Chris Lowery

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Winning Strategies: Cash Games

Monday, October 16, 2017


In this article, I am going to give you my strategies in NHL for building a winning lineup for all Daily Fantasy Hockey cash games. Cash games are a general term used across the industry for your 50/50s, double-ups, and head-to-head matches.

 

When playing cash games, you want guaranteed points. This is not where you roll the dice on all-or-nothing players. The idea is to simply produce a solid, well balanced team. It may not be explosive, but it doesn’t matter whether you finish in first place or not, you just need to be in the top half of the field to cash. The same goes with your head-to-heads, steady points will win you the majority of your H2H matches.

 

Note: If you’re new to Daily NHL, then check out this awesome article by RotoKevin entitled “Fantasy Hockey for Those with Puck Apathy” which compares NHL to the more well-known MLB daily games.

 

Strategy Tip # 1

 

Rules & Scoring – Make sure you know the rules and scoring on the site you are playing. For example, some sites will have plus/minus and penalty minutes, and others might not. Every site will differ as far as what each stat (goals, assists, powerplay points, saves, wins, shutouts) will be worth, so make sure you are aware of what is the most and least valuable. To get the most out of your lineup, you need to know what stats generate the most points for your team.

 

GOALTENDING  

 

Let’s start with the position most vital to your success - goaltending. In daily fantasy hockey cash games, you want to pay for the stud goalie. Forget the cheap rookie or the value goalie, pay for the stud! Again, you want guaranteed points and elite goaltenders rarely disappoint. If you start a value goalie and he gets get pulled after allowing 3 goals in the first period, it can absolutely kill your chances to cash. Ideally, you are looking for a goalie who is a big favorite with a low over/under. A good example of this would be Tuukka Rask and the Bruins facing the Florida Panthers on home ice. Not only is Rask one of the best netminders in the world, but the Bruins are a great defensive team and should easily provide enough goals for the all-important win. Rask would of course be pricey in this example, but he is worth every penny. Goalies are the closest thing to guaranteed points in daily fantasy hockey, so pay up for one of the top options every night.

 

FORWARDS

 

When deciding on your forwards, you want guys who are consistent. You want players who seem to put up points on a nightly basis, and all of your players should have extremely favorable match-ups. Ideally, you do not want to punt any position (C/LW/RW), but instead find value at the positions you are not planning to spend big money on.

 

I generally like to grab two forwards from three different teams that I expect to score a few goals that particular night. Loading up on just one or two teams can backfire if they have an off night. Having exposure to 3-4 teams gives you a better chance of generating points for your team. When selecting these forwards, I think the safest way to go is to grab one player from each of the team's top two scoring lines, while making sure both players get plenty of powerplay time. Powerplay time is essential in daily fantasy hockey.

 

For example, let’s say we love the Philadelphia Flyers tonight. I would look to roster both Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. Giroux and Simmonds play on separate lines, (giving us access to both scoring lines), and additionally they are both on the #1 powerplay unit. Going with this strategy increases my chances of guaranteed points. If the Flyers score at even strength, it is likely that one of the top two lines scored, and one of our players should be involved. If Philly scores a powerplay goal, again we should be involved in the scoring.

 

Of course this strategy does not work for all teams, because not all teams have solid secondary scoring. A perfect example of this would be the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs get most of their production out of the top line and do not have a dependable second line. If we were expecting the Leafs to score tonight, I would take 2 players from the top line, like Bozak and Kessel.

 

Using this same strategy, we will add Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic to our roster to finish off our forwards. Boston being the 3rd team we like to score tonight. Again we have 2 scoring forwards from two separate scoring lines who both see ample time on the powerplay.

 

So our forwards will look something like this below. We have exposure to three different teams (Phi/Tor/Bos) that we like tonight, and all 6 players play on scoring lines and will see plenty of powerplay time.

 

F - Giroux

F - Simmonds

F – Bozak

F – Kessel

F – Lucic

F - Marchand

 

Because we have a salary cap, we will not be able to roster all the players we want on a nightly basis. Instead, we will need to find some value players to finish off our roster. When looking for a value player, ideally we want a guy who is playing on one of the top two lines and getting at least some powerplay time. Throughout last season, there were numerous times where a value player ended up playing on a top line (Dustin Penner, Lee Stempniak, Brandon Saad, Valeri Nichushkin) and saw ice time on the #1 or #2 powerplay unit. These are the hidden gems we are looking for to complete our forwards on a night in which the cap is tight.

 

 

DEFENSEMEN

 

Here is a position where knowing the rules & scoring is very important. Brian Campbell can be a great value defenseman because of his inexpensive salary and high upside. However if your site counts plus/minus, you cannot take the chance on a -3 from Campbell in your cash games.

 

When deciding on what defensemen you want to roster, you are looking for overall ice time and powerplay time yet again. Players like Shea Weber, who see a ton of even strength ice time and almost all of the powerplay time are fantasy gold.

 

The odds of you getting a goal or an assist increase dramatically when receiving a lot of ice time while also playing with a high scoring team. So I will always look to the top scoring teams in a great match-up when adding defensemen to my roster.

 

I tend to pick my D-Men last and I am perfectly fine going with a value defenseman or two. The reason for this is that forwards are not only more consistent, but they score more points.

 

If your site counts plus/minus, blocked shots and penalty minutes, this is where we can add a stay-at-home defensive defenseman to our team. A lot of times players who excel in these stats are overlooked because they are not household names and do not get a lot of points. Do your homework and you will be rewarded handsomely.

 

Strategy Tip # 2

 

Some daily fantasy players like to use more than one lineup to be safe in their cash games. I recommend you stick with one lineup you love across the board. While multiple lineups increase variance, they also decrease your chances of cashing all your lineups. The idea is to win money on all your entries and not to hedge your lineup.

 

Strategy Tip # 3

 

Don’t be afraid to buy a slumping star player with a great match-up. Star players do not struggle for long, which is why they are stars. Take advantage of the discounted price.

 

Conclusion

 

We certainly can’t guarantee anything in hockey, but by following this lineup construction, I believe you are putting yourself in a great position to win on nightly basis.

 

Good luck Grinders!



Chris "Pepsi7" Lowery is the 2013 FanDuel Baseball Champion, pocketing $235,00 between that first place finish and a third place finish with his other entry. He also qualified for the FanDuel DFBC finals in 2012, finishing 7th. Impressively, MLB may not be his best sport as Chris is one of the best Daily Fantasy NHL minds in the business. Chris contributes to RotoGrinders, and you can follow him on Twitter @Pepsi7DFS.
Email :Chris Lowery



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