Daily Fantasy Hockey: Setting Lineups

We are in the early stages of the NHL season and now is the best time to start playing DFS if you’re new to the game. The sample sizes are small, the teams are still developing their chemistry, but when you start at the beginning, it helps to speed up the learning curve.

If you enjoy playing DFS but aren’t familiar with the sport of hockey, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in daily fantasy hockey. It is a game of skill and there are strategies and processes that beginners can use to be successful, even while learning the nuances of the sport and becoming familiar with the NHL.

Roster Building Strategies and Processes

Lets start with a few tips to maximize the way you prepare and select a starting lineup.

Hockey Lineup

One popular way DFS players build daily lineups is by looking at the most expensive players first and seeing which matchups from that top-tier group are preferable. Next, they scroll down to the group of players that fit within their remaining budget and squeeze the best available players they can afford into the remaining roster spots. There are two problems with this process. One, the most expensive players, especially this early in the season, aren’t necessarily performing the best right now. Additionally, the best way to build a successful daily roster is to blend the best values with the most reliable players – your stars. A better way to get started, especially for beginners, is to click on the FPPG tab (Fantasy Points Per Game) in the Player Pool area of your contest page.

In the Player Pool, there are six filterable categories that you can use to sort through the available players; Position/Player/Team/Game/FPPG and Salary. The FPPG tab lists players based on how many Fantasy Points Per Game they average, regardless of their salaries. This early in the season, the sample sizes are small, meaning the FPPG tab doesn’t tell you who the best players for the entire season will be. It gives you a snap shot of who is hot and who is cold, as well as identifies the players whose salaries may have been set too low coming into the season. You can also use it to identify potential sleepers and breakout players you can take advantage of while they are still affordable.

As we get deeper into the season and the sample sizes grow, players that continue to perform well in FPPG will see their salaries rise to the point where it’ll be unlikely to see a high FPPG and a low salary. For now though, we’ll see it a lot, and you can use that to find the best values for your daily lineup. This is a good way for DFS beginners or people less familiar with the NHL to identify players performing well, as well as the best budgetary values. This is how you succeed in all DFS leagues.

Once you’ve clicked on the FPPG tab, take note of the cheapest players with the highest FPPG totals first. You want as many star players in your lineup as you can afford, because they are the most reliable daily plays. By identifying the hot, cheap players first, you will have an idea of which stars and goalies you can afford in the beginning of your process. Once you have identified the bargains of the day, you can then start to look at the matchups and the other research methods used to make your selections.

Another good way to start your research and lineup-building process is too look at goalie salaries. Goalies are the building block of any hockey lineup because they have the biggest impact on the outcomes of games, which makes them a good place to start when identifying which offensive players have the best matchups.  You shouldn’t rely on the goalie matchups alone to fill your roster, but identifying which games are most likely to be high-scoring and which offensive players are facing the weakest goaltenders is a good place to start. It is the same strategy as stacking the best batters against the weakest pitchers in DFS baseball. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it is a good place to start.

Team Goalie


Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell has been playing Fantasy sports for over twenty years. He contributed to RotoWire.com in their early days before contributing as a writer and doing Fantasy sports Podcasts for Seamheads.com. Three seasons ago he brought his writing and his Fantasy sports Podcast to RotoExperts.com and the Fantasy Sports Television network and this past season he wrote a weekly Fantasy sports column for BaseballAmerica.com. He also writes about Minor League prospects for RotoExperts. Chris has no more access to the site than the typical user. Follow him at Twitter @CJMiitch73.

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