Cheap Players for Daily Fantasy Hockey – November 5

by Michael Clifford on November 5, 2015

Some bargain bin DraftKings options to use for tonight, as well as some expensive options. 

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Welcome back for another week of bargain bin and top shelf options for tonight’s slate on DraftKings. For this column, there will be a list of one skater at each position that are priced $3000 or less, and a list of one skater at each position for $7000 or more ($6000 for the defenceman).

Hopefully things go a little better than last week. The pick I was most disappointed in was Steven Stamkos, but it was a lesson learned. Tampa Bay is averaging, as a team, over four fewer scoring chances per 60 minutes at five-on-five, and Stamkos is not immune to this: his individual scoring chances per game are about half (1.29 per game) what they were last year (2.66). It’s still early, but things are not rosy for him.

On that note, here are some bargain bin and top shelf players to use tonight for your 50/50 and head-to-head lineups.

Cheap Players

William Karlsson (Columbus – Centre) – $2500

It has been a really rough start to the season for ‘Wild’ Bill. So far, he has zero points in 12 games with 14 shots on goal and 11 shot blocks. He has basically been a one-point-per-game DraftKings option, and even at a minimum price, that’s bad.

In the short-term though, things may be looking up. In Columbus’ most recent game in San Jose, Karlsson played over 19 minutes. The number of minutes are not the only important part here; the other factor was that his line mates were Nick Foligno and Scott Hartnell. Karlsson was held off the score sheet, but if he plays anywhere near those minutes with those line mates, there is a good chance for an easy assist.

Note that with Columbus going into Los Angeles, Karlsson is much more suited for salary relief in a tournament than to be relied upon for 2-3 points in a 50/50 or head-to-head (cash) game.

Curtis Lazar (Ottawa – Winger) – $2500

The Senators can’t buy a break. As Mike Hoffman returns from injury, Mark Stone gets suspended for a hit to the head. The bad fortune for the Senators as a whole is good fortune for Curtis Lazar, as he appears to be the winger on the top line with Kyle Turris and Mike Hoffman until Stone’s suspension is up (this is his last game to serve).

In Lazar’s last four games, he has just one assist, but has played at least 17 minutes in three of them. In the one game he didn’t, he was forced to leave with an injury. Despite all this, Lazar managed one assist, nine shots, and five blocked shots in those four games. That is nine points, or 2.25 DraftKings points per game, and that’s just fine for a minimum price.

Ottawa hosts the Jets, who will be playing their second game in as many nights on the road. Unlike Karlsson, I’m fine with using Lazar in cash games. Please note that the Senators had an optional skate today, so there's no guarantee of what the lineup will look like. Stay close to your favourite news source as warmups start tonight. 

Alec Martinez (Los Angeles – Defence) – $3000

As far as offence goes, it hasn’t been an overtly fantastic year with just two points in 12 games. There are a couple things working in his favour, though. First, he averages nearly two blocked shots a game (23 in 12). Being able to bank a point is a good start to reaching value, especially with a player priced so low.

The big reason, though, for liking Martinez tonight is the power play time. He is regularly among the top four in power play minutes on the Kings blue line, as they use two separate two-man defence units on the PP. They face Columbus, who, as a team, are 27th in the NHL in shots allowed per minute while short handed, 28th in penalty kill percentage, and the Kings are drawing nearly three and a half power plays a game.

Martinez is another player I don’t mind using for both cash games and tournaments. He doesn’t have a high risk of a zero-point night, and is in a good situation.

Expensive Players

Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado – Centre) – $7400

For the players on the slate today, the only centres who have managed more DraftKings points per game than Nathan MacKinnon this year are David Krejci and Joe Pavelski. With Krejci going into Washington, a tough matchup, that would leave Pavelski and MacKinnon.

The lines have been shuffled in Colorado, and Gabriel Landeskog is now playing with Matt Duchene, with Nathan MacKinnon playing with Jarome Iginla. Normally, losing Landeskog as a line mate is a bad thing, but perhaps not here: small sample size alert (about 16 games worth of ice time together), but when Mackinnon is on the ice with Iginla, Colorado has averaged about 17-percent more shot attempts and about 19-percent more goals at five-on-five than when MacKinnon has played without him.

Colorado goes into Arizona, and that team is hovering around the bottom-third defensively both at five-on-five and short handed. I typically don’t like to target expensive players on the road, but this seems like a great matchup for MacKinnon.

Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia – Winger) – $6400

This is cheating a bit as Voracek is just $6400, not meeting the $7000 threshold, but I don’t really like the expensive wingers tonight besides Alex Ovechkin, and his price is hard to stomach in a cash game. Voracek is still the sixth-most expensive winger on the night.

There is no two ways about it, offensively, it’s been a terrible start to the year for Jakub Voracek (and the Flyers in general). A game against a defensively inept Flames team, though, should help fix this. Also, there are some positive signs for Voracek:

  • Last year, Voracek averaged 1.79 scoring chances at even strength per game. This year, that number is 1.83.
  • Voracek is averaging over four shots on goal per game. From Hockey Reference, no player since 2010 has played 60 games, averaged four shots on goal per game, and finished with fewer than 32 goals (and half of them had at least 40). Even in a bad year, it seems Voracek’s goal scoring should pick up significantly.

Again, going into Calgary should help a lot. It certainly doesn’t hurt that their goaltending is a mess, either.

Brent Burns (San Jose – Defence) – $6500

On the season, Burns is averaging nearly four and a half shots and two blocked shots a game. Just reaching those averages alone in a game, Burns would earn about three DraftKings points. When it comes to cash games, creating a floor is always a good thing, and among the expensive defencemen, few, if any, have as high a floor as Burns does.

There are two things working against the Panthers tonight, the team going into San Jose. First, they will likely be starting Al Montoya in net, as they played last night. Second, the Panthers are averaging exactly four short handed opportunities a game, which is far too many power plays to give up. Burns is by far the leader in power play time per game on the Sharks blue line, playing over a minute and a half more than anyone else. If Burns can manage a power play assist, added to his floor, he’ll reach value.

*Line combos from Dobber Frozen Pool. Some stats taken from Hockey Reference, War On Ice, and Hockey Analysis