Front Office

Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: January 20th

red wings
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Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by cash game rankings for DraftKings contests. 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. 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 at his position in action today. Then we have ‘OPPz’ which is how far above or below average the player’s matchup is. Quality of matchup is determined with a mix of Corsi against and save percentage of the team the player will be facing. ‘Pts/Gm’ is a projection derived from’s rest-of-season projections. The ‘z’ next to the projection is how far above or below average the projection is compared to all other players at the position in action today. ‘zTOTAL’ is the player’s projection z-score combined with his matchup z-score. And then ‘zDIFF’ is zTOTAL 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.

Stack Options

It’s been a little tough picking stacks the last few days with either too many good matchups to choose from or hardly any at all. But today we have a nice mix of good and bad matchups.

The Capitals don’t have the best matchup of the day, but they do have one of the three really good ones. Because Washington has a top five offense, they’re my stack of the day despite not having the absolute best matchup. Any Capitals-heavy stack has to include the first line pair of Nicklas Backstrom ($6,200, C) and Alex Ovechkin ($9,000, W). But finding another forward pair to put with them is tough. I considered the third line pair of Eric Fehr and Joel Ward because I prefer to use a center and a winger. But I’m going to go with both second line wingers, Troy Brouwer ($4,100, W) and Marcus Johansson ($3,500, C). I just like their value too much. Because all four of the forwards I’m going with play on the top power play unit, I’ll also be using the defenseman on that unit, Mike Green ($4,800, D).

The best matchup of the day belongs to Detroit against Minnesota. I mentioned in my write-up yesterday that Minnesota might not be as great of a matchup with Devan Dubnyk on the roster since Minnesota’s big weakness has been goaltending. But Minnesota played last night, so Dubnyk might not be playing tonight. And if he does, it’s still on the second half of a back-to-back and he’s not Dominik Hasek. There’s no better value among Red Wings than Pavel Datsyuk ($5,800, C), so my Red Wings stacks will start with Datsyuk and his right winger, Tomas Tatar ($5,900, W). Because Zetterberg had a hat trick on Sunday, his price has spiked. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of either of his wingers. For that reason the other pair of forwards I like is the third line pair of Riley Sheahan ($3,200, C) and Gustav Nyquist ($5,600, W). I’m also using Niklas Kronwall ($4,000, D).

The other really good matchup belongs to Chicago against Arizona. I think Patrick Sharp ($5,900, W) is a great value, but he has been on the third line recently, so I wouldn’t necessarily use him in any Chicago-heavy stack. I prefer Jonathan Toews ($5,900, C) and Marian Hossa ($6,300, W), Brad Richards ($5,700, C) and Patrick Kane ($8,200, W) and defenseman Duncan Keith ($4,200, D).

Chicago and Washington are two of the three biggest favorites of the day according to Vegas, so players from those teams may be heavily owned. And it won’t surprise me if many people are also on Detroit given Minnesota’s rep for being a good matchup and the fact that the Wild played last night.

If you want to get contrarion, I’d look to the Boston at Dallas game. It’s a strange matchup of teams with very different strengths and weaknesses. Dallas has one of the two or three best offenses in the league and a slightly below average defense, while Boston has an average offense and a borderline top five defense. Essentially it comes down to the fact that you can never count out Dallas scoring or allowing four or five goals. The top three lines on both teams are all in play.

I could also see Pittsburgh going big tonight against Philadelphia, who will likely have the worst goalie of the day going whether it’s Zepp or Emery. I like Kunitz and Perron on the top line, but I think Crosby is too pricey. I’d probably lean toward Malkin and a winger and the third line.

Price-Adjusted Cash Game Rankings


  1. Pavel Datsyuk – $5,800 – Detroit Red Wings
  2. Marcus Johansson – $3,500 – Washington Capitals
  3. Riley Sheahan – $3,200 – Detroit Red Wings
  4. Nicklas Backstrom – $6,200 – Washington Capitals
  5. Jonathan Toews – $5,900 – Chicago Blackhawks
  6. Patrice Bergeron – $5,700 – Boston Bruins


  1. Gustav Nyquist – $5,600 – Detroit Red Wings
  2. Patrick Sharp – $5,900 – Chicago Blackhawks
  3. Marian Hossa – $6,300 – Chicago Blackhawks
  4. Tomas Tatar – $5,900 – Detroit Red Wings
  5. Troy Brouwer – $4,100 – Washington Capitals
  6. Radim Vrbata – $5,200 – Vancouver Canuck
  7. Chris Kunitz – $5,300 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  8. Jakub Voracek – $5,900 – Philadelphia Flyers
  9. Reilly Smith – $3,400 – Boston Bruins


  1. Duncan Keith – $4,200 – Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Dan Boyle – $3,300 – New York Rangers
  3. Niklas Kronwall – $4,000 –  Detroit Red Wings
  4. Brent Seabrook – $4,800 – Chicago Blackhawks
  5. Mike Green – $4,800 – Washington Capitals
  6. Dan Hamhuis – $2,600 – Vancouver Canucks


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. Corey Crawford – $8,300 – Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Cam Talbot* – $7,800 – New York Rangers
  3. Marc-Andre Fleury – $8,100 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. Kari Lehtonen – $6,700 – Dallas Stars
  5. Petr Mrazek – $7,500 – Detroit Red Wings
  6. Braden Holtby – $8,600 – Washington Capitals

Research Chart

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

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