I’ve always been a big proponent of correlating goaltenders in DFS lineups. If one of your stacks goes off, that team’s goaltender is likely to pick up the win.
But, like we all should, I’m consistently growing as a DFS player, and something that I’ve put a lot of work into this season, if the fine art of goalie selection.
Admittedly, I’ve not been correlating goalies 99% of the time, as I have in year’s past. This season has been different – I still wind up with the correlation about 85% of the time, but some nights are different.
There are only two factors that go into my recent goalie process – ceiling and win potential.
The Problem With Floors
I’ve come to realize that the biggest issue preventing most DFS players from successfully selecting a good goaltender – for any DFS format – is that they try to project the goaltender’s floor.
Turns out, this is impossible. Variance plays too much of a role in the game of hockey to make it possible. The second coming of George Vezina could suit up for the Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow night, and still allow 4 first period goals to a team from the ECHL. It might not be likely, but play the game enough, and it’s bound to happen.
We cannot simply look at the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, and infer that Matt Murray will have a decent floor simply because the Penguins are huge favorites in the game. Matt Murray has just as much of a chance of allowing those 4 first period goals as Carter Hart does against the Lightning.
Instead, let’s focus on the possible ceiling…
How to Find a Goalie’s Possible Ceiling
We’ve had a lot of subs start playing over at www.MonkeyKnifeFight.com – and one of the things I keep mentioning about that site, is to take advantage of the games that ask you to forecast Shots on Goal and Saves.
These are much easier numbers to project than Goals and Assists. So let’s go through tonight’s slate and find a couple guys that are popping. In order to do this, you’ll want to pull up Team Stats on www.nhl.com
The very first things I look at are Shots/GP and SA/GP. You want a goalie whose team allows a lot of shots against, as well as the team he’s facing to rank near the top in Shots/GP.
We have six goaltenders who fit the following criteria: 1) their team ranks in the bottom-12 in SA/GP and 2) the opposition ranks in the top-12 in Shots/GP. They are:
Now let’s narrow down this list by using some other key stats.
Using Win Probability/Scoring/Power Plays to Find “Our Guy”
Now that we have six goaltenders who are likely to face a large shot volume, let’s use some other data points to narrow them down to a few solid options.
First up, let’s use Vegas odds and find the goalies that are the most likely to pick up the win bonus. Holtby (60%) and Hellebuyck (56%) are the only goalies with higher than 50% odds to win.
Calgary, however, is projected for 3.1 goals, while Carolina is projected for just 2.7. Carolina also happens to rank 28th in scoring league wide, averaging just 2.5 Goals/game, while Calgary ranks 6th – scoring 3.4 Goals/game to this point.
The Flames power play ranks 10th (22.5%) in the league, while the Canes PP ranks 24th (15.7%). You can see where this is going. Braden Holtby becomes a very solid goaltender for tonight’s slate, as he should face a big shot volume, has a decent shot at picking up the win bonus, and is facing a team that doesn’t really score a lot – and isn’t projected to do so tonight, either.
The other 5 options above all have serious upside, and I would certainly stick them into any GPP lineups that feature a stack from their team. However, if I’m not worried about correlation, or I’m using a couple stacks that have goaltenders without much of a ceiling – that’s when I would consider going with an uncorrelated Holtby in this example.
You can also take things such as salary and projected ownership into consideration when making a decision here, but upside is the absolute key.
In other words – instead of thinking of it from the perspective of “what is the worst that can happen”, think of it as “what is the best that can happen”.
Goalies are a crapshoot, so if you’re already having to take a gamble by playing one – you might as well play one that has a shot at slate-breaking production.