Hope you all enjoyed some time with the family over the holidays and a couple days off from DFS but we’re back this Thursday with a glorious 12-game slate and tons of attractive teams to target. With plenty of great spots to cover, we will just jump into the games with our favorite GPP line stacks to target.
High Priced Lines - In general these lines are the top plays, but it is always site dependent on where you can fit them in. For the most part on DraftKings you are left to choose between 1 of these at best, while on Fanduel you can often fit multiple pieces into a team. Because of that, the ownership and strategy on how you use these lines shifts site to site.
- Dallas 1 - Spezza/Seguin/Benn – There is a ton to like about Dallas tonight, to start a home spot against a Colorado team that is allowing 20% more DK points than average in offensive categories. Every member of this Dallas 1st line skates on their 1st power play unit and has individual upside, scoring 6+ DK points in 11%, 15%, and 15% of their games respectively. While the trio has only skated together 80 minutes 5v5, they have scored 5 goals which puts them in elite company in G/60 minute metrics. When you also consider that Colorado has allowed the 2nd most power play goals in the NHL it further adds to the equation and makes Dallas my top play outright. Dallas is extremely expensive on DraftKings which could depress ownership, but also hurt the rest of your roster, while they are much more affordable on Fanduel. One other benefit of this stack is that it is a 2-center stack on Fanduel, which will depress ownership of the full trio even if they have higher individual ownership. Last time I stacked them I was able to get Spezza at 1/3rd of the ownership of Seguin, meaning very few were correlating them in tournaments.
- Boston 1 - Bergeron/Marchand/Pastrnak – While Patrice Bergeron has struggled to find the back of the net to start the season he is still hitting the board in metrics such as scoring chances for, expected goals, and shots on goal. Bergeron has 11 expected goals to just 5 actual goals on the season and is a strong candidate for positive regression, while Pastrnak has been scoring at a prolific rate. The Bruins recently united this trio on the same power play unit helping cure our correlation woes, and they can be stacked solo or with power play QB Torey Krug. When you combine this with their individual upside they become an even better spot to target then they were earlier this season.
- Washington 1 - Ovechkin/Kuznetsov/Williams – With plenty of spots to attack tonight I expect the Capitals to go overlooked, and New Jersey is not the Devils of old at least defensively. Offensively they still struggle to score outside of their first line, but defensively they have shown some lapses and not been bailed out by Corey Schneider as frequently as in the past. While a lot of narrative is about Ovechkin’s power play prowess, this trio has been the Capitals best 5v5 line and a top five 5v5 line in the league of those playing at least 100 minutes together. With the power play upside and a 5v5 line averaging 38 SF/60 and 13 SCF/60 we have to consider the Ovechkin line particularly on Fanduel where they are more affordable. Because Williams and Kuznetsov don’t always skate with Ovechkin on the power play, Ovechkin can make for a compelling one-off or paired with somebody like John Carlson.
Mid-Range Lines - This section was the easiest for me to write up and I imagine where you’ll find some of the chalkier options for tonight’s slate on DraftKings. On Fanduel with soft pricing, these trios could garner lower ownership and allow you to fit in stud defensemen.
- Tampa Bay 1 - Kucherov/Palat/Johnson – Ty Johnson and Ondrej Palat have been disappointing at times this season with Kucherov carrying the team and whoever he plays with, but tonight is a spot I want to attack. Toronto plays a fast paced brand of hockey and I have this game projected as the highest of the night in Total Corsi and Expected Goals, and tied for 2nd in Scoring Chances for. While the raw projections put Tampa as my 6th ranked line, I think it is worth considering that a fast style of play is also perfect for a unit like Johnson, Palat and Kucherov who can sometimes get pushed around down low by bigger players. Given the pricing and recency bias after Tampa got to Carey Price last night I expect ownership to be high. That said, with plenty of good options tonight I think we’re looking at high teens, and nothing in must fade territory. If you look at all of Tampa’s best line combinations this season, they involve Nikita Kucherov and I expect Johnson and Palat to benefit as long as they play alongside him in even strength and man advantage situations.
- NY Rangers 1 – Stepan/Kreider/Zuccarello – You can do worse things as a DFS player than stream skilled forwards against a historically bad Coyotes team. If I write up DFS on a night the ‘Yotes are playing I will be writing up their opposition and the Rangers 1st unit checks the box in terms of even strength skill and power play correlation. Arizona is poor 5v5 and because of that they take a lot of penalties, having now allowed the 2nd most power play goals in the league. At moderate pricing across the industry you can fit the Rangers in on both sites with ample cap space to grab other skaters you like. If I was going with a one-off, I like Kreider the best for the same price but line leading numbers in xG, scoring chances, corsi for and 6+ DK games.
- Minnesota 1 – Parise/Staal/Pominville – Another team in a streaming spot against the NY Islanders, all 3 Wild men have 6+ upside in 13%, 13%, and 10% of their games on the season, while Parise and Staal present a higher floor. I am comfortable deploying them as a full line stack or with defenseman Ryan Suter who shares the power play and logs tons of even strength ice time. At a total line cost of just $17,300 Minnesota can be fit in with plenty of other great DFS plays tonight.
Depth Lines and Cheap D Options
- Minnesota 3 - Coyle/Haula/Niedereiter – One merit for fading Minnesota’s 1st line is that their 3rd line has produced 6+ point games in 8% of their outings, so you are getting only marginal worse upside at much lower ownership and $3,000 of cap savings. With Koivu’s line focused on shutting down Tavares, you should see better matchups for the Coyle/Haula/Niedereiter line. With a goal expectation of 0.67 in my model compared to 0.98 for the first unit, if you find each line scoring once, the Coyle line lets you afford basically any other forwards you like, making them a good large field GPP play.
- Winnipeg 2 - Wheeler/Perreault/Little – Another line with a total price of around $15,000 will undoubtedly be single digit ownership. Sergei Bobrovsky has been playing at an elite level this season but as a team Columbus has been middle of the pack in corsi against and scoring chance metrics. The Jets 2nd line is actually ranked in the top 5 for expected goals and scoring chance metrics, which exclude quality of goaltender you are facing. Little has quietly put up 11 points in 14 games since returning. If you do go this route all you really are looking for from this group is a goal to pay off a very cheap price and allow you to grab whoever else you want to pay for.
- Punt D - In order to grab all of the studs you often need to punt the defensive position, or play a D in flex. There are ample defensive options in the $4000 and above range, but if you want to punt below that Nikita Zaitsev has seen time in multiple consecutive games with Toronto’s 2nd unit. He has 5 points in his last 7 games and has averaged 22 minutes of ice. Colin Miller carries a $3300 price tag and has recently seen consistent time skating on Boston’s 2nd power play unit. While Miller has just 1 assist during that time, with Bruins balancing their units, Miller should see some increased opportunity. Similarly Anton Stralman of Tampa Bay gets a matchup versus a Toronto team that shoots the puck a ton allowing opportunity for blocked shots. Stralman typically plays close to a 40 point pace, and has started to see some more power play time in recent games.
That’s it for this week! You can check out some of my top stacks with advanced metrics below.