The Shot Dude: Top-Loading
It is with a heavy heart that I must admit to top-loading today.
No tears are necessary. Top-loading is using high-salary forwards and low-dollar defensemen when creating your NHL fantasy squad.
Your favorite Shot Dude usually opts for a more balanced lineup but sees the advantage in top-loading today.
This is just a suggested strategy; feel free to go in your own direction when constructing your lineup.
Your first stop should always be to examine today's matchups with the use of the Bovada data tool on our Home page:
Expect great games at FanDuel because they always deliver. Give them a try if you haven't already.
Vladimir Tarasenko, St Louis ($8100) ... currently holds the seventh spot on the NHL's shots-on-goal list for this season, having taken 200 in 56 games. Dude's almost averaging a point per game and has accumulated 11 points in 12 career games against tonight's opponent, Dallas. Time is running short for the Blues to make their move; they're sitting in third place in the Central Division, six points behind both Chicago and Dallas. I think we get a season-defining win tonight from them at home on a great performance from Tarasenko.
Jamie Benn, Dallas ($9100) ... is starting to percolate again with 6 points in his last 5 games. Dude's second in the league with 64 points so far on 180 shots in 57 games. I do like St Louis to get a home win against the Stars but favor a higher-scoring, end-to-end game. With 21 career points in 25 games against the Blues, Benn has never been truly shut down by St Louis' tough blueliners.
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington ($10,100) ... is just scorching 'way too much to exclude from my lineup these days. Dude has failed to score at least one goal in only 2 of the Caps' last 9 games! Leading the NHL in goals (35) and shots (266), Ovechkin is only left off some lineups due to his lofty salary. I don't suggest rostering low-priced d-men and goaltenders often, but it becomes necessary on nights when higher-priced talent gets good matchups and has been lighting the lamp often.
David Schlemko, New Jersey ($3700) ... has come to life offensively -- with 7 points in his last 9 games -- after only registering 9 points in the Devil's first 40 games of the season. Due to injuries to key blueliners, Schlemko has seen his playing time increase, and since he's the point man on the Devils' top power play unit, he's a great value at this price. New Jersey looks for their fourth straight win and gets home ice against Philadelphia, owners of a losing road record and who have dropped their last two contests.
Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo ($4100) ... has taken 134 shots in 57 games this season and has recorded 33 points. The dude -- or since he's a Finn, jätkä -- still makes his biggest contribution on defense, but he's making the most of the extra ice time that affords. Although Buffalo is a very young team that most consider a work in progress, it's been his all-around play that has many fans optimistic for the future of hockey in western New York. The Sabres have won their last two games and face Ottawa tonight, losers of three straight.
Robin Lehner, Buffalo ($6700) ... is coming off his best start of the season two days ago,which resulted in a 34-save, 4-1 victory over Colorado. Lehner's play this season can only be described as inconsistent, which is why he remains a risky play tonight. It's my belief that netminders go in streaks like offensive players often do, and Lehner has just entered his. Even through his spotty play, dude's maintained a .921 save percentage, and the Sabres have played their best hockey on the road. At this price, I'm rolling the dice on Lehner tonight.
Your favorite Shot Dude hopes you top-load your way to a winning fantasy night.
As always, make this a great day by giving it your best shot!
You can follow me on twitter@fsofia8.