Friday Night at the Barn
Barns and Ponds
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FANTASY HOCKEY IS BACK FOLKS!! This is the greatest time of year for so many diehard NHL fans. We can put down our PS4 controllers and finally watch some real action. Get amped! Yes, that means the legendary crew is back; Pierre McGuire, Doc Emrick, and Eddie Olczyk are back in our living rooms for a while. For many of us, tonight is like the birth of a child; it’s a new season in which arenas will be packed and goal horns will be buzzing. I’m glad that I made the transition to NHL DFS last year because it was so much fun. My favorite part about getting better is learning from so many industry leaders. Not only that, but I’ve followed hockey my entire life and have been connected to the game in a number of different capacities.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get started with you research if you haven’t already, mainly because you will be ahead of the game and it’s a unique game. Most people find different ways of competing in their respective DFS contests, whether they take it serious or not, but I’m here to give you my thoughts on the opening night of hockey. My goal is to provide daily content and picks, so we will see how this all goes.
Are you a newcomer to fantasy hockey or are you a veteran? Either way, one can agree that we all have our strengths and weaknesses in the DFS world. Hockey is my favorite sport, so I’m going to try and start a discussion. It’s very important to get familiar with the platform you are going to be using, mainly because it makes your research easier. Some of the methods include using advanced statistics, while others are simply playing match-ups and gut-feels. There is no right or wrong way of approaching DFS, so I’ll list some of the elements I combine with my research below:
These elements are not necessarily useful to everybody, but employ them if they work for you.
G = Goals
A = Assists
FirstA = First (primary) Assists
Points = Points (Goals + Assists)
Shots = Shots on goal
iFenwick = Individual Fenwick = Shots on Goal + Shots directed at net that missed net
iCorsi = Individual Corsi = iFenwick + Shots directed at net that were blocked
/60 = Rate per 60 minutes for each stat
IGP = Individual Goals Percentage = The % of goals scored while player was on ice that the player scored
IAP = Individual Assists Percentage = The % of goals scored while player was on ice that the player has an assist on
IPP = Individual Points Percentage = The % of goals scored while player was on ice that the player had a point on
My picks are listed by position and analyzed using a number of different tools. If you are looking for deeper analysis on each pick, then please contact me and I will be glad to give it to you. Disclaimer: These picks are by no means going to guarantee you any type of results. These are picks that I have chosen and this is not a formal recommendation by any means. I’m trying to help others by giving my thoughts and such, but choose at your own risk. I’m totally fine with you following my picks, but don’t think you HAVE to follow my system. There are a number of resources available to a DFS hockey player to ensure your readiness.
Before I begin, I forgot to note that if you don’t see a player listed, it’s because I’m not very high on them. I will obviously still have stacks that aren’t listed, but those lineups will sort’ve be “dead” lineups to me. If they end up going off, then my picks here failed. I hope that doesn’t happen, but it could. We really can’t control the players, but what I’m getting at is simple; the picks you see are guys I like and the guys you don’t see are guys I’m not a fan of on this particular night. Remember, this will change daily.
New York Rangers @ Columbus Blue Jackets
_ Picks and Thoughts_
The top line has the ability to create lots of offense and fantasy value all year, but it’s hard to tell when they will do it. The New York Rangers are a very tough opponent and it makes me weary of playing forwards or defensemen against them, however, I still like to pick a few guys from every team to give people a variety of options; for instance, some people love being contrarian and it happens to work in the beginning of the season in almost every sport. I would definitely look into the Jackets and see if they are a team you like to roster, mainly because they might be able to put some points on the board. I say some because they can put 1-2, even 3 goals up, but I don’t really see them putting more than 2-3 up at the most. It all depends on who brings their A-game and who doesn’t since these are all professional hockey players. There is enough potential on both teams to allow for somebody to have a great night in cash/gpp. Either way, with 5 games on the slate, there is going to be a lot of bodies to look at. This game wouldn’t be the first game I’d look at, but it’s definitely one of them.
- Nick Foligno: Columbus Blue Jackets
Foligno is shooting the puck extremely well, with 17% of his shots going in. With 18:00 of ice time, give or take around there, we can expect Foligno to score. Yes, it’s the New York Rangers, but Henrik isn’t going to have a shutout. Nick Foligno almost averaged a point per game last year (.92 ppg). He also put up 31 goals and 42 assists on a team that struggled for large parts of the season. However, Columbus is expected to really contend this year and their roster looks really nice if it can stay healthy. Don’t look beyond this guy because he’s playing the Rangers. That entire top line is still dangerous. Look at his iCorsi and iFenwick numbers, but also take a great look into his /60 minutes stats. They are some interesting things to keep in mind when researching for players.
- Ryan Johansen: Columbus Blue Jackets
The same thing goes for Ryan Johansen. He can put the puck in the net like any NHL superstar. He’s very young, explosive, but he can also get dirty goals. This kid has all the tools, plus he’s an awesome young player that came through a number of times last year. If you look at his advanced statistics that I noted above, then you know why I like this kid against the Rangers. Ryan won something like 55% of his faceoffs at home too. He had 38 points in 41 home games in the 2014-15 season. There are a number of advanced statistics that might overwhelm a new player, but the research is necessary if you want to find players. It’s very difficult to find guys in the beginning because rosters are still changing.
- Brandon Saad: Columbus Blue Jackets
Huge addition to the top line in Columbus. They were missing a piece like Saad and his ability to shoot coming off the side wall. I really like Saad and I think the Rangers will respect the Blue Jackets top line. A healthy Jackets team is not a team to overlook, but many are. Many will act surprised when they see this team play.
- J.T. Miller: New York Rangers
Why not ride the hot guy? He dominated a very good team in Chicago. There is definitely nothing wrong with going Rangers. J.T. Miller was off everybody’s radar Wednesday night, but that doesn’t mean he won’t produce again either. He may be legit, but it will take some time to find out. However, he’s NOT a player I’ll roster everywhere. There will be spots where I look to put him in still. Make sure you DONT roster him with a single-bullet. Be smart about your decisions, either have confidence in your pick of not. I’m not telling you to roster or not to roster anybody, but rather I’m advising you on my ideas.
- Kevin hayes: New York Raners
Kevin has a rocket shot and can snipe from the hashmarks in pretty fashion. He also has a grind-it-out mentality and can score the dirty goals. I like Kevin in this game because this game could be a close one of a blowout if either goalie is not on their game.
- Rick Nash
Back in Columbus, must I say more? He loves the building and has so much familiarity with it that he can definitely put up some points. However, don’t be surprised if both goalies come to play and lockdown the game early. This game can easily get interesting and Nash has plenty of offensive skills to provide us fantasy points with.
Winnipeg Jets @ New Jersey Devils
_ Picks and Thoughts_
These two teams really don’t excite me in fantasy hockey, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in certain guys. Certain guys are able to produce and it’s very difficult to be right sometimes when picking New Jersey. My strategy for this game would resemble picking goalies and from either team too. I wouldn’t be against choosing Cory Schneider or Ondrej Pavelec. Both have the potential to put up nice numbers in a game that I see to be low scoring. I can also see myself mixing and matching the top 3 lines on both teams somehow. If I need exposure to this game, then it’s not hard to find some options. This ONLY applies to those of you creating more than 10-15 lineups. This is NOT single-bullet type thinking, LOL. New Jersey doesn’t let up a ton of goals, but they also don’t score much, so there is nobody I’m recommending on their side.
- Cory Scneider
Very good goalie with the potential to shut the door early. Has provided us with solid fantasy points in the past and he’s starting against a team that is coming off a back-to-back. I like him here, but don’t be surprised to see Winnipeg blast him for 4-5 goals either. Just because I like him, it’s not a guaranteed outcome and there are BETTER options on the table tonight. He’s still a very solid pick in my opinion.
He’s a solid option tonight because New Jersey struggled on offense last year. However, things change from year-to-year and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a better Devils squad. Still, roster him at your own risk and you may be rewarded.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Detroit Red Wings
Picks and Thoughts
These two teams offer some really good fantasy up-side. I say that because both teams still have goal scorers. It’s not like Toronto is going to not score goals, because they will. Detroit will still be a great hockey team, regardless of whether or not Babcock is there or not. This game could be a low scoring game or it could be a high scoring game. In my opinion it could be a 4-3 game. We never know what we are going to get with Toronto and Detroit facing off. I favor Detroit because of the goaltending matchup, but wouldn’t be surprised to see it go either way.
- Jimmy Howard
He goes up against a strange-looking Maple Leafs roster. He’s been good against them in the past, but he’s also been the victim of shootouts against Toronto. He has the ability to shut down the Leafs, but he could also let up 2-3-4 goals. Howard is still a terrific goalie, but his poor play will also come in stretches. I would have confidence in Howard tonight. Don’t expect a shutout though.
- James Van Riemsdyk
COMPLETE STUD!!!! I had him on two of my rosters the other night and he came through. Just take a look at this page and see for yourself why I’m so interested in him tonight. In fact, he’s one of my top plays of the night.
- Nazem Kadri
_Very talented player that I really have confidence in this year. His statistics are online for all to see and why I like him against Detroit. I think Toronto can hang around in this game with the top line for Toronto clicking. They need production out of their top line for me to believe they have a chance.
- Gustav Nyquist
His playmaking ability last year had me rostering him so much. He’s a true talent that can score and dish out assists, but he’s playing Toronto so it’s even more likely that Gustav has a hand in the Detroit scoring.
- Pavel Datsyuk
You can’t ignore this crazy Russian tonight. You just can’t. If Bernier is in net, expect a goal or an assist from Mr. Datsyuk. Risk it folks!
- Tomas Tatar
ONE OF MY FAVORITE PICKS OF THE NIGHT, after JVR. He’s 24 and incredibly gifted. Watch out for him tomorrow night.
Chicago Blackhawks @ New York Islanders
_ Picks and Thoughts_
These two teams offer some really good fantasy up-side. I say that because both teams still have goal scorers. Chicago and the New York Islanders are going to battle it out. Chicago is coming off a tough home loss, so expect this one to be big. I don’t find it likely that Chicago starts 0-2, but they could with a powerful Islanders team. The Islanders are not a joke and can definitely score goals and protect the net. Their defense has been really good, with the additions of key guys last year. I see this game having some fantasy upside, whether you see offense or goaltending leading the way. Goalies can put up nice points these days.
- Patrick Kane
advanced stats are not a joke
- Marian Hossa
My favorite Blackhawk who will definitely find the scoring sheet again. At 36, this guy can truly perform for anybody, let alone Chicago where all that pressure is. He’s a true talent that I love to roster, like I did the other night. Expect points from him. Hossa will delver on most nights.
- John Tavares
MVP candidate and puts up ridiculous numbers no matter who the opponent is. Great find! Great player. Great choice against Chicago.
- Anders Lee
A 6th round pick!? This kid can flat out play. It’s so funny how the draft works. He’s better than so many players in his 06’ draft class it’s not even funny. Just look at his unreal advanced stats adn tell me why you wouldn’t run with this pick against Chicago. Chicago can be scored on, the Rangers did that. It’s the NHL so anything can really happen.
- Ryan Strome
He’s 22 years old and on the 2nd line…wow. Lots of good stuff coming from this kid! Just wow!
- Jaroslav Halak
Shutdown goalie with everything you want/need from a fantasy perspective. Halak has the capability of shutting a team out or allowing 1-2 goals, something you love to see from a starting goalie.
Arizona Coyotes @ Los Angeles Kings
_ Picks and Thoughts_
This game should see some scoring. LA should easily win, but Arizona could easily make it a 1-2 goal game. They are an improving team that are really hard to predict. I love LA here, but don’t be surprised to see a low scoring game. I’d love to see a high scoring game, but Arizona is very strange (one night they score 5, the next 0. one night they allow 6-7, the next they let up 1-2. weird stuff).
- Every Kings Forward on Lines 1-3 and Defensive pairings 1-2. (PP included too) (Seriously, there are so many options that I can’t list each one.)
- There are still some Coyotes though. I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY doubt Quick is bad again tonight. However, who knows right? I hope Quick can come back because he’s a great goaltending choice, but here are some Coyotes to think about:
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Super talented young defenseman that can put up points.
- Antoine Vermette
The Coytoes basically torched Chicago in that trade. Chicago as burned so bad!!!! Vermette was supposed to be a stud in Chicago, but he was terrible instead. The Yotes got Klas Dahlbeck and a 2015 first-round draft pick (Nick Merkley) for Vermette, who just so happened to re-sign with Arizona in the off-season. It’s funny how those things work out actually and he’s still a good player who I like to roster now and then.
- Mikkel Boedker
Great shooter and a viable option IF you go contrarian. I would honestly avoid Arizona all-together
I’ve listed players from every team to allow you to see what options there are. Of course, there are a number of others and some of these guys wont pan out, but the concept it to be open about them all. I try to stay open because I know there are chalk and contrarian players. We are all different in that respect. Thanks for reading gamers!!! Good luck with your rosters!! I’ll do my best to improve the format and the way i blog. I will go further into detail and post more links in the near future. This is supposed to be a daily thing so you will see dramatic improvement as we go along. Thanks again! You guys make me better!
REMEMBER, CHIME IN AND HELP ME IMRPOVE THIS. I’VE BEEN AROUND HOCKEY FOR OVER 20 YEARS, SO THE MORE POSITIVE FEEDBACK, THE BETTER. IMPROVING CAN ONLY HAPPEN WITH THE HELP OF OTHERS IN THEIR POSITIVE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISMS. THANKS AGAIN!