Brett TalleyFantasy HockeyFront Office

Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: November 7, 2015

Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by player rankings for Saturday’s nine-game evening slate of 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 an old chart I’ll use to explain what you’re looking at.

10-12 NHL DFS

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 seventh 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’s daily projectionst. 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.

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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According to my little mathcup statistic, which is a mix of Corsi against and projected save percentage, the clear best matchups in the league are Calgary, Buffalo, Colorado, Philadelphia, Toronto and Arizona. With four of those six teams in action tonight, there are plenty of spots to potentially exploit.

Let’s start with the Flames who will host the Penguins tonight. Calgary allows the second most shots per 60 (all shot attempt numbers mentioned are at even strength, score-adjusted) and has the lowest team save percentage so far. Lots of shots, not a lot of saves. That’s a good recipe for offense. The only problem with the Pens is that they played last night in Edmonton, but the matchup is so good that I won’t be fading Pittsburgh because of the back-to-back.

Depth lines have torched Calgary this year, so assuming Calgary’s top D pair matches up primarily with Sidney Crosby, the second and third lines could do some damage. Evgeni Malkin is priced reasonably enough, so he’d probably be my preferred Penguin. His right winger, Phil Kessel, is a bit pricey, but David Perron is not too expensive if you want to stack Malkin. He could also be stacked with defenseman Kris Letang who joins him on the top power play unit. If you’re looking for salary relief, Nick Bonino and Chris Kunitz on the third line and second power play are a nice cheap pair.

Next up are the Flyers who will be in Winnipeg tonight. Philly allows the fourth most shot attempts per 60 and will again send Michal Neuvirth to the net as Steve Mason remains out with an illness. Philly’s top line drives possession very well, so I’m inclined to try and avoid Winnipeg skaters on the ice against the Giroux line. With home ice, Winnipeg has a tendency to match their top line with the opposition’s top line. For example, when the Kings were in town late last month, Winnipeg’s top line matched up primarily with the Carter/Toffoli line. As a result, I would expect the Little line to matchup with the Giroux line.

That means depth lines are the play for the Jets tonight. Mathieu Perreault plays on the second line and top PP unit, and has a really nice price tag. He may be a must play. If you want to stack him, you could do it with his center, Mark Scheifele, though it should be noted they do not play on the power play together. The other option for a stack is Perreault with Dustin Byfuglien, who is affordable enough today. Drew Stafford is also a a one-off option on the third line, but Perreault is the better play of the two.

There’s a clear trio of the best matchups of the day, and the third belongs to the Washington Capitals who will host Toronto. The Leafs have improved possession-wise this year as they have only allowed the 12th most shot attempts per 60. But that’s still below average, and when combined with the fact that they are one of six teams to have a save percentage under 90 percent, they remain a good matchup for opposing skaters. Making matters worse, they played last night and are on the road, so this is a good spot for the Caps.

From a value perspective, the depth lines are again the direction to go with Washington. The third line pair of Jay Beagle and Justin Williams is a cheap little mini-stack for GPPs, though I certainly understand if that doesn’t seem like an attractive option to you. Marcus Johansson on the second line and top power play unit is definitely underpriced. The matchup also indicates the depth lines are the play as Toronto’s top line is by far their best possession line. Because of that and because of Alex Ovechkin‘s insane price tag, I’m inclined to lean toward Johansson. His center, Nicklas Backstrom, is a bit over-priced, but he joins Johnasson on the top PP unit. That mini-stack is how I’d prefer to get exposure to this good matchup and to Ovi.

Finally, the Rangers also have a good matchup in Arizona. It’s not as good as the three mentioned above, and the Rangers played last night, so this isn’t a prime matchup. But it is a good one that should be mentioned. The second line pair of Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider should avoid Arizona’s top D pair at even strength, and Stepan/Kreider remain together on the top power play unit. Ryan McDonagh joins them on the power play and could also be part of that stack.

Player Rankings


  1. Evgeni Malkin – $7,200 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. Mathieu Perreault – $3,800 – Winnipeg Jets
  3. Derek Stepan – $5,300 – New York Rangers
  4. Nicklas Backstrom – $6,600 – Washington Capitals
  5. Evgeny Kuznetsov – $5,600 – Washington Capitals
  6. Chris Tierney – $2,900 – San Jose Sharks


  1. Marcus Johansson (LW) – $4,500 – Washington Capitals
  2. Brendan Gallagher (RW) – $5,600 – Montreal Canadiens
  3. Justin Williams (RW) – $4,500 – Washington Capitals
  4. Mike Hoffman (LW) – $4,900 – Ottawa Senators
  5. Chris Kreider (LW) – $4,900 – New York Rangers
  6. Bobby Ryan (RW) – $5,200 – Ottawa Senators
  7. J.T. Miller (LW) – $3,300 – New York Rangers
  8. T.J. Oshie (RW) – $5,900 – Washington Capitals


  1. Dustin Byfuglien – $5,900 – Winnipeg Jets
  2. Kris Letang – $5,700 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  3. Ryan McDonagh – $4,400 – New York Rangers
  4. Ryan Ellis – $3,600 – Nashville Predators
  5. Ryan Murphy – $2,900 – Carolina Hurricanes


  1. Braden Holtby – $7,900 – Washington Capitals
  2. Antti Raanta* – $7,600 – New York Rangers
  3. Ondrej Pavelec – $6,500 – Winnipeg Jets
  4. Ben Bishop – $7,400 – Tampa Bay Lightning (GPP only)

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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