With American Thanksgiving taking place this week, it is a good time to take a look around and be thankful for that around you. If you are a Toronto Maple Leafs fan that is likely the departure of Mike Badcock as the team has gone 4-1-0 since Sheldon Keefe took over. For Boston Bruins fans, you should be thankful for David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, who have combined for 42 goals in just 26 games while on a six game winning streak. And for Detroit Red Wings fans, well you should be thankful the season is a third of the way complete. All kidding aside, I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving whether that was celebrated this past week or last month.
In last week’s column, I talked about the different strategies you should employ depending on the type of contest you were entering. If you missed it or want a refresher, go back and read Daily Fantasy Saturday: A Recipe for Some Pasta. A key point from that article, in regards to tournaments, was correlating your lineups by stacking. To drive that point home, let’s take a look at the winning lineup from DraftKings’ Saturday (11/23/19) $40K Poke Check Tournament – $5 Entry, 9,512 entrants, $10K to first place.
G – Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL)
This lineup was entered by DraftKings user bkreider, who is regarded as one of the top NHL DFS players in the world. You can see he used not just one team stack but two, in a 4-3-1 format which is a great way to try and win a tournament. The four piece of the stack is consisted of the Montreal Canadiens second line of Domi, Lehkonen, and Suzuki paired with elite defenseman Shea Weber. Montreal scored five goals on Saturday and these four players combined for all five goals along with four assists. This is a great lesson in demonstrating the high risk, high reward that comes with stacking. One could have just as easily stacked the Phillip Danault – Tomas Tatar – Brendan Gallagher line in this game and you would have been left twiddling your thumbs (like I was).
To go along with his Montreal stack, bkreider also had a three skater Tampa Bay Lightning stack of Anthony Cirelli, Alex Killorn, and Nikita Kucherov. While this stack was a little more unconventional because Kucherov is typically not on the same line as Cirelli or Killorn, they did rack up two goals and three assists while on the ice together in that game including one on the power play. As I touched on last week about goalie selection, pairing your goalie with a team stack is commonly used and successful strategy and that is exactly what bkreider did here, playing Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Because DraftKings rules requires you to select skaters from three different teams, when you have a four-player and three-player stack you must have a one-off in your lineup somewhere and that is typically at defenseman. BKreider was able to afford Dougie Hamilton and if you recall in last week’s article I spoke about how paying up for a defensemen like Hamilton whenever possible is a great strategy, and this lineup certainly demonstrates that.
Reviewing winning lineups is a great way to improve your DFS game in any sport, and I hope taking a look at this one serves as a good learning opportunity. Be sure to take a look at the lineups on top of the leaderboards in your tournaments and see if you can understand how that lineup got to the top. I think it will make you a better player. Enough looking back, now let’s look forward to Saturday’s 11-game slate starting at 7 p.m. EST. All players and prices used are from DraftKings though can be applied to FanDuel as well.
C – Connor McDavid ($8,700)
There are a plethora of high priced options on tonight’s slate to choose from and Connor McDavid tops the list. McDavid enters the contest with 47 points in just 27 games. He has been held in check as of late only producing one point in his last two games but that only makes it more likely an outburst is coming tonight. After a five-game road trip McDavid and the Oilers return to Edmonton where McDavid has scored 28.5 and 61.1(!) DraftKings points in his last two at Rogers Place. While the matchup often doesn’t matter for the best player in hockey, the Vancouver Canucks come to town having just allowed eight goals their last time out.
C – Brock Nelson ($6,000)
The New York Islanders have followed up a stretch where they won 15 of 16 games by losing three straight and a lack of offense deserves most of the blame. A return home where the Islanders are 10-2-1 could be just they need to get back on track. When the Isles are scoring, Brock Nelson will be right in the middle of the action. He leads the team in both shots and points and has averaged 16.9 DraftKings points across the last seven games despite the team’s recent skid. The Islanders take on the Columbus Blue Jackets who are on the second leg of a back-to-back and will likely be seeing the backup goaltender Elvis Merzlikins and his 3.54 GAA.
W – Alex Ovechkin ($8,400)
Anytime Alex Ovechkin is on the slate he needs to be considered for lineups. With the new DraftKings scoring for this season placing a heavier emphasis on shots, Ovechkin’s value has increased even more than in the past as he leads the NHL in shots averaging just under 4.9 per game. This puts him in play for the DraftKings five shot bonus on a nightly basis, which is good for 10.5 DraftKings points even without registering a goal or assist. Adding those on shouldn’t be an issue for Ovechkin in tonight’s matchup against the Detroit Red Wings, who have allowed 19 more goals than any other team including five or more in four of their last five games.
W – Elias Lindholm ($5,200)
The Calgary Flames have been at the center of the hockey world for the last few days for all the wrong reasons. With Bill Peters resigning Friday, the players can now get back to focusing on hockey. A home matchup with the Ottawa Senators, who come in on a back-to-back is a great spot to start a new chapter of their season. Keep an eye on pregame rushes to see if Calgary deploys some new lines, but regardless Elias Lindholm at just $5,200 represents a nice value. Lindholm leads the team in goals with 12 and has averaged just shy of 10 DraftKings points over the season.
W – Anthony Cirelli ($4,300)
Anthony Cirelli has been on a tear as of late with five goals and four assists over his last seven games. During that span he has averaged 14.1 DraftKings points and $4,300 is simply too cheap for someone putting up these types of numbers. The 22-year-old is playing the best hockey of his young career and spent time on both the Stamkos and Kucherov lines Friday night, a move that could add even more value to Cirelli.
Stacking Options: Mixed (Check pregame rushes)
D – Cale Makar ($6,700)
If paying up to the top for defenseman tonight, Cale Makar makes for a fine play. There is uncertainty with the Colorado Avalanche’s lines entering Saturday’s contest due to the possible return of both Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky, so locking in a guy who’s role is secure is a good way to get exposure to what is one of the highest team totals on the slate. The Calder Trophy frontrunner has 10 points in his last seven games averaging 16.5 DraftKings points. These two teams just played on Friday and Colorado put up five goals, now at home there is little reason to believe they can’t reach that total once again tonight.
D – Tyson Barrie ($5,200)
Whether it was his move to the top power-play unit, the departure of Mike Babcock, or both, Tyson Barrie has taken off over the last week. Since November 20 he has three goals and another two assists while averaging 14.8 DraftKings points. The Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres are in the midst of a home and home back-to-back and tonight’s game is in Toronto where the Leafs will be home for the first time since making the change at coach. Behind what should be a raucous crowd, Barrie will be in good position to continue his recent success.
Goalies (Be sure to confirm goalies at Goalie Post before rostering)
David Rittich ($8,000)
Semyon Varlamov ($8,300)
Jordan Binnington ($7,900)
For tournaments, consider stacking goalie with a line stack.
The Five Hole
Five players to build cash lineups around:
Five tournament stacks to consider not previously listed:
Nazem Kadri ($5,600) – (Check pregame rushes for linemates)
Feel free to reach out to me via Twitter for any NHL DFS questions. Follow me @SteveDotzel and I will do my best to tweet any major updates to players in the article throughout the day and before lock.