Fluffy tips to avoid trauma transitioning from NFL to NHL DFS.
If you’re reading this, you are probably in a place I know well. The NFL season is winding down, and if you’re like me, a degenerate
gambler game of skill enthusiast, you’re looking for your next DFS fix. Hopefully you’re reading this before learning some of the following lessons the hard way. I will be going over some of the major differences between NFL and NHL DFS. I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes going into NHL DFS thinking that it was similar to NFL and hopefully you the reader can benefit from some of those lessons learned. Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy is absolutely nothing like what I was used to in NFL where players had floors/ceilings and certain players would beast on a weekly basis.
This is not meant to be an all-inclusive guide. I will not be getting into the general fantasy basics as I am going to assume that you all have done your assigned reading of the e-books that come with a VIP DFS Army subscription, the weekly postings from “The Geek”, as well as a basic understanding of daily fantasy sports and the sport of hockey.
Before jumping into fantasy hockey advice, I want to provide a bit of background. Right off the bat, I want you to know that I am not a professional writer, or even a competent one. This is the first thing I have written outside of school that extends beyond an e-mail so please keep that in mind. My time spent away from tending ever so lovingly to my DFS bankroll is better spent on substance as opposed to punctuation (besides, that’s why we have a content editor 🙂 ). That being said I began my DFS journey late in the 2014-2015 NFL season. I had been playing season long fantasy football for what seems like my entire life so DFS was the next logical step. I figured there would be a ton of money just waiting for me to swoop in and snatch it from the suckers before somebody else did. After all, I’d been winning my season long leagues and I know more about sports than these fools (sound familiar?). After the NFL season ended NHL was the logical next step for me. Growing up in Minnesota, the “state of hockey” where the Wild reside and coming from a town that is widely regarded as a high school hockey dynasty (have you seen the movie “The Mighty Ducks”? yeah, I am from the same town that Adam Banks is from and the Hawks are the film version of my town). Hell, even our “embarrassed to tell your friends that you’re going to” state schools boast division one hockey teams on the college level. I think you get the point, Hockey is a big deal around here. So naturally, I went into this thinking that I would be just fine after finishing the NFL DFS season, and was I ever wrong. I’ll be honest, my first NHL DFS lineup only succeeded because of a shit ton of luck, and my existing knowledge of hockey. I had rostered Devan Dubynk of my hometown Wild as my goalie, and he put up a shut out that night against a then horrible Oilers team (I mean bad, forget .500, they were maybe .250). At the time, I had no clue as to how significant that was to my lineup’s success. Then when my goalie outscored my highest scoring skater, Fontaine -who scored 2 goals- my curiosity was peaked. I’ve been inhaling DFS knowledge ever since, and have not looked back. Continue reading to see some fantasy hockey tips for beginners!
DAILY FANTASY HOCKEY STRATEGY
Choosing the Goalie
The first item that I want to touch on is the way that you look at the positions on your roster, and what they mean to you in order to have a winning lineup. In NFL DFS, a poor performance from a single player will not be a fatal blow to your line up. Sure, your QB dropping a goose egg will make it difficult for that lineup to win, but it can be done. In NHL, much like a pitcher in MLB DFS, the goalie is the single most important player on your roster. A poor performance from your goalie will instantly kill your lineup so it’s important that you get it right. In my first game, I chose the Old Doober because the Oilers offense was laughable. Doob had put up multiple shutouts in the weeks since being acquired by the Wild, so I knew he would have a good day between the pipes. However, I didn’t understand how crucial that was to my lineup’s success.
The Goalie’s point production is comprised of:
- Goals Allowed
- Win or Lose and (on DraftKings) if they get a shutout -tack on another 3 points.
Each save is worth .1 points, while each goal allowed is worth -3 points, and a 3 point bonus for their team winning the game. Therefore, the number one thing you should be thinking about when drafting the goalie position is if their team will win the game. If you can’t be as certain as one can be in the insanely volatile world of NHL DFS, don’t take the risk. Not only can your goalie have all of his points generated from “saves made” taken away by goals allowed, but they can actually take away from the rest of your lineup’s points by getting lit up because they can go into the negative points. All the more incentive for your goalie to get the win. A good tool for selecting which goalie to roster is the Vegas lines. I generally try to target goalies whose team is favored to win with a money line of at least -175. Although I don’t recommend only using stats to draft goalies, there are some that can help your analysis. The stats you want to use are the number of saves per goal allowed, and the number of shots on goal the opposing team takes per goal scored. The ideal situation is going to be a goalie that is in the top five in saves per goal allowed against a team that is bottom five in shots on goal per goal scored. These situations don’t come up every slate, but when they do, that goalie becomes a must play. In those
A good tool for selecting which goalie to roster is the Vegas lines. I generally try to target goalies whose team is favored to win with a money line of at least -175. I don’t recommend only using the lines to draft goalies but it’s a great start. In addition, the stats you want to use are the number of saves per goal allowed and the number of shots on goal the opposing team takes per goal scored. The ideal situation is choosing a goalie that is in the top five in saves per goal allowed against a team that is bottom five in shots on goal per goal scored. These situations don’t come up every slate, but when they do, that goalie becomes a must play. In those situations the goalie will generate points like crazy from saves. It should also be noted that on FanDuel the goalie does not gain a shutout bonus. I include this because there are circumstances where it may not make sense to pay up for a goalie on FD when you can get that same all important win against a lower priced goalie in a better match up.
Daily NHL Variance
Next comes the dreaded variance. If you thought that the variance in the NFL DFS world was bad, strap on your LOLerskates, because it’s about to get ugly. If you’ve thrown your phone at your TV after Julio Jones dropped his third dud in a row, NHL is probably not for you. The volatility from the level of variance in NHL is second to none in the the DFS world. In NHL DFS, it is commonplace for the elite plays to drop big fat zeros on your scoresheet. There is also no “floor” for players because anyone could give you a goose egg any night. Before you say “fuck this, how can I win?” remember what Bales taught us about player performances. There will always be outliers, but over the course of time, a regression to the median will take place. This makes goalie selection even more vital because they’re the one position whose performance that you are most accurately able to project. Vegas might be projecting that the Washington Capitals score 3 goals in their game tonight, but projecting which player will be scoring them is impossible. You can however, with a certain degree of success, predict which lines will be doing the scoring.
Which brings me to my next topic. Stacking. This isn’t your father’s NFL stacking of a QB with one or more of his pass catchers. This shit takes it up a notch. Hell, even ten notches. NHL stacking is different because you’re no longer just pairing a QB with a pass catcher(s), you’re pairing line-mates. Assists generate 1.5 points (half of a goal), they are equal to (or some may say more valuable than) goals. You can make stacks where you don’t have the player that scored the goal on your roster, but by having both of his line-mates stacked, you can rack up 3 total points from the assists. This will result in the same number of points that the player who scored the goal earned from it. This is a good way to get exposure to the ultra high priced studs like Ovechkin and Seguin without breaking the bank. The possibilities are unbelievable after you include multi-line stacks. This is where power play line stacking comes into play. You are able to gain exposure to multiple lines on the team when they play on the same power play line. For example, Gostibehere is the QB of the Pittsburgh PP1 line. On that line are the likes of Crosby and Malkin, who are some pricey studs across the board. If you stacked the Ghost with Malkin and Malkin feeds the puck to Crosby for an easy goal, both Malkin and Gostibehere are going to accumulate 1.5 points from an assist. Now if you add Crosby into the stack, you’ve just generated 6 points from that one goal: 3 from Crosby, 1.5 from Malkin, and 1.5 from Gostibehere. You don’t have to stop there, but be conscious of overexposing yourself to a certain line in cash games because their team could still win, and the vegas spread could be right on. Be aware that when the second line is doing all the scoring and you have the whole first line stacked up, your lineup is dead. This will happen A LOT. That’s the hair graying variance we just talked about. CONSTANT VIGILANCE is required to avoid overexposure to players/lines. If you’re stacking players from a power play line then make sure one of them is the QB. If you can’t figure out a way to make it work, a regular line stack is probably the move you should be making. The final bit about stacking that I want to say is that stacking more than 2 players inherently increases the risk. This is best kept to GPP lineups. Also, a low cost player can gain an enormous amount value from injuries or line changes because they are now playing on a line with 2 of the chalkiest wingers in the league. This can net you a few of those helper points at minimal cost and allow you to spend up at another position.
Tip: Stack no more than two players in cash lineups to reduce the risk of overexposure to any one line.
Finally, I want to include an assortment of other things that I’ve picked up. Outside of the player bonuses, there is another major difference between sites. FanDuel incorporates a player’s +/- into their score, so every goal that is scored against them at full strength is -1 from their total points. DraftKings does not use this stat. Also, be prepared for the difference in GPPs. The prize pool for NHL GPPs is not yet near the level of NFL, NBA, or MLB. Daily NHL is one of the newer daily fantasy sports available, and as such, the GPPs aren’t drawing the size crowds that are needed for massive payouts. When drafting players, remember that the carriers award points to players for minutes spent in the penalty box. That means that there is something to be gained from targeting the thugs and bad boys. This next one only takes being burned by once to learn the lesson, but it’s best just to avoid it all together. This can be done by confirming the netminder you have rostered is actually the one starting the game. Unlike in NFL, there is no starting goalie always published for each team hours before the game starts. Often times goalies are scratched must
When drafting players, remember that the carriers award points to players for minutes spent in the penalty box. That means that there is something to be gained from targeting the thugs and bad boys. This next one only takes being burned by once to learn the lesson, but it’s best just to avoid it all together. This can be done by confirming the netminder you have rostered is actually the one starting the game. Unlike in NFL, there is no starting goalie published for each team hours before the game starts. Often times goalies are scratched minutes before the puck drops and if you have that player rostered between the pipes, have fun eating that big fat zero. Have a backup plan for your goalie because there’s always a chance he may not play. However, the single most important and best thing you can do for your NHL DFS game is FOLLOW HOCKEY. Beat it into your own face with a puck stamped with “FOLLOW HOCKEY” if you need to. The edge that you need in order to be successful with NHL DFS includes being able to identify opportunities to exploit. If you can’t identify them, you sure as hell can’t exploit them. Make sure to check out @Spoweezy’s NHL slate write ups and follow the #hockey-talk slack channel, they are great resources, so use them! I almost forgot, perhaps one of the biggest differences. I’m sure you are thinking “why would I ever want to risk so much as a dollar from selling my grandmother’s oxycontin pills on something so risky? You’ve already said it yourself, there are rarely massive GPP payouts available to win, so why would you subject yourself to the stress?”. It’s not complicated, this is why: There are multiple slates to play almost every day of the NHL season. While you may have a bad slate or five, you can always carpe diem the shit out of tomorrow. So drop your mouse on the floor at the end of the night and walk away pretending to be Eminem in the end of 8-mile. The waldo that is your edge is just waiting for you to find it, and when you do, it’s
The single most important and best thing you can do for your NHL DFS game is FOLLOW HOCKEY. Beat it into your own face with a puck stamped with “FOLLOW HOCKEY” if you need to. The edge that you need in order to be successful with NHL DFS includes being able to identify opportunities to exploit. If you can’t identify them, you sure as hell can’t exploit them. Make sure to check out @Spoweezy’s NHL slate write ups and follow the #hockey-talk slack channel, they are great resources, so use them! I almost forgot, perhaps one of the biggest differences. I’m sure you are thinking “why would I ever want to risk so much as a dollar from selling my grandmother’s oxycontin pills on something so risky? You’ve already said it yourself, there are rarely massive GPP payouts available to win, so why would you subject yourself to the stress?”. It’s not complicated, this is why: There are multiple
Make sure to check out Spoweezy’s NHL slate write-ups posted here for most of the larger slates of games. Weezy is a top 50 NHL Grinder and his advice is awesome. DFS Army VIP Members should follow the #hockey-talk slack channel as well. Those are great resources so use them!
It’s knucklepuck time!