We may not have hockey – or any sport, really – right now but I’m going to keep the content coming because I have a lot of ideas.
Not just for articles, but for streams (hopefully I’ll have more on that sooner than later).
At any rate, one question I’ve gotten a lot on Twitter is how I go about building certain parts of my lineup. Be it choosing a goaltender, values, stacks, whatever, you guys seemed curious about exactly what goes into my decision making.
I figured those would be fun topics to tackle in blog posts so, with that in mind, I’m going to shed some light on how I go about choosing my value forwards.
This is perhaps the biggest factor for me. Opportunity has to be there. I almost exclusively target top-6 forwards but, occasionally, I’m willing to punt on a 3rd liner if there will be some power play time.
Simply put, you can’t reasonably expect somebody to produce without a good dose of minutes (and/or quality linemates). You can be one of the most efficient players in the league but if you’re playing 10 minutes, you’re probably still not going to produce much.
I use DailyFaceoff.com, and FantasyCruncher, to go through lineups and see who is playing where. If I see somebody is being given a better opportunity than normal, I make note of it and go from there.
For example, if Zack Kassian plays on Connor McDavid’s line he is a solid punt. Check that, he’s an elite punt. Kassian averages 2.53 points and ~8 scoring chances per 60 minutes of 5v5 play with McDavid.
If Kassian is not playing with McDavid, I’m going to turn my attention elsewhere. He’s just not nearly as productive or reliable without the opportunity.
For example, Kassian averages 1.49 points/60 and 4.47 chances/60 when playing on the 3rd line with Riley Sheahan. Heck, he only averages 1.56 points/60 with RNH.
Simply put, Kassian goes from a spectacular play – somebody who is probably *way* underpriced – to somebody I’m probably not even going to consider depending on if he is with McDavid or not. Opportunity is king.
I don’t think the opponent is as important as opportunity, but it’s still something you should definitely be looking at.
In particular, I look at three things:
- Pace of play
- Defensive metrics
- Penalty numbers
If the team generally plays fast paced, there could be more shots and chances up for grabs. Shooting is such a big part of DFS these days, especially on DK, so Player X facing an opponent that’s more prone to 80 shot games than Player Y is could be the difference maker.
Another thing I look at is a team’s ability to suppress scoring chances and expected goals at 5v5. If they’re giving up big numbers – be it on the season or over the last 10 games – I’m more confident in playing against them.
The other big one, which I think can be overlooked, is penalties. A lot of people look at how teams fare on the PP or PK and focus on that. I think the raw volume is important as well.
If my punt, or any player really, is on PP1 against a team that averages four penalties per game, he’s getting the edge over a guy facing a team that takes two. I don’t care if the first guy is facing an 80% PK, while the latter is facing a 75% PK. Give me the two extra power plays to go to work.
Shots are important on FD. They’re absolutely crucial on DK. If a guy isn’t willing to shoot, the matchup or his linemates doesn’t matter nearly as much as it otherwise would.
Let’s say Alex Wennberg (CBJ) and Miles Wood (NJD) have both been moved up the lineup and you’re trying to decide between the two. Wennberg is top line with PL Dubois and Cam Atkinson, while Wood is playing with Pavel Zacha and Jesper Bratt. You’re probably leaning Wennberg, right?
Not so fast.
Wennberg doesn’t shoot. At all. He averages ~4.5 shots per 60 minutes, while Wood comes in at 9.55.
Let’s say Wennberg is getting 20 minutes and Wood will play 16. Wennberg’s average shooting rate equates to 1.5 shots in 20 minutes. Wood’s shooting rate equates to 2.54 in 16.
Wennberg’s DK outputs would be 2.25 off of shots, while Wood comes in at 3.81.
That means, on average, Wennberg needs to outproduce Wood by 1.56 DK points from other methods to make up for what he gives up in shots. And that’s if Wood is on L2. If Wood sees the same kind of ice time, you can expect 3.18 shots on average. That’s 4.78 DK points off shots, more than double that of Wennberg.
If you’re playing someone like Wennberg, you’re betting on them to find the scoresheet once or twice. It’s as simple as that. Because there’s a very real chance they give you a zero of 1.5, which essentially kills your lineup – even at a cheap price point.
Chase the reliability (and upside) that comes with players who shoot the puck at a high rate.
With regards to where you can find this information, every stat I’ve mentioned in this article comes from the great, user-friendly, site NaturalStatTrick.com.