NHL Challenge: #6

NHL Challenge: #6

After reading the responses to the update I last posted, I’ve decided to do periodic blogs discussing my tournament play for a given slate. I’m going to let go of the bankroll challenge aspect of the endeavor and just analyze my regular play, whatever it may be for the slate in question. Like I mentioned before, I don’t plan on just discussing winning slates, so let’s start off with a losing one.

I played two lineups last night (Tuesday 12/20/16) on Draftkings and actually entered tournaments very similar to those I was playing throughout the challenge. I’ve been chasing King of Boston tickets as well as $400 Penalty Kill tickets a ton the last 10 days or so with numerous lineups and decided to take it a bit easier last night and just go with the two lineups. Here’s how things ended up at the end of the night:

Who did I play?

I keyed San Jose on both lineups and, as you can see, I did not manage to cash anything. The Sharks are a top-5 NHL team in 5v5 score and venue adjusted xGF/60 and Calgary falls in the bottom third of the NHL in xGA/60. This was a pretty obvious spot for me and I tried to take maximum advantage. Despite San Jose putting up 4 goals on Calgary, the production wasn’t significant enough to overcome some big scores from other teams, namely people who rostered the Penguins. Both teams had Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, and Brent Burns. One team also slotted in Logan Couture in lieu of Joe Thornton. Thornton is just a guy I don’t love to roster in tournaments because his upside is lacking given his total reluctance to shoot the puck. I paired these guys on one lineup with Chicago’s HHH line, which was extremely cheap to roster. This lineup obviously suffered a great deal from Marian Hossa going down with an injury which really hurt his linemates’ value. The other lineup jammed in Montreal’s top line of Max Pacioretty, Alexander Radulov, and Phillip Danault alongside the Sharks. Though Montreal seemed to completely dominate Anaheim in this game (and scored 5 goals), only Pacioretty hit the scoresheet for me.

Did I make a big mistake?

I don’t mind the fact that I keyed San Jose last night. The Sharks had a great match-up on home ice against a mediocre Calgary team and San Jose always has the potential to score a plethora of goals. I was actually very surprised at the relatively low ownership for these guys as both Pavelski and Burns came in around 10% owned in the $4 Forecheck. The HHH play was a salary-based choice given how reasonably they were priced—-not upset about this either. Montreal was actually one of my favorite plays of the slate and given how they crushed Anaheim, I’m not upset about that either. So what was the big mistake?

The mistake I made here is fading the Penguins. I’m still trying to be totally honest with myself and resolve how much of my Penguins fade was due to homerism (I’m a big NYR fan if you didn’t know). Obviously having biases is not productive for DFS and I actively try and combat my fandom. I’m worried it got in the way last night. At first glance yesterday, I was quite high on both of Pittsburgh’s top lines. The Penguins offense is arguably the best in the NHL (shhh Leafs fans) and both Crosby and Malkin have awesome ceilings. Also, I’m well aware of the fact that some of the NYR “stellar” defensive play of late has been a total mirage. Despite liking both PIT1 and PIT2, these lines were obviously really expensive to roster and I couldn’t fit them with the SJS guys. I initially planned on playing SJS1/HHH and MTL1/PIT2 (with some punts, obviously). When I saw that PIT had shifted their lines immediately before lock, I instinctively abandoned my Pittsburgh exposure. It was almost as if I was looking for a reason to get off of them and jumped at the chance. This is where I think my homerism really came into play. The lines shifting wasn’t a reason to bail. It was actually a reason to buy in further as most people probably didn’t see that news and there was an edge to be gained. Would love to hear others’ thoughts on this—-I can’t be the only one who actively tries to eliminate biases.

A note on goaltending

I rostered Semyon Varlamov (Colorado) and Jacob Markstrom (Vancouver) last night. Obviously both of these guys were underdogs, but they also were both very reasonably priced. Draftkings has maintained a tight range for goalie pricing this season, but the gap does appear to be widening (at least a bit) as the season progresses. Taking big underdogs is always a risky proposition, but there are a few benefits. Of course you get to save some salary, but these goalies also typically play for poor defensive teams who allow a ton of shot attempts against. A good goalie behind a bad defense is a recipe for the occasional massive DFS score when they survive the onslaught. Additionally, all that shot volume actually affords a pretty good floor. Keep an eye out on the cheap options (and how cheap they become) going forward.

Appreciate any and all comments and questions guys. Will respond to comments.

About the Author

Comments

  • cplatt87

    Living in Winnipeg I think I have some similar biases to what you talk about here. I tend to overrate Jets skaters on a lot of slates, and also miss good plays against them (Case in point – I considered Horvat/Baertschi as value plays in my GPP lineups last night to fit in some of the higher priced plays I liked, but ended up looking elsewhere for value and they both ended up scoring). It’s definitely something I’ve struggled with since I started playing DFS at the start of last NHL season, but in order to be successful in the long run it’s something I’ll need to pay attention to. Just because guys are playing against “my team” isn’t a reason to fade them -They’re still good plays.

    Pittsburgh wasn’t even on my radar last night (which may have been an error in my evaluation of the slate). My highest exposure was to teams in good spots that produced points, just the wrong players (I had Burns instead of Pavelski, Tarasenko instead of Schwartz, etc). I admittedly missed the Penguins news since I wasn’t near my computer at lock, but with not even considering them during my lineup construction that likely wouldn’t have affected me either way.

  • maxeernst

    @cplatt87 said...

    Pittsburgh wasn’t even on my radar last night

    We’re at a point where the PIT offense is just so dynamic and overpowering that you have to consider them every time they play imo

  • cplatt87

    @maxeernst said...

    We’re at a point where the PIT offense is just so dynamic and overpowering that you have to consider them every time they play imo

    This is a good point. I always try and find reasons not to play them since I know they’ll always be super popular – but they’re popular because any given night they can pop off for 7 goals.

  • maxeernst

    @cplatt87 said...

    I know they’ll always be super popular

    Except somehow they aren’t always popular. Particularly in match-ups that aren’t obvious.

    Ownership from the $4 Forecheck last night:

    Crosby: 6.3%
    Malkin: 5.8%
    Kessel: 2.8%

    They are priced so expensively at this point and the fact that you have to chose between Malkin line and Crosby line balances things out some I’d imagine

  • savedatmoneyquan

    I almost jumped on Pitt 1 + Schultz before lock but decided to follow through and fade them which was my original plan. I liked the Jacob Markstrom play based on price, him being on home ice and Vancouver playeing well recently at least on offense, just wish I had more shares of him. My SJ PP team paired with him and VC 3 did decently well in the $4 on DK.

    I got on MTL late simply because of the savings with Phillip Danault and felt they were in a good spot and I didn’t hear much buzz about them so i paired them with Seguin/Benn/Klinberg.

    Was interesting I noticed a lot of the usual GPP top dogs were on Florida/Nashville and Tampa mostly. I had a good amount of Tampa and a few panther one offs but simply didn’t consider Florida stacking

  • maxeernst

    @savedatmoneyquan said...

    I noticed a lot of the usual GPP top dogs were on Florida

    I was surprised to see people touting and on Florida the way they were.

    If we look at 5v5 score and venue adjusted xGA/60 (expected goals against per 60 minutes), Buffalo is 4th-best in the entire NHL. That number does drop a bit on the road, but they are still above average.

    I suppose people were on Florida because the Panthers are well better than their performance has indicated thus far this year. I do think that people still improperly perceive buffalo to be worse than they are defensively though. This isn’t your Sabres of old.

  • Scumpunch

    I recommend the “emotional hedge” – take players against your team so that if they lose, at least you make some $$$. As a Leafs fan, this is often a profitable strategy for me.

  • kellykip

    Interesting writeup. I think what made Pittsburgh such a good GPP play last night was the fact that their lines were set relatively late in the day, assuring lower than standard ownership. Also, Radulov seems to have been a bit more dependent upon Galchenyuk than we all might have previously thought.

    I’ve also found that due to their usual tight pricing (DK), lately I am having trouble rostering SJ players who logically correlate, while not feeling as if I’ve compromised the rest of my roster so much that it neutralizes the benefit of having SJ1 in my expected range of outcomes.

  • ThreeZeroThree

    I feel like I battle homerism (or anti-homerism in stacking against I team I hate for often arbitrary reasons) and recency bias constantly. I’ve faded players for no other reason than I’ve played them the last several times they’ve played. Sometimes it’s really no different than taking a test in college and not picking “C” because I’ve picked “C” on the last 3 questions.

    Any reason you didn’t look at MTL2 or MTL3 given they were a little cheaper than MTL1?

  • cski1711

    What metrics/research do you look at per slate?

  • maxeernst

    @kellykip said...

    Also, Radulov seems to have been a bit more dependent upon Galchenyuk than we all might have previously thought.

    Been meaning to look into this. I always perceived him to be a really strong possession driver and creator in his own right, but obviously he was benefitting from playing with Galchenyuk as well.

    Let me know if you look into the numbers Kelly!

  • goldengoat29

    The Sharks were (probably) under-owned for two reasons:

    1) They’re just so darn expensive. No Sharks stack is complete without Mr. Burns and he is too rich for many bloods. Even harder to leave him out against an oft-penalized team like the Flames (though they have been spending less time in the Sin Bin this month).

    2) It was a 12-game slate with many interesting plays.

  • goldengoat29

    @maxeernst said...

    Been meaning to look into this. I always perceived him to be a really strong possession driver and creator in his own right, but obviously he was benefitting from playing with Galchenyuk as well.

    Let me know if you look into the numbers Kelly!

    If I’m not mistaken, Rad’s massive game in LA came on the heels of Galchenyuk’s injury. Also, Montreal 1 seemed to fire on all cylinders against Colorado that one Saturday.

  • kdub

    Being a Red Wings fan it makes it a bit easier for me to play teams against them since I see how bad they are this year, but I still somehow always over-value the Z, Mantha, Tatar line even though the Wings cant score.. Also these 12-game slates seem insanely hard to finish with a nice profit, I dont think I’ve been able to make a profit on a 12 game slate all year long

  • StanHalen

    Is playing Couture with Pavelski, Burns, and Marleau a viable alternative to Thornton? They play together on the PP and I think the Sharks had 5 PP opportunities last night. Is that enough time together to be a decent option if you can find the salary or is that too much of a stretch because it’s dependent on them getting a man advantage multiple times? I did that on DK last night and used M. Jones in goal. On FD, I went with Jones, Pavs, Burns, and Marleau. it turned out ok on FD, but not so much on DK.

  • goldengoat29

    One thing I have continuously pondered — how much do matchups really matter? They assuredly account for something but do other variables take precedence?

    At like the last minute, I tinkered with my 50/50 lineup:

    Patrick Kane
    Parise
    Couture
    Meier

    FOR

    Barkov
    Drouin
    Pavelski
    Rust

    I wound up having an awesome night but it’s a tad unsettling I was so close to having a mediocre night with a lineup I had the utmost faith in.

    Earlier you said the Sabres are not the pushovers they once were and the advanced metrics more or less support your claim. But thankfully I, in the end, deployed Barkov against them. What I wonder is if the way a player is trending, how hot he is, takes precedence over matchup. Although the Avalanche have been awful of late and Parise has, historically speaking, destroyed them (I think he had been averaged 5.4 PPG on DK against the Avalanche in his career) I just didn’t get the vibe Parise would have a big night for whatever reason but Barkov on the other hand, since the coaching change, has been super.

    Now I’m not advising starting a player against a strong puck possession team or with a low expected goals against average, like the Bruins. Like I wouldn’t deploy a hot player, in a prominent role, like Anders Lee in an unappetizing assignment like on the road in Boston…

  • JayWilly

    .

    • x3

      2016 DraftKings FHWC Finalist

    @maxeernst said...

    Been meaning to look into this. I always perceived him to be a really strong possession driver and creator in his own right, but obviously he was benefitting from playing with Galchenyuk as well.

    Let me know if you look into the numbers Kelly!

    Galchenyuk is a stud, and easily their best offensive centre. But both Radulov and Galchenyuk were riding the luck train for a while.

  • Indycrocodile

    • Blogger of the Month

    I don’t have a favorite hockey team, sadly. I’ve never been to a hockey game. I used to watch The Dominator on television, but that’s about the extent of my exposure to hockey until I decided to give DFS hockey a try this year. Anyway….
    I rarely play more than one GPP lineup on any slate, but yesterday there were just too many good options on paper. In the FD Breakaway I had two lineups. For the first I had parts of MIN1, CHI1 & LA3. I took Dowd and Setoguchi because McElhinney started between the posts for Columbus. That decision cost me, though. Despite a price I could fit in, them being on the same line, and the same PP, I think they just suffered from lack of talent/ice time. My second lineup min cashed with parts of MON1, MIN2 and some SJ exposure. I faded Burns on both lineups. For me there were just too many great places to go. PIT was one of those places, but I just couldn’t fit them in pricewise.
    Now to find myself a favorite team.

  • Zieg30

    • 630

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FGWC Finalist

    Nice writeup, Max!

    I, too, hesitated to play Penguins last night because of my identical hometown bias. It was a big mistake, but one I rarely avoid when they’re going against the Rangers.

  • maxeernst

    @Zieg30 said...

    I, too, hesitated to play Penguins last night because of my identical hometown bias. It was a big mistake, but one I rarely avoid when they’re going against the Rangers.

    The truth is just that the Rangers aren’t good defensively. Girardi, Staal, and Klein have basically been pylons. NYR have dropped (as the season has progressed) into the bottom-third of the NHL in 5v5 score and venue adjusted xGA/60.

    Also saw some quotes from Vigneault saying he expected the energy level to be low given that it was their 9th game in 15 days and most of them were on the road.

    I wonder if there is more merit than usual looking into some of these scheduling situations, given that this is a condensed season due to the WCOH.

  • maxeernst

    @goldengoat29 said...

    What I wonder is if the way a player is trending, how hot he is, takes precedence over matchup.

    I definitely think that some of the guys grindring out NHL DFS slate in and slate out (like myself and probably most NHL guys on this forum) definitely get quite focused on match-ups and often at the expense of playing pure skill/value.

    It’s pretty hard to quantify whether Ovy v. a middling team is a better play than, say, Forsberg v. a terrible one.

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