DFS Hockey for Beginners: The Quarter Pole Review

We are at the quarter pole of the NHL season, making this as good a time as any to do an inventory of the stats and trends. NHL teams, more than any other sport, are constantly tweaking their lines and players’ ice time to find the right chemistry. DFS players need to keep up on these changes, but at this point in the season we have a reliable sample size to approach our nightly lineups with a general sense of what we’re getting ourselves into.

In this week’s column, I will look at the teams that are scoring the most and the least and the players that are having surprisingly good seasons, making them an affordable price. And because we use Team G here at FantasyDraft, I will look at some goalie tandems with a significant disparity between the number-one starter and the backup.

There is nothing better than looking at your contest and seeing that you have a mini-stack of players in a high-scoring shootout, just like there is nothing more dejecting than taking a peek at a stat line like, 2 SOG – 2.00.

Lets start by looking at the teams that score the most and least goals and allow the most and least goals on a nightly basis.

 

Goals For/Game (GF/G)

High Five

Dallas Stars: 3.55

Montreal Canadiens: 3.45

Boston Bruins: 3.33

New York Rangers: 3.00

Nashville Predators: 3.00

 

Low Five

Philadelphia Flyers: 1.79

Anaheim Ducks: 1.85

Carolina Hurricanes: 1.94

Buffalo Sabres: 2.21

Detroit Red Wings: 2.21

 

Goals Against Average (GA/A)

Low Five

New York Rangers: 1.74

Los Angeles Kings: 2.11

Montreal Canadiens: 2.20

Pittsburgh Penguins: 2.26

New York Islanders: 2.26

 

High Five

Calgary Flames: 3.65

Columbus Blue Jackets: 3.30

Edmonton Oilers: 3.26

Boston Bruins: 3.11

Winnipeg Jets: 3.10

The interesting teams on these lists are the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. The Rangers and Canadiens are interesting because both teams are amongst the five best teams in both goals for and least goals against. That combination makes them a prime stack on offense as well as a strong start for your Team G position. One of the cardinal rules in DFS hockey is that you don’t start offensive players against your Team G, which eliminates offensive options. Both the Rangers and Canadiens allow very few goals, making them a team you never want to stack against, but they also score a lot, which makes their scorers good options for a mini-stack.

The Boston Bruins are interesting because they are the only team that ranks in the top five in goals scored and goals allowed, which makes the Bruins the most likely game to be high-scoring every night. If you want to target the most likely shootout, stacking the Bruins or their opponent, or both, is the game to target. And while starting the best players in these games is worth a start, you also want to consider the more affordable players in these games as well.

The Bargains

The two key parts to building a successful nightly DFS lineup is selecting the best Team G and finding productive bargains that allow you to afford the reliable, star players. Here are a few of the best bargains in DFS hockey right now.

Basement Price/Middle Class Producers

Dale Weise ($7,400): Canadiens Wing

Boone Jenner ($8,500): Blue Jackets Wing

David Jones ($6,800): Flames Wing

Joffrey Lupul ($7,900): Canucks Wing

Artem Anisimov ($8,500): Blackhawks Wing

Brock Nelson ($8,500): Islanders Wing

Any time you can find a player under $8,500 you are closer to being able to afford a $14,000 player, an elite $17,000 player like Alex Ovechkin or a high-priced, highly productive stack like Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. If you can find a player under $7,000 even better, making David Jones a tempting possibility most nights.

Other Bargains

Joel Ward: Sharks Wing

Oscar Lindberg: Rangers Center

Martin Hanzal: Coyotes Wing

Vincent Trocheck: Rangers C/Wing

Mikkel Boedker: Coyotes Wing

Jared McCann: Canucks Center

Team G Disparity

Some teams play a strong defensive style of hockey or they have a good defensive unit and then there are some teams that live and die with their top net keeper and hope for the best on those nights that the backup is between the pipes. Here are a few of the Team G situations with the bigger disparity between the starter and the backup.

Philadelphia Flyers

Michal Neuvirth: GAA 2.08

Steve Mason: GAA 2.99

Mason has started more games this season and I suspect his strong 2014-2015 season bought him an extended opportunity to turn things around. Right now though, Neuvirth has performed well enough to make Mason a true backup rather than a time share.

Washington Capitals

Braden Holtby: GAA 1.94

Philipp Grubauer: GAA 2.71

Grubauer is the clear backup (four starts in 18 games) and the GAA could be impacted by such a small sample size. That being said, Holtby deserves serious consideration each night while a Grubaeur start justifies that you consider stacking scorers against him.

New Jersey Devils

Cory Schneider: GAA 2.05

Keith Kincaid: GAA 2.69

Kincaid is the clear backup here (three starts) and there is a good reason. This is another situation to watch to make sure you don’t pay for Schneider and end up with Kincaid.

Colorado Avalanche

Reto Berra: GAA 2.08

Semyon Varlamov: GAA 3.26

What the Avalanche is doing with these two is a head scratcher. The disparity between Berra and Varlamov is as big as you are going to find in hockey right now and yet they have both started the same number of games – 10. The disparity between these two demands that you make sure you are getting the first team because you want nothing to do with Varlamov right now, unless it is to stack scorers against him.

Nashville Predators

Pekka Rinne: GAA 2.10

Carter Hutton: GAA 3.44 (only 2 starts)

Another situation where the number-one starter is clear and the difference between the two is so vast you have to be sure that the Predators don’t sneak Hutton into your starting lineup without you realizing it. This is another pair that you want to start one and you want to stack against the other. Look at the numbers and I will let you figure out which is which.

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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