Cheap Players for Daily Fantasy Hockey – December 3

by Michael Clifford on December 3, 2015

Some bargain bin options, and some top shelf options, for tonight's Draftkings slate

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It’s Thursday again and that means another round of both cheap options, and some expensive options, for tonight’s eight game slate in the NHL on DraftKings. Please note that unless otherwise indicated, these are options for cash games, or the 50/50, head-to-head, and low entry number tournaments (five players or less).

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Be sure to check out the DraftKings $3 Sniper contest for tonight’s slate! The link the contest is right here, and the details are below:

– $40,000 prize pool
– First place wins $3,000
– FREE for new users or $3 to join
– Top 3,236 scores win money guaranteed
– Starts on Thursday, December 3rd at 7:00pm EST
– Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 9 spots – 8 players and 1 goalie
– Roster Format: 2 C, 3 W, 2 D, 1 G and 1 Util

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As with most cash game options, in particular with the expensive options, this is typically about finding players in good matchups with a solid floor. That normally means finding players facing weaker teams, and who rack up the shots on goal. It is not always the case, but following that philosophy goes a long way to mitigating losses. 

There will be on skater listed at each position. For the expensive forwards, they will be $7000 or greater, with the defenceman at $6000 or more. Each of the cheap options will be $3000 or under.

Cheap Players

Calle Jarnkrok (NSH-C) – $2900

There have been a lot of changes to the Predators lineup, and that was before the Mike Fisher injury. Last game saw Jarnkrok bounce between the top two lines, a good indication that he will see consistent top-six minutes in the short term. In DFS terms, playing with either Filip Forsberg or James Neal is a very good thing.

Before locking him into lineups, the prudent move would be to wait and see where he slots. The Neal line has typically been used more against other teams’ top lines, which means if Jarnkrok goes back with Forsberg, they should avoid the Campbell/Ekblad pairing for the Panthers. That pairing has been by far the best defensively for Florida, which means playing away from them is a bonus. Nashville should get a few goals tonight, and avoiding that pairing is the clearer path to registering a point.

Antoine Roussel (DAL-W) – $2900

One problem that the Vancouver Canucks have – as with a lot of teams, to be fair – is that the depth up front leaves something to be desired. Five (arguably six) of their seven best forwards in terms of scoring chances allowed at even strength per 60 minutes played play in their top-six, which means the depth from opposing teams have a real chance at scoring every game. That is where Roussel comes in, playing on Cody Eakin’s left wing with Valeri Nichushkin on the other side.

This pick is sort of through attrition, as I will admit that I am not very much liking the cheap wing options tonight. My strategy will probably be to spend up at the wing, with one of the guys that will be mentioned later in this article, and a couple others.

All that being said, the Dallas depth is in a very good situation tonight, but using Roussel is still preferable in tournaments. He doesn’t take many shots, which is worrisome for his floor, but the opportunity for a point is very real. He will need it to reach value, which makes him a tournament option.

Andy Greene (NJD-D) – $3000

While this is the first game this year between the Devils and Hurricanes, Carolina’s roster doesn’t look very different from last year. Not only that, but Carolina is landing nearly two more shots on goal this year to last. Why these points are important is this: Greene managed 11 blocked shots last year in four games against the ‘Canes. If Greene can manage three blocked shots in the game tonight – and that seems like a likely outcome tonight – he needs just one shot on goal to teeter on the brink of reaching value. That is perfect for cash games.

Not only should Greene be very close to value through shots and blocked shots alone, he is also playing regularly on the power play. Not that it really means a whole lot in general, but his floor with a cheap power play assist would get him near two times value (I use $1400 per DraftKings point earned). It is definitely not a “sexy” pick by any means, but value is value, and it doesn’t matter how a player gets there.

Expensive Players

Nathan MacKinnon (COL-C) – $7400

Here is a surprising MacKinnon stat: he is tied for fifth in the NHL in blocked shots among forwards (26). I bring that up because that is pretty much adding a half point per game on DraftKings every night out, something that very few forwards can boast. Adding his 3.5 shots per game means that MacKinnon, on an average night, is pretty much starting at 2-2.5 DraftKings points, or in other words, at least 38-percent of his cost. That is a solid floor.

Colorado goes into New York to face the Rangers, who played a hard overtime game last night against the Islanders. I would assume they are also starting Antti Raanta, who has played well, but is certainly no Lundqvist. The Colorado top line is likely facing the McDonagh-Girardi pairing, and Girardi has struggled mightily this year defensively. Colorado’s top line seems like a safe bet for at least one goal in this game, and that, along with MacKinnon’s floor, makes him an appealing option tonight.

Patrick Kane (CHI-W) – $8600

A player riding a 20-game point streak would probably be seen as a safe option. Tonight, that 20-game point streak is irrelevant when it comes to using Kane. Here are a few points as to why:

  • Kane is averaging a career-high in ice time, and with it, a career-high in shots per game. In conjunction with a three-year high in blocked shots per game, and Kane looks like he has a similar floor to MacKinnon each game out (about 2-2.5 points).
  • The depth from Ottawa, Chicago’s opponent tonight, isn’t very good. The majority of the forwards outside the top line in Ottawa control 45-percent or fewer of scoring chances that occur when they’re on the ice. That is very, very bad.
  • Ottawa is allowing 3.5 power play opportunities to their opponent per game, which is worse than league average, and are tied for 25th in allowing scoring chances allowed when on the PK.

With Kane’s new floor, and a matchup that seems ripe for generating offence, it’ll be hard to fade him tonight. He will be highly owned, but that’s no issue for cash games.

Ryan Suter (MIN-D) – $6000

For the first time in his career, Suter looks like he may crack two shots on goal per game (he is at 2.3 right now). That seems hard to believe considering he’s in his 11th season, but it’s true. Throw in the blocked shots, and Suter has a floor that starts at two points every game. That recoups nearly half of his price out of the gate.

Teams playing back-to-back with the second game on the road do not fare very well in general. So far this year, in the four such situations Toronto has been in, they have averaged 32.75 shots against per game. In the other 21 games this year, they are averaging 30.6 shots against.

Suter plays the top power play (and a ton of minutes in general), gets a bad team on a back-to-back on the road, and has a floor that can see him reach half his value without registering a point. Those are the reasons to use him today.

*Some stats courtesy of Hockey Reference, Hockey Analysis, War On Ice. Line combinations from Dobber’s Frozen Pool