Welcome to Stack the Deck, where we focus on the key players in action on February 2nd 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 Tuesday’s twelve-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
Welcome back after a long All-Star break that actually featured some entertaining hockey. While that certainly sounds strange to say, the festivities in Nashville were amazing, complete with a deserving All-Star Game MVP in John Scott, one of the most beloved guys in the league (or out of the league, as he returns to the AHL after their concurrent All-Star break, courtesy of some shady dealing between Arizona and Montreal). With almost a week off of the usual grind, I am eager to get back into the swing of things, and there is no better way to do that than with a 12-game slate, one of the biggest we’ll see all season. With 24 teams in action, there are a ton of plays, many of them viable, but here are a few of my favorite targets for Tuesday’s NHL action.
**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!**
**Second Note: Alexander Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews are OUT for tonight’s matches, as they withdrew from the ASG and will have to sit out one game as per NHL rules. They shouldn’t be out for their next game, but as they are not “injured” (Toews missed with illness, Ovi needed to rest some “ailments”) they might not show up on the DFS sites as out. Be wary of this, and the opportunities created from it, namely Galiev on WSH1 and COL1 in a good matchup against the Blackhawks without their shutdown center.**
Target: Mike Hoffman (W) – Ott (@ Pit) – $5,900
By sheer production thus far, Hoffman is an extremely good value, the 22nd most expensive wing who has been the 8th most productive of every wing on the slate. At 4.0 FPPG, he manufactures points with his shooting, ranking 9th in the league in iCorsi/60, with a shot attempt every 3 minutes of TOI. Given this standard of performance, and his ~18 min TOI average, 6 shots is a good baseline for him. Alas, over his last 3 games he has demolished that mark, averaging 10 shot attempts per game. Hoffman is taking on a Pittsburgh team that as the heaviest favorite of the night, is also the likeliest to hold a lead in the 3rd period. This is when Ottawa has the potential to really fill the stat sheet, as shown in their most recent game against the Buffalo Sabres, where they put 21 shots on net in the 3rd after only taking 14 through the first two periods. With how poor the Penguins defensemen are, I love the Sens to be able to put a few goals past Fleury, and while they may not get the victory, they are most definitely fantasy relevant in one of the projected highest-paced games of the night. Hoffman’s shooting floor makes him one of the safest plays on a slate, night in and night out, at a very manageable cost.
Stack: Erik Karlsson (D) – $7,500
In this high-flying affair, expect Karlsson along with Hoffman to do most of the heavy lifting – and shooting – to keep up with the Penguins. Over the last 3 games, the Senators are the one of two teams to have a pair of players averaging over 8 shot attempts per game, and Hoffman-Karlsson comes in at nearly $4k cheaper than the stack of Seguin-Benn, and in an arguably better situation from a score-effects perspective. It is silly how great Karlsson has been this season, from both a team standpoint and with a fantasy spin. He ranks 4th in the Art Ross race, with the closest D coming in 16th (Burns) and 29th (Klingberg) in points. This greatness can’t be attributed to a stud teammate, either, as the closest Senators to him are Bobby Ryan and the aforementioned Hoffman, in 17th and 26th. Karlsson is the elite of the elite in the league, and with his league leading TOI of 29 min/G, he gets ample opportunity to produce and, just as importantly, aid in his teammates’ production. Count on Karlsson to come through yet again for the Senators in a game that is suited to his play style.
Target: Jean-Francois Berube (G) – NYI (v. Min) – $6,000
Here is Daily Faceoff’s rundown of Berube: Berube spent the All-Star break on a conditioning stint with Bridgeport (AHL) and he excelled, going 4-1-0 with a 1.25 GAA and .960 SV%. There is obviously a ton of risk that goes into rostering a rookie goalie, but in my eyes, it is only slightly more risky than rostering any goalie, given the random nature of the position. I will give Berube strong consideration, and you should too. In their last 8 games, Minnesota is 1-6-1 and has scored only 11 goals. At the same time, while the Islanders have given up a fairly high amount of scoring chances over their last 10 (about 1 more chance per game than average), they have been great in their last 2 games, keeping their opponents well below their seasonal averages. If you think you can get 21 saves, 2 GA and a win from Berube (and I think he can do better given his recent form), he will be a great way to spend down and save some money tonight.
Stack: Travis Hamonic (D) – $4,000
Johnny Boychuk is confirmed out for Tuesday, leaving PP time to fill, which looks to benefit Hamonic the most. Hamonic is a fixture on the PP2 with Boychuk out, and has played really well as of late, perhaps because of his regular PP minutes. Although he doesn’t have any PP points in his last 9 games, he has 4 points and has averaged 5 shots + blocks per game over that span. His floor is extremely high, as he has nearly equal shot and blocked shot rates, making him a great stacking option if you take Berube, as he will be able to contribute regardless of score and situation. With over 20 min TOI per night, he is a safe option for your cash games, with 7 DKPt upside which he has shown twice in his last 4 games.
FantasyHub Lock of the Night: Cam Atkinson (W) – CBJ (@ Edm) – $4,300
The Hat-Trick hero returns to the ice, after gathering 4 goals and an assist in two games against the lowly Canadiens, he gets what might be an even better matchup in the Oilers. Playing nearly 20 min per night, he actually saw his ice time go down in the two victories, presumably due to the lead protection that was going on. Fortunately for us DFS players, Connor McDavid is back for EDM, and should help their offense while not improving their horrendous D at all. This should result in a game where the last-place Blue Jackets fall behind early, and are forced to put their top offensive unit in Atkinson, Jenner, and Dubinsky (who finds a new set of wings to protect leads, so it seems) who then pour it on offensively. Over his last six games, Atkinson has fired 45 shots towards the net, nearly 8 per game. For $4,300 on FantasyHub (and a more-than-reasonable $4,600 on DK), you aren’t going to find much better value in this great of a matchup.
Stack: Boone Jenner (C) – $4,900
Strictly a GPP-Play with Atkinson, Jenner is in a similar camp as Atkinson when it comes to deployment, usually playing heavy minutes only in a trailing effort. He is slightly riskier, however, due to his lower shot generation (30 iCorsi in his last 6 games, which is very good for a sub-$5k player still) and the tendency for him to lose ice time to Brandon Saad, as the Blue Jackets tend to create a “hero line” of Saad-Dubinsky-Atkinson in do-or-die situations. Jenner has clearly shown great chemistry with Atkinson, however, posting assists on all 3 of Atkinson’s goals in his hat-trick on Monday. Look for Columbus to rely on this duo for some offense if the game script calls for a comeback.
If you have any comments or questions regarding Tuesday’s NHL DFS action, you can find me on Twitter @Mattman1398. Good luck tonight, and as always:
Thanks for reading!