Welcome to Stack the Deck, where we focus on the key players in action on January 22nd across the industry, 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 five-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
**DraftKings Prices will be used, however there are some other sites that have very similar scoring systems to DraftKings, so if you play on OwnThePlay or FantasyHub (or any site with shots, goals, assists, and blocked shots making up the substance of the scoring system, and no +/-), this writeup will be useful to you as well. Stay tuned for the FantasyHub Lock of the Night later on in the post.**
Last night was a night to forget, with a lot of disappointments in my lineups and no breakout performance to mask the stench. Bergeron and Marchand connected on one goal, but couldn’t get much going in a game that did not feature a single penalty. Coming off the heels of a 56 PIM game in their last meeting, this game between the Bruins and Canucks was quite tame, hurting the offensive output of the entire Bruins roster, as most of their damage is done on the powerplay. Hagelin assisted his linemates’ goal and posted a decent night, but unfortunately it was his linemate not named Evgeni Malkin. Kessel was the great play of the night for Pittsburgh, with 9 DKPts in contrast to Malkin’s 0.5, and Hagelin continued his nice start in Pittsburgh with 5 shots and an assist, showing why he makes for a nice value play until his price rises, posting his 3rd consecutive nice game since his arrival in the Steel City. And let’s not talk about Oliver Ekman-Larsson, as not only did he fall flat on his face last night from a fantasy-standpoint, but he did so in a situation that I have been waiting for all season, where the Coyotes look completely overmatched by a clearly superior opponent. That said, I am eager to shake last night’s performance, and pinpoint who will take us to the Promised Land on Friday night.
Target: John Tavares (C) – NYI (@ Ott) – $7,700
Last night’s Cinderella Story was the New Jersey Devils, who won players brave enough to stack their team some GPPs by 7:30, scoring FIVE goals in the first period. Travis Zajac, underrated leaguewide but certainly not a dangerous offensive player, lit them up for a goal and three assists centering Kyle Palmieri and Joseph Blandisi. The trio was an offensive juggernaut, posting a combined 26.5 DKPts. Their opponent, the Ottawa Senators, packs their bags and heads home for this matchup, while the Islanders have been waiting for them since Sunday. Tavares has 12 shots in his last 3 games, and as one of the top players in the game can fill up a score sheet against anyone, especially this defensively-challenged Ottawa squad.
Stack: Kyle Okposo (W) – $5,600
Okposo leads the Islanders in iCorsi/60 at 5v5, and goes from NYI2 to PP1 with the man advantage. In all situations, him and Tavares are the top two Islanders by point and shot generation (points and iCorsi per 60). On the season, the Islanders have 23 PPG, and Tavares or Okposo have managed a point on 16 of them, which is around 70%. With the Senators struggling to stay out of the box, and to kill of the penalties they do take, Okposo and Tavares gives nice exposure to each of the top two even strength lines, and to the Isles well-practiced PP1 that has seen 13 opportunities in their last 3 games.
Target: Rick Nash (W) – NYR (@ Car) – $7,000
**CHECK THE WEATHER REPORTS. Although this is the NHL, and an indoor game, Raleigh is projected to get the worst of a snowstorm right before puck drop. They could easily cancel or postpone the game (the Capitals-Ducks game has been postponed already), so be cognizant of that**
Nash is on a roll, averaging 4.7 FPPG over his last 10, and is due for some serious shooting regression, with only 2 goals on 46 shots in those ten games. Carolina has a great back-end, but this season Nash has shown an ability to produce against the Hurricanes, with a goal, assist, 5 blocks, and 8 shots in 2 games.
Fade: Dan Boyle (D) – $4,000
Boyle is seeing PP1 time, however his price is confusing, as he is only $900 cheaper than Ryan McDonagh. Boyle has had 8 straight games under the 3 DKPt mark, and McDonagh has 4, 6, and 4 in his last 3. If you want to get a NYR PP1 stack, McDonagh is most definitely your desired DMan. However, I will take Nash and avoid the rest of this game, as it projects to be one of the slowest paced games of the night.
Target: Francois Beauchemin (D) – Col (v. STL) – $5,600
Hey, would you look at that. It’s my old friend St. Louis, taking the ice against the Avalanche. While the Avs get a bad rap for their possession numbers, the Blues have been significantly worse as of late, going under 39% Corsi For in their last 4 games. Meanwhile, Colorado is at 50% or higher in 3 of their last 4, which is progress for them. I have this game as the 2nd highest paced contest of the night, so Beauchemin will be able to contribute offensively, where he sees a lot of PP time, and defensively, where he leads the league in blocked shots. As a defenseman with elite upside through all four scoring categories against a team due for serious regression, Beauchemin will be locked into all of my lineups.
Stack: Matt Duchene (C) – $6,600
Duchene leads the Avalanche in points/60 in all situations and at even strength, and in an impressive fashion. At 5v5, he leads the team in Goals/60 with 1.26 (MacKinnon is at .69) on only a .15 Sh%, which is only a slight bump up from his last two years of 13%, showing some level of sustainability. In the 3rd time I’ve targeted the Blues due to their embarrassingly bad Corsi and Scoring Chances For %’s, Duchene will be the one to put the nail in the coffin on St. Louis, making my night, and bankroll, that much better. That, my friends, is a hot take, so keep that in mind before you send me angry Twitter rants when Brian Elliot posts a 33 save shutout and St. Louis wins 3-0 on 15 shots.
FantasyHub Lock of the Night: Robin Lehner (G) – Buf (v. Det) – $6,200
With every single road team favored tonight, it isn’t a bad idea to take one of those road goalies. However, I prefer home goalies, and the cheaper the better. Lehner checks both boxes, the cheapest projected starter on Friday playing at home against a Red Wings team fresh off a loss to the aforementioned St. Louis Blues. They have two goals in their last two games, and Lehner in his two starts back from injury has a .922 Sv%, showing good signs for the Sabres, who traded for him in the offseason only to see him get hurt in the first game. Maybe I should change the name of this segment, as he is not the safest option, but Lehner is the G I will be rolling out on both FantasyHub and DraftKings, as I believe he will be a $7k+ goalie by the end of the season, and want to take advantage of the savings while I can.
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!