Brett TalleyFantasy HockeyFront Office

Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: December 21, 2015

Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by player rankings for Monday’s eight-game 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 and old chart I’ll use to explain what you’re looking at.


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 sixth 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 my own Marcel-like projections. 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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Pittsburgh home to Columbus

The Jackets are a mess. They sort of got it together for a spell after their brutal start to the season, but they’ve been particularly bad lately. Their goaltending situation is arguably the worst in the league with Sergei Bobrovsky hurt, and, over the last five weeks, they’ve allowed the fourth most shot attempts per 60.

There isn’t a particular Jacket line or D pair to pick on, but there’s not really one to avoid either. For that reason, I prefer Evgeni Malkin‘s line to Sidney Crosby‘s simply because Malkin has been more productive this season. Malkin’s wingers, David Perron and Phil Kessel, have admittedly been cold lately, so a stack isn’t totally necessary with Malkin. Perron is the better value, so I’d be more inclined to use him as a mini-stack partner.

As a salary relief alternative, I like Nick Bonino‘s price. He sees power play time on the second unit and could be paired with one of the defensemen that joins him on the power play, Olli Maatta or Trevor Daley.

Winnipeg on the road in Edmonton

The Oil have allowed the fourth most shot attempts per 60 this season and have the fifth lowest team save percentage. Their top line is a good possession unit, but they’re exploitable past that. Their depth lines are even more exploitable than their second line, but that second line centered by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a nice enough individual matchup.

Edmonton has used their top line against the opposition’s top line and their second line against the opposition’s second line in three of their last four home games, so I would expect that to be the case again tonight. That means Mark Scheifele, Mathieu Perreault and Drew Stafford are good options tonight. Scheifele and Stafford play together on the second power play unit, while Perreault plays on the top unit. For that reason, Scheifele/Stafford might make more sense as a mini-stack, while Perreault could be stacked with D-man Dustin Byfuglin on the top power play unit. The quartet could be stacked in tournaments.

If you want to try and take advantage of Edmonton’s depth lines, Nikolaj Ehlers is an option off the third line. He’s done little to nothing lately, but this is the type of matchup you could call a slumpbuster. He also sees some time on the second power play unit.

Colorado home to Toronto

The Leafs are down to Jonathan Bernier in goal right now. Bernier pitched an improbable shut out against the Islanders on Saturday, but I’ll eat my hat if that happens again. Colorado’s top line is by far the most trust-worthy, though they may not be huge values. Both the top line and the second line should split time against Toronto’s top line and against Toronto’s third line. If you can afford them, Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog are the way to go. They all stay together on the power play where they’re joined by Erik Johnson, who is a nice option on the blue line tonight.

If you’d prefer some salary relief, Carl Soderberg and Blake Comeau on the second line are an option. Soderberg sees time on the second PP unit along with Francois Beauchemin who could be stacked along with Soderberg or with Soderberg and Comeau.

Player Rankings


  1. Evgeni Malkin – $7,500 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. Mark Scheifele – $4,800 – Winnipeg Jets
  3. Mathieu Perreault – $4,100 – Winnipeg Jets
  4. Nathan MacKinnon – $6,700 – Colorado Avalanche
  5. Matt Duchene – $6,100 – Colorado Avalanche
  6. Nazem Kadri – $5,000 – Toronto Maple Leafs
  7. Nick Bonino – $3,000 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  8. Carl Soderberg – $4,300 – Colorado Avalanche


  1. Drew Stafford – $4,000 – Winnipeg Jets
  2. Alex Ovechkin – $8,900 – Washington Capitals
  3. Gabriel Landeskog – $6,800 – Colorado Avalanche
  4. Andrew Ladd – $5,200 – Winnipeg Jets
  5. David Perron – $3,900 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  6. Phil Kessel – $6,800 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  7. Nikolaj Ehlers – $4,000 – Winnipeg Jets
  8. Nino Niederreiter – $3,500 – Minnesota Wild
  9. Blake Comeau – $3,000 – Colorado Avalanche
  10. Jamie Benn – $8,500 – Dallas Stars


  1. Dustin Byfuglien – $6,400 – Winnipeg Jets
  2. John Carlson – $6,800 – Washington Capitals
  3. Erik Johnson – $5,200 – Colorado Avalanche
  4. Jacob Trouba – $3,900 – Winnipeg Jets
  5. Jared Spurgeon – $4,500 – Minnesota Wild
  6. Olli Maatta – $3,300 – Pittsburgh Penguins


  1. Semyon Varlamov – $7,500 – Colorado Avalanche
  2. Reto Berra* – $6,900 – Colorado Avalanche
  3. Jaroslav Halak – $7,400 – New York Islanders
  4. Thomas Greiss* – $7,300 – New York Islander
  5. Philipp Grubauer* – $6,700 – Washington Capitals (GPP only)
  6. John Gibson* – $6,500 – Anaheim Ducks (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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