Welcome to Stack the Deck, where we focus on the key players on the 12/5 NHL DraftKings slate, and determine whether they should be played with a teammate, or ridden individually. Stacking is a common tactic in NHL, with linemates and power play units staying relatively stable throughout the course of a game, and to a smaller extent, a season. Here are a few players I am targeting on Saturday’s eight-game slate, and my thoughts on who to stack with them in order to tilt the odds in your favor.
Stats are gathered from War-On-Ice.com and Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com
Cory Schneider must have heard about my recommending him for last night’s action, and taken it upon himself to hurt my lineups. He lost a 4-3 decision in OT, posting a pathetic 0.2 on DraftKings. I’ve learned my lesson on playing Devils, as their brand of hockey just isn’t conducive to DFS goodness. I’ve seen writers and other media members posit how this team is “different” than previous iterations, but I simply don’t buy it. They have played at the slowest pace in the league again this season, and are last in both scoring chances for and against. Elsewhere, Hall scored, Ristolainen and Draisaitl each had an assist, but didn’t do nearly enough to keep me in contention anywhere, as the Sharks were shutout by John Gibson.
Tonight’s the night though, I know it, you know it, and even my mom knows it. So let’s get back out there and find the high-scoring stacks of tonight’s slate.
Target: Vladimir Tarasenko (W) – STL (v. Tor) – $7,700
While the Blues are playing the trail end of a road back to back, the Leafs are playing their 3rd game in 4 days, so I am not worried about an advantage or disadvantage due to fatigue in this game. I uncovered a surprising tidbit in my research, where over the last 2 weeks, the Leafs are playing with the 2nd highest pace in the league, only behind the Senators. This makes the Leafs an even better target in my book, as they are not a good hockey team, and now they have upped their pace as of late. Tarasenko is the catalyst of this St. Louis offense, as he has attempted the 3rd most shots per 60 min TOI in the entire league. He is simply as explosive offensive talent and can fill the net on any night. He’s my favorite high priced player on the night, and thus I will get exposure to him and his playing-mates as often as I can.
Stack: Paul Stastny (C) – $5,200
In order to completely capitalize on Tarasenko’s potential, take a look at his pass-first center. Stastny is in the 2nd year of a 4 year, $7 mil AAV deal, and gets every opportunity to show why he is worth the hefty price. He skated over 21 minutes last night and had an assist with 3 shots. Against this Toronto team starting Garret Sparks, who got shelled in his 2nd career start after a shutout in his promising debut, I will take my chances on the offensive power of the Blues.
Target: Shayne Gostisbehere (D) – Phi (v. CBJ) – $3,400
Coming out of Union College in 2014 (after his +7 performance in the National Championship game) and signing with the Flyers, Gostisbehere got a late start due to a torn ACL that forced him to miss most of last season. Well, he’s healthy now, and is here to stay. Gostisbehere wasn’t on my radar last night because I had faith in Schneider. We’ve already covered how well that worked out. Tonight is a different story, however, facing a Columbus team that also played last night. While their starter is unconfirmed as of this writing, I am running on the assumption Curtis McElhinney will spell Sergei Bobrovsky, as Bob played last night, making this a fine matchup for a suddenly rolling Flyers squad. With points in 5 of his last 6 games playing on the PP1 unit, Gostisbehere at a bargain price is a great play.
Stack: Claude Giroux (C) – $6,600
As Giroux rolls, so do the Flyers. This has been made obvious in this recent hot streak. The Flyers have won 5 of their last 6 games, and Giroux has 8 points in those contests. He looks to have shaken the funk that he began the season in, and while he is still not playing with Voracek on the top line, Voracek is still a member of their dangerous PP unit. While I can’t wait for the day those two are re-united on the top EV line, I am still excited about Giroux’s potential in this matchup. Using the rate statistics available on the season (and career numbers for goaltenders), I like the Flyers to be a top 5 offensive team today, without the high prices normally associated with such teams.
Target: David Desharnais (C) – Mtl (@ Car) – $3,900
The beneficiary of some injuries in the top 6 and line juggling by his coach, Desharnais finds himself skating next to Max Pacioretty tonight. While it’s tough to find someone who is struggling on the Habs roster, Desharnais has been great this season, with 17 points in 27 games. On the other end of the ice is a Carolina team that is last in the Eastern Conference, and while I hate to pick on them due to their surprisingly solid possession numbers, they have not gotten results to this day, making them a team to target against at all positions and in all formats. Also helping Desharnais’ case is that he receives PP2 time, making that unit an interesting pivot off the top unit, at a much cheaper price.
Stack: Jeff Petry (D) – $4,000
With so much press (and rightfully so) going towards the Canadiens’ top pairing of P.K Subban and Andrei Markov, Petry has flown under the radar for most of this season. Over his last 10 games, he is averaging 3.2 DKPts/G, making him (along with Gostisbehere) one of the only players in the 3-4k range over 3. Petry acquires his value through shooting, blocking shots, and manning the point on the Habs PP2 unit. Pairing him with Desharnais gives you cheap exposure (with great upside) to a game that the Canadiens should win handily.
Target: Craig Anderson (G) – Ott (v. NYI) – $7,400
For a safe, chalky play, Jake Allen is in a great spot against the Leafs, who as I mentioned above, actually play with a great deal of pace, averaging 30 shots per game in their last 8. However, my favorite goalie of the night is one Craig Anderson. While most of the Senators’ recent success can be attributed to a unsustainably high 14.1 Sh% since Nov. 17th, their 5-2 record is also in large part due to some solid goaltending. In 4 of those games, Anderson ended up eclipsing the 7 point mark, and had 2 above 10. The Senators continue to give up the most shots in the league (34.1 per game), yet have improved defensively and give up fewer high-danger scoring chances. Anderson has the most upside of any goalie tonight, playing at home against an Isles team coming off a tough shootout win last night.
Stack: Mike Hoffman (W) – $5,600
There is a lot to like about Hoffman’s game recently, as he has 9 goals and 15 points in his last 10, and had 3 points in his last time out against Chicago. I don’t see any reason the Islanders should do what the Blackhawks couldn’t, and will take advantage of the Senators first line’s mid-range salaries, as they have been consistently elite in the last couple of weeks. Sometimes in DFS, looking too deeply at why a team’s success won’t last just doesn’t work, and this is a prime example. Shooting at a clip that is 20% better than any other team in the last 2.5 weeks, the Sens clearly can’t expect to end the season like this. But for right now, their star players are playing like stars and generating tons of offense. With a travel weary squad coming into Ottawa, eat some chalk tonight and play Ottawa’s first line.
If you have any comments or questions regarding Saturday’s NHL DFS action, find me on Twitter @Mattman1398. Good luck tonight, and as always:
Thanks for reading!