Kevin Walsh| October 4th, 2019
Much like opening night, this is not a big slate, and it is only the third of 170 some slates, so don’t blow your wad just yet. Let’s get a feel for what we are doing here.
I will continue to leave this section as is for the first couple of weeks so everyone knows what my feelings are for lineup construction, at least for the time being.
I want to explain how I construct my lineups, otherwise, the way this article flows will make little to no sense. If you know from other sports, we are often looking for correlation in our plays, and hockey is no different in that regard. In most cases, we want to stack two lines from different teams (with some variation depending) to get the most correlation. We may add a defenseman that plays on the power-play with two or more of those line-mates for additional correlation.
That being said, nearly all my lineups will be built 3+3 or 4+3, meaning three players from one line and three from another line, and if there is a four-man stack, there will be a correlated defenseman. I do not tend to stray from this strategy, at least until the new hype arrives and something stranger wins a big tournament.
There are also such things as the 5+2 stack, where you are typically stacking an entire power-play unit and add two correlated players as a mini-stack. You would use these when a penalty-prone team faces a power-play juggernaut, or if you just think that game is going to be a goal-scoring bonanza.
In future articles, I will highlight my lineup construction further to give specific examples.
All my plays are based on DraftKings pricing. It’s also important to note that when I list a player as a fade, I do not mean I will have 0% of them, but I will be way under the field as far as exposure goes, and likely will not play them on single entry lineups.
I will also leave this reminder here that you should always be checking lines close to lock for any late news and/or line changes. NHL is not nearly as bad as the NBA with late scratches or bad reporting, but it’s always better to be safe.
TOR1 – Auston Matthews, Andreas Johnsson, and William Nylander ($18,300 DK)
Defensemen Add-On – Morgan Rielly ($6,500 DK) or Tyson Barrie ($5,600)
It’s to ignore Matthews on a short slate, and he came out firing on opening night after being snubbed for the captaincy. I expect more of the same as they should see most of their time against the third line of the Blue Jackets who have average Corsi numbers dating back to last season. Barrie and Rielly both played out of their minds and shot the puck early and often, so both are viable to pair with, even if Rielly is the one on PP1.
VGK1 – William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith ($19,200 DK)
Defensemen Add-On – Shea Theodore ($5,000 DK)
Vegas opens their season with a home-and-home against the Sharks, and they had NO answers for the speed of this line on Wednesday night. While VGK2 is viable again, and Cody Glass is still very cheap, paying up for this line could pay dividends again. This line was my guilty pleasure last year, as their numbers always seem to point them in the direction of a good game. I will continue to fire them up here tonight.
NJ2 – Jack Hughes, Nikita Gusev, and Jesper Bratt ($13,300 DK)
Defensemen Add-On – Damon Severson ($3,400 DK)
Winnipeg is already playing a back-to-back and they get the fresh Devils in Jersey. This is the first appearance for top prospect Jack Hughes and I expect him to see the bulk of his time against the Adam Lowry line. Lowry’s line isn’t horrific defensively, but talent can take over here for sure and get on the board (likely) against backup netminder Laurent Brossoit. This is my value line of the day.
Don’t Forget About – NYI1, TOR2, NJ1, WPG1
If you are familiar with MLB DFS, goaltenders are much like starting pitchers. Taking big favorites at home is often a good play. It is also reasonable to look for goaltenders who play for teams that tend to give up lots of shots, as the volume for saves provides a solid floor, especially since the scoring has changed and now gives a bonus for 35+ saves.
Cory Schneider ($8,000 DK) – For the same reasons we like NJ lines, we like Schneider here. Opening the season at home against a team on a back-to-back has a low scoring game for Winnipeg written all over it. Vegas thinks so too, as they are a reasonable favorite. There aren’t a ton of options at goaltender, so this one feels the safest to me.
Semyon Varlamov ($7,500 DK) – On the other end of the spectrum, this goaltender is now on a defensive-minded team and should still see volume going against the high-powered Capitals offense. This is my favorite option of the cheaper netminders but know that Washington can light it up at any time.
Don’t Forget About – Frederik Andersen (biggest favorite)
This section will just highlight some value plays if you need a one-off player or some fill-in guys. Typically these will consist of guys elevated to bigger minutes due to injury, or promising talent that hasn’t seen the professional level yet.
Cody Glass ($3,500 DK) – His salary saw a $700 spike but he is still way too cheap. Continue to play him at this price while you can.
Michael Dal Colle ($3,300 DK) – Dal Colle has been trolling around the Islanders farm system for some time but seems to be ready as he is initially slotted on the second line, but most importantly, the first power-play unit. He could be a quality source of cheap production tonight if he is to live up to his expectations.
Damon Severson ($3,400 DK) – He has handled the load before due to injury, and this price is awful low for a second-pairing defenseman that sees time on PP2 and will get to enjoy the Jack Hughes experience.
Devon Toews ($3,000 DK) – Toews was a great plug-and-play for most of last season, especially when Ryan Pulock was banged up. Toews should still see some power-play time and he loves to shoot the puck when given the opportunity.
Another day, another short slate. Fridays rarely have more than five games, so this is normal for NHL scheduling. Usually, the big slates are Tuesday, Thursday, and sometimes Saturday. Just make sure you play within your means, and maybe just get a little taste and play a single entry or two.
If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter @Walsh_Sports. I will answer any questions you have!
Let’s make that money tonight and every night!
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