NHL $1,000 to $5,000 Challenge: Night #2

Setting the Stage

Once again, I entered 2 lineups in both the Cross Check and Forecheck on DraftKings. Let’s take a closer look at these contests:

Obviously it makes plenty of sense that the winning score in the Forecheck is significantly higher than the Cross Check given the larger field size and larger max entry cap. That being said, it is worth noting that the minimum cash score is nearly identical. We’ll keep an eye on this moving forward. I actually am beginning to wonder if this 2-max is a good tournament to try and build bankroll in or not because it seems to be heavily populated by sharp players. I suppose we’ll know more as we gather more info playing it over time.

My Lineups

As you can see, I chose to pair STL2 and PIT1 with CBJ1/CBJ2 in my 2 lineups. In the Cross Check, Crosby and his linemates were ~ 15-18% owned while Tarasenko and his linemates were about the same. Frankly, I was expecting slightly higher ownership on Crosby’s line and was pleasantly surprised. Worth noting that Kevin Shattenkirk was surprisingly only 7% owned. I correlated Marc-Andre Fleury and Carter Hutton to the respective stacks. Given how expensive it was to pay up for Tarasenko and Crosby I ended up punting Jakub Vrana on both teams in order to fit everything. I was absolutely shocked to see Vrana at 23.5% owned in the Cross Check, which must have been a product of DraftKings’ tight pricing. Despite outperforming more than half of the field in both GPPs, neither of these lineups cashed. They finished 33rd and 36th in the Cross Check.

Why these lineups?

I do a GrindersLive show breaking down the NHL slate every Saturday afternoon with @JayWilly so I spent a lot of time breaking down this slate on Saturday. I basically resolved that PIT1 was far and away the top play of the slate and I expected them to be highly owned. Crosby is just playing absolutely incredible hockey lately and the Red Wings 1) aren’t very good and 2) were starting a rookie goaltender in his first NHL game. STL2 was also in a great spot in large part due to Winnipeg’s propensity to take penalties and perform poorly on the PK. I anticipated high ownership here as well, given that Vladi the Tank had scored a hatty last time out. Columbus was facing Arizona and, well, the Coyotes are just so atrocious defensively that I couldn’t ignore the value in rostering some Blue Jackets (who were reasonably priced given the match-up). Worth noting that the Columbus offense is also legit and the expected goals for and other offensive metrics back it up.

The problem with locking PIT1 into a roster was that they were extremely expensive and made it really hard to stack other lines with them. Crosby was $8,700, Hornqvist was $7,400, and Sheary was $5,400 ($21,500). One would ideally stack Kris Letang ($7,000) with their PIT1 stack, but that actually made it nearly impossible to fit any sort of decent roster in around them. Tarasenko, Steen, Shattenkirk cost $19,000 to stack, which created similar issues. While this made making a PIT1 or STL2/Shatt team somewhat difficult, it actually was a bit comforting regarding ownership because it probably pushed some people off of these lines.

After resolving that I wanted an STL2 team and a PIT1 team, the next question became: who do I pair them with? Columbus was an obvious spot as they were facing the Coyotes and actually quite reasonably priced. CBJ1 fit into my STL2 stack like a glove and I set that lineup fairly early. Fitting something I liked into my PIT1 stack was much more difficult. As you can see, I ultimately resolved to put Boone Jenner / Brandon Dubinsky / Seth Jones in there. I didn’t love leaving Cam Atkinson off this CBJ2 stack as he is the best offensive player on this line, but he was just was too expensive. Dubinsky and Jenner were awesome value, as was Seth Jones. Random fact: the Jenner-Dubinsky-Atkinson line actually led the NHL in 5v5 SCF/60 (scoring chances for per 60 minutes) last season among lines that saw a significant amount of TOI.

Did we make any mistakes?

As I noted in the last edition of this blog, focusing on whether one won or lost money is definitely not the best way to analyze your play. I don’t think stacking PIT1, STL2, and CBJ were mistakes. Pittsburgh won their game handily and the top line had a plethora of chances to score. Sheary actually had a goal called back for goalie interference (not sure if I agree —- seemed Hornqvist was pushed into the goalie). It’s hard to say playing the top line was a bad maneuver when the team had 5 goals and one called back.

STL2 had Alex Steen score a goal and also got the power-play chances I expected them to get, but was unable to convert. Steen and Tarasenko were a bit more highly owned that I expected, though I was shocked to see Shattenkirk significantly less owned than the aforementioned duo. As I noted above, a large part of why I thought STL2 was a great play was the expected PP time and advantage against the poor Winnipeg PK. In turn, Shattenkirk was a crucial piece of my stack given his power-play role and production.

The Columbus Blue Jackets were undeniably a strong play last night given that they registered 60 (yes, 60!) shots on goal. The Blue Jackets dominated play in this game and Mike Smith was just absolutely unreal in the cage for Arizona. Both lines I stacked actually scored in this game.

Regarding goaltending, I’m not sure how I feel about my choices and what happened. Fleury was undeniably the safest play on the board as the Penguins were a huge Vegas favorite. That being said, he wasn’t an extremely high upside play and he was expensive. I wonder if I would should have considered dropping down in order to upgrade Vrana. Hutton was a play I actually liked more and, obviously, he worked out poorly. Giving up shorthanded goals always stings.

I actually saw this quote from Leafs coach Mike Babcock on Twitter last night and it’s highly relevant here….

“I don’t worry about what you deserve; I just worry about did we play right or not. When you play right and you do it over and over again, you get all the points you need. Tonight when you play good like this you leave satisfied and you get on with it.”

In closing…

As always, really appreciate any and all comments. Would love to further discuss the merit of my choices below and am always open to contrasting opinions.

Night #2 Starting Bankroll: $938
Current Bankroll: $876

About the Author

Comments

  • maxeernst

    Realize I didn’t spend time talking about plays that worked out that I wasn’t on. Will be sure to discuss this in the next one—-Kessel/Malkin, for example, was a very viable play and the merits of playing them were probably worth exploring.

  • leafsno4

    That is my issue (and why I’m glad you’re doing this)….on a larger slate, normally there’s a bunch of good plays to pick from…not counting the hunches and contrarians. When only entering 3-5 LUs a night in the $3-4 tourneys, hard to decide what to go with. How do you go about making your decisions? (Chalky vs. contrarian vs. “feel”) Or, am I reading too much into it? I was on the same plays as you last night based on some of the advanced stats…..figure most other good players are as well, which doesn’t always lead to GPP success.

  • maxeernst

    Your question kind of blends into something someone asked in the last blog re: contrarianism as it relates to GPP size/ field. Generally my thoughts are that you should always play what you think are the best plays. If you construct LUs well you’re probably going to have an edge on even the people who are on some of your plays also. That being said, it is probably more advantageous to play contrarian if entering the huge field small buyin tournaments with limited entries. On mobile at the moment—-otherwise I would provide a more detailed reply. Curious what others think.

  • arend691

    I am torn between CGY1 and CGY2 as my value line. Which would you chose? Also I agree strongly with this “my thoughts are that you should always play what you think are the best plays”. I think finding low ownership is highly overrated.

  • jpb16

    You mentioned a couple of nice statistics you look at regarding what teams to target in the first post. I’d be curious about your top 2 or 3 factors / statistics when picking goalies (and even defensemen, if it’s different than the forwards).

    Also, lately I have made a conscious effort to go especially for upside. My method (which may be greatly flawed) has been to pick one of the solid, but lower-cost lines with a decent floor which often gets me access to the line of my choice in the league. That is often a line I am picking from one of the teams expected to have a good night (sort of like your Crosby line pick in this article). However, it seems that I might be backward. Perhaps I should be grabbing the more reasonable line (let’s say from the Pens) and making sure I can get the top talent from the team in the lesser matchup (like Atkinson, in this article). The idea being that all of Pitt was probably going to get their chances. That’s not to say that Columbus didn’t, with their 50 shots. But, Pittsburgh has more guys that can get you that 2- or 3-goal game than CBus. Mostly thinking out loud.

  • maxeernst

    @jpb16 said...

    You mentioned a couple of nice statistics you look at regarding what teams to target in the first post. I’d be curious about your top 2 or 3 factors / statistics when picking goalies (and even defensemen, if it’s different than the forwards).

    Also, lately I have made a conscious effort to go especially for upside. My method (which may be greatly flawed) has been to pick one of the solid, but lower-cost lines with a decent floor which often gets me access to the line of my choice in the league. That is often a line I am picking from one of the teams expected to have a good night (sort of like your Crosby line pick in this article). However, it seems that I might be backward. Perhaps I should be grabbing the more reasonable line (let’s say from the Pens) and making sure I can get the top talent from the team in the lesser matchup (like Atkinson, in this article). The idea being that all of Pitt was probably going to get their chances. That’s not to say that Columbus didn’t, with their 50 shots. But, Pittsburgh has more guys that can get you that 2- or 3-goal game than CBus. Mostly thinking out loud.

    When selecting goalies, you need to balance multiple factors. Goalie skill is one of them, but it’s not really significant unless it trends toward one of the extremes. If we’re talking about goalie skill, look into GSAA (goals saved above average). I tend to focus on goalies who are playing behind a team in a good spot. You have to balance a goalie’s likelihood of the victory with their likelihood of making a lot of saves and letting in as few goals as possible. Generally, this means that taking goalies from the teams that are the heaviest favorites is a safe proposition. Sometimes it can be helpful to look at teams that give up a lot of Corsi against, but not that many scoring chances against, to identify upside from low danger shots on goal.

  • savedatmoneyquan

    I only played one team that night and went STL2 with Kevin Shattenkirk and CBJ 2 with Hutton and a punt Dmen from Vancouver for along the same reasons as you and even though it didn’t cash I felt pretty good about the process and selection. Maybe stacking two L2’s was too thin but just couldn’t fit CBJ1 fit with STL2 and felt that there was good value with CBJ2 on the road. Ill take a piece of a team that takes 60 shots any day of the week and feel like STL is warming up.

    I like how the blog has been structured so far as well.

  • maxeernst

    @savedatmoneyquan said...

    I only played one team that night and went STL2 with Kevin Shattenkirk and CBJ 2 with Hutton and a punt Dmen from Vancouver for along the same reasons as you and even though I felt pretty good about the process and selection even though it didn’t cash. Ill take a piece of a team that takes 60 shots any day of the week and feel like STL is warming up.

    I like how the blog has been structured so far as well.

    I can’t emphasize enough how odd it was to see Shattenkirk’s low ownership %.

    It really speaks to the fact that people don’t stack properly. I know Pietrangelo and Parayko are viable plays as well, but if you’re playing Tarasenko and Steen and want the most upside, playing them with Shattenkirk is the most logical play. Yet… most didn’t make that move.

    EDIT: This probably occurred because of the tight pricing to be honest. Much like it was hard to fit Letang with pittsburgh stacks.

  • maxeernst

    Going to be doing Night #3 tonight.

    For the next writeup——do you guys want me to go further into my process? I know in this one I just sort of said: “PIT1 was the best play.” I can break it down further if you’d like. Not really sure what level most of the readers are at and how much detail I need to go into re: what seem like perhaps obvious spots.

  • jpb16

    I would love a process article. That’s the most useful and interesting thing to me across DFS. If you did it once, I think it would provide a base for everyone to understand your posts going forward and you could point back to it if people ask for more detail. It would be especially great if you could provide links to the resources you use most frequently in your process. I know it’s hard to be comprehensive, but the handful of most frequently used sources and how you analyze them would be awesome. (Just my couple of cents.)

  • maxeernst

    @jpb16 said...

    I would love a process article. That’s the most useful and interesting thing to me across DFS. If you did it once, I think it would provide a base for everyone to understand your posts going forward and you could point back to it if people ask for more detail. It would be especially great if you could provide links to the resources you use most frequently in your process. I know it’s hard to be comprehensive, but the handful of most frequently used sources and how you analyze them would be awesome. (Just my couple of cents.)

    To be honest, the best resource for such a thorough introduction would be the Opening Faceoff Package that myself and a few other great NHL DFS minds composed. I went into a ton of depth about my process for Cash Games and there are numerous other awesome pieces in there (~ 40,000 words worth I believe). It’s available for purchase in the Daily Marketplace.

    Will do my best to incorporate some more about my process in the next blog though!

  • kellykip

    @maxeernst said...

    I can’t emphasize enough how odd it was to see Shattenkirk’s low ownership %.

    It really speaks to the fact that people don’t stack properly. I know Pietrangelo and Parayko are viable plays as well, but if you’re playing Tarasenko and Steen and want the most upside, playing them with Shattenkirk is the most logical play. Yet… most didn’t make that move.

    EDIT: This probably occurred because of the tight pricing to be honest. Much like it was hard to fit Letang with pittsburgh stacks.

    Reminds me of seeing some of the huge stack mistakes you’ll see with Ovechkin, not understanding how and where his goals tend to occur. Since this is something I think was touched upon in the Opening Faceoff package, I won’t go any further here except to say that weaker players hand over a lot of EV when the Caps play, so I love attacking those cards.

  • maxeernst

    @kellykip said...

    Reminds me of seeing some of the huge stack mistakes you’ll see with Ovechkin, not understanding how and where his goals tend to occur. Since this is something I think was touched upon in the Opening Faceoff package, I won’t go any further here except to say that weaker players hand over a lot of EV when the Caps play, so I love attacking those cards.

    Now you’re forcing me to go back and read that portion haha.

    Hope the season is treating you well since that big score early on, KellyKip!

  • jpb16

    I did get the Faceoff package. It’s fantastic. It’s just hard to prioritize all of that into a daily process. You can reference that rather than re-writing it. (It is worth the money.)

  • TheTruthIsALie

    I am with you regarding Shattenkirk—I was surprised how low-owned he was. It wasn’t nearly as difficult to fit him with STL2 as it was to fit Letang with PIT1. For what it’s worth, our lineups for that night were very similar (as was our analysis going into the slate, I think). I played McElhinney in net instead of Fleury given the savings (on most sites), but otherwise we were very similar. It was one of those nights where I felt like I made the correct decisions, but the results ultimately didn’t pan out. Time to move on.

    Good stuff here, Max! Now it’s time to turn things around! I’m looking forward to tonight’s four game slate. I know people tend to like the huge slates, but this is actually the sweet spot for me. You don’t have to do near as much analysis (which helps a lot when you have four kids), and you don’t have to sift through near as many players when constructing lineups.

  • kellykip

    @maxeernst said...

    Now you’re forcing me to go back and read that portion haha.

    Hope the season is treating you well since that big score early on, KellyKip!

    Going ok but just donked off $20 cause I was getting 4/1 that Tribeca’s Kitchen would forget the straws on our lunch delivery. They didn’t bring em 2 of the past 3 Monday’s I’ve ordered there, so I figured they get re-stocked on Monday sometime in the afternoon.

  • maxeernst

    @kellykip said...

    Going ok but just donked off $20 cause I was getting 4/1 that Tribeca’s Kitchen would forget the straws on our lunch delivery. They didn’t bring em 2 of the past 3 Monday’s I’ve ordered there, so I figured they get re-stocked on Monday sometime in the afternoon.

    lolllll

    I work like 10 blocks from there. Have never ordered in.

  • kellykip

    They are pretty consistently good. Diner version of China Chalet I’d say in terms of getting what you expect it to be like.

  • cwcwill

    Max, thanks for writing this blog series, it has been really good stuff.

  • PigskinaBlanket

    • 852

      RG Overall Ranking

    • x3

      2019 DraftKings FGWC Finalist

    • x2

      2016 DraftKings FGWC Finalist

    Max – When looking at your lineups – I generally find your lineup construction interesting as it has some inherent differences to mine (not a bad thing most likely). I tend not to stack the goalie of the team I am stacking up top = as I am looking for the game to be high scoring to maximize my forward play….whereas my dream goalie scenario is a shutout. I think playing goalie of your forward stack reduces hitting the odds of hitting the nuts with them even further.

    I have some more thoughts on lineup construction but will continue to watch. I like what your doing here and want to challenge myself to try something similar. Will be interested in comparing lineups and see where Im way different. good luck and thanks for putting the time and effort into this. – Piggy

  • maxeernst

    @PigskinaBlanket said...

    Max – When looking at your lineups – I generally find your lineup construction interesting as it has some inherent differences to mine (not a bad thing most likely). I tend not to stack the goalie of the team I am stacking up top = as I am looking for the game to be high scoring to maximize my forward play….whereas my dream goalie scenario is a shutout. I think playing goalie of your forward stack reduces hitting the odds of hitting the nuts with them even further.

    I have some more thoughts on lineup construction but will continue to watch. I like what your doing here and want to challenge myself to try something similar. Will be interested in comparing lineups and see where Im way different. good luck and thanks for putting the time and effort into this. – Piggy

    Goalie correlation to same team skater performance is actually a really interesting topic. There was a study done by some MIT researchers (Yes, on DFS hockey) that showed correlation. That being said, I don’t think the study analyzed whether that correlation goes up or down significantly when the same team skaters “go nuts” (which is obviously the ideal scenario). Likelihood of the win clearly increases in that scenario, so you would assume that goalie scores trend up as same team skater scores do.

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