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Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: January 17, 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.

Teams to Target

New York Rangers v. Dallas Stars

The Rangers have the highest implied total in Vegas tonight and the highest expected total according to my own model. The Stars have allowed the fourth most goals this season, and they have the fourth lowest save percentage with the second worst PK in the league. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the Rangers are a good choice tonight.

The Rangers have recently seen Rick Nash and Pavel Buchnevich return to the lineup, and tonight they’ll get Mike Zibanejad back as well. That trio forms New York’s second line, so they’ve essentially got a top six line back recently. I’m a bit wary of those guys just returning to the lineup, but Buchnevich has two assists in two games back, and he’s seeing work on the second PP unit. He’s priced really well on both sites and makes for a good value option.

The real play here is probably New York’s top line. Dallas doesn’t have their best possession players grouped on a line together at the moment, so there’s not really any individual matchups you need to worry about. Center Derek Stepan is priced well on both sites and especially so on FD, and Mats Zuccarello is priced well on both sites also. Chris Kreider is priced more sharply, but he’ll certainly work as part of a stack. That trio stays together on the top PP unit where they’re joined by D-man Ryan McDonagh.

Toronto Maple Leafs v. Buffalo Sabres

My model and the Vegas implied totals aren’t always in lock step, but they are today as my top three teams in expected goals are the teams with the three highest implied totals. Toronto ranks second as they host the Sabres, who, like the Stars, are playing for the second day in a row. Toronto ranks fourth in shot attempts per 60 (even strength, adjusted), and Buffalo ranks 10th in shot attempts allowed per 60, so the Leafs should be able to put plenty of rubber on net. The Leafs have been scoring a ton in the new year with an average of 4.2 goals per game in six January games.

Buffalo’s top line is a tough possession matchup, and Nazem Kadri’s line is likely to draw that matchup and should thus be avoided. But that leaves stud Auston Matthews with a good individual matchup, so he’s an excellent option to spend big on, especially on FD where he’s more reasonably priced. If you can’t afford Matthews, Mitchell Marner is a good option with points in five of his last six games including six assists in his last three.

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

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Chicago Blackhawks @ Colorado Avalanche

Colorado allows the fifth most shot attempts per 60 and they have the third lowest save percentage in the league. That is obviously not a good combination, and it’s why the Hawks have the third highest implied total tonight even though they’re on the road. The Avs don’t have any individual matchups you need to worry about, so Chicago’s best offensive line, the Anisimov line, is the play tonight. Pay up for Patrick Kane if you can, and if you can’t, find a way to fit Artemi Panarin in. Anisimov is probably best left for stacking the whole line if you can pull that off with value plays elsewhere. If there’s a value option on the team, it’s probably Richard Panik who skates on the third line and sees work on the second PP unit. He’s priced very well on FD if you need salary relief there. Also in play is defenseman Duncan Keith who joins the Anisimov line on the top PP unit. Keith is priced well on DK.

Minnesota Wild v. New Jersey Devils

Minnesota has the fifth highest implied total in Vegas of games with lines as of this writing, and they rank fourth in expected goals in my model. New Jersey’s top line is a decent possession line that you’d ideally avoid, and Minnesota’s second line should draw that matchup as they usually take on the opposing top line in home games. Minny’s top line centered by Eric Staal often draws depth lines in home games, so they’re in play this evening. Staal has arguably been the best Minny player lately with points in seven of his last nine, with 11 total points in that stretch. He’s overpriced on DK but priced reasonably on FD. Joining him on the top line are Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle, with Parise being priced more reasonably on DK and Coyle being a decent value on FD. Defenseman Ryan Suter joins that line on the top PP unit.

Player Rankings

Centers

  1. Derek Stepan
  2. Auston Matthews
  3. Ryan Johansen
  4. Eric Staal
  5. Artem Anisimov

Defensemen

  1. Ryan McDonagh
  2. Ryan Suter
  3. Duncan Keith
  4. Zach Werenski
  5. Mattias Ekholm

Wingers

  1. Mats Zuccarello
  2. Patrick Kane
  3. Mitchell Marner
  4. Nick Foligno
  5. Zach Parise
  6. Chris Kreider
  7. Patrick Eaves
  8. Charlie Coyle
  9. Pavel Buchnevich
  10. Artemi Panarin
  11. Kris Versteeg
  12. Brett Ritchie
  13. Richard Panik

Goalies

  1. Frederik Andersen
  2. Devan Dubnyk
  3. John Gibson (DK only)
  4. Chad Johnson (GPP only, FD only)
  5. Robin Lehner (GPP only, DK 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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