Cheap Players for Daily Fantasy Hockey – February 18

by Michael Clifford on February 18, 2016

Some bargain bin, and top-end, options for tonight's 11-game slate on DraftKings. 

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Welcome back for another night of daily fantasy action on DraftKings, and this bargain bin/top-end column.

For those that may be unfamiliar, there will be one skater per position priced $3000 or less tonight on DK, with a skater from each forward position priced $7000 or more, and a defenceman priced $6000 or more.

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Jump into the action tonight on DraftKings! Just follow this link to get to the $3 entry Sniper contest, and get right to the player selection screen. Details below:

  • $35 000 guaranteed prize pool, $3 per entry, maximum number of 13 415 entries.
  • Out of those 13 415 entries, the top 2750 scores pay out, with a top prize of $2000.
  • Draft two centres, three wingers, two defencemen, a goalie, and a utility skater.

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Cheap Options

Riley Nash (CAR-C) – $2800

It was a good night for Nash on Tuesday, as he posted a goal and an assist in the Carolina win. The key to those two points were that they both came on the power play.

The fact that Nash is on the Jordan Staal power play unit is pretty important, because at even strength, it appears as though he’s relegated to the fourth line. In general, fourth liners don’t have any fantasy value on DraftKings. Fourth liners that play the power play, though, are a different story.

The power play opportunity is especially important tonight as Carolina goes into Ottawa. The Sens aren’t overly penalized as a team – they’re about middle-of-the-road in short-handed situations – but they are awful when they do take penalties: by high-danger chances against per minute while short-handed, only Winnipeg, Calgary, and Buffalo are worse. For his price and situation, Nash is a solid bargain option tonight.

Mark Arcobello (TOR-W) – $3000

In four games since being recalled, Arcobello has played at least 15 minutes in every game, ending up on the second power play unit for the Leafs, and 15 shots on goal. The three goals are impressive, of course, but the shots are what are important here. If he can get to four shots on goal, that pretty much recoups his price. Any points beyond that presents serious upside.

The Rangers played at home last night to Chicago, which means back-to-back road game tonight. Nazem Kadri is back for the Leafs so that should give the lineup a little boost, at least, and means Arcobello’s line won’t have to play against any of the Rangers’ top defencemen (namely McDonagh).

There isn’t much for solid, cheap wingers on DK tonight. Arcobello is in a decent spot considering the situation of the team coming into town. I will say that the wing seems like a good area to spend up tonight, with options like Ovechkin, Hall, Forsberg, Eberle, and Kucherov all in decent spots tonight.

Brendan Smith (DET-D) – $2800

Defence is another area where I wouldn’t mind spending up tonight. There isn’t really anyone in the $3000 and under range that stands out, and there are a handful of expensive d-men in good situations tonight.

Smith, however, is still getting power play time for the Red Wings even with the return of Mike Green. As a whole the Red Wings power play is top-10 in the NHL in scoring chances per 60 minutes, and Smith has managed at least two shots in goal in five straight games. Just managing one point recoups about half of his price, and with the power play time, there is upside to Smith tonight for the Red Wings. 

Expensive Options

Connor McDavid (EDM-C) – $6900

Ok, this is cheating a bit, as he’s not *quite* $7000. The $100 difference can be ignored for this instance.

To be certain, McDavid’s production for this season is a bit high. His on-ice shooting percentage – or the rate at which Edmonton scores at five-on-five when he is on the ice – is 11.49-percent; last year, no forward with at least 1000 minutes played was over 11-percent. The thing is, those types of percentages can last for half, or three-quarters of a season. McDavid has that percentage in under 300 minutes played at five-on-five, while players like Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaromir Jagr, and Mike Cammalleri are all 11-percent or better in over 600 minutes played. So while McDavid would be unlikely to sustain anything over 11-percent for 82 games, it’s certainly doable in this smaller sample.

There are also the high-danger scoring chances (which are exactly as they sound). While not a perfect encapsulation of the elite, the top 20 in this regard in the NHL features names like Hall, Benn, Saad, Tavares, Parise, Tarasenko, Gallagher, Sharp, Duchene, and Ovechkin. So far, McDavid has averaged 1.19 high-danger chances per game at five-on-five. Hall, meanwhile, is at 1.26. At least early on in his career, McDavid has been creating a lot of dangerous scoring opportunities for himself.

Minnesota is in town, and this team has been on a downswing for a long time now, and is on their second of a back-to-back on the road. It’ll be hard to fade McDavid in cash games tonight.

Alex Ovechkin (WSH-W) – $8900

There has been one forward in the NHL this year, non-Ovechkin division, to have at least 10 shots on goal in two different games. That forward is Evgeni Malkin, who did it once in November and once in December. Ovechkin has done it four times, and twice in his last three games.

Ovechkin’s high price, is, in part, because of his floor. He’s taken over five shots a game this year, and has 22 blocked shots to go with it. In total, just shots and blocked shots give Ovechkin a floor of 2.8 DK points this year per game, or for rounding purposes, 3.0. Despite the price tag, that floor is very valuable in cash games.

The Islanders are hosting Washington tonight, and things haven’t been very good for New York this year. The team is tied for 20th in the league in high-danger chances against per 60 minutes (with Boston), and sandwiched between Arizona and Winnipeg. To boot, the likely matchup for Ovechkin’s line is John Tavares’ line, and Tavares has been on the ice for more high-danger chances against per minute than all Islanders forwards except Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome. When it’s not Tavares, it’ll be Nelson’s line on Ovechkin’s, and that’s just fine as well. While they’re not a heavily-penalized team – actually in the bottom-10 in this regard – their goaltending has been no better than Arizona’s, and their top line has been porous defensively.

John Klingberg (DAL-D) – $6300

After a bit of a slowdown – with slowdown being relative here; Klingberg’s “slowdown” was 13 points in 26 games, which is still a 40-point pace – Klingberg’s production has been stellar this month, posting eight points in eight games. He is also averaging a monthly season-high 23:48 of ice time per game in February.

Dallas goes into Arizona tonight, and the Coyotes have been taking a lot of penalties of late, averaging 4.7 time short-handed this month, which is as many as they took in all of January. There are ebbs and flows to things like this, but taking this many penalties against a Dallas team is a dangerous proposition (the St. Louis game notwithstanding).

Arizona isn’t great defensively – borderline bottom-third in scoring chances against – Klingberg is rebounding, and the team is taking too many penalties of late. Klingberg seems like a bargain at his price given he’s averaging 4.4 DK points per game this month.

Don’t forget to enter the $3 Sniper contest! Just follow this link to get to the DK selection screen.

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