Daily Fantasy Hockey Preview: Week of November 25th

Los Angeles Kings goalie Ben Scrivens
 Los Angeles Kings goalie Ben Scrivens
November 23 2013 Los Angeles CA USA Los Angeles Kings goalie Ben Scrivens 54 blocks a shot against Colorado Avalanche center Brad Malone 42 during the second period at Staples Center Gary A Vasquez USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the inaugural weekly Daily Fantasy Hockey Preview.

For those new to daily fantasy, here’s how it works:

  • There are several daily fantasy sites available, so sign up for one like Draft Day.
  • Every day is a new day of fantasy. You have a salary cap, say $100 000, and you have to fit your roster (one goalie, two defensemen, two left wing, two right wing, two centres) under that cap.
  • There are different games, like double-ups, big tournaments, or head to head against just one other person. Scoring involves goals, assists, power play points, plus/minus, shots on goal for skaters, and goals against, saves, wins and shutouts for goalies.

Individual sites will have different nuances, but that’s the gist of it.

As far as daily strategy is concerned, a few things to keep in mind:

  • This is not a “get rich quick” deal. Daily fantasy bankroll management should be viewed the same way as poker or sports investing: incremental bankroll increases over the long-term will almost always be a winning strategy over big bets in the short-term. You might catch a lucky streak and quadruple your bankroll in a weekend, then again (and more likely), you will be out of money in a few days.
  • Personally, I’m a fan of “double up” or “50/50” games. These are games where, for example, 50 people participate and the top half in scoring get double their bet back. To win in daily fantasy, unfortunately, you have to take money from lesser-qualified players, or “fish.” Great poker players don’t win the bulk of their money by playing other great poker players consistently. Between the “rake”, which is 10% of each bet, and random variance, you will need to win more than 60-percent of your match-ups just to break even. You don’t do that by playing more experienced players. You meet those experienced players in head-to-head match-ups or small tournaments. You’ve been warned.
  • Just because you hit a “hot streak” of maybe 4-5 nights in a row doesn’t mean you’re getting better and that you should bet bigger. Runs of four or five wins in a row are part of the range of expected outcomes, as are runs of four or five losses. Once you start chasing losses by betting bigger to recoup those losses, you’re in a downward spiral.
  • Match-ups, streaks and patterns are all part of daily fantasy. This is what this weekly preview, and each consequent daily preview, will help reveal. There won’t be specific lineups given, rather, there will be value plays, guys on hot streaks and bad match-ups that you might want to avoid. My goal is to help you win money, but at the same time, there’s that whole “give a man a fish, teach a man to fish” thing.

With all that said, good luck in your daily lineups, and here is the weekly preview of each team, their schedule this week (with preferable match-ups in bold) and a few notes on how the team has done recently. Further to this, each day, there will be a preview of the games along with value plays from each team.


Anaheim Ducks

Schedule This Week

Tuesday: @Dallas
Friday: vs. Calgary
Saturday: @San Jose

In a weird scheduling quirk, the Ducks haven’t played the Sharks yet this year. Anaheim has played a lot of road games in the last month or so, and haven’t been world-beaters, going 1-3-1 in their last five away from the Honda Centre. In fact, all six of the team’s regulation losses have come on the road this year.

With Anaheim’s anemic power play (25th in the NHL at 14.4-percent efficiency) and two tough road match-ups, I would avoid their higher-priced players except on Friday’s game against Calgary.


Boston Bruins

Schedule This Week

Monday: vs. Pittsburgh
Wednesday: @Detroit
Friday: vs. New York Rangers
Saturday: vs. Columbus

It looks like a tough schedule for Boston, but they’ve already defeated three of these teams this year and lost to Pittsburgh 3-2. Boston hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game just twice in 10 contests this month, but on the flipside, they haven’t scored more than three goals in a game in eight of their last 10 contests.

Boston is a very good team again, but already have losses to both Pittsburgh and Detroit this year. Despite four Eastern Conference games, this is a very tough schedule.


Buffalo Sabres

Schedule This Week

Wednesday: vs. Montréal
Friday: vs. Toronto
Saturday: @New Jersey

If you’re taking players off of the worst team in the NHL, you have a good nose for this.

It’s really, really hard to take anyone from this team. It’s not like you might be able to scrape together some power play points; they are 27th in power play opportunities and 24th in efficiency. If you’re taking anyone from Buffalo, do it Friday against Toronto: The Leafs are one of two of Buffalo’s regulation/overtime wins and two of their five goals against Toronto came on the power play.

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Michael Clifford
Michael Clifford was born and raised in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and is a graduate of the Unviersity of New Brunswick. He writes about fantasy hockey and baseball for XNSports and FantasyTrade411.com. He can be reached on Twitter @SlimCliffy for any fantasy hockey questions. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');