NHL Daily Fantasy Strategy

Just like with other sports, matchups are the key to finding DFS success in hockey, but identifying the best matchups isn't always as simple as picking against the weakest opponents. Below you'll find some other factors to consider when crafting the perfect lineup.

Home/Road Splits

Players are often looked at holistically, with their season scoring averages displayed right next to their names, but taking home/road splits into account can often reveal stark contrasts in production. For example, Blake Wheeler scored 60 points in 41 appearances at Bell MTS Place last year. The only players to score 120 points or more since the 2001-02 season are Joe Thornton, Jaromir Jagr and Sidney Crosby (once each). Wheeler produced at a 120-point season pace in home contests and wasn't even the most expensive skater in action on most days, making him a consistently great value. On the flip side, owners who paid up for Wheeler on the road were often left wanting more – his 31 points in 40 road contests translated to less than a 64-point, 82-game pace. That number would rank outside the top 50 last season, placing Wheeler just below the likes of Yanni Gourde and Teuvo Teravainen. Those are good players, but not guys you can count on to carry your lineup.

Linemates

One of the most reliable ways to find strong bargain options is by looking at linemates. When an injury or coaching decision moves a player from a bottom-six role to the second line or

Just like with other sports, matchups are the key to finding DFS success in hockey, but identifying the best matchups isn't always as simple as picking against the weakest opponents. Below you'll find some other factors to consider when crafting the perfect lineup.

Home/Road Splits

Players are often looked at holistically, with their season scoring averages displayed right next to their names, but taking home/road splits into account can often reveal stark contrasts in production. For example, Blake Wheeler scored 60 points in 41 appearances at Bell MTS Place last year. The only players to score 120 points or more since the 2001-02 season are Joe Thornton, Jaromir Jagr and Sidney Crosby (once each). Wheeler produced at a 120-point season pace in home contests and wasn't even the most expensive skater in action on most days, making him a consistently great value. On the flip side, owners who paid up for Wheeler on the road were often left wanting more – his 31 points in 40 road contests translated to less than a 64-point, 82-game pace. That number would rank outside the top 50 last season, placing Wheeler just below the likes of Yanni Gourde and Teuvo Teravainen. Those are good players, but not guys you can count on to carry your lineup.

Linemates

One of the most reliable ways to find strong bargain options is by looking at linemates. When an injury or coaching decision moves a player from a bottom-six role to the second line or from the second line to the first, that player's price often won't reflect the change immediately. That delay in price change creates a window of opportunity for owners to pounce on a player below market value. In the same vein, stacking players who skate on the same line is a terrific strategy when facing a vulnerable opponent, as you can double dip on a goal by also snagging a linemate's assist on the same play, not to mention doubling the rating boost on even-strength goals.

No Flex Zone

Unlike many other DFS formats, Yahoo! doesn't offer a flex or utility spot, meaning the lineup is set in stone at two goalies, two centers, three wings and two defensemen. This setup limits flexibility and makes it inconvenient to stack teammates at one position. For example, owners looking to utilize both Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in a favorable matchup won't be able to also grab that $12 sleeper center that was supposed to lighten the financial load. The lack of utility spot coupled with many days of short slates in the NHL lead to lower-scoring lineups compared to sports like baseball and football, which tend to have the majority of the league available in the main slate for most contests.

Managing Goalies

This format uses two goalies, which changes the thinking on who to start in net. In one-goaltender setups, the decision comes down to picking a cheaper option to maximize spending at other positions or paying up for the guy with the best chance of delivering a dominant performance that day. While that's still true here, the decision is more complex. Whether you go with a star and a scrub in net or two guys in between could come down to contest format, with the former strategy offering higher upside for GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) contests and the latter presenting a higher floor for cash games (H2H, 50/50s and Double Ups). While you're scrolling through the goalies in a slate, don't forget to note which subpar backups are in action, as that information will be useful when crafting the remainder of your lineup.

Rating and Opposing Skaters

With two fantasy points for each point in rating, picking players on winning teams is more pertinent in Yahoo! than other formats. For this reason, using skaters from opposing teams can easily backfire. Sure, your favorite Ranger just scored at even strength against their cross-state rivals to grab six points for a goal and two points for going plus-1, but the Islanders player in your lineup just put a damper on that moment by costing you two points — simply for being on the ice for that goal against. It's easy to forget rating is a double-edged sword, and taking two steps forward and one step back is rarely a winning formula. While there are plenty of games where neither team's top players are on the ice for an even-strength goal against, it's best to avoid opening yourself up to that risk if a comparable alternative is available in another game.

Other Scoring Quirks

Before you dive into the world of Yahoo! DFS, ensure you're familiarized with the scoring settings. As previously mentioned, plus-minus has an outsize impact, but that impact is equaled by power-play production. Ultimately, goals and assists are still king when it comes to picking top contributors. The other categories add up, though, especially when it comes to cheap filler options. There are exceptions to this rule, but the best lineups are generally constructed by paying up for high-scoring forwards while grabbing high-floor defensemen who use their extensive ice time to accrue well-rounded stat lines. Especially early in the season, tracking shot totals can also help identify which players are benefiting from unsustainable luck and which ones are not only contributing high multiples of 0.9 points, but also due to break out further offensively.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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