Brett TalleyFantasy HockeyFront Office

Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: December 1, 2015

Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by player rankings for Tuesday’s 10-game evening slate of DraftKings contests. At the bottom of the post I’ve embedded my research chart for the day. Here is just a snippet of an old chart I’ll use to explain what you’re looking at.

10-12 NHL DFS

First the colors. Purple/blue is amazeballs, green is great, yellow is good, orange is bad, red is awful and deep red is no effing way.

The first column that isn’t self-explanatory is the seventh one, the one that is titled ‘z’ to the right of salary. That is how far above or below average the player’s salary is compared to all other players in action today. ‘Proj.’ is a projection from numberfire.com’s rest-of-season projections, which I have cut down to a per-game basis and adjusted for matchup. The ‘z’ next to the projection is how far above or below average the projection is compared to all other players in action today. And then ‘Value’ is the projection z-score minus the player’s salary z-score.

All shot attempt numbers discussed are at even strength and score-adjusted unless otherwise noted.

And as always, make sure to check Twitter for any injury news, and check LeftWingLock for starting goalies and line combos.

Teams to Target

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Dallas at Calgary

Calgary is arguably the best matchup in the league for skaters as they allow the second most shots per 60 and have the worst team save percentage in the league. Colorado allows a few more shot attempts but has slightly less awful goaltending. Tonight the Flames will host the Stars who rank second in shot attempts per 60, so this could be a shot attempt fiesta for the Stars tonight.

The game is in Calgary so they’ll primarily control lineups with last change. Their second line centered by Mikael Backlund is a good defensive unit, but the Flames have not used them against top six lines in recent home games, which rules out Dallas depth lines tonight. Calgary’s third line centered by Matt Stajan has not been a good possession unit and have seen a fair bit of the opposition’s second line in recent home games. The top line centered by Sean Monahan isn’t a great possession unit, but they tend to skate with Calgary’s top defensive pair of Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie, which is a matchup you would ideally avoid.

For that reason, Jason Spezza is probably my favorite Star tonight. He should get away from Giordano/Brodie, and he’ll get some ice time with the big boys on the power play. I’m not sure either of his line mates provide a mini-stack opportunity, but he could be paired with John Klingberg, whom he joins on the top power play unit, for a mini-stack. I assume plenty of people will pay up for Dallas’ top line, and it’s hard to blame them. Patrick Sharp is especially appealing to me at his price point. But I don’t love the Giordano/Brodie matchup, which is a decent argument against that line in cash games. And they’ll be highly owned, so I’d fade them in tournaments.

Detroit home to Buffalo

Buffalo’s top two lines have actually been above average possession units this season, so I’m not overly inclined to pick on Buffalo unless they’re facing a team with some depth that can exploit Buffalo’s depth lines. Detroit happens to be one of those teams as their third line is more than useful. Detroit tends to match their top six up with the opposition’s top six at home, so it should be that third line that has the good individual matchup. Wingers Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist are both nice values and both see power play time, though not on the same unit right now. They’ll see some ice time with Mike Green (whose value I like), especially Tatar on the second power play unit.

Nashville home to Arizona

Arizona has mixed things up recently, and I think it makes them a tougher matchup. They flip-flopped right wingers in their top six and now have Anthony Duclair skating with Martin Hanzal and Tobias Rieder. All three of those guys have been very good possession players, so they’re a line to be avoided. The problem is that they’re not skating with Arizona’s top defensive pair, which would be a defensive super unit, but would also be something easy for fantasy players to avoid. Instead, the top defensive pair is skating with Antoine Vermette‘s line, which is a below average possession line.

So do you pick on the bad second D pair skating with good possession line? Or do you pick on the bad possession line skating with the top D pair? I’m probably inclined to stay away from the game completely, but Mike Fisher, Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi all have reasonable price tags and all play on the top power play unit. If you like Preds, I’d first turn to those guys.

New Jersey home to Colorado

I said the Flames were arguably the best matchup for opposing skaters, and the Avalanche are the only team you could argue is a better matchup. You want to avoid Colorado’s top line, which is a solid possession unit. You also would prefer to avoid their top D pair, who will likely skate primarily with the second line but will also see some ice with the top line. Of the two, it’s more important to avoid the top line. The game is in New Jersey where the Devils have a tendency to use their second line against the opposition’s top line. As such, New Jersey’s top line of Adam Henrique, Mike Cammalleri and Lee Stempniak are options tonight. Thank god, because New Jersey doesn’t have much scoring past that top line. The top line also stays together on the top power play unit. They could be an interesting tournament stack.

Montreal home to Columbus

Columbus can be a bit tough to pick on for two reasons. One, they tend to spread their bad possession players throughout the lineup, so there’s not an obvious line to pick on. Second, it’s always a bit tough to know which of their top six lines is considered to be their first line and which is the second. The Habs have not hosted the Jackets yet this year, so it’s tough to say exactly how they’ll choose to match up. Plus, Montreal has alternated between having their top line matchup with the opposition’s first and second lines in recent home games.

I probably prefer whichever Habs matchup primarily with the Ryan Johansen line, but it’s tough to say who that will be. My best guess is that the second line centered by Alex Galchenyuk gets the better matchup. Galchenyuk has been hot lately with a five-game point streak going in which he has seven points, including five goals in his last four games. Galchenyuk is seeing power play time with the top unit, so pairing him with PP1 defensemen in P.K. Subban or Andrei Markov is an option. A cheaper alternative is to pair him with his young line mate, Sven Andrighetto. Andrighetto isn’t seeing power play time, but he’s very, very cheap if you need salary relief.

Ottawa home to Philadelphia

Philly is similar to Buffalo in that both of their top six lines are good possession lines that I would prefer to avoid. As a result, I’m really only interested in picking on them if their opponent has three lines that do some scoring. Ottawa has that, so they’re worth a look tonight.

Ottawa’s last home game was against Philly a week-and-a-half ago, and the line that saw the most of Ottawa’s depth lines (other than their fourth) was the top line. Kyle Turris‘ line saw some time against Philly’s second line, but they got plenty of ice time against the third line. It was the second line that drew the tough assignment of the Giroux line.

All three lines scored a goal in that game, but the top line was the only one that netted two. Turris is a bit over-priced, and Bobby Ryan is priced about right. But Mark Hoffamn continues to be very under-priced. He’s playing on the second power play unit, separated from Turris and Ryan, so a mini-stack is not a necessity, but it is still an option.

Los Angeles home to Vancouver

With Vancouver going with Jacob Markstrom on the second half of a back-to-back, Kings have to be considered. The game is in LA, so the Kings will largely control matchups. The Cancuks to target are their third line centered by Bo Horvat and their third defensive pair of Luca Sbisa and Matt Bartkowski. Horvat’s line has skated with Vancouver’s top defensive pair the most in recent games, but they have also seen ice time with that third defensive pairing, which also skates with the fourth line a fair bit. In recent home games LA has tended to match their top six up with the opposition’s top six, but the Anze Kopitar line has seen some work against the opposition’s depth lines.

However, I might be less concerned with what matchup to pick on than I am with what matchup to avoid. I want to stay away from the Sedins, and it’s possible Kopitar’s line draws that matchup. When these teams played in LA early in the year, Kopitar’s line saw the Sedins. But since that time, the Jeff Carter line has turned into LA’s top line, and Carter and company have been matching up with top lines in recent home games. Because it’s hard to predict that individual matchup, both lines are options.

Player Rankings

Center

  1. Jason Spezza – $5,900 – Dallas Stars
  2. Alex Galchenyuk – $4,800 – Montreal Canadiens
  3. Jeff Carter – $6,400 – Los Angeles Kings
  4. Mike Fisher – $4,200 – Nashville Predators
  5. Tyler Seguin – $8,900 – Dallas Stars
  6. Pavel Datsyuk – $5,600 – Detroit Red Wings
  7. Kyle Turris – $6,300 – Ottawa Senators
  8. Anze Kopitar – $5,100 – Los Angeles Kings

Winger

  1. Mike Hoffman (LW) – $5,400 – Ottawa Senators
  2. Tomas Tatar (LW) – $5,100 – Detroit Red Wings
  3. Gustav Nyquist (RW) – $5,000 – Detroit Red Wings
  4. Tyler Toffoli – $6,000 – Los Angeles Kings
  5. Lee Stempniak (RW) – $3,700 – New Jersey Devils
  6. Filip Forsberg (LW) – $5,500 – Nashville Predators
  7. Patrick Sharp (LW) – $6,200 – Dallas Stars
  8. Mike Cammalleri (LW) – $5,200 – New Jersey Devils
  9. Milan Michalek (LW) – $3,500 – Ottawa Senators
  10. Sven Andrighetto (RW) – $2,700 – Montreal Canadiens

Defensemen

  1. Roman Josi – $6,300 – Nashville Predators
  2. Mike Green – $4,300 – Detroit Red Wings
  3. P.K. Subban – $6,400 – Montreal Canadiens
  4. Andrei Markov – $5,200 – Montreal Canadiens
  5. John Klingberg – $6,000 – Dallas Stars
  6. Jake Muzzin – $4,500 – Los Angeles Kings
  7. Alex Goligoski – $4,400 – Dallas Stars
  8. Niklas Kronwall – $3,900 – Detroit Red Wings

Goalies

  1. Petr Mrazek – $7,000 – Detroit Red Wings
  2. Craig Anderson – $7,300 – Ottawa Senators
  3. Martin Jones – $7,100 – San Jose Sharks
  4. Antti Niemi – $6,900 – Dallas Stars
  5. Mike Smith – $6,300 – Arizona Coyotes (GPP only)

Goalies with an asterisk next to their name are not expected to start tonight but haven’t been ruled out, so don’t count on them playing. Any players in bold have been confirmed as the starter for the day. And players with a line through their name will not be starting tonight. Make sure you always check LeftWingLock for starting goalie updates in case I am unable to update the list throughout the day.

Research Chart

You can download the research chart from this Google Sheet page here.

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