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Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: March 17th

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

Buffalo is in Boston on the second half of a back-to-back, so that’s obviously the play of the day. The top line pair of Patrice Bergeron ($5,400, C) and Brad Marchand ($4,400, W) is very reasonably priced, so it’s hard to argue against them being the obvious play of the day. Of course, everyone knows that, so I might not bother with them in GPPs because the ownership percentages will be extremely high, but they’re fine for cash games. If you want exposure to the matchup in GPPs, I might give the third line pair of Carl Soderberg ($3,500, C) and Loui Eriksson ($4,300, W) a go. On the blue line, Torey Krug ($4,700, D) and Zdeno Chara ($4,300, D) are good plays.

The next best matchup belongs to St. Louis who will be in Calgary. The Flames are a terrible possession team, and they’re even worse without Mark Giordano. All three lines for St. Louis are fine plays, but the second line is a bit pricey for me. Assuming Dmitrij Jaskin ($3,000, W) remains on the top line with David Backes ($5,600), that is probably the best value pair from St. Louis. Backes along with T.J. Oshie ($5,600, W) is probably the safer play, particularly because it’s possible Jaskin gets shuffled down a line or two mid-game. The third line pair of Paul Stastny ($5,000, C) and Alexander Steen ($6,800, W) is also an option. On the blue line I like Alex Pietrangelo ($5,800, D). My guess is that the most exposure I’ll have will be to St. Louis.

Past the obvious plays, I’m looking at Florida hosting Montreal (assuming Dustin Tokarski starts for the Habs on the second half of a back-to-back), Chicago hosting the Islanders and then Ottawa in Carolina, though that matchup isn’t as good as Florida’s or Chicago’s. Winnipeg hosting San Jose is in the neighborhood of Florida and Chicago matchup-wise, but there’s just not much value I see there. I do like the price on Andrew Ladd ($5,200, W) if you need a stray winger.

For the Panthers, I’m looking down the lineup a bit to their third line of Vincent Trocheck ($3,300, C), Brandon Pirri ($4,900, W) and Jimmy Hayes ($3,200, W). This line should avoid Montreal’s better possession lines and their top D pair. I actually like Pirri and Hayes who play on the wings quite a bit more than Trocheck. I generally like to include centers, but the wingers look better to me today. On the blue line, Aaron Ekblad ($3,500, D) is a nice value.

For Chicago, I’m sticking with the top line pair of Jonathan Toews ($6,400, C) and Marian Hossa ($7,700, W). They may be a bit overpriced, but you have to spend your money somewhere. Plus, the Vermette line is pretty unintimidating, and Brad Richards is definitely overpriced, so I’ll pay up for the top line production. On the blue line, I’d lean toward Duncan Keith ($5,200, D) who has been seeing the most time with the top power play unit.

And finally, the Ottawa first line is a candidate for some GPP play. The matchup is just average because Carolina has been an awesome possession team recently, but their goaltending is still bad and opens the door for Ottawa to score some goals. The entire top line of Mika Zibanejad ($3,500, C), Bobby Ryan ($5,000, W) and Mike Hoffman ($4,500, W) are all very reasonably priced.

Player Rankings

Mini-Stacks (cash games)

  1. Patrice Bergeron/Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins
  2. Paul Stastny/Alexander Steen – St. Louis Blues
  3. David Backes/T.J. Oshie – St. Louis Blues
  4. Jonathan Toews/Marian Hossa – Chicago Blackhawks
  5. Brandon Pirri/Jimmy Hayes – Florida Panthers
  6. Carl Soderberg/Loui Eriksson – Boston Bruins

Mini-Stacks (GPP)

  1. Paul Stastny/Alexander Steen – St. Louis Blues
  2. David Backes/Dmitrij Jaskin – St. Louis Blues
  3. Jonathan Toews/Marian Hossa – Chicago Blackhawks
  4. Carl Soderberg/Loui Eriksson – Boston Bruins
  5. Mika Zibanejad/Bobby Ryan – Ottawa Senators
  6. Brandon Pirri/Jimmy Hayes – Florida Panthers
  7. Patrice Bergeron/Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins


  1. Aaron Ekblad – $3,500 – Florida Panthers
  2. Alex Pietrangelo – $5,800 – St. Louis Blues
  3. Duncan Keith – $5,200 – Chicago Blackhawks
  4. Torey Krug – $4,700 – Boston Bruins
  5. Zdeno Chara – $4,300 – Boston Bruins
  6. Tobias Enstrom – $3,400 – Winnipeg Jets


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. Eddie Lack – $7,600 – Vancouver Canucks
  2. Corey Crawford – $9,000 – Chicago Blackhawks
  3. Michael Hutchinson – $6,700 – Winnipeg Jets
  4. Michal Neuvirth – $7,200 – New York Islanders

Research Chart

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

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