Now that we’re officially one full week into the NHL season, it’s time for my first (hopefully of many) daily fantasy hockey blogs here on Daily Joust. With the NBA season in doubt, fantasy hockey contests have become one of the only options for us daily fantasy sports addicts.
Whether you’re new to fantasy hockey this year, or been playing for years, I hope that you’ll find this blog helpful in making your daily fantasy hockey lineups. We’ll focus the first blog on some of the more basic aspects to daily fantasy hockey but will dive into some more specific topics in future blogs.
I’ve noticed that many of the guys new to fantasy hockey have had questions regarding how the plus/minus (+/-) system in hockey works. A players plus/minus can really alter your fantasy success, so it’s important to understand the concept before selecting your team. Basically, a player receives a +1 (and 3 points per Daily Joust scoring rules) for being on the ice when his team scores a goal. Conversely, a player receives a -1 (and negative 3 Daily Joust points) for being on the ice when a goal is scored against his team. The only caveat to this is system is how it deals with Power Play goals. Players do not receive a +1 for scoring a goal on the power play nor do the shorthanded players receive a -1. However, if the shorthanded team scores a shorthanded goal, then they do receive a +1 and the players from the team on the Power Play do get a -1.
Before I move on to a few player picks for Saturday’s action, I’ll share three pretty basic tips to keep in mind while you fill out your rosters;
1) Pay attention to the plus/minus risk for each of your selections. As mentioned above, this score can make or break your fantasy success. In general, it’s a wise move to limit your exposure to players who play for bad teams and/or have bad matchups. However, since this is daily fantasy sports, it’s perfectly logical to ignore a player’s season long +/-. Instead, check for things like how the players done over the last 5-10 games, on the road vs. at home, and against
the particular opponent that they’ll be facing on that day.
2) When possible, pick players that play on one of their team’s power play units. A team with a good power play will score on 20% of their opportunities, which equates to roughly one Power Play goal per game. Missing out on an opportunity for the goals/assists/shots that come with being on the power play can be a costly mistake.
3) Don’t select guys solely because they have the potential to rack up penalty minutes (PIMS). The fact that penalty minutes are rewarded in daily fantasy hockey contests is a common topic of discussion, and that seems to have led some to a false belief that they’re more valuable than they really are. Sure, sometimes a guy can get 17 PIMS (five for fighting, two for instigating, and
a ten minute misconduct) in an instant, but usually these types of players offer very little value at every other scoring category, not to mention the fact their ice time takes a hit as they serve their penalties. Rather than pick these players, just treat the points your team receives from PIMS as an unexpected bonus
Now, with those tips in mind, let’s take a look at Saturdays NHL schedule. With 14 games on the schedule, there are plenty of options at each position. Below are some guys that I feel are worth their high price tag, a few strong values picks, and some players to avoid for the day.
Worth their High Price:
LW – Daniel Sedin – Vancouver Canucks. He’s always a solid play in daily fantasy hockey, but a matchup versus the defensively challenged Oilers (allowed the 2nd most goals against last year) makes him well worth the $183K.
C – Nicklas Backstrom – Washington Capitals. Backstrom is good, and centering a line that contains Alexander Ovechkin makes him even better. Ottawa is giving up over 5 goals a game so far this season, and that number might rise after Saturday’s game. Backstrom will certainly be in the scoring mix.
D – Nick Leddy – Chicago Blackhawks. At just 20 years old, Leddy already finds himself on the top defensive pairing for the Blackhawks. He logs significant Power Play minutes and is a bargain at 52K
D – Cody Franson – Toronto Maple Leafs. Franson will make his debut with the Mapleleafs. His offensive ability is above average for a defenseman and his price tag is dirt cheap at 45K. This matchup at home versus Calgary doesn’t raise much fear for his plus/minus
C – Tommy Wingels – San Jose Sharks. While I don’t see Wingels doing much to help any fantasy rosters this time next week, he’s a steal at 70K while he remains on the 2nd line for the Sharks (with Ryan Clowe and Logan Couture). If Martin Havlat remains out of the lineup for Saturdays game (check his status) then Wingels will continue to reap the benefits of playing with such great line mates.
D – Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators – Very few Defensemen have his offensive talent, but this matchup at Washington is one to avoid. As mentioned earlier, Ottawa can’t seem to keep the puck out of their own net. An ugly +/- is on its way for Karlsson, even if he’s one of Ottawa’s few fantasy hockey bright spots.
RW – Marian Hossa – Chicago Blackhawks – Hossa is coming off a solid game versus Winnipeg (picking up a goal and an assist), but his task gets much more difficult Saturday as he goes toe-to-toe with fellow Slovak Zdeno Chara. While Hossa is certainly capable of scoring any given night, the combination of Chara on defense and Tim Thomas likely to be in net makes his $150K salary too steep.
Injuries to monitor:
C – Andy McDonald – St. Louis Blues
C – David Krejci – Boston Bruins
RW – Patric Hornqvist – Nashville Predators
RW – Martin Havlat – San Jose Sharks
G – Martin Broduer – New Jersey Devils
That wraps up my first NHL Daily Fantasy Hockey blog. Thanks for reading and good luck in your NHL Fantasy Contests on Daily Joust.
See you tomorrow!