Kevin Walsh | October 8th, 2019
Here were are on a nice Tuesday night, and we have a solid eight-game slate to tackle. For now, I will note that NHL scheduling makes it so Monday, Wednesday, and often Friday are only going to have two to four games on the slate at most. For the time being, we will make sure we have content out for the big slates on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
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, 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.
This section going forward will contain the Vegas opening line information for each game, as well as the probable goaltender for that game. Please note that you should always be checking late news for starting goaltenders. ALWAYS. All games are listed by money-line favorites, the goal total, and whether the total is trending to the over or to the under (denoted by an “o” or “u”, respectively).
Winnipeg @ Pittsburgh -150, 6.5o
Dallas @ Washington -155, 5.5u
Edmonton @ New York Islanders -145, 5.5u
Carolina @ Florida -120, 6o
Anaheim @ Detroit -130, 5.5u
San Jose @ Nashville -155, 6u
Los Angeles @ Calgary -200, 6u
Boston @ Vegas -147, 5.5o
Defensemen Add-On – Ryan Pulock ($5,500 DK)
Connor McDavid may be the best player in the world, but he is far from the shutdown center. Barzal’s line should see the bulk of their time against McDavid’s line, who give up 14 HDCA/60. The Islanders studs should take care of business at home.
Pittsburgh has taken some heavy losses already with injuries to Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad. The Penguins will need to lean heavily on Crosby, and it doesn’t hurt that they get a matchup against Winnipeg, who just moved defensively-liable Patrik Laine to the top line. Both defensemen will be on the top power-play, so either Letang or Schultz is viable as a fourth.
I imagine this line would have been the chalk after the offensive explosion they put up over the weekend, however, their price is a bit prohibitive to be too highly owned. They get another great matchup at home against the hapless Ducks. You will have to find some value to fit them in, more than likely.
Speaking of value, this is my favorite line at this price point. Shore isn’t the idea winger on this line, but they should avoid Larkin’s line for the most part. Getzlaf’s toughness and veteran presence and Kase’s release should be able to produce some scoring chances. This isn’t a great play, but the value lines are pretty sparse due to how many lines are priced in the dead-center. If you want to fit in DET1 or something more expensive like EDM1 or CGY1, you are going to need to look here or somebody’s third line.
Don’t Forget About – FLA1, NSH1/2, WPG1
Fade – EDM1 (Very expensive, tough matchup), CGY1 (Unbelievably expensive compared to rest of the slate, also could be contrarian because of it though)
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.
Braden Holtby ($8,000 DK) – Holtby isn’t the biggest favorite of the night, but he has way more save upside than Rittich tonight. With the 35 save bonus on DK now, you almost want a goalie that is going to see more shots for save opportunities versus goalies who get 21 save shutouts. In any event, Holtby faces a dangerous offensive team but has been struggling out of the gate. We can hope for a 4-2 type win with 37 saves for a boatload of points.
John Gibson ($7,500 DK) – Gibson has a few things going for him. For one, he can always just shut a team out unexpectedly because he is an excellent goaltender. Second, he is cheaper than the top plays on the slate. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, he is leverage against that Larkin line that has been going berserk to open the season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Anaheim wins this game 2-0 and Gibson shuts the Red Wings down.
Don’t Forget About – David Rittich (biggest favorite), Jimmy Howard (Anaheim sucks), Pekka Rinne (San Jose struggling hard)
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.
Lars Eller ($3,800 DK) – If you need a one-off center, Eller has the best role for his price. He appears to be still on the second line even though Evgeni Kuznetsov returns from suspension. It looks like they may ease him in, or maybe they just don’t want to break up that line just yet.
Dominik Simon ($2,700 DK) – Even though I am a Pittsburgher, I hate that Simon plays on the top line. Mike Sullivan loves this guy for some inexplicable reason, but as long as he remains on a line with Crosby and Guentzel, he will have value, especially at this barebones price.
Nino Niederreiter ($4,100 DK) – Not the cheapest winger in the world, but Nino has popped onto that top line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, who has yet to really show out this season. He will also be on that top power-play unit, so as long as Nino shoots like he usually does, he should be an easy value.
Ethan Bear ($2,900 DK) – Value defensemen are tough usually because they can easily give you a doughnut, but Bear is seeing power-play time as well as top minutes with Darnell Nurse on that first pairing. That’s a lot of ice time to get some production.
Keith Yandle ($3,500 DK) – I did not see this initially, so I am adding this to the bottom here. How in the world is Yandle only $3,500? He is “technically” listed on the third defensemen pairing, but he plays on the top power-play with FLA1. Yandle shoots way too much to be priced this low. The algorithm failed on this one. We will be pretty chalky but you can’t ignore him down here.
It’s still the beginning of the season, so make sure you just make solid lineups and try and learn what other people are doing to be successful. I am currently experimenting with a different lineup construction for MME than I have been doing, but it may just be a small sample error to start out the season. Just take it easy, play a couple lineups, and don’t overdo it like I have been!
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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