Brett TalleyFantasy HockeyFront Office

Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: February 13, 2016

Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by player rankings for Saturday’s eight-game evening slate of NHL contests around the industry. 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.


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, score-adjusted and weighted for recent performance 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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San Jose home to Arizona

It would have been nice if Anders Lindback had drawn the start for Arizona on the tail end of a back-to-back, but Louis Domingue will get the nod again tonight. Still, this is a nice spot for the Sharks against an Arizona team that allows the fourth most unblocked shot attempts per 60.

The Arizona line to pick on is their third line, who skates with Arizona’s top defensive pair at home but not on the road. San Jose generally matches lines up evenly at home, so San Jose’s third line should draw that matchup. The problem with that third line is a lack of value. Center Logan Couture is continually over-priced, and the matchup isn’t so great as to make up for that today. There is some value in his wingers, but they don’t carry produce much above average on a per-game basis.

Of Arizona’s top six lines, their top line is the one to be avoided, so San Jose’s second line is worth considering. Their matchup isn’t as good as the third line’s matchup, but there is some value on the second line. Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward are both nice values, particualrly on FanDuel. They tend to skate with Marc-Edouard Vlasic at even strength, and Ward/Vlasic play on the second power play unit together. Marleau plays on the top power play unit along with Brent Burns, who is an excellent option on any site.

Washington on the road in Dallas

Without Jason Spezza in the lineup, the Stars have been using a line featuring Cody Eakin and Antoine Roussel against the opposition’s second line in home games. Eakin/Roussel are weak possession players who can be exploited, so Washington’s second line is in a good spot in Dallas tonight. Evgeny Kuznetson and Justin Williams are on that second line and on the second power play unit, so they’re the mini-stack. They skate with Matt Niskanen on the power play, but they skate with John Carlson (the top power play unit D-man) at even strength. Either defenseman is an option. As has been the case all year, Caps are priced better on FanDuel, so give them more consideration there.

Islanders on the road in Carolina

Carolina is a shot suppressing team allowing the fifth fewest unblocked shot attempts per 60 this season, so generally they’re not a great matchup. But they played last night, so that offsets them being a bad matchup somewhat. Plus, the Islanders are third in the league in shot attempts per 60, which helps mitigate the problem a bit more.

The individual matchup to pick on here is Carolina’s third line, which is a weak possession trio. They’ll likely see New York’s third line most of the time, though occasionally Carolina’s strong top line will see a few shifts against the opposition’s third line, while the opposition’s second line sees a few shifts against Carolina’s third. So New York’s second line could see a bit of ice against CAR3, but it’s likely New York’s third line who sees that matchup the most.

That third line consists of Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey. Lee plays on the top power play unit, while Nelson and Bailey play on the second. The line skated with Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk in New York’s last game, and those two also saw the most power play time of New York defensemen in that game. Leddy skates with the top unit, and Boychuk skates with the second.

Other Lines to Consider

Alexander Wennberg‘s line – Columbus has a nice matchup with Ottawa who allows the second most unblocked shot attempts per 60. Wennberg centers Columbus’ second line. There’s more value on Columbus’ top line if you’re just looking at their matchup on a team level. But on an individual level, Wennberg’s line has consistently drawn softer matchups in home games, so they’re the line to consider. Wennberg plays on the second power play unit with Scott Hartnell, while their other line mate, Brandon Saad, plays on the top unit. The line skates with defenseman Ryan Murray who also plays on the second power play unit.

Mark Scheifele‘s line – Winnipeg has a nice matchup against Edmonton, but good luck figuring who has the edge among Winnipeg’s lines as far as individual matchups go. Edmonton has jumbled their non-McDavid line, and it’s very tough to parse how lines might match up. For that reason, I’m leaning towards Winnipeg’s second line because of value. Mathieu Perreault is the best value on the team, and Mark Scheifele and Drew Stafford are decent values as well. They’re joined by Dustin Byfuglien at even strength.

Kyle Turris‘ line – Ottawa has jumbled their lines as well recently, and as currently constructed, Turris’ line is the only one with two of their most productive offensive players on it as Turris joined by Bobby Ryan. The pair splits on the power play, but they’re the best mini-stack option if you want to take advantage of the matchup with Columbus.

Player Rankings

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Here are positional rankings for tonight’s slate. The color of each player’s salary represents their value on that site. Once again, here’s the color code: Blue is amazeballs, green is great, yellow is good, orange is bad, red is awful and deep red is no effing way.

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. Please keep in mind that the projections and values in the chart below are based on matchups on the team level, not on an individual level. So if you see a name in the discussion section above or the rankings above and they have a good value grade here, then they’re a solid play.


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