Five Ways to Win at NHL DFS

It’s that time of year again! We are back for another fun filled season of NHL DFS. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Rob Flynn, a firefighter/paramedic and full time sports nerd. I write Flynnie’s Forecheck throughout the NHL season for DFS Army . You can find me in the #nhl-talk channel in Slack or out on Twitter @rflynndfs.

I get asked all the time “What are the best ways to win at NHL DFS?” The short answer is it isn’t easy, but it is fun. I have compiled a quick list of the top 5 things to keep in mind while building lineups and researching.

1. KNOW YOUR STYLE

Like all of DFS, you have options for contest selection. You have cash games (H2H, Double Up, 50/50), GPP (larger contests that are guaranteed to run and take something silly to win), and the lesser known hybrid contests (the smaller leagues 3-, 5-, 10-, 20-, 100-man contests that take a little bit of risk but you don’t need the 3rd line winger that scored a hat trick to win these contests. I’m a hybrid guy myself. When I was learning Choppodong showed me the way of the Ladder System. More on this in a minute. All of our coaches are more than willing to help you learn your particular style. We have coaches that play all styles with great success.

2. FOLLOW VEGAS

Yes, it is true in all DFS sports but Vegas is used a little differently in NHL. In most sports you look to the over/under for guidance on the games to target. In NHL the vast majority of the games are 5.5 O/U, so that doesn’t help anyone. There will be a few games a week that are 5.0 or 6.0 and the crazy 6.5 O/U once in a while. Those high over/unders will point you in the direction of the chalk offenses (hint: most of the time that high O/U favors Toronto, especially now that they have John Tavares).

When I start my research, I look at the money line and I look to the -170+ teams and more often than not that is my goalie player pool . I will look into match ups for those goalies to determine which 1-3 I will use in my ladders. I’m a simple guy, that’s picking goalies for me – that and don’t play Holtby or Rask (Those guys never seemed to pay off their salaries for me when I played them the last couple of seasons).

3. LEARN THE IMPORTANT STATS

As I’ve stated, I’m a cash/hybrid guy and I don’t go crazy with the deep dive analysis. I do my best to build a floor with my teams then try to add upside as I finalize the roster. The easy stats that everyone will look to are goals, assists, shots and DVP. Those are all great, but when building your FLOOR goals and assists are over rated. Don’t stop reading yet, I haven’t lost my marbles  – hear me out. I say they are over rated because they are hard to predict. You want opportunity and a player running hot – if they aren’t shooting much recently they likely aren’t cash safe.

My favorite stat to look for cash purposes is blocked shots + shots on goal (BSSOG). That is exactly what it looks like. The sample size we found last year to work the best was the last 21 days – approx 10 games. The magic number is 50 total. It also works on sliding scale – a guy like Tyler Seguin isn’t going to block many shots, so when he has a 55, chances are he has about 53 shots on goal. On the flip side of that a guy like Greg Pateryn doesn’t shoot much so when he has a 55 he likely has about 47 blocks. In situations like that both guys are cash viable but if they go cold, Seguin will be GPP only and Pateryn won’t hit my radar until he starts blocking shots again.

Another stat I found to be very helpful was looking at what each of the top- 10 or 15 lines in the league had for last 3 and last 10 goals for and shots for. Then I look at the bottom 10 or 15 lines for goals allowed and shots allowed. I hope that makes sense. My plan is to do a video soon showing you guys my process using Leftwinglock.com and our state-of-the-art revamped NHL Research Station . This video shows last season’s research station. Most of it remains the same but the information is now easier to read.

When I look at matching up the lines that are shooting and scoring a ton with the cold lines, that is where I look to hit the tip of my ladder. What I mean by that is, I build my floor for my H2H and 50/50s, add a little more risk for the smaller leagues and try to find a sneaky-ish player or two to capitalize on the 100-man and GPP’s at the top of the ladder. Most nights I’ll run about $20/lineup: $10-12 in cash games (so I break even or make a small profit if only those hit), $5 in smaller leagues (3-man, 5-man, 10-man), and the remaining $3-$5 on a 100-man and a smaller GPP. It changes a little bit occasionally but most nights that’s what I’m running. I will always be transparent with the players I use and the contests to use them in.

We have big time winners in all sports, this is just a snippet from Week 1 of NFL

4. LEARN THE TEAMS AND THEIR LINES

This is arguably the most difficult part because it involves watching a lot of hockey. – Okay that part is easy, but learning to pronounce a lot of names with far too many consonants isn’t. Lucky for you, I wrote an article last season teaching the masses about all the abbreviations, nicknames and sometimes just nonsense words that only make sense to hockey people. The most important reason to learn the lines is because sometimes two great players have a negative correlation. Just like in baseball – correlation is the key to stacking and the key to winning. The goal is to have your players either share time on the same scoring line or share time on the power play. If they share both that is where you hit big money in GPPs when they go bananas. We have all the lines and PP units noted in the research station. The RS is usually up first thing in the morning then updated again after morning skate to show any line shuffling.

Oh look, more winners! Who knew?!?! Our VIP’s, they knew!

5. EMBRACE THE MADNESS

If you think baseball is maddening, you ain’t seen nothing yet! NHL will drive you crazy if you let it. NHL DFS will bankrupt you if you don’t follow strict bankroll management and contest selection. We have countless articles and podcasts on both subjects and all the coaches follow these core principles. We will have huge highs, maddening lows, but we will have fun. That much I can promise you! Remember, no one makes you play every night. Even the pros take nights off to give their brains a rest.

BONUS

Join DFS Army today. We have winners in all sports, the best coaches and the best tools in the business. I know by now you’ve seen everyone talk about how great the Domination Station is for MLB, NBA, NFL, NASCAR, PGA and UFC….NHL is coming to a computer near you. We are in the final stages of releasing the NHL optimizer. I can’t guarantee it will be ready by opening night but it won’t be long after that. Add that to the best coaches, the revamped research station, the best slack chat in the business, the general awesomeness of NHL DFS you will never leave after you join. As an added bonus just for reading this you’ll get a 10% discount off the life of your membership if you use the promo code PUCK at check out.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing all of you out on Twitter and in Slack.