NHL $1,000 to $5,000 Challenge: Night #3

Night #3

I chose to continue to enter 2 lineups in both the $27 2-Max Cross Check and the $4 Forecheck on Draftkings for Night #3. Much like last week, the minimum cash scores were nearly identical and the first place scores showed a significant gap. It obviously makes sense that the first place score would be higher in the Forecheck, but remains somewhat interesting that the mincash is similar. Will continue to monitor.

My Lineups

The lineups I rolled out tonight were actually very similar to those I played on Saturday, as Pittsburgh and Columbus were once again both firmly in play. I chose to go all-in on CBJ2 and paired them with PIT1 and PIT2. While I correlated Marc-Andre Fleury to my PIT2 stack, I was forced to drop down to Robin Lehner in order to squeeze my PIT1 stack in (along with a punt in Denis Malgin). I actually made an egregious error in constructing my PIT2 lineup, as Carl Hagelin skated on this line in lieu of Chris Kunitz. The reports regarding this change were available before lock and I simply neglected to check. Rookie mistake and one I shouldn’t be making. #Shame

This was only a 4-game slate, so ownership was somewhat concentrated. Malkin and Kessel each came in around 20% in the Cross Check, while Crosby was understandably high owned at 27% given how exceptionally he has been playing. Interestingly, Patric Hornqvist and Conor Sheary were only 7% and 8% owned respectively. I mentioned in the last blog that people don’t stack properly and I think that right now, on Draftkings, people are struggling to make the expensive stacks work given tight pricing. Regarding the $27 2-Max crosscheck in particular, the high Crosby ownership and significantly lower ownership of his linemates may have been a byproduct of people entering their cash lineups in the GPP. CBJ2 ownership was 20-25% across the board, which is high for that line, but understandable given their match-up and the size of the slate.

How did these lineups come to exist?

There were only four games on this slate and three of the games featured massive Vegas favorites (Washington, Pittsburgh, and Columbus). The other game was poised to be a much more low-scoring affair between two more complete and defensively-minded teams in Florida and Boston. While Washington was a big favorite and is a solid NHL team, their offense really hasn’t been impressive as of late and the Buffalo Sabres are a significantly underrated defensive club. The Sabres actually rank 4th-best in the NHL in 5v5 score and venue adjusted xGA/60 and 3rd-best in similarly adjusted SCA/60. Washington skaters became slightly more intriguing when it came out that several key Buffalo defenders were injured, but Pittsburgh and Columbus were just way better spots.

The Pittsburgh offense is completely match-up proof and full of star power. The Pens are 2nd-best in the NHL in both 5v5 score and venue adjusted xGF/60 and SCF/60. Ottawa was basically a neutral match-up, and I wasn’t overly concerned about Guy Boucher’s neutral zone trap slowing Pittsburgh, given that the Penguins were on home ice. It wasn’t going to be cheap to roster Penguins forwards, but it’s really hard to ignore their offensive upside night in and night out. PIT2 was more affordable than the Crosby line, but both lines have a ton of upside and I assumed people might be hesitant to pay all the way up for PIT1.

Columbus was once again an extremely obvious spot as they were hosting the NHL’s worst defensive team in the Arizona Coyotes. It seems like I cite these numbers almost every day now, but I’ll do it again for emphasis. The Arizona Coyotes are dead last in the NHL in 5v5 score and venue adjusted xGA/60 and SCA/60. They are the worst in these categories by a WIDE margin. In turn, rostering CBJ skaters was a solid proposition. CBJ1 is probably the more skilled line, and it has been more productive this year, but CBJ2 was cheaper to roster and presented as better value to me. I originally had a lineup with each of these top two lines, but resolved to go all in on the 2nd line simply because I thought they were a bit sneakier and likelier to be lower owned.

What went wrong?

Much like Saturday, I’m not sure if I made a major mistake with these lineups (rostering Kunitz in lieu of Hagelin aside). Pittsburgh put up 8 goals on the Senators and Columbus handily defeated Arizona scoring 4 goals along the way. Despite solid offensive performances from the teams I targeted, I nevertheless failed to cash with either of my lineups. The teams finished 42nd and 80th in the Cross Check. Bryan Rust notching a hattrick and Sam Gagner posting a 4-point game did not help me much.

One distinct problem spot was goalie selection. Fleury let up 4 goals and was pulled about halfway through the game. He finished with -1.60 points. This is not the first time I’ve rostered a Penguins goalie and he has given up multiple goals. The Penguins are going to win games because of their offense, but they actually rank in the bottom half of the league in 5v5 score and venue adjusted xGA/60 and SCA/60. This makes me think that perhaps I am overvaluing the win points for goalies when rostering some big Vegas favorites, Pittsburgh in particular. It’s also very possible that my focus on Pittsburgh’s offenses caused me to overlook a decent spot for the Senators’ offense. Robin Lehner, who was an underdog and clearly a risky play to begin with, also failed to record the victory. I don’t feel so bad about this play, given that Lehner was quite cheap and he lost in overtime. Had the Sabres won the game in OT, I certainly wouldn’t be lamenting 7 points from Lehner.

Night #3 Starting Bankroll: $876
Current Bankroll: $814

About the Author

  • cplatt87

    3rd blog, and once again we ended up in somewhat similar spots last night. I also rolled out CBJ2, however I chose to spend up for Ovechkin/Backstrom rather than playing any Penguins (I actually had 0 exposure to the Ott/Pit game which tanked my night) since I loved their spot at home against the Sabres. Also the 3rd night in a row neither of us have cashed!

    I guess the big difference I noticed is that I rolled with Tukka Rask as my goalie last night (and considered Bobrovsky as well) since he still seems priced too cheap for how well he’s been playing. Goalie selection has been tough recently (I think last night was the first time in a week I’ve picked a goalie that won), but that definitely seems to be the deciding factor with your lineup 1 missing the cash line anyways. I’m curious as to when you select your goalie during your lineup construction? I personally start in goal and build from there, but was curious if you approach things the same way

    Overall though I think last night was an outlier in that you can’t really predict an 8-5 game, so for me its not too concerning of a lost night.

  • Tapouttazz99

    i mean i no pitt was going to win but im not sure why so many sleep on Ottawa. There offense is imo pretty good Hoffman Turris Stone and Karlson, they like to find the score sheet. being that it was a gpp i figure most would be on pitt so i went low ownership stack with them

  • maxeernst

    @cplatt87 said...

    3rd blog, and once again we ended up in somewhat similar spots last night. I also rolled out CBJ2, however I chose to spend up for Ovechkin/Backstrom rather than playing any Penguins (I actually had 0 exposure to the Ott/Pit game which tanked my night) since I loved their spot at home against the Sabres. Also the 3rd night in a row neither of us have cashed!

    I guess the big difference I noticed is that I rolled with Tukka Rask as my goalie last night (and considered Bobrovsky as well) since he still seems priced too cheap for how well he’s been playing. Goalie selection has been tough recently (I think last night was the first time in a week I’ve picked a goalie that won), but that definitely seems to be the deciding factor with your lineup 1 missing the cash line anyways. I’m curious as to when you select your goalie during your lineup construction? I personally start in goal and build from there, but was curious if you approach things the same way

    Overall though I think last night was an outlier in that you can’t really predict an 8-5 game, so for me its not too concerning of a lost night.

    More often than not my process is something like: I generally don’t build teams until I have a firm understanding of the slate. In turn, I see what goalies I can fit with the construction I like and If I’m not comfortable with any of them, I identify who I want and change my construction. If I have remaining salary I upgrade pieces where appropriate.

  • ScottyP33

    Max I think you were true to your strategy with your forwards. Pittsburgh is matchup proof as you said, and the Coyotes first line is definitely on the radar to target against. Knowing that Dubinsky’s line is usually tasked with slowing down the other team’s top line, that made them a nice play on Monday. It was very difficult, if not impossible, to fit the Hoffman line in with the Penguins. You correlated Seth Jones to the Blue Jackets which was good. You used your punt spot to cover a third team requirement.
    It really came down to choosing a goalie. One lineup you went for a safe win, in the other you went for the “upset” high upside goalie. Personally, I liked Bobo and Rask better Monday because of how many shots the Penguins give up, and I figured with the Senators offensive skill that would lead to 3 goals. I did not see the same upside in the Coyotes or Panthers.
    Thank you for doing these articles. Very insightful.

  • maxeernst

    @ScottyP33 said...

    Max I think you were true to your strategy with your forwards. Pittsburgh is matchup proof as you said, and the Coyotes first line is definitely on the radar to target against. Knowing that Dubinsky’s line is usually tasked with slowing down the other team’s top line, that made them a nice play on Monday. It was very difficult, if not impossible, to fit the Hoffman line in with the Penguins. You correlated Seth Jones to the Blue Jackets which was good. You used your punt spot to cover a third team requirement.
    It really came down to choosing a goalie. One lineup you went for a safe win, in the other you went for the “upset” high upside goalie. Personally, I liked Bobo and Rask better Monday because of how many shots the Penguins give up, and I figured with the Senators offensive skill that would lead to 3 goals. I did not see the same upside in the Coyotes or Panthers.
    Thank you for doing these articles. Very insightful.

    Thanks for the close read, Scotty.

    Goalie selection is really a mixed bag. It really comes down to balancing 3 factors for me:

    1) likelihood of winning
    2) likelihood of allowing numerous goals against
    3) expected shot volume against

    I think that since I started doing this blog, it’s arguable that I have been playing it perhaps a bit too “safe” in targeting the win in lieu of upside via a large number of shots against. Perhaps i’ll go further into analyzing my goalie selection in one of the upcoming blogs.

  • kdub

    Great articles Max.. This is making me feel a lot better about my choices even though im consistently losing so far this year which I think can be attributed to so many very large slates.. My lineup’s have been constructed very similar to yours.

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