Below I’ve got a discussion of the best matchups and potential stacks of the day followed by player 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.

Make sure to check Twitter for any injury news, and check LeftWingLock for starting goalies and line combos.

Teams to Target

I’m a numbers guy. I believe without a doubt that numbers should be the most important factor in making fantasy decisions. They’re objective and not subject to logical fallacies like we are. And so for that reason, I think the San Jose Sharks are the best play of the day. That’s despite the fact that I have such a hard time trusting a massively disappointing (and disappointed) team that might not give two shits about their game in Edmonton tonight. But that’s obviously my gut talking, not numbers. They could just as easily be able to play this game free from any pressure and rally around some BS “finish the season strong” locker room narrative. More importantly, the numbers say it’s a good play. The Sharks are a high shot volume offense facing a below average possession team with arguably the worst goaltending in the league.

That’s why the pairs of Joe Thornton ($4,700, C) /Joe Pavelski ($8,000, C) and Logan Couture ($9,000, C)/Patrick Marleau ($6,000, W) are towards the top of the mini-stack rankings below. Couture’s price is a little ridiculous, so I prefer the pairing of Thornton/Pavelski which is cheaper and about as productive on average. If you can afford it, I also like Brent Burns ($6,500, D) on the blue line.

The next best matchup belongs to Vancouver hosting Arizona. Vancouver’s playoff seeding still isn’t settled as they could end up on the road in the first round if they lose out, so no need to worry about their effort level if you’re concerned about those things. I prefer the pairing of Nick Bonino ($4,600, C) and Radim Vrbata ($7,100, W) if price isn’t an issue for you. But Vrbata is a bit pricey, so it’s OK if you need to go with the cheaper pair of Henrik Sedin ($4,200, C) and Daniel Sedin ($5,900, W). Alexander Edler ($4,600, D) is a good option on the blue line, and Yannick Weber ($3,000, D) is also an option if you need salary relief.

Finally, I really like Winnipeg trying to clinch a playoff spot in a great matchup against the Avalanche and Reto Berra. Blake Wheeler is a bit pricey for me, and I don’t love his linemates, so I’m leaning toward the top line of Bryan Little ($4,600, C), Andrew Ladd ($5,400, W) and Michael Frolik ($4,500, W). Because of their inclusion on the top power play unit, Little/Ladd is my preferred mini-stack. On the blue line, Tyler Myers ($4,600, D) aplays on the top unit, and Jacob Trouba ($4,300, D) is a nice value on the second unit.

Player Rankings

Mini-Stacks

  1. Joe Thornton/Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
  2. Bryan Little/Andrew Ladd – Winnipeg Jets
  3. Logan Couture/Patrick Marleau – San Jose Sharks
  4. Jonathan Toews/Marian Hossa – Chicago Blackhawks
  5. Taylor Hall/Jordan Eberle – Edmonton Oilers
  6. Henrik Sedin/Daniel Sedin – Vancouver Canucks
  7. Nick Bonino/Radim Vrbata – Vancouver Canucks
  8. Anze Kopitar/Marian Gaborik – Los Angeles Kings

Defense

  1. Brent Burns – $6,500 – San Jose Sharks
  2. Alexander Edler – $4,600 – Vancouver Canucks
  3. Jacob Trouba – $4,300 – Winnipeg Jets
  4. Yannick Weber – $3,000 – Vancouver Canucks
  5. Drew Doughty – $5,600 – Los Angeles Kings
  6. Duncan Keith – $5,200 – Chicago Blackhawks
  7. Justin Schultz – $3,900 – Edmonton Oilers

Goalies

  1. Eddie Lack – $7,400 – Vancouver Canucks
  2. Steve Mason – $9,100 – Philadelphia Flyers
  3. Carey Price – $9,000 – Montreal Canadiens
  4. Craig Anderson* – $8,200 – Ottawa Senators
  5. Andrew Hammond – $8,500 – Ottawa Senators
  6. Roberto Luongo – $6,800 – Florida Panthers

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. And players with a line through their name will not be starting tonight. Make sure you always check LeftWingLock for starting goalie updates in case I am unable to update the list throughout the day.

Research Chart

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

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