Strategy Guide for FanDuel NHL DFS
New to FanDuel NHL DFS? Not to worry. This overview will tell you everything you need to know about how to build the best lineups for FanDuel NHL contests.
FTA’s daily FanDuel NHL writeups can be found here
How to Build Your Lineup
STEP 1: Learn FanDuel’s NEW scoring settings and rules | FanDuel NHL Strategy
FanDuel has completely changed its NHL DFS roster and scoring settings for this season. The new system takes into account six scoring categories for skaters and four scoring categories for goalies. The scoring system is as follows:
Goals (G): 12 pts
Assists (A): 8 pts
Shots on Goal (SH): 1.6 pts
Shorthanded Points (SHP): 2 pts
Power-Play Points (PPP): 0.5 pts
Blocked Shots (BS): 1.6 pts
Wins (W): 12 pts
Goals Against (GA): -4 pts
Saves (SV): 0.8 pts
Shutouts (SO): 8 pts
You will have a budget of $55,000 to construct your lineup. You must select two centers (C), four wingers (W), two defensemen (D) and one goalie (G).
Keep in mind that you must select players from at least three different teams and that you cannot select more than four players from any one team.
STEP 2: Do your homework | FanDuel NHL Strategy
Choosing a lineup does not always require copious amounts of reading and research, especially for most cash games. However, there are a few basic things you need to check before putting together your lineup.
Though it may sound obvious, you need to find out which goalies are scheduled to start. Aside from FTA Twitter updates, you can refer to sites like LeftWingLock and DailyFaceoff for up-to-date goalie notifications. As talented as Jonathan Quick may be, he is of no value to your lineup if he is sitting on the bench.
Though there are more upsets in the NHL than in other sports, it’s worth checking daily Vegas odds to see which teams are favored on any given night. This is especially important when selecting your goaltender.
Sites such as LeftWingLock and DailyFaceoff maintain updated line combinations for each NHL team. Target players on a team’s top two lines and who see time on the power-play (preferably the top unit). You can find tremendous value if an inexpensive player gets unexpectedly moved up to the top line to play with someone like Alex Ovechkin or Jamie Benn for a few games.
There’s no use starting someone who is out of the lineup. If Patrick Kane is a game-time decision because of the flu, for example, if he doesn’t end up playing then having him in your lineup at his expensive price would be back-breaking to your lineup’s chances of success. Most major sports websites, like Yahoo and ESPN, post injury updates, as do LeftWingLock and DailyFaceoff.
Other Relevant Stats
In the NHL, certain players play especially well or especially poorly against particular opponents. Kari Lehtonen has an abysmal 1-10-3 career record against the Flyers, for example, and Henrik Lundqvist once went five years without winning a game in Montreal. Sidney Crosby has 94 points in 54 career regular-season contests against the Islanders. These stats aren’t foolproof, but they can often lead to finding unexpected value for your lineup. Hockey Reference does a particularly nice job of laying out split stats by opponent.
Time on Ice is another telling statistic to consider when selecting your players. The more ice time a player receives, the more chances he will have to score or generate shots on goal. In theory, and in most circumstances, the better the player is, the more ice time he receives.
STEP 3: Start with the goalie | FanDuel NHL Strategy
When appropriate, go for the stud goalie. Choosing the right goalie can be an essential aspect of a winning lineup. Though there are exceptions, in most cases a goalie can account for up to 20% of your lineup’s total point production. Therefore, it’s important to choose wisely.
Consider the scoring system when approaching goalie selection. A win is 12 points, and each save is 0.8 points. Though each goal against costs you four points, if you choose a strong goalie on a team favored to win, chances are you should get a solid 20-25 points out of your netminder. There are some instances in which a strong goalie may not face as many shots and therefore won’t earn as many points, but when it comes down to it, the W is the most important thing to consider. Just make sure it won’t be a 7-6 barn-burner, in which case either goalie will damage your lineup’s chances.
NO MATTER WHAT, make sure the match-up is favorable. If a stud goalie is going up against a hot offensive team, it might not be worth the splurge. If it’s the second game in a back-to-back sequence and the goalie is playing in both games, it’s definitely not worth the risk. Plus, teams often struggle in the second half of a back-to-back even if two different goalies are employed.
STEP 4: If you have to cut corners, do so on defense | FanDuel NHL Strategy
You can often earn solid fantasy points from an inexpensive defenseman, especially if you focus on blocked shots and shots on goal. Goals are appealing considering each one is good for 12 points, but it’s often a few saves or a few shots on goal that make the difference between cashing and falling short. Never underestimate the value of an inexpensive-but-consistent player who adds at least a few blocks and shots on goal every night.
STEP 5: Stack with caution | FanDuel NHL Strategy
Stacking is a strategy used in many DFS sports and contests. In FanDuel NHL contests, it involves using multiple players from the same line in your lineup. The advantage of this method is that you can potentially receive points from multiple players on the same goal. If Brad Marchand scores, there’s a strong chance Patrice Bergeron will earn an assist on the play. If you have both in play, that’s 21.6 fantasy points right there.
But don’t get too overzealous. Avoid using all three members of a particular line, and make sure to stack from the top two lines of a few different teams to increase your chances. Also, try to choose players that see time on the team’s power-play, preferably the top unit. This means you can stack a defenseman from the same team if they all play on the first unit.
Just remember, stacking can get you into trouble. If a particular line or team has an off night, that can be a make-or-break situation for you. That’s why it’s important to limit your stacking, or at least spread it out over a few teams.
Also, it’s important to note that you don’t have to stack the two most expensive players from each line you choose. Rather than stacking Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen, for example, try Forsberg and Craig Smith instead.
STEP 6: Value, Value, Value | FanDuel NHL Strategy
It’s not always realistic, but finding value in FanDuel settings/scoring is the best way to approach building a successful lineup. If a particular player is on a hot streak but FanDuel has yet to raise his salary, taking advantage of that disconnect can be huge. If a star produces several shots per game but can’t score, don’t be afraid to go after that player since his shooting percentage is due to level out.
STEP 7: Trust your instincts | FanDuel NHL Strategy
While competing in FanDuel NHL contests can be a frustrating process, there’s nothing worse than making last-minute changes to your lineup that end up costing you a win. Any given lineup can be a stud one night and a dud the next; that’s the reality of NHL DFS. Go with your gut.