Brett TalleyFantasy Hockey

Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: January 4th

isles land
The New York Islanders
Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

This post covers the five game slate of NHL contest on DraftKings starting at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by cash game rankings. Make sure to check Twitter for any injury news and line changes, and check Daily Faceoff for starting goalies.

Stack Options

I’m going to keep this post short today because by the time I finished my research it was 3:00 a.m., and I have to be up at noon to watch Bengals-Colts. That’s also why the post today is free-for-all as opposed to the normal pay-per-view. Moreover, there are only five games going for the main slate of NHL contests, so no need to blather.

There are two teams with great matchups today. The first is the Islanders against the oft-mentioned-in-this-space Edmonton Oilers. Over the last month and a half the Oilers have been a decidedly below average possession team, but not horrendously so. But what makes them such a great matchup is their bad-not-horrendous possession numbers coupled with arguably the worst goaltending in the league. On the flip side, the Islanders have been one of the three best possession teams over last 45 days. If I had to pick one team today that could score five or more goals (which was basically every team last night), I’d go with the Islanders.

When deciding which players to pick from a team with a good matchup, I compare how far above or below average their projection is to how far above or below their price is. If their projection is further above average than their price, then they’re a good value for the day. I also look at a player’s production to date this season, whether they’re good in terms of possession (CF%), and how often they get offensive zone starts. A player with a good combination of those factors is someone I want to use.

The players who fit that bill for the Islanders today are John Tavares ($8,500, C), Ryan Strome ($4,800, C) and Kyle Okposo ($6,700, W). Given that I like to stack line mates, any time I use Strome I’ll also use Frans Nielsen ($5,000, C). On defense I like Lubomir Visnovsky ($3,400, D), who plays on the top power play unit with Taveras/Okposo, and Johnny Boychuk ($4,800, D), who plays on the second unit with Nielsen/Strome. You could play all six together in a GPP stack or any smaller combination you feel comfortable with.  For cash games I like the mini-stack of Nielsen/Strome. Feel free to use Boychuk with them.

The other team with a good matchup today is Tampa Bay against Ottawa. Ottawa is basically the same as Edmonton in terms of possession, but Ottawa has average goaltending as opposed to horrendous goaltending. So this isn’t nearly as good of a matchup. But it is the only other above average matchup in this slate of games according to my matchup stat which is a mix of Corsi against and save percentage.

There are a ton of Lightning forwards who have the combination of factors I’m looking for: Steven Stamkos ($7,700, C), Tyler Johnson ($6,500, C), Valtteri Filppula ($4,100, C), Ryan Callahan ($5,100, W), Ondrej Palat ($6,000, W), Nikita Kucherov ($5,400). Of those six, the one I like the least is actually Stamkos because he’s on the first line with a couple of guys who were not just listed. As for the five other guys just listed, they populate the second and third lines. I’d be fine stacking all five along with Victor Hedman ($5,600, D) in a GPP. For cash games I like a mini-stack of Filppula, Callahan and Hedman who all play on a power play unit together while Filppula/Callahan play on the third line together.

Price-Adjusted Cash Game Rankings


1.  Ryan Strome – $4,800 – New York Islanders
2. Valtteri Filppula – $4,100 – Tampa Bay Lightning
3. Frans Nielsen – $5,000 – New York Islanders
4. Steven Stamkos – $7,700 – Tampa Bay Lightning
5. John Taveras – $8,500 – New York Islanders
6. Mike Ribeiro – $3,900 –  Nashville Predators


1. Ryan Callahan – $5,100 – Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Kyle Okposo – $6,700 – New York Islanders
3. Brett Ritchie – $2,800 – Dallas Stars
4. Mike Hoffman – $3,200 – Ottawa Senators
5. Nikita Kucherov – $5,400 – Tampa Bay Lightning
6. Corey Perry – $6,100 – Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks
7. Filip Forsberg – $5,800 – Nashville Predators


 1. Lubomir Visnovsky – $3,400 – New York Islanders
2. John Klingberg – $2,800 – Dallas Stars
3. Sami Vatanen – $4,200 – Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks
4. Victor Hedman – $5,600 – Tampa Bay Lightning


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.

 1. Ben Bishop – $7,100 – Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Corey Crawford – $7,700 – Chicago Blackhawks
3. Chad Johnson* – $6,300 – New York Islanders
4. Pekka Rinne – $9,000 – Nashville Predators
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