Daily Fantasy Sports

How To Approach NHL DFS


Hello hockey fans! My name is Kevin Walsh, and I am new here to the Fantasy Six Pack. I have been playing DFS since dabbling into DraftStreet five years ago with some football. I have slowly evolved as I had money to burn into trying to make some big money. My mindset is totally turned around from how I started, and I will try and share with you how I got to that point.

I have subscribed to a lot of services for DFS information, read a lot of material and followed a lot of touts. There is one thing and one thing only I want from a tout – transparency.

This is me being transparent from you right up front – I am not a high volume player. I am not a mass-multi-entry tournament player. I am not a full-time DFS player (though it does consume a lot of my free time).

I have tried sports I know less about, I have tried being solely a cash game player, I have played like a maniac for somebody with a small bankroll – all of these pieces of my game I want to use to make you a better player, as I have slowly become.

Enough of the serious stuff here. I would like to take this time, prior to the beginning of the hockey season, to talk about what playing NHL DFS is like, what some strategies for attacking slates are, and just go over some general tips and tricks to get started.

How To Approach NHL DFS

NHL Stats

To those of you that have played MLB DFS, hockey is pretty similar. You tend to stack up some players that play together, and your goalie acts much like a pitcher.

Scoring will differ from site to site, but skaters can accumulate points for shots, goals, assists, blocked shots, and shootout goals, with some bonuses for short-handed points, power-play points, and hat tricks.

Goalies accrue points mostly from saves and getting the win, though they will get the points if they happen to pick up a goal or an assist. They also lose points for goals allowed. This is how they are similar to pitchers – saves are like strikeouts and innings, wins are wins, and runs allowed are goals allowed. Goalies also get bonuses for shutouts.

I would advise you check out the scoring system for whatever site you play on to make sure you have a grasp of how that site handles scoring.

Game Selection

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Much like any sport, game selection is going to be important so you don’t just blow all your bankroll is low EV contests.

Contests are typically divided into two categories – cash games and GPPs (guaranteed prize pools). Cash games are your 50/50s, double-ups, and H2Hs, as well as triple ups and other similar contests. These contests have large percentages of the field (up to half) in the payout structure. Many players make this their bread and butter when it comes to DFS, playing as much as 80% of their contests in cash games.

In 50/50’s, you only need to finish in the top half of all entries to hit the payout. Cash games are safe games with controlled payouts. These are particularly soft for NHL (in my opinion) as compared to NFL or NBA.

GPPs are tournaments that typically pay less than 25% of the field, with a high top prize for 1st. This is what people like to chase – the big payday.

Typically, I play the single entry tournaments with the fields smaller than 1000 entries for more realistic chances to win albeit for more of a modest payday.

NHL Roster Construction

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This is something that may differ depending on what site you play on. Typically, a lineup for hockey consists of two centers, three wingers, two defensemen and a goalie.

Draftkings has a FLEX skater.

FanDuel just has a fourth winger.

How you want to build your lineups is really going to depend on what type of contest you are entering. Cash lineup construction will vary greatly from GPP construction.

In cash we want to find players with known roles that pile up stats in the peripheral categories. This raises their floor.

When I say peripherals, I am talking about shots and blocked shots. Shots are the easiest way to pick up a floor in cash games. While Alex Ovechkin does score a ton of goals, he almost always takes four or five shots a game, and that can be a hell of a floor.

Players who shoot the puck just have better chances of picking up points.

It sounds simple, but the stats say otherwise.

This applies to both forwards and defensemen.

The other peripheral stat applies mostly to defensemen – blocked shots.

Some defensemen are more of your stay-at-home type. While they lack the floor to generate shots every game, some do tend to block a ton of shots. They tend to fairly affordable too.

Site Scoring Systems

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Depending on your site, these peripherals are worth more or less compared to scoring goals and assists.

On DraftKings, a shot/blocked shot is worth half a point. A goal is three and an assist is two. So six shots/blocks are worth a goal, and four are worth an assist.

On FanDuel, a shot/block is worth 1.6, but a goal is 12 and an assist is eight. Five shots/blocks are worth an assist, and seven and a half shots/blocks are worth a goal.

Basically, goals and assists are more valuable on FanDuel.

Time To Drop The Puck

Some people have to learn the hard way, I get that, I am that guy. I just want to share with you what I am doing as a fantasy enthusiast, how I became a better player, and how you can figure some things out about the industry on your own.

These aren’t going to be just picks articles. I am going to try and get you to think on your own and become a solid player, not somebody who just skims an article, pulls out names, jams in a lineup, and hopes to make a couple bucks.

DFS is a grind, and if you truly want to make something out of it, you have to put the time in.

This is a good start for those dipping their toes into the frozen pond that is NHL DFS.

I will be sharing an NHL DFS process article, so be on the lookout for that!

Until then, stay frosty.

About Kevin Walsh

Kevin Walsh hails from Pittsburgh, PA and has been playing fantasy sports for 15 years and DFS for 5 years. He is a huge football fan and and even bigger hockey fan. Perfect blend of sports fan and math nerd. Try to look past the Steelers/Penguins bias. Follow him on twitter @FuryOTStorm

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