The only thing more exciting than playoff hockey is playoff hockey on DraftKings. If you think you can't be more invested in watching playoff hockey, imagine needing a goal from Sidney Crosby to win a few thousand of dollars. Through our partnership with DraftKings, SportingCharts readers can enter into a contest with thousands of dollars in prizes for free. Click here to draft your team.
We decided to put together a quick guide for the NHL playoffs on DraftKings. First, we take a quick look at how to play DraftKings followed by some actionable insights into the 2015 Playoffs:
Basics of NHL Daily Fantasy on DraftKings
The basics of daily fantasy hockey on DraftKings is to build a lineup comprised of nine players (8 skaters, 1 goalie) of two Centers (C), three Wingers (LW/RW), two Defenseman (D), one Goalie (G), and one Utility (C/LW/RW/D).
Your lineup generates DraftKings fantasy points over the course of the game with the goal of producing more points than the other players in the contest. DraftKings points are split up into two categories: one for skaters and one for goalies.
When it comes to skaters, your 8 skaters generate points by by scoring goals, getting assists, taking shots on goal, blocking shots, scoring short handed, and scoring shootout goals. While your goaltender gains points when he makes saves, gets the win, and records a shutout but receives negative points when he lets in a goal.
Here is a complete breakdown of the DraftKings Point Structure:
- Goals = 3pts
- Assists = 2pts
- Shots on Goal = 0.5pts
- Blocked Shots = 0.5pts
- Short Handed Point Bonus (Goal/Assist) = 1pts
- Shootout Goal = 0.2 pts
- Hat Trick Bonus = 1.5pts
- Wins = 3pts
- Saves = 0.2pts
- Goals against = -1pt
- Shutouts = 2pts
For example, if you had Sidney Crosby in your lineup and he scored a short handed goal and an assist, blocked 3 shots with 4 shots on goal against the New York Rangers in Game 1 he would end up with a total of 9.5 DraftKings points (Short Handed Goal = 4.0 + Assist = 2.0 + Blocked Shots = 1.5 + Shots on Goal = 2.0).
Daily Fantasy Hockey Strategy
Before we jump into the individual players, the first thing we do when it comes to building our lineup is get a sense of what we can expect for the slate of games we have to choose.
One of the best ways to do this is to look at the Vegas lines for each game with a specific eye on the moneyline and total for the game, which will give us some information on the team that is expected to win and the expected overall offensive output for the game. Vegas is in the business of getting it as accurate as possible to provide as little edge for sports bettors, which means we can leverage their extensive knowledge.
Additionally, we use our NHL Matchup pages to see how each of the teams matchup statistically including goals for and against per game, power play and penalty kill stats, individual player stat leaders, past results, and more. We are looking for games and situations where players are likely to generate a lot of DraftKings points.
So after taking a look at the Vegas lines and our NHL Matchup pages, we have a general sense of which teams are the odds on favorites to win (which we use to pick our goaltenders) and whether the game is likely to be high scoring or not (which helps us in narrowing down our skater selections).
Finding Value in Goaltenders
A big part of success in daily fantasy hockey comes down to picking goaltenders that win games. Remember, goaltenders get 3 points for a victory and need to allow fewer goals than their opponent to get the win (remember: goals against count as -1).
One strategy is to simply find the cheapest goalie among the teams Vegas has as favorites to win their games. The money saved in the goalie spot can be used in your skater spots.
There is nothing wrong with paying up for a goalie you expect is in a great situation and could go off for a big night and even a shutout.
Picking Your Skaters
Once you have your goaltender sorted out, it's time to move onto filling up the rest of your lineup with the eight skater positions. This is where you're going to be able to create the greatest amount of separation from the other players in your contest.
Again, go back to those Vegas lines you previously looked at and highlight the games in which the total goals for the game is expected to be high - this is a great place to start when selecting your skates. There aren't going to be many fantasy points to go around if the final score is 1-0.
In general, while researching your players, you are looking for skaters who score often (goals and assists), who get significant power play time and produce, skaters that shoot the puck often, block shots, and even those skaters that are used in the shootout. Check out our NHL player stats page for all the stats you need.
A basic guideline when it comes to your skaters:
- they play on the first line (or for Defenseman: are on the first paring) and get significant playing time each game,
- they get first unit power play time and/or penalty kill time,
- are consistent producers in 2-3 of the DraftKings scoring categories,
- have a favorable scoring matchup
One interesting strategy is combining linemates, which is known as stacking, as linemates will often share in point production. If you have a line of three players (LW, C, RW) and one player scores with the other two getting assists, your DraftKings lineup will gain 7.5 points (3 for the goal, 4 for the two assists, and 0.5 for the shot on goal). If you stacked a line that goes off that night, you will be way ahead of your competition. This strategy can come at a higher risk, because if the line gets shut out, you've wasted 3 lineup positions.
Additionally, finding value is key in building a great lineup in daily fantasy hockey and one great way to do this is focus in on players who are getting greater responsibilities on the team either by way of improving production or by replacing injured teammates. For example, if a skater has been stuck with 15 min per game but due to an injury is expected to get first-line minutes and some power play time, he is immediately a candidate as a value play.
Now lets take a look at the 2015 NHL playoffs:
Analysis of the 2015 NHL Playoffs on DraftKings
One of the best part of daily drafts is that they are... daily. Instead of having to make long-term predictions and being tied to the success of the teams playoff run like traditional fantasy games, DraftKings only runs for one night of games so you can roll with a player without worrying about if the team will go on to win multiple rounds.
Here is a quick look at the matchups in round 1 and which teams are the highest and lowest scoring - you want to target the highest scoring matchups. We will then look at the top performing skaters and goaltenders over the 2014-15 season:
Round 1 Matchups
Here is a look at each matchup by the average goals (combined) for each series, try and pick players that fall into the higher scoring matchups:
Top Goalies in the Playoffs
Here is a look at the top performing goaltenders from the regular season who are in the playoffs. Make sure to evaluate each game and situation as unique but this is a good guide on the best goalies to target:
GS= games started, DKP = DraftKings Points, DKP/Start = DraftKings Points per start
Top DraftKings Players in the Playoffs
Here is a look at the top performing skaters from the regular season who are playing in the playoffs.
Start Competing in Playoff Hockey on DraftKings!
We hope that the above gave you a good starting base for getting into the exciting game of daily fantasy hockey. As you get more familiar with the players and overall strategy involved you will greatly increase your odds of hitting a big win on DraftKings.
If you're ready to try it out, DraftKings is offering free entry into a contest tonight. They also have contests for as little as 25 cents and potential grand prizes of $100,000! Start winning money today!