Brett TalleyFantasy Hockey

Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: March 21st

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 starting at 7:00 P.M. ET. 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/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 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 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 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.

Teams to Target

The best matchup of the day on paper probably belongs to Nashville hosting Buffalo, who is playing for the second day in a row. Matt Hackett should be in net for the Sabres as opposed to the rejuvinated Anders Lindback. The biggest problem with the Preds is that there lines are a mess. James Neal and Colin Wilson are out, so they’ve totally jumbles the lines. Of the five Preds I’d consider using, at least one of them is on all four lines. The only two that are together are Mike Fisher ($4,300, C) and Craig Smith ($4,900, C), so that’s the only pair I’m using. Shea Weber ($6,400, D) is an option on the blue line.

The next best matchup belongs to the red-hot Ottawa Senators who will be hosting the Maple Leafs. The second line centered by Kyle Turris ($6,100, C) had a big night on Thursday, so they’ve seen their prices increase. As a result, I don’t see the value in them. I’d lean toward the first line pair of Mika Zibanejad ($3,800, C) and Bobby Ryan. I like Erik Karlsson ($8,500, D) in this matchup, but I have a hard time paying that price. If you’re looking for a cheap option, Patrick Wiercioch ($3,300, D) plays with the Turris line on the power play and Cody Ceci ($3,400, D) plays with Zibanejad/Ryan.

I’m also going back to the Pittsburgh well again tonight after my Stars kept them in check on Thursday night. The Pens are in Arizona facing the fantasy-friendly Coyotes. With Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist not making the road trip, the Sidney Crosby ($9,000, C) line is really the only option. You could go with Brandon Sutter ($3,900, C) and Blake Comeau ($3,800, W) in a GPP, but the first line is probably preferable. Of Crosby’s wingers, I prefer Chris Kunitz ($4,400, W) to David Perron ($4,800, W) but both are options. Kris Letang ($5,800, D) is an option on the blue line.

After those three top matchups, the next few teams that show up in my  matchup stat are Philadelphia, New Jersey, Montreal and Chicago. With Philly and New Jersey, I just can’t. I swore off Philly on Thursday and I can’t go back. Plus, the value on Giroux/Voracek isn’t great tonight. I could see Wayne Simmonds ($5,300, W) or Mark Streit ($4,300, D) in a stray spot or two, but that’s it. New Jersey played last night and Mike Cammaleri may be out again with an illness, so there’s nothing too enticing there.

As for Montreal and Chicago, I just don’t quite see the value. I think Montreal will get Max Pacioretty‘s line away from the Joe Thornton line plenty, but I just don’t like the prices enough. And the Toews/Hossa/Sharp line is about the only threatening line Chicago has right now, but again the prices just aren’t quite good enough for me.

There are a few other pairs and players I like that are listed in the ranks below.

Player Rankings

Mini-Stacks (cash games)

  1. Mike Fisher/Craig Smith – Nashville Predators
  2. Mika Zibanejad/Bobby Ryan – Ottawa Senators
  3. Sidney Crosby/Chris Kunitz – Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. John Tavares/Josh Bailey – New York Islanders
  5. John Tavares/Kyle Okposo – New York Islanders

Mini-Stacks (GPP)

  1. Mika Zibanejad/Bobby Ryan – Ottawa Senators
  2. Mike Fisher/Craig Smith – Nashville Predators
  3. Sidney Crosby/Chris Kunitz – Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. John Tavares/Kyle Okposo – New York Islanders
  5. Cody Eakin/Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars
  6. Derek Stepan/Rick Nash – New York Rangers


  1. Travis Hamonic – $4,100 – New York Islanders
  2. Mark Streit – $4,300 – Philadelphia Flyers
  3. Johnny Boychuk – $4,900 – New York Islanders
  4. Kris Letang – $5,800 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  5. Shea Weber – $6,400 – Nashville Predators
  6. P.K. Subban – $6,400 – Montreal Canadiens
  7. Patrick Wiercioch – $3,300 – Ottawa Senators

Goalies (cash games)

  1. Marc-Andre Fleury – $8,800 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. Andrew Hammond – $8,900 – Ottawa Senators
  3. Kari Lehtonen – $7,600 – Dallas Stars
  4. Cory Schneider – $8,300 – New Jersey Devils

Goalies (GPP)

  1. Ben Scrivens – $6,800 – Edmonton Oilers
  2. Marc-Andre Fleury – $8,800 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  3. Kari Lehtonen – $7,600 – Dallas Stars
  4. Cory Schneider – $8,300 – New Jersey Devils

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.

Research Chart

You can download the research chart from this Google Sheet page here.

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1 Comment

  1. May 28, 2015 at 10:49 am — Reply

    interesting article. Just wondering though when you calculate the z diff how do you determine which colors are great, good, etc. is there a specific range you classify as great, good. Etc?

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