Daily Fantasy Saturday: Zibanejad is Back and Ready to Stack

Stephen Dotzel

2021-04-03

The calendars have turned to April and depending on your outlook, this could either be the best or the worst time to be playing NHL DFS. The MLB season has just kicked off and MLB DFS is the new, cool kid on the block. For many fantasy players that means leaving the NHL in the rearview mirror and shifting their focus to baseball. DraftKings anticipated this and even though it's only been a few days, if you've been playing NHL consistently you have immediately noticed the contests are now smaller both in terms of prize pools and entries. Not to mention, the casual player is probably no longer playing NHL so the only ones left are those who likely have a better understanding of the game itself and are probably "better" NHL DFS players.

This combination of tougher fields and lowered prize pools can be a bit demoralizing at first. However, you can also look at it in a positive light. The reason the prize pools are smaller are because the contests themselves are smaller, meaning for the most part the entry size has been cut. The good thing about smaller contests is that they're easier to win. I think everyone can agree winning a ten-person contest is easier than winning a 1,000-person contest, which is easier than winning a 10,000-person contest. Now the decreased contest sizes aren't that dramatic but dropping the premier contests from say 10,000 entries to 6,000 or 6,000 to 3,000 is a sizable difference.

DraftKings will still try to keep the first-place payouts a little flashy so I don't know about you, but I would much rather play a $12 single entry contest with 392 people that pays $1,000 to first than a $12 single entry with 980 people that pays $2,000 to first. Or a $4 20 entry max contest with 3,500 people that pays $2,000 to first vs a $4 20 entry max contest with 4,500 people that pays $1,500 to first. These are all examples of some of the older contests compared to some of the ones posted in the last two days, and just so happen to be my two favorite tournaments to enter each slate. I was lucky enough to win that $4 contest on Thursday, and you can check out that winning lineup on my Twitter page @SteveDotzel if you wish.

Without any further ado, let's dive into the slate at hand which is the eight-game main slate starting at 7 pm EST. With any luck, perhaps someone can duplicate that success from Thursday and if you do, I'd love to see it. Here are some suggestions on how I'm handling this slate. All prices are from DraftKings but players and strategies can be applied to FanDuel as well. 

Top Options

NYR – Mika Zibanejad ($8,100), Chris Kreider ($5,900), Artemi Panarin ($8,300), Ryan Strome ($6,500)

Those days of Zibanejad seemingly unable to score a goal no matter what he did feels like ages ago. In the Rangers last nine games Zibanejad has scored nine goals and recorded eight assists, which is much more like the version of him we saw last season. During this stretch, Zibanejad has averaged 22.6