Cheap Players for Daily Fantasy Hockey – November 19

by Michael Clifford on November 19, 2015

Looking for bargain bin options on DraftKings tonight, as well as some expensive players. 


It is Thursday again and that means it’s time for another column on cheap, and expensive, options to use on DraftKings tonight.

– $55,000 prize pool
– First place wins $4,000
– FREE for new users or $3 to join
– Top 4,390 scores win money guaranteed
– Starts on Wednesday, November 19th 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


Last week went just fine, as the six players listed provided a total of 21.5 points at a cost of $31 100. Based on the cash line that night of roughly 32 points, DFSers needed one point for every $1562 spent to get to the money. The 21.5 points at $1562 per point would have been worth $33 583, so there was a profit in using all six picks last week.

There will be one skater listed for every position. For the cheap skaters, the cost will be $3000 or less, and for the top-shelf forward options, they will all be $7000 or more, with the defenceman at $6000 or more.

Cheap Players

Vladislav Namestnikov (Tampa Bay – Centre) – $2900

Quite frequently, the reason for using a cheap player is a change in circumstance that hasn’t been reflected in the pricing algorithms. For Namestnikov, a combination of injuries and desperation has seen his stock rise, at least as far as the lineup is concerned. From Dobber’s Frozen Pool tools, we see that Namestnikov is not only playing on the top line with Steven Stamkos, he’s also playing some second power play unit minutes. Considering his price, there seems to be a lot of value here; that last game saw Namestnikov play over 20 minutes.

Tonight, Tampa Bay hosts the Rangers, and for all the defensive issues the Rangers are trying to work out – they are bottom-10 in the NHL in scoring chances allowed – they still have a pretty good goaltender named Henrik Lundqvist. For that reason, I would avoid using expensive players like Stamkos or Victor Hedman. Rather, I would use cheap players to get exposure to the more expensive ones, and Namestnikov is in as good a position as any.

Matt Nieto (San Jose – Wing) – $3000

The San Jose Sharks continue to move switch their lines around a bit. Last week, it was moving Melker Karlsson to a line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. This week, it seems like Matt Nieto is now sticking around the second line with Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward. It’s unfortunate he’s not getting power play time yet, but when facing the Flyers, five-on-five play is the focus anyway.

I typically like using guys with a decent floor for a bargain option. Someone like Frank Vatrano (Boston) seems a lock for at least a couple of shots every game, and at this pricepoint, that’s acceptable. Whatever points come after is the profit.

With Nieto, this isn’t really the case, but that shouldn’t be an issue. When the Flyers don’t have Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux on the ice, the team’s scoring chance differential is horrendous, an indicator that the top line is the only one playing decent hockey this season. I think the Marleau line avoids the Giroux line for most of this game, and that should allow them to pot at least a goal against Philadelphia’s poor defensive depth.

Shayne Gostisbehere (Philadelphia – Defence) – $2700

The nice thing about DraftKings is not having to worry about plus/minus. Gostisbehere (a.k.a. “Ghost” a.k.a “Swayze”) could go minus-4 tonight and still produce a profitable night on the site. That is one thing to love about DK, that no player is inherently untouchable because of an outdated statistic.

Gostisbehere was called up after the injury to Mark Streit, and not only is he running the top power play unit, he has managed six shots on goal and two points in his first two games. I think the public was still a bit behind his ownership rate last game. With him scoring a goal on Tuesday, I don’t see that being the case this week. In cash games, though, ownership rate isn’t a huge deal. 

As far as penalty killing goes, San Jose is bottom-10 in a few measurements (percentage killed, scoring chances against), and that should be good news for the Flyers power play. Ghost is a cheap option for good exposure to the top power play trio.

Expensive Players

Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh – Centre) – $7600

Last game the Penguins played saw Evgeni Malkin break out for four points, a monster game that helped a lot of owners. It also saw Patric Hornqvist return to Crosby’s line full-time. Admittedly, having Crosby helps Hornqvist more than the other way around, but it’s worth noting that the Pens shoot over 10-percent when that duo is on the ice together (via Puckalytics). That might seem high, but seeing as Crosby had a career on-ice shooting percentage of 10.74-percent coming into this season, it’s really not.

Colorado is in town tonight, and they’re probably the worst defensive team in the NHL. The Avalanche will be welcoming back Gabriel Landeskog, but one player can’t right this ship.

At this point, Crosby’s cost should be a bit lower, but name value alone is keeping it high. All the same, in such a plush home matchup, with arguably his most productive winger back on his line, and it seems like a good night for Crosby to get on the board for a couple of points.

Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis – Wing) – $7700

Fingers crossed that the Sabres go with Chad Johnson in net tonight and not Linus Ullmark, if only for fantasy purposes as far as the Blues are concerned. Regardless, there are two reasons why I like Tarasenko tonight.

The first reason is that his floor is about as high as it gets for forwards (oddly enough, Nathan MacKinnon and Tyler Seguin are in the same neighbourhood as well): so far this season, Tarasenko has had two games of two DK points or less. That means 16 of his 18 games has seen him recoup about half his cost, if not much more. In NHL DFS terms, that is exceptional for a player at his pricepoint.

The second reason is that Buffalo’s penalty kill is horrendous. They don’t give up many opportunities, but they’re 25th in percentage, 30th in shot attempts allowed per minute, and 28th in scoring chances. I think the Blues get a power play goal tonight, and with Tarasenko’s floor, just an assist should get him right at value, with upside beyond that.

Brent Burns (San Jose – Defence) – $7100

Burns is starting to get expensive, and spending that much on a defenceman is a bit precarious. Like Tarasenko, though, Burns has a very high floor for cash games: in his 18 games played this year, Burns has had one game with fewer than two DraftKings points (and that game he managed 1.5, and it was over a month ago). He has at least two shots on goal in every game this season, and has just one game without a blocked shot. Burns, in DFS terms, has been fantastic.

As I mentioned in the section with Nieto, the Sharks are in a great spot tonight. Burns has played at least 25 minutes in every game this month, and over 27 minutes in each of his last two. With good cheap options like Namestnikov and Gostisbehere available tonight, there should be some extra money to spend on lineups. Burns is about as solid as it gets for DFS.

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