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3 Steps to Setting a Daily Fantasy Hockey Lineup
If you’re new to daily fantasy hockey, setting a lineup can be a daunting task. However, to give yourself a reasonable chance of a return on investment, you just need to use a few simple tricks. Research can be time consuming, but usually pays off at the end of the night. Let’s begin.
Step #1: Extrapolate the potential offense
If you’re not familiar with NHL talent, you can rely on statistics to guide you. Look for teams that concede a lot of goals and exploit their opponent by starting a line/defensive unit (step 2) that scores a lot of goals. However, you should be careful not to rely on a very small sample size as an indication of a poor defense or a terrible offense. If a team has played under 10 games, they have allowed 4 goals in a game. Maybe they recently switched goaltenders or got an injured star back from injury. You can also use statistics from previous seasons. However, you should again be careful and make sure that there are no major changes to the team’s roster during the off season. Also, see recent game logs. Contrary to what I said above, hockey is a streaky game. If a team scores 20 goals in 4 games, the odds favor them to continue playing well. I’m not trying to confuse you, but encouraging you to look at the match from all angles. You can also look at the Las Vegas lines to see which teams are favored in 5.5 over/under games. Under 5 is the norm for overs, so 5.5 means people are expecting more scoring than usual. Any team favored over -150 in these games (or indeed) is expected to score 3-4 goals. I recommend analyzing the stats first, picking 2 or more teams you think will have a good offensive night, and then looking at the game line to confirm your suspicions are valid. Relying solely on game lines can be disastrous. Remember, each side will draw the same amount at the point at which the odds maker sets the line. They specialize in predicting bettors’ behavior, not game outcomes. So, now that you’ve decided which teams will score enough points, it’s time to decide which specific players to roster.
Step #2: Identify the offensive line, defensive units, and power play units
Each team consists of 18 offensive players, usually 12 forwards and 6 defenders. Forwards play in groups of 3 for about a minute before changing to the next group of 3 or ‘line’ (hockey is tiring). The defenseman plays in a group of 2, but neither of them replaces the 3 forwards. Defensemen skate much less than forwards and thus, can last longer in the game. Case in point: It’s hard to predict which teammates a defenseman will share ice time with throughout the game. Each team also has 2 power play units that are used to increase scoring chances when on the man advantage. Look to add a full line, perhaps a defender or goalkeeper (more below), to a team you think will score a lot of goals. When considering the offensive line, check if they all play together on the power play unit. Check if they get enough time on ice (TOI). A 3rd or 4th line player can get significantly less TOI than his peers. Adding 3 or 4 players from the same team may seem counterintuitive, but one goal scored by your 3 or 4 players on the ice will bombard your opponent. For example, if you have 4 players on the ice and one of them is assisted by the other (or even 2), you will have already accumulated enough offensive points to win several head to head games depending on the scoring system. If the other team scores with your players on the ice, this tactic (commonly called stacking) can quickly cost you points, but that’s the risk we take when setting up favorable lineups. Of course, it’s ideal to have a team’s first line with three defensemen on the first power play unit, but budgets don’t always allow for that. Don’t be afraid to start a team’s second or third line in a favorable matchup. Especially if the line is glued together on another power play unit. Overall, the philosophy is to select offensive players based on matchup, as opposed to talent level, and the opposite is true for goaltenders.
Step #3: Select an Elite Goaltender
Starting the most talented goaltender on talented teams is always a good strategy when setting your lineup. They are often the most expensive option, but for good reason. A goaltender plays the entire game (ideally) and has a chance to score at any moment. In most scoring systems a dominant goaltending performance will generally generate more points than a dominant offensive performance, and it is much easier to predict which high-priced goaltender will allow a few goals in a win than predict which high-priced goaltender will score 2 points. or 3 points. So, look for the most expensive option, very importantly they are confirming to play in the game. Countless times I’ve seen elite goaltenders have off nights on rosters. If you’re not sure which goaltender to roster, look at their career stats compared to their opponents. Check out their recent games. Similar to step 1 above, look at the offensive capabilities of their opponents and the line on the game in Las Vegas. Sometimes, a goalkeeper is historically great, but falls short in recent games. This will reduce its cost. If other elite talents aren’t playing, start a struggling star. Chances are he will be back soon.
More information is always a good thing – I find this true in life and in fantasy hockey. Be sure to get as much information as possible when doing your research. Has Chicago lost a player to injury recently? Does Buffalo play significantly better at home? Does Philadelphia do well without rest? Be conservative when it comes to entering your lineup. Risk only 1% of your bankroll on each game and only 25% on any lineup. If you have $500, it is advisable to enter 25 $5 head to head games. On a bad night, you won’t lose much, and on a good night, you’ll get a much higher return on investment.
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