Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: February 5th
Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by cash game rankings for tonight’s DraftKings contests. At the bottom of the post I’ve embedded my research chart for the day. Here is just a snippet of the chart I’ll use to explain what you’re looking at.
First the colors. Purple is amazeballs, blue is only slightly less than 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 fifth 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 at his position in action today. ‘Pts/Gm’ is a projection derived from my own Marcel-like projection system. The ‘z’ next to the projection is how far above or below average the projection is compared to all other players at the position in action today. And then ‘zDIFF’ is the projection z-score minus the player’s salary z-score. The zDIFF column is really what we’re looking at.
Make sure to check Twitter for any injury news and line changes, and check Daily Faceoff for starting goalies.
According to Vegas, we may have a lot of close games this evening. If you’re betting favorites on the moneyline tonight, you’re doing it at -130 or less with one significant exception. That exception is the St. Louis Blues who are a -270 favorite against the Buffalo Sabres. That’s one of the two or three best offenses in the league playing the worst defense in the league. That sounds great for fantasy purposes, but the problem is that everyone is capable of doing that math. Ownership percentages for Blues will be sky high tonight. And in cash games maybe they should be. But in GPPs it might not be a bad idea to limit your exposure and hope that game has a slow enough pace that the Blues don’t do a ton of damage. Another contrarion strategy would be to use players from the Blues depth lines, but with Jori Lehtera and Patrik Berglund out, the Blues have really frontloaded their lines, and the guys on the third and fourth lines are very hard to trust. If you’re using Blues, take your pick from the first two lines. I probably prefer David Backes ($5,500, C) and Alex Steen ($7,100, W) to any other combo, but they’re all good options.
If you want to fade Blues to zig when others zag, there are plenty of other good options for stacks. I tend to lean toward home teams, and there are a couple I like tonight. They’re actually two teams I used on Tuesday night.
The first is my Dallas Stars. As I noted on Tuesday, they’re one of the league’s elite offenses. But they had a matchup against an average defensive team in the Avalanche on Tuesday. Tonight they’ll face a better defensive team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. But despite playing a better defensive team, I think I like Dallas more than I did Tuesday because I expect the pace of this game to be much different. The Avs don’t generate many shot attempts and basically rely on their goalie to win them games. That’s how it played out on Tuesday when the Avs generated just 16 shots in regulation while Semyon Varlamov stopped all but two of Dallas’ 31 regulation shots. Tampa generates their own shot attempts at about the league average rate while Colorado is bottom five in that department. This should be an up and down game, and it has tons of scoring potential. That goes for both teams as Dallas is a slightly above average matchup for opposing skaters. I may have to buy a ticket and go to this one.
From Dallas I want Tyler Seguin ($8,500, C) on my roster. If you pair him with Jamie Benn, that pair will take up a third of your budget. But you can reasonably roster him by pairing him with Patrick Eaves ($4,200, W). If you want to go Dallas-heavy with a stack, I like value on the third line in Cody Eakin ($3,700, C) and Antoine Roussell ($3,000, W). Plus, I like depth lines at home. On the blue line I like John Klingberg ($4,500, D). From Tampa Bay I really love their second line. I’ll have Tyler Johnson ($5,000, C) in quite a few spots. The problem is I can’t decide with which winger I’d like to pair him. Both Nikita Kucherov ($4,100, W) and Ondrej Palat ($4,200, W) are very good options. Take your pick. To go Tampa-heavy with a stack, I’d also go with Steven Stamkos ($8,200, C) and Ryan Callahan ($4,600, W). And the on the blue line I like Victor Hedman ($5,000, D).
The other home team I like tonight is Nashville who is hosting Anaheim. Nashville is top ten in Corsi events for per 60 minutes over the last 20 or so games. Their above average ability to turn shot attempts into goals maybe makes them closer to a top five offensive team. For cash games I like the pair of Mike Ribeiro ($4,100, C) and Filip Forsberg ($5,600, W). If you want to go Preds-heavy with a stack, you can also go with Mike Fisher ($6,700, C) and James Neal ($5,600, W).
As you can see in the research chart at the bottom of this post, I give every player a value grade each day. I often do the same for center-winger mini-stacks where I compare the combined price of the players to their combined projection. When I did that today, the pair of Anze Kopitar ($5,000, C) and Marian Gaborik ($4,600, W) had the best value grade of any pair I looked at. Another pair of LA Kings also graded out as a decent value, Jeff Carter ($5,700, C) and Tyler Toffoli ($4,100, W). The Kings have an above average but not elite matchup against the Panthers, so I’m good using these players who are probably underpriced at the moment.
Price-Adjusted Cash Game Rankings
- Anze Kopitar – $5,000 – Los Angeles Kings
- Tyler Johnson – $5,000 – Tampa Bay Lightning
- Jeff Carter – $5,700 – Los Angeles Kings
- David Backes – $5,500 – St. Louis Blues
- Ryan Strome – $4,000 – New York Islanders
- Pavel Datsyuk – $5,300 – Detroit Red Wings
- Jason Spezza – $5,500 – Dallas Stars
- Nikita Kucherov – $4,100 – Tampa Bay Lightning
- Marian Gaborik – $4,600 – Los Angeles Kings
- Ondrej Palat – $4,200 – Tampa Bay Lightning
- James Neal – $5,600 – Nashville Predators
- Filip Forsberg – $5,600 – Nashville Predators
- Ryan Callahan – $4,600 – Tampa Bay Lightning
- Alexander Semin – $3,400 – Carolina Hurricanes
- Jakub Voracek – $6,000 – Philadelphia Flyers
- Alexander Steen – $7,100 – St. Louis Blues
- Alex Pietrangelo – $5,000 – St. Louis Blues
- John Klingberg – $4,500 – Dallas Stars
- Victor Hedman – $5,000 – Tampa Bay Lightning
- Alec Martinez – $3,700 – Los Angeles Kings
- Mattias Ekholm – $2,500 – Nashville Predators
- Brent Burns – $5,300 – San Jose Sharks
- Anze Kopitar/Marian Gaborik
- Tyler Johnson/Nikita Kucherov (or Ondrej Palat)
- Mike Riberio/Filip Forsberg
- Steven Stamoks/Ryan Callahan
- Jeff Carter/Tyler Toffoli
- Cody Eakin/Antoine Roussel
- Frans Nielsen/Ryan Strome
Goalies with an asterisk next to their name are second on their team’s depth chart, 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 Daily Faceoff for starting goalie updates in case I am unable to update the list throughout the day.
Anton Khudobin – $6,700 – Carolina Hurricanes
- Cam Ward* – $6,900 – Carolina Hurricanes
Eddie Lack* – $6,700 – Vancouver Canucks Alex Stalock* – $6,900 – San Jose Sharks
- Roberto Luongo – $7,300 – Florida Panthers
- Steve Mason – $8,700 – Philadelphia Flyers
You can download the research chart from this Google Sheet page here.