Cheap Players for Daily Fantasy Hockey – February 25

by Michael Clifford on February 25, 2016

Some bargain bin, and top-end, options for DraftKings tonight. 

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Welcome back for another week of bargain bin, and top shelf, options for tonight’s slate on DraftKings.

Last week was a pretty good week for the most part, especially for the cheap options. There was Riley Nash, who managed a power play goal and totalled 4 DK points, Mark Arcobello, who had an assist and five shots for a total of 4.5 DK points, and Brendan Smith, who didn’t tally a point but got to 2 DK points with shots on goal/blocked shots. For the expensive options, Connor McDavid had 5 DK points, Alex Ovechkin had a monster 11-point night, while John Klingberg bottomed out for just 0.5 points.

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Get right into the game tonight on DraftKings! Follow this link to get to the player selection screen for the $3 Sniper contest, and check out the details below:

  • A tournament that features $30 000 in guaranteed prizes, with a $3 entry fee.
  • There is a maximum of 11 500 entries, with the top 2302 positions paying out, and a top prize of $2000.
  • Select two centres, three wingers, two defencemen, a goalie, and a utility skater.

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As always, there will be three cheap options, one for each DK skater position, priced $3000 or less. There will be one for each position among the expensive skaters as well, with the forwards at least $7000 and the defenceman at least $6000.

Cheap Options

Riley Nash (CAR-C) – $2700

Back to the well again this week with Nash, though it’s for a different reason. Last week, it was because they were playing Ottawa and the Senators have one of the worst penalty kills in the league. Tonight’s opponent is Toronto, and for all their problems, the penalty kill isn’t one of them: as a team, only the Nashville Predators allow fewer high-danger scoring chances against per minute while short-handed than the Leafs do. Yes, their PK rate is 22nd in the NHL, but it seems that is more on the goalies than the players.

The goalies are a factor here, as Jonathan Bernier is expected to start for the Leafs. Bernier has been one of the worst goalies in the league this year with an .895 overall save percentage.

On top of that, the Hurricanes have shuffled their lines around, and Nash has been taken off the fourth line. He is now skating with Kris Versteeg and Jeff Skinner. Those two skaters are top-3 on the ‘Canes in five-on-five individual scoring chances. It seems Nash is in a good spot tonight to get an easy assist with his new line mates.

Zack Kassian (EDM-W) – $2900

Two things need to be said off the top here. First, the Oilers are kind of in turmoil as they are in the midst of a decent losing streak (surprise), and should be stripping parts ahead of the deadline (surprise). Also, going into Los Angeles as Edmonton is isn’t exactly a great matchup.

With all this out of the way, it is important to note that Zack Kassian has been promoted to the Leon Draisailt-Taylor Hall line. While Draisaitl/Hall have been struggling for their last month or so relative to the success they had before that, they are still driving nearly 60 shot attempts per 60 minutes of ice time at five-on-five (from Puckalytics.com). That’s on a team that drives about 53.4 per 60 minutes, so they are still an excellent duo despite a lack of production.

As I mentioned, this isn’t a great matchup, which means Kassian would make a better tournament play. He is on a very productive line, though, and will definitely be sporting a low ownership rate. With DK rules requiring players from three teams, and Kassian’s price, he’s an excellent tertiary tournament player to free up more expensive options.

John Moore (NJD-D) – $3000

The Devils are kind of a conundrum with their power play. They’re sort of like the anti-Leafs penalty kill. While the Devils are a top-10 team by power play efficiency (21.2-percent), they are at the bottom for both regular scoring chances and high-danger chances per minute with the man advantage. Sometimes, the percentages are just in a team’s favour for a season.

While David Schlemko had been getting a lot of power play time for the Devils of late, Moore has jumped into the mix recently, and on three power plays in their last game, Moore played nearly two and a half minutes.

Columbus is the opponent tonight, and the Blue Jackets are one of the most penalized teams in the NHL. On top of that, they are in the bottom-10 of the league in high-danger chances against while short-handed. That’s a dangerous combination for the Jackets, and should be a fortuitous one for the Devils. With Moore on the power play, there is a reasonable chance for a power play assist here.

Expensive Options

Tyler Seguin (DAL-C) – $8600

A quick glance at the expensive centres tonight shows Claude Giroux (not playing), Connor McDavid (in Los Angeles), and John Tavares (facing the Giordano/Brodie pairing from Calgary). By default, Seguin seems to be the expensive centre option to go with tonight.

That isn’t to say that Seguin isn’t in a good situation, either. Seguin had just a decent game against Winnipeg, in Winnipeg, a couple of nights ago and put up 3.5 DK points. In fact, in four games against the Jets this year, Seguin has six points and 13 shots on net.

As mentioned in this column several times this season, the Jets are like the Blue Jackets, except worse, when it comes to penalties and the penalty kill: they are among the league-leaders in penalties, and among the worst in giving up scoring chances while short-handed. There is a lot to like about Seguin tonight, even at his price.

Johnny Gaudreau (CGY-W) – $7100

Gaudreau has 11 points in 10 games so far in February, but that’s not the real reason to use them. Other than, you know, he’s really good.

Tonight, the New York Islanders are coming into town, and though John Tavares has been on a scoring tear of his own this year, there is one problem: Tavares has been on the ice for 13.29 high-danger scoring chances against per 60 minutes of five-on-five time this year, and that’s not very good. In fact, it’s very bad: that mark puts him between Valeri Nichushkin and Nathan MacKinnon (two guys on poor defensive teams), and in the neighbourhood of players like Bo Horvat and Mika Zibanejad. In all, Tavares is in company, defensively, of players a top centre doesn’t want to be in company with.

The Gaudreau line has been used very frequently against the other team’s top line when Calgary is at home, which means the Gaudreau line should see a lot of the Tavares line. I know that Tavares’ defensive numbers aren’t all on him, and are – in part – a function of the competition he plays, but it’s still looking good for Calgary’s top line.

Drew Doughty (LAK-D) – $6300

While being a Norris winner might have to wait at least another year, it’s not to say Doughty is, by any means, having a bad year. He is sporting the second-highest point-per-game mark of his career (0.66), and highest in six seasons. Also, in shots and blocked shots alone, Doughty is averaging about 1.8 DK points a game, or for round concerns, two points. That recoups nearly half of his cost before registering a point.

In three games against Edmonton this year, the Kings have won all three, scored 12 goals, and averaged nearly 32 shots on net. Doughty has three assists in those games as well. Given the matchup, and his floor, Doughty looks like a solid option for a little over $6K tonight.

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Don’t forget to get into the $3 Sniper contest by following this link to the DraftKings player selection screen.

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