Welcome to Stack the Deck, where we focus on the key players on the 12/11 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 Friday’s seven-game slate, and my thoughts on who to play with them in order to stack the deck in your favor.
Stats are gathered from War-On-Ice.com and Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com
Player Matchups are gathered from HockeyViz.com
Last night was the reason I play DFS. Although I didn’t cash any huge amounts, I put up some really good scores, and the things I wrote about (and thus based the majority of my lineups on) all came to pass. Scheifele and Stafford both put up huge nights, and the rest of my players all put up a point. I have one major regret, and that is not taking Rasmus Ristolainen.
I am a Sabres fan, and have written in this space before just how talented Risto is and how well he has been playing. Well, the last few games he and the Sabres looked awful, and that didn’t change Thursday, as they fell 4-3 to the lowly Flames. But Ristolainen broke out in the 3rd period, singlehandedly making the game respectable with a hat trick. That is a ridiculous feat for a defenseman, and now his price will jump to the level it should be at. I am extremely disappointed that I had zero shares of him on the last night of his discount. But as a fan of the Sabres, I am really looking forward to the future, especially now that the team looks to be positioning itself for no worse than a top 5 draft pick in June. Where is the draft? Buffalo. Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel would make a pretty sick DraftKings stack, dontcha think?
But until that happens, let’s focus on the players we can actually select for Friday’s slate of games.
Target: Jeff Carter (C) – LA (@ Pit) – $6,600
Carter is the 5th most productive player on this DraftKings slate on the season. His salary places him outside of the top 10. There is some obvious value based off the numbers everyone can see, and there’s even more value when you dig into his stats. Carter is on a 7 game point streak, averaging over 3 shots per game in that stretch. Also encouraging is his 20 minutes TOI in the majority of his recent games, giving him ample opportunity to produce on the LA PP1 and the EV2. That 2nd line is decidedly the best line on the Kings right now, as its members, Tyler Toffoli, Carter, and Milan Lucic rank 1, 2 and 3 in the entire NHL in shot attempts per 60, meaning that not only does their line generate a lot of shot attempts, but that given 20 minutes a night with which to work they can put up numbers rivaling the best players in the league at a discount. The Penguins have given up 9 goals in their last 3 games, including 5 to this same Kings team on Saturday, and in that game Carter had a single assist and 0 shots. Expect Carter to get a major piece of the action on Friday.
Stack: Drew Doughty (D) – $5,500
If I told you the reigning Norris Trophy runner-up (with a 3rd place finish on his resume as well) who skates 30 minutes a night for his team was the 7th most expensive defenseman on a night with less than half the teams in action, you’d think I was insane right? Well, if you managed to comprehend that disastrous run-on of a sentence, it is exactly the case we are looking at here. Doughty is an uber talented player, and is 2nd in the NHL in TOI/G, behind only Ryan Suter. Talent is a major part of DFS, but opportunity is arguably just as important, and Doughty has both in spades. Play him with Carter to receive maximum exposure to this dangerous Kings offense.
Target: Taylor Hall (W) – Edm (v. NYR) – $7,200
Two straight multi-point games for Hall put him squarely in my sights for tonight’s action. I might not be diving in head-first due to his matchup with King Henrik, the best goalie in the league so far, however Hall will go significantly under-owned on a night where Benn, Seguin, and Kane are all firmly in play. I’ve covered endlessly why Hall is one of the best values in the game, and that the Oilers struggles don’t affect Hall’s output in the slightest. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Hall is second in the NHL in shots, and is playing at a point per game pace. He is the 4th best player in DKPts/G and is the 8th most expensive player. Tread lightly on Hall and his running mate (Draisaitl, below), but to rule him out is to say no to multi point, double digit shot upside.
Stack: Leon Draisaitl (C) – $4,600
These two look so good on the ice, and that Draisaitl is still this cheap is just mind boggling. Averaging 4 DKPts/G, he is the 2nd highest producing center, and the 17th most expensive center. While not safe in the slightest due to Lundqvist’s propensity to the occasional shutout or twelve, to overlook the Oilers in a matchup against a leaky Rangers team with airtight goaltending is not an optimal strategy. The Sedin line put two goals up on the Rangers and Lundqvist Wednesday, and that’s all Hall and Draisaitl need to smash value. If you need further convincing to roster these two, check out the OT-Winner Hall scored in Wednesday’s contest, they know how to put the puck in the net, plain and simple.
Target: John Gibson (G) – Anh (v. Car) – $6,500
This is the point where you start to notice a trend, the trend being that any team Carolina plays probably has a goalie that is a viable DFS option. The Canes shoot so often, and are so average talent-wise, that a goalie against them has enormous upside. Carolina ranks 27th against the Goalies they’ve faced this season, and that’s after potting 4 on Dallas Tuesday. Gibson is coming into this game hot, having posted 6.5+ DKPts in 3 of his last 4 starts, and 9.5+ in 2 of those. His .944 Sv% is phenomenal, and just the netminding they needed to salvage what started out looking like a lost season. And hey, did you know Gibson has the 2nd best production (behind Lundqvist), but the lowest price out of all the projected starters tonight? That seems like pertinent information. Lock and load Gibson in every format, every lineup, and tell your friends to do the same. That’s what the holiday season is all about, giving, isn’t it? DraftKings is giving us Gibson as an early present here tonight.
Stack: The Ducks – All of them – $Priceless
If they will sniff the ice in this matchup with Cam Ward (awful) or Eddie Lack (not awful, but is doing his best Cam Ward impression since he arrived in Raleigh), they are probably a good player. The Hurricanes have given up 25 goals in their last 6 games. They honestly aren’t that putrid of a hockey team, but their goaltending is embarrassing. This Ducks team, coming off of 3 of the toughest goalie matchups in Marc-Andre Fleury, Martin Jones, and Ben Bishop, look like they’ve struggled lately. Well, they have, but projecting that onto Friday’s game would be a huge mistake. The Ducks run a very basic PP structure, with EV1 playing the PP1 with their top 2 defensemen, and EV2 playing the PP2. There’s no forwards playing the point, or any line crossing. What this means is that you can take all 3 players on line 1, or on line 2 if you want to be a bit more contrarian, and watch them go to work. The obvious single value here is Richard Rakell, as he skates alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and is a mere $3.7k on Friday’s slate.
If you have any comments or questions regarding Friday’s NHL DFS action, you can find me on Twitter @Mattman1398. Good luck tonight, and as always:
Thanks for reading!