Tuesdays and Thursdays continue to be the best days for DFS hockey. Tonight we’re welcoming 20 teams to the slate, which is a great slate for both cash games and GPPs alike. While the prize pools are down a bit with NFL looming, it makes for a compelling slate with a lot of different ways you can go. Below I breakdown a few of my favorite spots to monitor and situations to attack.
The Bruins catching the Blue Jackets on a back-to-back.
Boston catches Columbus on a back-to-back tonight and look to be in prime position versus a team allowing the most Scoring Chances against per 60 minutes across all situations on the season. The 1st line of Bergeron-Pastrnak-Marchand is my highest projected stack on the night, and while they are priced up on DraftKings, they make for an affordable option on Fanduel. The best thing about the Boston top line is all 3 players possess high individual ceilings and are the top rated line in advanced metrics, like expected goals adjusted for opponent. One thing giving me a small pause is that Bergeron and Marchand had reverse splits at home last year, but with Columbus not having a clear #1 line to focus on, it should be less of an issue here. Regardless I also think the 2nd line of Krejci-Spooner-Backes are an equally interesting play that offers high projection at hopefully low ownership. Krejci and Spooner have had a down season but finally are playing on a line where all 3 players have talent after a rotating series of plugs, and also will get crack as the first power play unit with Bergeron and defenseman Torey Krug. Speaking of Krug, he’s 2nd in the NHL in shots per 60 minute and is an elite play tonight at a cheap price tag. I like all aspects of Boston tonight, including goaltender Tukka Rask, and it is not just the homer in me.
Key Decisions in the Desert
I expect Winnipeg to be popular as people continue to pick on an Arizona team that has given up a plethora of scoring chances and goals on the year, especially with the Scheifele-Ehlers-Laine line scoring hot and Laine having already notched 2 hat tricks on the season. While they project well in my model (4th rated overall) it is worth noting that while Arizona has been dreadful on the road, they have been “average” at home and the 1st line should see a ton of Oliver Ekman Larsson. I don’t need to explain that Laine’s goal scoring pace is unsustainable, but I think his price tag is probably too cheap to pass up on Fanduel for cash game formats. To me, Winnipeg 1 is a line I would probably fade if I was playing 1 lineup in tournaments due to expected ownership, but somebody I would want some exposure to if multi-entering.
I have some interest in Blake Wheeler as a low owned standalone GPP play or paired with Dustin Byfuglien to take a differentiated approach towards Winnipeg, or if you desperately need the cap savings pairing him with Nic Petan and Kyle Connor. While he hasn’t been nearly as productive as Laine, Blake Wheeler has still been generating scoring chances. He’s averaging 3 shots a game (identical to Laine’s performance) and is probably owed somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 goals from a shooting percentage regression perspective, while Laine is probably running 2-3 goals too hot. The appeal to Laine over Wheeler is simply that his linemates are far more talented and make for a stronger correlation play. On the other side of the puck, I also like pieces of the Arizona Coyotes including the afore mentioned OEL. Because Winnipeg generates a lot of shots, it should also mean both OEL and Alex Goligoski could see a nice mix of shot attempts and blocked shots, which puts them in play for me in both formats. Outside of the D corps, Arizona forwards offer a ton of savings tonight with not a single player priced above $4500 on DraftKings. While the lines are a little jumbled for me, guys like Vrbata and Domi figure to lead the charge, and most likely to find the back of the net. Playing Arizona on its own should be unique, but I particularly like to get power play exposure against Winnipeg and think that is the spot to attack. At $6900 in a game that should be a coin flip, I do think grabbing Louis Domingue in GPP formats could pay off – particularly if those are lineups where you haven’t grabbed Winnipeg player exposure.
Light it up with or against the Stars?
Another key decision out West is in the Dallas and Calgary game featuring two of the most popular duos in DFS with Seguin / Benn and Gaudreau / Monahan. The approach to this game could easily be determined by the refs, as Calgary has allowed the most power play goals in the NHL, with Dallas allowing the 3rd most. Seguin and Benn make for great plays in both formats and I will continue to chase the incoming explosive game. Despite the appearance that they have been split up, I would expect head coach Lindy Ruff to skate them together at times at even strength. Even if he doesn’t, I am still comfortable playing both of them as Calgary relinquishes goals on the power play. If the whistles come out the goals could pile up quickly, but if the penalties aren’t called, both teams are more middle of the pack 5-on-5.
Because of Calgary’s penalty kill issues, I also like John Klingberg as an option (either standalone or paired with Seguin and Benn or Patrick Eaves). The decision on Calgary will be key as they have struggled to generate scoring chances and put the puck in the net on the power plays this season, but have all the talent they need to do so. Gaudreau was famous in DFS circles last year for his home splits (Johnny Hockey at Home!) and Calgary is a team that I feel like you should at least have some exposure to in GPPs. I’d feel a lot better if I knew they would be a low owned option and think there is some merit in a fade if they will be chalky. Your stance on Calgary should depend on if you take a longer or shorter term view towards some of the player analytics. If you are playing Monahan and Gaudreau you could pair them with even strength linemate Alex Chiasson but you should know he is only seeing 13 minutes of icetime a game and none of the valuable power play time. Personally, I will avoid that trap and instead look towards some of their talented offensive defensemen.
Good luck tonight gamers. I’ve included a chart of my top raw projected stacks on DraftKings below.