Front Office

Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: March 12th

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. 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

Aside from Buffalo, no teams are a friendlier fantasy matchup than Arizona and Edmonton, and both are in action tonight. Arizona is hosting Chicago and Edmonton will be in Pittsburgh. Most teams have a line or two or a D pair you want to try and avoid when picking players playing against them. But you don’t get to be two of three friendliest fantasy matchups without being pretty bad across the board. Both Edmonton and Arizona have a D pair that is roughly average possession-wise, but individual matchups shouldn’t be a huge factor in picking which Hawks and Pens to use.

Instead, I’m using price to pick Hawks and Sens. From Pittsburgh, Malkin and Crosby are both $9,000+, so it comes down to their wingers. The lesser wingers on the top two lines are David Perron ($4,200, W) and Blake Comeau ($3,700, W). Perron is a little more productive, but he’s also a little more expensive, so there’s not much difference in value there. But the better wingers are Patric Hornqvist ($8,300, W) and Chris Kunitz ($5,000, W). Hornqvist is the more productive winger, but he’s not 60-ish percent more productive, which is how much higher his salary is than Kunitz’s. So Malkin/Kunitz is the play for me there. On the blue line, Kris Letang ($5,800, D) is more than reasonably priced if you can fit he and Malkin in the same lineup.

With the Hawks, the value is with the top line wingers. Kris Versteeg ($3,500, W) has a ridiculously good price, and Marian Hossa ($5,900, W) is reasonably priced for a guy with his upside. I’ll be pairing one of those wingers with Jonathan Toews ($6,400, C) in a few spots. Which winger I use in each lineup will just depend on how much I spend elsewhere. On the blue line I like Brent Seabrook ($4,700, D) who plays on the power play with that trio.

The next best matchups belong to Nashville who will be in San Jose and Winnipeg who will be in Florida. Here you have to get into the individual matchups a bit. With the Preds, you want to avoid the Joe Thornton line. That line is an excellent possession group, but virtually no one else on the team is an above average possession player. The last time these teams played in San Jose back in December, the Thornton line matched up with Mike Fisher‘s line. That’s Nashville’s “second line,” and the Sharks have been using the Thornton line against the opposition’s second line in recent home games. For that reason I like the top line pair of Mike Ribeiro ($3,800, C) and Filip Forsberg ($4,600, W). They’re both way underpriced as is Shea Weber ($5,400, D) who joins them on the power play.

With the Jets you’re not looking to avoid a specific matchup like the Thornton line because the Panthers don’t have a line that’s all that great. Their first and third lines are slightly above average, but the second line centered by Aleksandr Barkov can be exploited. In recent home games the Panthers have been using Barkov’s line against the opposition’s top line. That’s a bit unfortunate because Adam Lowry is centering the top line at the moment, and he doesn’t blow my skirt up. For you FanDuel players, the wingers on the top line, Andrew Ladd ($5,900, W) and Michael Frolik ($5,000, W) might be an option if you like to go with mini-stacks and need a couple of wingers to stack.

A couple of home teams also have pretty good matchups to give a look to tonight. That’s Detroit hosting Columbus and Carolina hosting Dallas. I won’t write up a breakdown of who I like there, but a few Wings and Canes will appear in the rankings below.

Price-Adjusted Player Rankings


  1. Mike Ribeiro – $3,800 – Nashville Predators
  2. Jordan Staal – $3,600 – Carolina Hurricanes
  3. Pavel Datsyuk – $5,900 – Detroit Red Wings
  4. Patrice Bergeron – $6,000 – Boston Bruins
  5. Jason Spezza – $5,500 – Dallas Stars
  6. Jonathan Toews – $6,400 – Chicago Blackhawks


  1. Filip Forsberg – $4,600 – Nashville Predators
  2. Kris Versteeg – $3,500 – Chicago Blackhawks
  3. Tomas Tatar – $4,900 – Detroit Red Wings
  4. Marian Hossa – $5,900 – Chicago Blackhawks
  5. Tyler Toffoli – $4,500 – Los Angeles Kings
  6. Jamie Benn – $6,800 – Dallas Stars


  1. Kris Letang – $5,800 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. Shea Weber – $5,400 – Nashville Predators
  3. Danny DeKeyser – $2,500 – Detroit Red Wings
  4. Tobias Enstrom – $3,400 – Winnipeg Jets
  5. Brent Seabrook – $4,700 – Chicago Blackhawks
  6. Paul Martin – $3,000 – Pittsburgh Penguins

Mini-Stacks (cash games)

  1. Mike Ribeiro/Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators
  2. Pavel Datsyuk/Tomas Tatar – Detroit Red Wings
  3. Jordan Staal/Andrej Nestrasil – Carolina Hurricanes
  4. Jonathan Toews/Kris Versteeg – Chicago Blackhawks
  5. Riley Sheahan/Gustav Nyquist – Detroit Red Wings
  6. Antoine Vermette/Brandon Saad – Chicago Blackhawks

Mini-Stacks (GPP)

  1. Jonathan Toews/Marian Hossa – Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Mike Ribeiro/Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators
  3. Evgeni Malkin/Chris Kunitz – Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. Pavel Datsyuk/Tomas Tatar – Detroit Red Wings
  5. Andrew Ladd/Michael Frolik – Winnipeg Jets
  6. Tyler Seguin/Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars


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 – $8,900 – Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Michael Hutchinson – $6,800 – Winnipeg Jets
  3. Brian Elliott – $8,100 – St. Louis Blues
  4. Jimmy Howard – $7,600 – Detroit Red Wings

Research Chart

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

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