DFS for Beginners: Who is Doing What?

When I was looking around the stat sheets, brainstorming, trying to come up with a topic for this week’s article, a few questions came to mind. The first thing I was curious about, “what players are benefiting most from their line mates?” That question led me to think more broadly, “who is actually doing all the scoring?” I had my assumptions, but these two questions got my legs pumping with some direction for my research.

There are always going to be exceptions, but I assumed that Wingers were scoring the goals, Centers were dishing out the assists and defenseman weren’t doing much of anything. Here is what I found .

Goals Scored:

Of the top 30 goal scorers, 17 are wingers (there are a few that play both wing and center), and to my shock and awe there were two defensemen – Brent Burns (27th) and Justin Faulk (30th).

For DFS purposes, I focused on the top scorers because if you are going to pay top dollar to put a player in your lineup you want to feel confident he is going to score and I also wanted to see what kinds of bargains there were among the top snipers.

The biggest surprises have been Mike Hoffman ($12,500), Jeff Skinner and especially Kyle Palmieri ($9,500) 8.34 FPPG) who has 13 goals and 12 assists.

Assists:

Of the top 30 assist men; what surprised me was how few were centers and how many defenseman were inside the top ten. Three of the top ten and five of the top 30 are defensemen. It doesn’t shock me to see that defenseman assist on goals, but for three of the top ten to be defenseman did. The biggest surprise has been John Klingberg.

Centers play in the middle of the ice and in offensive schemes the play starts with them, which means it shouldn’t end with them, right? Only one of the top ten leaders in assists is a center – Tyler Seguin – and only ten of the top 30.

The players of note for assists this season are John Klingberg (26) Artemi Panarin (21 – $11,700), Mark Stone (21 – $11,100), and Marthieu Perreault (21).

 Power Play Points:

When I was researching goals and assists leaders, of course it eventually led me to the power play. When you are looking for an edge, especially in tournaments, targeting players that play with the man advantage and against teams that commit a lot of penalties and allow a lot of goals is a good place to focus your attention.

There aren’t a lot of surprises amongst the league leaders. The best players often score the most goals when they have more men on the ice than their opponent. But, what did cause my jaw to droop was that Justin Faulk leads the NHL in power play goals. A defenseman has more power play goals than Patrick Kane, Jamie Benn and Alex Ovechkin. Shea Weber has eight power-play goals as well, a noteworthy development.

Here are the teams that commit the most penalties.

  1. Winnipeg Jets
  2. Columbus Blue Jackets
  3. St. Louis Blues

T4. Philadelphia Flyers

T4. Vancouver Canucks

Something that is somewhat surprising is that only two of the top five teams that committed the most penalties also allowed the most power play goals. 15 teams have allowed 20 or more power play goals in 35 games or less and the Winnipeg Jets allow almost a PPG per game, while the Ottawa Senators are allowing a pretty hefty percentage as well.

Here is the list:

  1. Winnipeg: 32 Games Played – 28 PPG Allowed
  2. Ottawa: 33 Games Player – 24 PPG Allowed
  3. Nashville: 33 Games Played – 24 PPG Allowed
  4. Tampa Bay: 33 Games Played – 24 PPG Allowed
  5. Vancouver: 34 Games Played – 23 PPG Allowed
  6. Calgary: 32 Games Played – 23 PPG Allowed
  7. Boston: 31 Games Played – 22 PPG Allowed

I don’t normally spend much salary on defenseman, but going forward I will be taking note when these defenseman face these “penalty committing” opponents.

What did I learn this week? Centers don’t dominate the puck as much as I thought and elite-scoring Defenseman is more reliable for points than I thought. Specific ones make a significant difference on the power play and they are a catalyst for the offense in general.

For a long time I thought, like tight ends in DFS Football, that you should target the cheapest defenseman you can justifiably start and spend the rest of your budget elsewhere, but If you invest in the proper defenseman – Justin Faulk, Erik Karlsson and John Klingberg – then the position can be an asset rather than a drain on your dollars.

Another thing I learned is that a way to budget your roster dollars is by how they score points. Players that score goals, of course, cost more, so by targeting the elite assist men you can save some salary. Assists are worth less than goals, but the way to consistently cash is to have an entire roster of productive players and to avoid those goose-egg guys. And of course, keep yourself updated about the power play. Who is playing on them, who are scoring on them and which teams are allowing them. You shouldn’t start a player because he plays with the man advantage a lot, but when you are deciding between two comparable options the power play is a profitable place to differentiate between players.

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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