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Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: December 6, 2016

Below we’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by player rankings for Tuesday’s nine-game evening slate of NHL contests on DraftKings and FanDuel.

As always, make sure to check Twitter for any injury news, and check LeftWingLock for starting goalies and line combos.

Game Breakdowns

Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche

Seven of Tuesday’s nine games had lines in Vegas as of this writing, and of those seven games Nashville had the highest implied team total. The Avs have been somewhat average in the possession game after being awful in that regard last season. However, they’re getting below average goaltending and have the sixth worst penalty kill so far this season, so they’re still a very good matchup for opposing teams. As for the Preds themselves, they have taken the sixth most shot attempts at even strength, and they rank fifth in Goals/60 in home games.

The Avs don’t really have any individual matchups to worry about when picking Preds. The Jarome Iginla/John Mitchell line is their only line with multiple above average possession players. But Iginla/Mitchell shouldn’t see much of Nashville’s top six as Nashville tends to match lines up evenly at home, and Iginla/Mitchell is either Colorado’s third or fourth line.

Of Nashville’s top six lines, go with the top line. The wingers on that lines, Fillip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, shoot the puck quite a bit, especially Arvidsson who takes shot attempts at an extremely high rate when on the ice. Forsberg joins center Ryan Johansen on the top power play unit along with defenseman Roman Josi. Arvidsson plays on the second PP unit.

New York Rangers @ New York Islanders

The Rangers have scored more goals than any other team this season, though they’ve been doing it by having by far the league’s highest shooting percentage and not by being a team that shoots a lot. But they should shoot more than they normally do by way of the Islanders allowing the second most even strength shot attempts per game. The Isles have poor possession numbers up and down the lineup, so there are no individual matchups you have to avoid. The one Ranger who shoots the puck at a decent clip is Chris Kreider who is on the top line and top PP unit along with Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello. If you’re stacking Rangers, do it with those guys, and do it on FD where they’re all priced better. That’s also true of Ryan McDonagh who joins them on the top PP unit.

Behind the paywall you’ll find the rest of today’s NHL DFS game breakdowns and player rankings.

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Edmonton Oilers @ Buffalo Sabres

Edmonton ranks 10th in shooting percentage, 10th in power play percentage and 11th in even strength shot attempts per game, so it’s safe to say they’re a solidly above average offense. Tonight they’re in Buffalo playing a Sabres team that is playing for the second night in a row. Hopefully, the back-to-back means Anders Nilsson gets the start in net for Buffalo since Robin Lehner played last night.

Buffalo’s top line is a good possession unit that you’d like to avoid, and Buffalo’s third line is a poor possession trio you’d like to target. Buffalo’s top line will see plenty of both of Edmonton’s top six lines, but Buffalo’s third line is also going to see a fair bit of one of those top six lines, usually the opposing top line.

That means Connor McDavid and the top line are squarely in play tonight. McDavid is more affordable on FD where pricing is soft, and he’s certainly a candidate to be where you spend big. If you’re looking for cheaper exposure to McDavid, Milan Lucic joins him on the top line and top PP unit and is priced reasonably on FD. Oscar Klefbom could also provide some nice salary relief on FD, but he’s on the second PP unit at the moment, not the first. If you want some EDM exposure over on DK, it’s tougher, but Jordan Eberle from the second line and second PP unit is priced reasonably there.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Arizona Coyotes

If you’re not spending big on McDavid, feel free to spend big on Patrick Kane. Those are your best options for rostering a very expensive player tonight as opposed to guys like Tyler Seguin and Vladimir Tarasenko. No team allows more shot attempts at even strength than Arizona, and there are no tough possession matchups to avoid anywhere in their lineup. The Yotes are also playing for the second night in a row after playing in Columbus last night. If you’re looking for someone to mini-stack with Kane, Brent Seabrook is the cheaper of Chicago’s two defensemen that join Kane on the top PP unit. Seabrook is priced particularly well on DK.

Calgary Flames @ Dallas Stars

Vegas doesn’t love the Flames tonight as Calgary has a below average implied total, but my model loves them. Vegas’ implied total is a bit odd given that Calgary has been a decent offense ranking above average in goals scored and shooting percentage. But my model like Calgary less because the Flames are good and more because Dallas is a great matchup. I’m a broken record repeating stats like these every time I do a write up, but the Stars are tied for the most goals allowed this season, they have the fourth worst penalty kill, and they have the second worst save percentage.

As for which Flames to use tonight, it’s a bit of a mess. Johnny Gaudreau is back in the lineup, but he’s not in his usual spot on Sean Monahan’s wing for now, which leaves their lines a bit jumbled and matchups tough to figure out. What we do know is that Dallas will use Radek Faksa’s line against whichever Flames trio Dallas is most concerned with, and that’s most likely going to be whatever line Gaudreau is on. The question is which non-Gaudreau line is going to avoid the Benn/Seguin line and which will draw Cody Eakin’s line. Benn/Segiun don’t have possession numbers that make them a stay away matchup (though they would be if FD still used +/-), but Eakin’s line is still definitely the line you’d rather target.

My best guess is that the Matthew Tkachuk/Mikael Backlund/Michael Frolik draws the Eakin line while Gaudreau gets the Faksa line and the Monahan line, which along with Gaudreau makes up Calgary’s top PP unit, gets the Benn/Seguin line. Backlund is the only one from Calgary’s “third” line that sees PP work (he’s on the second unit), so he’s the Calgary forward I’m most interested in rostering. Frolik would be my second choice, especially on FD. If you want to roster Gaudreau, DK is the site to do it on as he’s priced much more reasonably there.

But the one Flame I’m most interested in rostering is Mark Giordano. Giordano’s point production is a bit off where it has been in recent years, but he continues to produce in DFS in large part thanks to blocked shots. He ranks second in blocked shots and as a result his DK points scored per minute on the ice are right in line with what he’s done in the past.

Player Rankings

Centers

  1. Connor McDavid
  2. Derek Stepan
  3. Blake Wheeler
  4. Mikael Backlund
  5. Jason Spezza

Defensemen

  1. Mark Giordano
  2. Roman Josi
  3. Mike Green
  4. Brent Seabrook
  5. Ryan McDonagh
  6. Oscar Klefbom
  7. Troy Stecher

Wingers

  1. Patrick Kane
  2. Taylor Hall
  3. Chris Kreider
  4. Radim Vrbata
  5. Jordan Eberle
  6. Michael Frolik
  7. Thomas Vanek
  8. Viktor Arvidsson
  9. Mats Zuccarello
  10. Milan Lucic

Goalies

  1. Pekka Rinne (DK only)
  2. Cory Schneider
  3. Scott Darling (FD only)
  4. Cam Talbot (DK only)
  5. Antti Niemi (FD only, GPP only)
  6. Thomas Greiss* (DK only, 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. Make sure you always check LeftWingLock for starting goalie updates in case I am unable to update the list throughout the day.

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