Our biggest slate since Thanksgiving weekend is on tap tonight, with 12 games on the schedule – lock is at 7:00pm. I’m going to breakdown all of my favorite GPP stacks for tonight, but first – another strategy session. Today, I want to show you how to build around value, to maximize your salary cap.
NHL GPP STRATEGY SESSION #19: BUILDING AROUND VALUE
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, with 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 forward 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 lineup, 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.
Now, onto my stack of the night…
UPDATE #1 (6:30PM): John Klingberg is BACK for Dallas. He will man the point on PP1, and make me like that stack a lot more.
UPDATE #2 (6:45PM): Connor Brown is taking Zach Hyman's spot on TOR1 alongside Tavares and Marner. Doesn't change anything for me.
UPDATE #3 (8:45PM): Montreal has made some line changes, and Paul Byron will skate on MON2 with Gallagher and Danault.
TOR1: John Tavares/Mitch Marner/Zach Hyman
TOR2: Auston Matthews/Kasperi Kapanen/Andreas Johnsson
Possible add-on: Morgan Rielly (PP1)
Toronto is in a smash-spot tonight, there is no arguing this. This game has the highest projected pace of the night, the Panthers have allowed 38 goals against in their last eight road games (4.75 GA/per game), while Toronto has scored 46 goals in their last 11 (4.2 goals/game). The Tavares line has been playing at an incredible pace on home ice, with 150+ combined Corsi per 60 minutes (72.7 CF/60 – 77.6 CA/60). They’re shooting at a rate of 40 SOG/60, while generating 41.7 Scoring Chances For per 60, with 18 High Dangers per 60 – all while scoring at an impressive rate of 5.7 GF/60. The Matthews line has arguably been better – controlling 62.7% of the Corsi share, with 73.4 CF/60 – including 37.1 SOG/60 and 5.6 GF/60. There isn’t much line-matching going on in Toronto lately, so although it’s hard to predict line matchups – none of the forward groups on the Panthers are all that impressive defensively…a big reason why the team ranks 28th in goals allowed. Toronto’s 3.8 projected total is the highest on the slate, and they are big favorites in a juicy 6.5 O/U game. Morgan Rielly should be a must-add to either of these lines – he has points in eight of his last nine games, and correlates to both lines at 5v5. Although it would be extremely expensive, the upside of a TOR PP1 stack of Tavares/Marner/Matthews/Rielly is huge.
DAL1: Tyler Seguin/Jamie Benn/Alexander Radulov
Possible add-on: Miro Heiskanen (PP1)
Corey Crawford is out of the lineup once again with concussion issues…it’s Cam Ward SZN! DAL1 as a whole has fallen victim to the ole run-bad. Despite shooting at a rate of 43.9 SOG/60 on home ice since early November – they’ve only managed to score at a rate of 2.5 GF/60. With three elite shooters on the line, there is no way they shouldn’t be scoring at a higher clip. They’re generating 38.9 SCF/60 and 17.4 HDCF/60 in this stretch – I have to think some positive regression is coming very soon for these three – is there a better matchup for it to happen than tonight? They’ll likely match up with the Jonathan Toews line – for about 70% of their 5v5 TOI if past games are any indication. CHI1 is allowing 73.4 CA/60, including a ludicrous 49.7 SA/60. They’re also giving up good chances – with 35.5 SCA/60 and 21.3 HDCA/60. DAL1 should be able to score at will against the combination of a bad defensive line and an even worse goaltender, but they’ll need to get over their cold streak first. Miro Heiskanen was the latest Stars defenseman to skate on the top PP unit – so he’d be the preferred add-on. He’s cheap enough to include in all your DAL1 stacks, but I wouldn’t consider him a must-add.
CBJ1: Cam Atkinson/Artemi Panarin/Pierre-Luc Dubois
Possible add-on: Seth Jones (PP1)
The Blue Jackets are on home ice against a New Jersey team that is trying to work out some kinks at the moment. They’ve shuffled the deck – with completely new forward lines, and an AHL goaltender between the pipes tonight. Generally, it takes a bit for new linemates to click, which can either be a big plus for the Jackets, or in some instances, can actually slow down the pace of the game. Either way, this line has been playing at an extremely high pace – both ways – and should see time against both of the Devils top two lines. They’re big favorites tonight, with a projected total of 3.1. The Devils are allowing over 4 goals against per game in December, and I can’t imagine things will get any better for them with Blackwood in net. Columbus is 3-0 in these teams’ last three meetings, with the Blue Jackets outscoring New Jersey 13-5. Seth Jones is fully correlated to CBJ1 – both at 5v5 and on the PP – so consider him a must-add for this stack.
MON2: Brendan Gallagher/Tomas Tatar/Phillip Danault
Possible add-on: Shea Weber (PP1)
Montreal is coming off of a tough loss to Colorado last night, and travels to Arizona for tonight’s matchup against the Coyotes. Brendan Gallagher potted one last night, and it’s his line that I will be on once again tonight. They are absolutely dominating possession on the road – and have been all season – and they’ve gotten pretty cheap compared to where they were at early in the season. Arizona has slowly started falling to the bottom of most possession categories. They’ve now lost six of their last seven games, being outscored by a total of 25-14 in those games. On home ice, it’s been even worse for the Coyotes, having lost seven of their last eight in Glendale, and allowing 29 goals against in those. Shea Weber correlates at both 5v5, and on the PP with Gallagher. I don’t consider him to be a must-add – but definitely a nice piece, with a lot of upside due to his rocket of a shot.
CGY1: Johnny Gaudreau/Sean Monahan/Elias Lindholm
Possible add-on: Mark Giordano (PP1)
Calgary is a sneaky play tonight, as I feel like a lot of DFS players will see their opponent, and write off the Flames due to a perceived bad matchup. It’s quite the contrary, however, as Tampa Bay has not been very good as far as possession goes. There are definitely some chinks in their armor – at even strength, the Stamkos line is allowing nearly 40 Shots Against per 60 minutes, over 30 Scoring Chances Against per 60, and allowing 4.9 Goals Against per 60. Brayden Point’s line? We actually have a nice sample from only away games with these three, and they’re allowing 34.8 SA/60, 34.8 SCA/60, and 4.1 GA/60. As good as these lines have been offensively, they’re definitely giving up chances – and apparently taking advantage of having one of the game’s greatest goaltenders. But wait, there’s more! Louis Domingue will actually start in goal for the Lightning tonight, a huge plus for the Flames. I like this top line as a low-owned option, and one that has been crushing lately. Mark Giordano is on the top PP with CGY1, although he likely won’t correlate at 5v5, with Mikael Backlund back in the lineup. He’s a nice piece, but not a must-have.
VGK1: William Karlsson/Jonathan Marchessault/Reilly Smith
Possible add-on: Shea Theodore (PP1)
I’m not super high on this line, but they have been generating chances at home – and have a history of being a much, much better play in Vegas. Although the Golden Knights haven’t been hard-matching on home ice, VGK1 should see a lot of the Brock Nelson line, which has been atrocious on the road – controlling just over 40% of the Corsi share, while allowing 40+ SA/60, 33.4 SCA/60 and 15.2 HDCA/60. They haven’t been getting crushed on the scoreboard, with just over 3 GA/60, but you can’t continue to give up that many chances and not see that number go up. So, although I don’t have as much matchup evidence to back up this one, Vegas has won seven of their last eight on home ice, and have scored at least 4 goals in each home game dating back to Thanksgiving weekend. They just beat the Islanders in Brooklyn a week ago, by a score of 3-2 – Marchessault and Karlsson each scored in that one. Shea Theodore looks to be the most recent PP1 defenseman for Vegas, he does have some 5v5 correlation, and is a nice cheap piece to add-on if you want.
TOR3: Nazem Kadri/William Nylander/Patrick Marleau
Possible add-on: None
The Kadri line continues to put up big possession numbers – they’re dominating on the puck, controlling 62.7% of the Corsi share, with 84.8 CF/60, which includes 49.1 SOG/60. They are generating 40.5 SCF/60 and 17.2 HDCF/60, yet only scoring at a rate of 2.5 GF/60. Again – it’s tough to imagine that last number doesn’t rise considerably if the others remain close to where they are. We already went over all of the advantages the Leafs have at a team level tonight. If you want exposure to the team, but also want to be contrarian – consider using these guys (Kadri and Nylander would be my preference; Kadri would be the one-off). Kadri does skate on the top PP unit, so adding him onto a TOR1 or TOR2 stack could also help differentiate your Leafs lineups.
FLA2: Evgeni Dadonov/Henrik Borgstrom/Frank Vatrano
Possible add-on: Keith Yandle (PP1) or Mark Pysyk (5v5)
In what is projected as the highest-paced game of the night, both team’s highest-paced lines will matchup with one another for a majority of the evening at 5v5. Toronto’s Tavares line and this trio of Panthers, here. There’s not a big sample, but these three have played at a rate of nearly 135 combined Corsi (for and against) per 60 minutes. Borgstrom is just $3,000, giving a lot of value to this line, despite Dadonov’s $6,300 price tag. Keith Yandle is back on the Panthers second pairing, and skating almost exclusively with FLA2 at even strength. He also correlates on the PP to Dadonov, so if you have room for him, he’s a great add. However, if you’re looking for even more value, Mark Pysyk remains min-priced, and skates right next to Yandle with these three forwards. His ceiling isn’t high, by any means, but if you’re expecting FLA2 to score a couple goals at even strength, there’s a good chance Pysyk winds up getting onto the score sheet with an assist.
I generally correlate my goalies in GPP’s, but if you need a flier, here are my favorites today:
Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ)– Bobrovsky gets the start across from the Devils AHL goalie, Mackenzie Blackwood. Columbus has shot up to 63% projected favorites tonight. This doesn’t project out to be a high paced game, but New Jersey is averaging the fifth-most shots on goals per game, so Bobrovsky should see a decent shot volume tonight. He seems to be back on track, allowing just 3 goals against in his last three games – all on home ice, where Bobrovsky has historically played much better hockey.
Frederik Andersen (TOR)– If you’re not using any Panthers tonight, Andersen makes a lot of sense, as a goalie that has been seeing a ton of volume lately, playing in what is projected to be the highest-paced game on the slate. Toronto currently sits with 66% projected odds to win on home ice tonight. Although Andersen did backfire on me a couple times last week, he’s back in Toronto tonight, where I trust him a lot more. Florida ranks 2nd in SOG/game, with Toronto giving up the 6th most shots against. High upside here, for certain.
Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) – This one is showing a current O/U of 6.5, but I’m not seeing it. Both teams boast solid defensive corps, both teams rank top-12 in PK%, CA/60 and SCA/60. They each rank in the top half of the league in GA/game, have above average goaltenders…I dunno. Perhaps it’s a “something’s gotta give” kind of situation, but I’d bet the under here. Hellebuyck is a slight underdog on the road, but he should see a pretty good shot volume, as San Jose does rank 3rd in SOG/game, while Winnipeg allows the ninth-most shots against league wide. We need upside in GPP’s, and I think Hellebuyck presents a lot of it.
YOLO Goalies: Jonathan Bernier (DET), David Rittich (CGY) – These are both underdogs that should see a ton of volume, against teams that I’m not super high on. Rittich is a nice leverage play against the Tampa chalk – which, again, I just can’t get behind tonight…Mike Smith or not.