Each day I will be providing my recommended player picks for your FanDuel daily fantasy hockey lineups.
My FanDuel NHL Plays will be broken down by player positions, and will include picks for cash games (50/50s/double-ups/head-to-head) and GPPs (guaranteed prize pool tournaments).
Are you new to Daily Fantasy Hockey? Check out these strategies documents first for tips and recommendations to craft your winning FanDuel hockey lineups:
Daily Fantasy Hockey Primer: 2014-15 Season
Winning Strategies for Cash Games (head-to-head, 50/50s)
Winning Strategies for GPP Tournaments
Advanced Tips for Winning by Utilizing Vegas Odds and Line Combinations
FanDuel Daily Fantasy Hockey Research and Strategy Tools
Following a day with the largest slate of the season, Sunday brings us just two games. However, FanDuel has games posted, so we will prepare and research NHL action. With four teams in action, you should also note that just one team is playing on back-to-back nights (Ducks). If you are trying to choose between two players that you have projected to hit the same point target on a short slate, selecting the player who is not skating on back-to-back nights may be the better selection. The games on FanDuel lock at 5:00 p.m. Eastern this evening, so you will have plenty of time to study and set your NHL lineups after football starts.
Ilya Brzygalov, Anaheim Ducks, $6,700 – On a two-game slate, you have to absolutely nail your goaltender. In the second game of the night, the Ducks find their way back to the Pond after a rough shootout loss last night to the Arizona Coyotes. After letting in a soft goal in the first period, the Ducks’ top netminder, Frederick Andersen settled in for a 28 save game and just did not get any support from his goal scorers. As of the publication of this piece, Bryzgalov has not been confirmed, but if he is locked in by the time games lock, he is the number one goaltender tonight. Bryz started just one game this season and proceeded to give up six goals on thirty-one shots courtesy of the Ottawa Senators. In two appearances this season, Bryzgalov’s 6.40 GAA and .789 SV% is cringe-worthy, but the Ducks are the “largest” favorite of the night sitting at a -130 ML. The play here has more to do with the overall chances that the Ducks have to win the game, and with a “win” on FD being weighted so heavily, start Bryzgalov in your cash games as he is the most likely netminder to earn the “W” on Sunday.
**Writer’s note – As of this publication, early on Sunday morning, Bryzgalov has not yet been confirmed. If someone other than Bryzgalov gets the nod for the Ducks (e.g., Frederick Andersen), pivot to him. Since the Ducks’ game locks at 8 p.m. Eastern, an hour after the Leafs’ game, you may have to switch up your lineup or risk Bryzgavlov, but at such a cheap price tag, you can afford to have him give up a few goals as long as he gets the win.
Other Goalies To Target (Cash Games) – None
Tyler Bozak, Toronto Maple Leafs, $5,500 – Both games on the NHL docket tonight have over/unders of 5.5 goals, so your goal tonight is to get as much exposure to as many skaters as possible. The play here in Bozak gets you exposure to Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel on the team’s first even strength line and to James van Riemsdyk and Kessel on the team’s first power play unit. The center has had a relatively slow December, but with 28 points (13 Gs, 15 As) in 35 games to go along with 79 SOGs, Bozak should connect on at least one goal with one of his linemates, and one point and a few SOGs will let him hit value, which is all you need on a cheap play.
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks, $9,000 – Your cash game lineups should start with rostering Getzlaf. No other skater playing tonight is playing as well as he is right now. With at least one point in seven straight games for a total of eleven points (4 Gs, 7 As), the $9,000 price tag feels a tad inexpensive. The visiting Vancouver Canucks will be playing their first game back from the Christmas Break, but the Ducks will be back at home after looking lackluster last night in Arizona. Put Getzlaf in one of your center spots and move on to the rest of your lineup.
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs, $8,100 – At $8,100, Kessel is the top overall play at a wing spot on the day when taken price and projected performance taken into consideration. In constructing lineups for today’s slate, the play seems to be to start with Ilya Bryzgalov and then add Ryan Getzlaf and Phil Kessel. Other than an injured, Corey Perry, Kessel is the most expensive winger in play, and he is just $200 more than his linemate on the first power play, James van Riemsdyk. That additional price is important if you are forced between the two wingers, as the projection model has Kessel scoring almost a full point more than JVR, with the extra points coming from an additional shot and a slight edge to scoring a power play point. With eleven points in his last ten games and 39 points in 35 games, Kessel is one of the most consistent players in the NHL this season.
Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks, $6,700 – This selection may cause you to scratch your head and the top goaltender of the night is going to be stopping the shots that Vrbata puts on net. However, on such a short slate, it is wise to spread your exposure across as many teams as possible, and Vrbata gets you exposure to the Canucks’ first line consisting of Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin as well as the team’s first power play unit consisting of the Sedins, Alexandre Burrows and Alexander Edler. On the PP, Vrbata acts as the heavy shot from the point and you will find him taking many open shots on feeds from across ice in Edler or from the boards in Daniel Sedin. This is a critical point of information to understand as the Ducks have been vulnerable when skating shorthanded, as evidenced by the 24 power play goals against, which is good for 9th worst in the NHL. Thus, you will want exposure to the Canucks’ power play unit.
Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks, $4,300 – It seems as if the Ducks play almost every Sunday this season. and with that, this article will continue to say that Vatanen is vastly underpriced at $4,300. The lack of a price increase is easy to explain, however, as Vatanen’s production is not pretty as his goal scoring has cooled down this month. With zero points in four straight games and just three points in his last ten games, Vatanen has still produced by shooting the puck well above the average for a defenseman and by being on the ice to earn a “+” rating. As noted throughout the piece today, you want exposure to as many facets that should factor into the scoring, and Vatanen gets you cheap exposure to the Ducks’ first power play unit with Rene Bourque, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrick Maroon and Ryan Kesler.
Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs, $5,300 – While you typically want to attack your defensemen slots on FanDuel by targeting D-men who log heavy minutes on a team that Vegas set as a large moneyline favorite. However, you cannot follow this strategy tonight, given the short slate and the two matchups with both games having O/Us of 5.5 goals. With Phaneuf, you are adding another piece of the 9th best power play in the NHL and he gives you potential exposure across two power play units, as D-men tend to stay on the ice longer than forwards and the lines often overlap if the team’s change up their lines mid-shift. Phaneuf’s production stems from his shot-taking (1.84 shots/game) and his ability to dish the puck out to the Leafs’ snipers. With this in mind, Phaneuf is a safe cash game investment on a short slate.