Brett TalleyFantasy HockeyFront Office

Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: January 10, 2016

Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by player rankings for Sunday’s six-game all-day 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, 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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Winnipeg home to Buffalo

While Buffalo isn’t miles worse than any other team like they were last year, they’re still bad and are still a great matchup for opposing skaters. They allow the sixth most shot attempts per 60, and they have the 10th worst save percentage in the league. Again, not completely horrendous, but still bad. The best thing they have going for them is their top line centered by Ryan O’Reilly. With Evander Kane and Sam Reinhart on his wings, that’s a solid possession trio that should be avoided when picking skaters facing Buffalo.

Winnipeg almost always matches their top line up with the opposition’s top line in home games, so their top line should draw the tough matchup against O’Reilly’s line today. But Buffalo’s second and third lines are very exploitable. Buffalo’s second line skates with the lesser D pair of the two lines, so that’s perhaps the best line to target, though targeting the third line is certainly an option.

Winnipeg has not played a home game since Mark Scheifele returned to the lineup, so it’s unclear whether Winnipeg considers Scheifele’s line it’s second or third line. On their road trip, opposing teams were treating Scheifele’s line as the third line and Adam Lowry‘s line as the second line. From a talent perspective Scheifele’s line is better, but the guess is that they will in fact play as the third line today.

As a result, Lowry’s line probably has the best matchup in this game. The problem is that Lowry isn’t any good, and neither is his right winger, Alexander Burmistrov. But left-winger Andrew Ladd is quite good, and he plays up on the top power play unit, so he is a strong option today. He can’t be stacked with his line mates, but he can be mini-stacked with defenseman Dustin Byfuglien who also plays on the top power play unit.

Scheifele’s line could well end up seeing ice against Buffalo’s second line, but even if they end up facing Buffalo’s third line, it’s still an above average matchup for them. Scheifele is an option, and the best candidate for a mini-stack with him is Mathieu Perreault. Perreault plays up on the top power play unit as well, so he could be mini-stacked with Byfuglien or Scheifele. Nikolaj Ehlers joins that third line and joins Scheifele on the second power play unit, so that whole line plus Byfuglien could be an option as a stack in tournaments.

Chicago home to Colorado

Colorado allows more shot attempts per 60 than Buffalo does, and their goaltending is only slightly better with a team save percentage that is very near mid-pack. They’re a very solid matchup for opposing skaters, and they’re no match for the Blackhawks, despite the fact that Colorado beat Chicago 3-0 in Chicago in mid-December.

When targeting individual matchups, Colorado’s top line is to be avoided, but both their second and third lines are exploitable. There is some question as to which line Chicago will treat as Colorado’s second and which they will treat as their third, but it’s almost a moot point.

Chicago’s top line will see Colorado’s top line, so they’re not a consideration, and Chicago’s second line is the only other option. They also happen to be Chicago’s most productive line. Ideally they’ll matchup against Mikhail Grigorenko‘s line, but if they end up against Carl Soderberg‘s line, it’s still a good enough individual matchup. Perhaps Teuvo Teravainen on the third line could have a day if his line ends up drawing Grigorenko’s line, but there’s definitely no certainty to that. Stick with the second line.

The only issue with Chicago’s second line is that they’re not huge values, in part because their salaries have risen as a result of them being so productive. But none of Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov are over-priced in this matchup. Kane may be your best spot to spend up today. Panarin is probably a better mini-stack candidate with Kane than Anisimov, but the whole line is still an option for a tournament stack. Defenseman Brent Seabrook plays with this line at even strength and on the power play, so he’s a great option to pair with any of these forwards if you roster them. In fact, Seabrook might even be a better mini-stack partner with Kane than Panarin.

Florida on the road in Edmonton

Edmonton allows the third most shot attempts per 60 and ranks 24th in team save percentage, so this another good matchup on a team level. On an individual level their top line centered by Leon Draisaitl is a good possession line and should be avoided. Their second line is a fine target, but their depth lines are horrendous possession units and are ideal targets if you can figure out who they will match up with.

The problem is that Edmonton changed the way they typically match up lines in their last home game. Prior to their last home game they had been using their top line against the opposition’s third line a fair bit, but in their last home game they matched their top line up almost exclusively with the opposition’s top line. As for their third line (their fourth line plays sparingly and only against the opposition’s fourth line), they had been matching up with the opposition’s second line, but last game they matched up with the opposition’s third line.

What to take away from all that is Florida’s second line is really the only one you can be sure will avoid Edmonton’s top line, and there’s a decent chance they could match up against Edmonton’s third line. Florida’s third line could end up with that soft matchup, but there’s too much risk that they draw Draisaitl’s line, so Florida’s second line is the best option.

Second line center Vincent Trocheck and wingers Reilly Smith and Jussi Jokinen all stay together on the second power play unit, so they’re an option as a full line stack in tournaments. Defensemen Brian Campbell and Erik Gudbranson typically join them both at even strength and on the power play, so they are options to be stacked with any of the forwards you roster. Campbell is the more productive option, but Gudbranson is a bit cheaper if you really need salary relief. As for a mini-stack here, I would probably lean towards Smith with Trocheck simply because Smith is eligible to be rostered as a winger, while Trocheck/Jokinen would take up two of your three center-eligible spots.

Washington home to Ottawa

Washington played last night, but Ottawa did as well, so Washington’s back-to-back doesn’t prohibit them from consideration. Ottawa allows the fourth most shot attempts per 60, so they can be picked on despite having slightly above average goaltending. Their top line is a good possession unit that should be avoided, but their second and third line are good targets.

Washington almost always goes L1 v. L1 and L2 v. L2 in home games, so Washington’s top line draws a tough individual matchup today. That said, Alexander Ovechkin is damn near matchup proof, so he’s certainly an option. It’s between Ovi and Kane for the expensive player you should spend up on. Personally, I plan to lean towards Kane and lean towards Washington’s second line in a much better individual matchup if I decide to go with Caps.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams are your options from that second line. Kuz isn’t much of a value today, but Williams is. If you like Caps, Williams is the way to go, and Kuz is the only real option for a mini-stack with him. The pair probably won’t be on the power play together as Kuz should be playing up with the top unit with Marcus Johansson suspended at the moment. That means Kuz will see some power play time with Matt Niskanen, who is an option to add to the Kuz/Williams mini-stack if you go that route.

Player Rankings


  1. Vincent Trocheck – $4,100 – Florida Panthers
  2. Jussi Jokinen – $4,600 – Florida Panthers
  3. Mathieu Perreault – $4,100 – Winnipeg Jets
  4. Nick Bjugstad – $4,500 – Florida Panthers
  5. Mark Scheifele – $5,000 – Winnipeg Jets
  6. Artem Anisimov – $4,700 – Chicago Blackhawks
  7. Evgeny Kuznetsov – $5,900 – Washington Capitals


  1. Patrick Kane – $8,900 – Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Andrew Ladd – $5,000 – Winnipeg Jets
  3. Reilly Smith – $4,400 – Florida Panthers
  4. Alexander Ovechkin – $8,600 – Washington Capitals
  5. Justin Williams – $4,600 – Washington Capitals
  6. Artemi Panarin – $5,900 – Chicago Blackhawks
  7. Nikolaj Ehlers – $3,500 – Winnipeg Jets
  8. Teuvo Teravainen – $4,300 – Chicago Blackhawks


  1. Dustin Byfuglien – $6,200 – Winnipeg Jets
  2. Brent Seabrook – $5,600 – Chicago Blackhawks
  3. Matt Niskanen – $4,500 – Washington Capitals
  4. Brian Campbell – $3,300 – Florida Panthers
  5. Erik Gudbranson – $2,700 – Florida Panthers


  1. Connor Hellebuyck – $7,100 – Winnipeg Jets
  2. Michael Hutchinson* – $6,200 – Winnipeg Jets
  3. Philipp Grubauer* – $6,800 – Washington Capitals
  4. Al Montoya* – $7,000 – Florida Panthers
  5. John Gibson – $6,900 – Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks
  6. Frederik Andersen* – $6,800 – Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks

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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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: January 10, 2016

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