Ryan Clifford brings you his top stacks and goalies for your NHL DFS GPP lineups tonight.
As always, you’ll find at least one of us in chat in the hour leading up to lock. Please join us there for any late scratches, goalie changes, or other DFS news. We also have an NHL dedicated Twitter account where you’ll find important news and updates, as well as curated beat writer lists broken down by team.
Slate Breakdown Podcast
I’ll be doing podcasts to go along with my write-ups this season. I can cover a whole lot more this way…
NHL’s “Return To Play” effort was a really strange couple months of hockey.
There was very little preparation before jumping straight into the playoffs. We had players and teams that didn’t want to be there. The bubbles meant no beat writers covering teams. There were cancelled games due to extended overtimes. It was a mess. I’d like to forget those six weeks, if we could.
Although there was no preseason this time around, teams have had a decent amount of camp time to get ready to play. I do expect we’ll see numerous cancellations and late scratches due to COVID, but if you’ve been playing other DFS sports this year; it’s almost something we’ve come to accept.
Regardless, I’m ready to roll. I’m sure you are too. To all of our longtime subscribers…welcome back! I can’t wait to catch up with everyone in chat this week.
To all of the new folks that might be joining the #EliteMafia for the first time…we’re glad you’re here. Myself, Kenneth Le, Todd Cordell, and Nick Rodriguez produce all of the NHL content here. We’ll have daily articles outlining top plays for cash and GPP lineups. We have a plethora of articles up for you in the strategy section (which we’ll be adding to as the year goes on). Also, projections are loaded into our NHL optimizer each day for DraftKings, FanDuel, and SuperDraft.
A Refresher On My GPP Process
Full disclosure…I am a DraftKings and SuperDraft player. I do not play at all on FanDuel. I will include FD pricing and will do my best to give you guys the best advice that I can for FanDuel lineups, but I don’t play there myself; please keep that in mind when reading my content or asking questions in chat.
On DraftKings, scoring remains the same for 2021. That means “bonus chasing”. Players receive a 3-point bonus for finishing with 5+ shots on goal, 3+ blocked shots, or 3+ points (goals+assists). While correlation is nice when a line scores 3 or 4 goals in a night, jamming in as many of those far more predictable shot/block bonuses offsets the need for correlation on DK, in my opinion…especially for players entering multiple lineups.
I generally enter at least 150 lineups per night on DK. There is so much variance in this game, and the more lineups you use, the less you are going to be affected by it overall. I want to cram as many shots on goal into my lineups as possible, hoping to find those few diamonds in the rough each night that can hit the peripheral bonuses as well as light up the scoreboard.
My process is extremely volatile. I don’t mind hitting the lock button on one or two players that will almost certainly come close to value with peripherals alone. I also have no problem having zero ownership on some of the guys that don’t shoot as much, but often wind up with multiple goals/assists.
The good nights are going to be very good, and the bad nights will be very bad for me. Many nights, I’m either cashing all 150 lineups or going 0-for. I believe in my process though, and if you can handle the ups and downs, I definitely suggest you use the same process on DK.
In the weeks ahead I’ll be detailing more on exactly how I do what I do, and how to implement the strategy yourself using our optimizer.
One of the things I am most excited about this season is the debut of my new NHL model, which will give us projections at a team and individual level for everything from goals/assists to shots/blocks to scoring chances and shot attempts.
Each day I will be posting the following three projection models, and here’s a list of what each of them details:
My player projections for 2021 will include TOI (time on ice, in minutes), goals, assists, shots on goal, shot attempts (iCF), scoring chances (iSCF), high danger scoring chances (iHDCF), blocked shots, and DFS projections for DraftKings, FanDuel, SuperDraft, MonkeyKnifeFight, and Prize Picks.
My goalies projections for 2021 will include goals against, saves, and DFS projections for DraftKings, FanDuel, SuperDraft, and MonkeyKnifeFight.
My team/game projections for 2021 will include final score, shots on goal, shot attempts (CF), scoring chances (SCF), high danger chances (HDCF), and overall pace (combined shot attempts).
Top GPP Stacks
TB: Ondrej Palat/Brayden Point/Steven Stamkos/Victor Hedman
It will take a couple of weeks for projections to really dial in, but based on last seasons data – and both of these teams are largely unchanged from 2020 – Tampa Bay should roll here against the Blackhawks. There is no Jonathan Toews to worry about on Chicago’s side of the ice, so this top line will find themselves with a ton of chances to put pucks in the net. All three of the forwards skate together on the top power play unit, along with defenseman Victor Hedman, who easily has the highest upside at the position on Wednesday night.
EDM: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins/Connor McDavid/Zack Kassian
Edmonton is on home ice tomorrow, so McDavid will be put into plus matchups whenever possible. While I don’t think Kassian is a must play, by any means, he makes the stack much more affordable and won’t need to do much to pay off that salary. If you’re looking for a larger stack, Tyson Barrie will skate on Edmonton’s top power play with McDavid and RNH. Leon Draisaitl in addition to Barrie would create a mega PP1 stack with a ton of upside in a game I have the Oilers projected to score about 4 goals in.
COL: Mikko Rantanen/Nathan MacKinnon/Andre Burakovsky
Burakovsky is a good player and he gets a shot to open the season on Colorado’s top line. The important thing for me in this game is the Avs having home ice. This means Kadri will likely be out there against the St; Louis trio of O’Reilly/Schenn/Perron…a group that plays very well defensively. This means MacKinnon and Rantanen should get a lot of ice time opposite Mike Hoffman, Robert Thomas, and Jaden Schwartz. It should look like a track meet when that’s the matchup, so look for COL1 to pile up the shots and chances. Cale Makar is the point man on the Avs PP1 with MacKinnon and Rantanen; he’s my preferred defensive add-on to the stack.
TOR: Mitchell Marner/Auston Matthews/Joe Thornton
I’m not sure what to make of Joe Thornton on the Leafs top line. He is generally nothing more than a plug out there, but he does move the puck well and will probably wind up piling up the assists this season if he stays up here. Regardless, $3,600 on DraftKings is way too cheap for the situation he’s in. He’ll be super chalk, but I think you have to have him in here if you’re playing Matthews and Marner. These three all correlate on the top power play. Morgan Rielly is the point man on that unit, so he makes a nice add-on if you can fit him here.
MON: Jonathan Drouin/Nick Suzuki/Josh Anderson
Getting into some of the cheaper stacks, I like Montreal a lot in this matchup. I have this game against Toronto projected to have the highest pace on the slate. The Leafs will counter Tatar and Gallagher with their top shutdown guys, and defensively this Toronto team still stinks. This trio gives you exposure to both power play units. I’m unsure which defensive pair will skate with these three the most, but with the power play exposure, I think Weber, Petry, and Romanov all make some sense.
MON: Tyler Toffoli/Jesperi Kotkaniemi/Joel Armia
I like these two Finns when they skate together, and adding the volume shooter Toffoli has me infatuated with this stack, in this particular matchup. Again, Toffoli and Kotkaniemi are on opposite power play units, which hurts the correlation, but if you’re wanting to add on a defenseman to the stack, it gives you plenty of options. Regardless, this should be a high-paced game which should suit this trio perfectly.
TOR: Ilya Mikheyev/Alexander Kerfoot/Zach Hyman
Dumpster diving now, but these three will cost you just $12k on DraftKings. Hyman is extremely overpriced, but he’s also the only one giving you any power play time, and his ownership will be about 0.1% at $5,300. Montreal’s depth is brutal, I project this game to have the highest pace on the slate, and although they don’t give you any power play time, Mikheyev and Kerfoot are two of Toronto’s top penalty killers, so you’ve got some extra ice time and blocked shot chances there. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Hyman and Thornton switched if that top line fails to show any chemistry early on, which would be an added bonus.
One-Offs and Defensemen
After you’ve got your stacks plugged in, here’s a list of my favorite high-upside and value one-offs and defensemen.
Chicago: Dominik Kubalik, Connor Murphy
Edmonton: Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear
Montreal: Brendan Gallagher, Shea Weber
Philadelphia: Joel Farabee, Ivan Provorov
Pittsburgh: Evan Rodrigues
St. Louis: Mike Hoffman, Torey Krug, Colton Parayko
Tampa Bay: Victor Hedman
Toronto: Morgan Rielly
Vancouver: Jake Virtanen, Nils Hoglander, Alexander Edler, Travis Hamonic
Here are my top GPP goalies:
- Carter Hart, PHI
- Mikko Koskinen, EDM
- Jordan Binnington, STL
- Malcolm Subban, CHI (lock if fading TB)