the sixth-most shots against per game. Tampa Bay owns the top offense in the league so fire up the team and enjoy a high-scoring hockey game.
The second most heavily-owned stack is a little more difficult to decipher as we have the San Jose Sharks who are at home hosting an Ottawa Senators team that is the worst defensive club in the league. The team ranks dead last in goals against and shots against per game and they have the third-worst penalty kill in the league. To make matters worse, the Senators have the worst puck control numbers. Moving to the home team, San Jose’s third line (Evander Kane – Tomas Hertl – Joonas Donskoi) has looked fantastic over the past few weeks, but the majority of the DFS world may shy away from rostering a third line when they can roster a first or second line. The thought is that a “second” line or “first” line on the depth chart may skate more minutes per game. You certainly can take a look at the “second” line for the Sharks (Lukas Radil – Logan Couture – Timo Meier), and this is a smart play, but I want the line that sees minutes and shoots the puck. Yes, Donskoi is averaging under 12 minutes of ice time, but he has still averaged a point per game over his last 10 contests. Kane and Hertl see about 18-19 minutes per contest and are also averaging over a point per game. Don’t forget to add on Brent Burns as an even strength complimentary play.
We should see relatively high-ownership on the Edmonto Oilers top line (Leon Draisaitl – Connor McDavid – Alex Chiasson with Darnell Nurse) as the team is at home and is facing a visiting Arizona Coyotes team. The Coyotes are not nearly the dumpster fire that they have been in years’ past as they have buttoned up their defensive game, but the McDavid line has been special this season and it does not matter who he skates with. I love seeing him play with Draisaitl and he should be the winger that sticks with McDavid. Draisatil’s speed and talent allow McDavid to see more room on the ice.
Other Notable Stacks
The stacks I wrote about above are the ones that I project to be highly-owned. When I write “highly-owned”, on a 11-game slate that typically means ownership of about 25% in GPPs. The stacks above also tend to be expensive. So, you will need to use some of the below mentioned stacks as fillers or as one-off individual plays to complement your high-priced stacks.
The Vegas Golden Knights are a tough team to handicap this season as they are fairly balanced at the top six. They are facing a disappointing Blackhawks team in Chicago. While the William Karlsson – Max Pacioretty – Jonathan Marchessaut line is in play, I will also want exposure to the second line (Brandon Pirri – Paul Stastny – Alex Tuch).
Other lines that I want exposure to are: Dallas Stars 1 (Tyler Seguin – Alexander Radulov – Jamie Benn), Colorado Avalanche 1 (Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen – Gabriel Landeskog), Toronto Maple Leafs 1 (John Tavares – Mitch Marner – Zach Hyman).
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There were some questions in the Slack chat over the first month of the season about how to find the lines that I list as my top stacks on the Top Shelf Knucklepuck Cheat Sheet. Head over to either DailyFaceoff.com or LeftWingLock.com to see which skaters are on each of a team’s lines and then build your line stacks. For example, if you see that my top stack of the day is “PIT PP1 / 1”, look at one of the two sites listed above and you will see that the top power play unit of the Pittsburgh Penguins consists of Patric Hornqvist – Evgeni Malkin – Sidney Crosby – Kris Letang – Phil Kessel. The team’s top line features Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist. I decided to leave off the players’ names from the line stacks because of the fact that they may change before the game or after the team’s morning skate (if applicable). Both sites I mentioned are updated regularly and typically accurate. If you’re ever lost, just ask questions in our Slack chat.
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