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Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy: March 19th

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.

NHL DFS ex.

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

According to my personal matchup stat, the best matchup of the day belongs to the Colorado Avalanche who will be in Arizona. The problem is that the Avs are a horrendous possession team. Since February 1, only Buffalo and Calgary have a worse Corsi for percentage of total at even strength than Colorado. Arizona isn’t a good possession team either, but they’re somewhat close to average and definitely better in that regard compared to Colorado. Plus, this game is in Arizona, so I’m a bit wary of the Avs. Because I’m not 100% on board with Avs, I’m just going to stick to their best fantasy scoring pair of Matt Duchene ($7,000, C) and Jarome Iginla ($5,800, W).

The second line pair of Ryan O’Reilly ($4,700, W) and Gabriel Landeskog ($6,500, W) also crossed my mind, but I find them hard to trust. Ideally, I could tell you which pair will get away from top D man, Oliver Ekman-Larsson. But these teams haven’t played in Arizona since November, so it’s hard to trust the matchups used in that game. Plus Colorado’s lines were different then. So I’ll play it safe and go with Duchene/Iginla. On  the blue line, Tyson Barrie ($5,200, D) is the best option if you can afford him, and Nick Holden ($2,600, D) is a cheap option who gets some power play time.

The next best matchup belongs to the Flyers who will be in Calgary. As I’ve mentioned in recent posts, the Flames are a bad possession team from top to bottom and don’t really have any players you need to avoid matchup-wise. For that reason I’m leaning toward the top line pair of Claude Giroux ($7,200, C) and Jakub Voracek ($6,000, W). Voracek is a bit underpriced, and Giroux isn’t unreasonably priced for a top end option. I also like Wayne Simmonds, but don’t love his center, Sean Couturier ($3,500, C). Feel free to use Simmonds on his own.

Speaking of using guys on their own, that’s what I’d recommend with Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk. The Maple Leafs have the next best matchup hosting San Jose, but there aren’t many good options. San Jose’s top line centered by Joe Thornton is an awesome possession line, so Toronto’s top line isn’t a good play against the Thornton line. That eliminates Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel. With Nazem Kadri suspended right now, we’re left with JVR and maybe Joffrey Lupul as the only viable options. If Lupul was playing on the second line opposite JVR on the wing, I might pair them together. But Lupul has been playing on the third line recently, so he’s not much of an option.

On the other side of that game, the Sharks are in a really good spot. Another thing I’ve mentioned before is that I think the Leafs are particularly weak defensively down their right side. They’re bad all over, but the right side of their defense is arguably their weakest spot. That makes left-wingers from San Jose interesting. Joe Pavelski plays right wing on the top line with Thornton, and he’s obviously pricy, so I’m looking more at the second line pair of Logan Couture ($5,900, C) and Patrick Marleau ($5,000, W). They’re very, very reasonably priced, so I really like that play today. On the blue line, Brant Burns ($6,200, D) is a good option if you can fit him in.

The Sharks juggled their 2nd and third lines this morning. Marleau can be played alone or he can be paired with Burns or Tomas Hertl ($4,000, W). Couture can be paired with Tommy Wingels ($4,200, W) or Matt Nieto ($3,400).

The last team I want to mention specifically is Pittsburgh who will be in Dallas taking on my Stars. With Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist not making the road trip with the Pens, Sidney Crosby ($9,200, C) and his wingers are really the only option against the oft-porous Stars. I prefer Chris Kunitz ($4,400, W) to pair with Crosby, but David Perron ($4,900, W) is also an option. On the blue line, Kris Letang ($5,500, D) is an option, again, if you can fit him in.

Player Rankings

Mini-Stacks

  1. Claude Giroux/Jakub Voracek – Philadelphia Flyers
  2. Matt Duchene/Jarome Iginla – Colorado Avalanche
  3. Sidney Crosby/Chris Kunitz – Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. Logan Couture/Tommy Wingels – San Jose Sharks
  5. Patrice Bergeron/Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins (GPP only)
  6. Ryan O’Reilly/Gabriel Landeskog – Colorado Avalanche
  7. Henrik Sedin/Daniel Sedin – Vancouver Canucks

Defense

  1. Kris Letang – $5,500 – Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. Brent Burns – $6,200 – San Jose Sharks
  3. P.K. Subban – $5,700 – Montreal Canadiens
  4. Alexander Edler – $4,500 – Vancouver Canucks
  5. Oliver Ekman-Larsson – $4,700 – Arizona Coyotes
  6. Tyson Barrie – $5,200 – Colorado Avalanche
  7. Nick Holden – $2,600 – Colorado Avalanche

Goalie

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. Semyon Varlamov – $9,100 – Colorado Avalanche
  2. Antti Niemi – $7,900 – San Jose Sharks
  3. Karri Ramo – $6,900 – Calgary Flames
  4. Eddie Lack – $7,800 – Vancouver Canucks

Research Chart

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

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