One of my least favorite things to do when building NHL GPP lineups, is forcing myself to “punt” one of my spots – or play a cheap one-off, who probably has no business being in a group of players that I deem likely to have the highest upside on the slate.
It goes against every instinct I have to throw a guy into my lineup that I know full well has very little chance of exceeding value, yet it’s something that I do all the time.
Well, one of the ways to combat this, is to build around value to avoid the need for a “punt” in your lineups.
Bad Examples of Cramming Expensive Stacks Together
We have lineup spots for six forwards, and for this example, let’s say you really want to use John Tavares, Mitchell Marner and Morgan Rielly in your lineup tonight. These are three of the most expensive players on the slate, but also have some of the highest upside, in a plus matchup against the Panthers. Here are a few different ways we can build to feature TOR1.
In this first example, we’re trying to cram in our top stack, with their expensive defenseman and another one of the mid-priced stacks. We can fit them together, yes, but at what cost?
Well, we need to pivot down to a goalie we probably don’t WANT to play, and we have $2,600 to pick a random defenseman, probably with very little upside. While we have exposure to two stacks we like, we’re really capping our upside with the $2,600 punt, who probably hits value 20% of the time. Let’s look at another example…
OK, here, we’ve decided we want to try to cram in two extremely high-priced stacks. Well – you literally can’t fit both full stacks into the lineup. So what do we do?
Well, we have to choose one of the forwards to leave out. In this case, that’s a no-brainer. Zach Hyman is a plug, and I have no problem leaving him out. But look at the rest of our lineup. We are forced to use a minimum-priced goaltender, and punt both defensemen, as well as our UTIL spot.
Of course this looks ridiculous – but you wouldn’t believe how many people I see making lineups like this. You might as well buy a lottery ticket if you are hoping for all of those min-priced guys to hit value.
OK, here’s another type of lineup I see a lot…
Here, we have our full TOR1 stack, complete with the expensive correlated defenseman, and our optimal goaltender.
In order to fit all of that however, we need to add a full min-priced stack into the lineup. I always try to provide a few of these cheap stacks that I like. The problem with any of these lines, however, is that they tend to have very limited ice time, which severely caps their upside – which is why you’ll always see me recommended to use only one of them as a “single bullet”, or a pair as a mini-stack.
Using a full, cheap 3-man stack will rarely ever pay off for you. So how do we use value in our builds to maximize a lineup’s upside?
Building Around Value with 3-2-1 Stacking
There is no magic code to winning GPP’s from one night to the next. There is A LOT of luck involved – this should come as no secret to any of us.
What we can do, is expand our chances of winning GPP’s from time to time over the course of a full season, by making smart decisions and using players with the best matchups and upside each night that we’re playing.
Have a look at this line, and then we’ll dissect it a bit…
Using mostly players from this article, I’ve constructed a lineup that gives you full exposure to TOR1, along with the ideal defensive add-on, while still fitting in high upside plays throughout the rest of the lineup. How did I do this?
Well, the first step, was identifying a couple cheap pieces that have a great chance to exceed value tonight. I may not love SJ1 as a full stack tonight, but Joonas Donskoi is $2,600 and playing on San Jose’s top line. He’ll get about 16 minutes of ice time in a high-event game – there’s no reason to ignore him tonight, no matter how boring the full SJ1 play is to me.
Henrik Borgstrom is a big-time prospect for the Panthers, playing on the second line alongside Evgeni Dadonov. Now, I do love this line as a whole, so he makes for another great building block and starting point for our lineup.
Now, you can go ahead and add Evgeni Dadonov, since we know we need a correlated forward for either Donskoi or Borgstrom – and we like FLA2 tonight, so Dadonov it is.
With the money we’ve saved using Donskoi/Borgstrom, we can easily add Tavares/Marner/Rielly to the stack – even with a $6,300 Dadonov in there.
Although Mrazek isn’t my ideal goaltender, he does allow me to pay up for Keith Yandle, who is back to the second pairing, skating right alongside of Borgstrom and Dadonov at even strength, while also correlating with Dad on the power play.
As opposed to ending your build by throwing in a min-priced punt, that probably doesn’t correlate, and probably has limited upside if it does – we started our lineup construction with a couple good value pieces, and we were able to not only fit our expensive stack in there, but also every piece of our lineup now works in harmony together, giving us a ton of correlation, upside and value in our lineup.