Brett TalleyFantasy HockeyFront Office

Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: December 28, 2015

Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by player rankings for Monday’s six-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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 Washington on the road in Buffalo

The Sabres are an improved possession team this season, but they have not been as good in that regard lately as they were earlier in the season. And with teams like Calgary and Columbus off tonight, Buffalo is probably the best matchup to pick on. Buffalo’s top line centered by Ryan O’Reilly is a solid possession unit, and they will likely matchup with Washington’s top line in this home game.

Despite the second line having the better matchup, this wouldn’t be the worst night to pay up for Alex Ovechkin. But if you can’t, the second line is a good target. Marcus Johansson plays up on the top power play unit with Ovi and John Carlson, who is a good blue line option tonight. Johansson is joined on the second line by Evgeny Kuznetosv and Justin Williams, who play together on the second power play unit.

Los Angeles on the road in Vancouver

Vancouver is average in terms of shot attempts allowed, but they’re an above average matchup for skaters because of below average goaltending. Jacob Markstrom has been playing well of late, but he still has a .900 save percentage in over 3,000 career minutes.

The Canucks usually use the Sedins against the opposition’s top line, so Anze Kopitar’s line should draw a tough individual matchup. For that reason, Jeff Carter and the 70’s line should see some ice time against Vancouver’s depth lines. Carter is reasonably priced and Tanner Pearson is nice salary relief. Tyler Toffoli isn’t quite as “valuable” but is priced reasonably enough for use. On the blue line, Alec Martinez is nice and cheap and has been seeing a lot of power play time with the top unit.

San Jose home to Colorado

Colorado is a good matchup for skaters as it is, but they’re also the only team that played last night and they’re starting third-string goalie Calvin Pickard. The Avs have a good possession top line that you’d like to avoid if possible. San Jose tends to use Joe Thornton/Joe Pavelski against the opposition’s top line, so the second line centered by Patrick Marleau is the line to target.

Marleau is joined on the second line and the top power play unit by Joel Ward. Those two make for a nice mini-stack. They’re joined on the top PP unit by defenseman Brent Burns who leads all defensemen in shots on goal by 35 total shots, and he averages 4.4 shots per game. That shot prowess makes him an always solid play on DK.

Player Rankings


  1. Jeff Carter – $6,200 – Los Angeles Kings
  2. Evgeny Kuznetsov – $5,700 – Washington Capitals
  3. Marcus Johansson – $4,000 – Washington Capitals
  4. Joe Pavelski – $7,500 – San Jose Sharks
  5. Steven Stamkos – $7,400 – Tampa Bay Lightning


  1. Patrick Marleau – $5,800 – San Jose Sharks
  2. Alex Ovechkin – $8,700 – Washington Capitals
  3. Tyler Toffoli – $5,700 – Los Angeles Kings
  4. Justin Williams – $4,800 – Washington Capitals
  5. Joel Ward – $4,600 – San Jose Sharks
  6. Nikita Kucherov – $6,000 – Tampa Bay Lightning
  7. Tanner Pearson – $3,700 – Los Angeles Kings
  8. Gustav Nyquist – $4,900 – Detroit Red Wings


  1. Brent Burns – $8,000 – San Jose Sharks
  2. John Carlson – $6,800 – Washington Capitals
  3. Alec Martinez – $4,100 – Los Angeles Kings
  4. Jake Muzzin – $4,400 – Los Angeles Kings
  5. Marc-Edouard Vlasic – $4,100 – San Jose Sharks
  6. Jakub Kindl – $2,700 – Detroit Red Wings


  1. Ben Bishop – $7,500 – Tampa Bay Lightning
  2. Philipp Grubauer* – $6,800 – Washington Capitals
  3. Martin Jones – $7,000 – San Jose Sharks
  4. Jhonas Enroth* – $7,100 – Los Angeles Kings
  5. Jacob Markstrom – $6,500 – Vancouver Canucks (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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