Chris Lowery

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Winning Tournament Strategies

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

In this article, I am going to give you my NHL strategies for building a winning FanDuel lineup for all Daily Fantasy Hockey Tournaments (aka guaranteed prize pools, or GPPs). GPPs are a generally accepted term used across the Daily Fantasy industry for your big money tournaments.


Building a lineup (or multiple lineups) for a big money tournament can be truly exciting with tens of thousands up for grab on FanDuel each night. I am not going to lie, there are times I feel like a kid at Christmas when putting together some GPP lineups for a huge tournaments with big money on the line.


Building a Tournament lineup is very different from constructing one for your cash games. In our tournaments we are not interested in safe plays. GPPs are all about UPSIDE. We want players who can explode; All-or-nothing players can become GPP gold. You need your players to have huge nights in order to take down these big tournaments. Value players are just as important as your star players.


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More often than not you are looking for value when picking out a GPP goaltender. If you can afford a stud netminder and get the offense you want, fantastic. However most nights you will not be able to afford a loaded offense with an expensive top goalie.


Some teams have strong back-up goalies (Alex Stalock, Frederik Andersen, Thomas Greiss) who make great value plays. Sometimes it is a rookie in a great spot (i.e. John Gibson, Jake Allen and Martin Jones last year), or it can simply be a solid goalie who has struggled recently, and as a result, his salary has been reduced. All of these options can provide goaltending at a lower cost than the studs, and will allow more salary to be spent on your offense.




There are many ways to strategize for a GPP, however I will cover the two options which I have found to be the most successful:


GPP Option # 1 – “Two Line Stack”: Take the top scoring line from two separate teams that you think are in a great spot to produce that evening. For example, if we think both the Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues are going to have big nights, we would take the Leafs’ top line of JVR, Bozak and Kessel and combine it with the Blues top line of Steen, Backes and Oshie. Both lines play together at even strength and also represent their team’s #1 power play unit. If both lines happen to go off, you are looking at a very successful night. Even if one line goes off and the other just chips in, you should be able to make a profit.


GPP Option # 2 – “One Line Stack”: Simply take one line you love that plays together at even strength and also sees plenty of power play (man-up) time. Let’s use the Tampa Bay Lightning’s line of Ondrej Palat, Valtteri Filppula and Ryan Callahan as our example. Now using Tampa Bay as our team expected to score a few goals, we are going to add three other forwards. The key here is upside, we want three guys that are all capable of putting together a massive night. They don’t have to be All Stars, but they must have multi-goal scoring upside. Players like Marian Gaborik, Kyle Okposo and Rick Nash make terrific upside options along with our Lightning line. Assuming our TB line scores 2-3 goals, we don’t need all three of our single player additions to the line to score. If one or two of them score, we are looking at a big night. The key is setting ourselves up with three single players that can light up the score sheet. If all three additions score, we are likely taking down a big tournament. Cha-ching!




When picking out our GPP defensemen you again want high-ceiling upside. Whether we are paying up for a stud, or saving on a value play, the player needs to have upside.


GPP Option # 1 – “Two Line Stack”: Going back to our team we started building for option #1, for the Defensemen we would ideally want the Blues and Leafs power play quarterbacks: Alex Pietrangelo and Dion Phaneuf. This would create a two-team stack. However, we might not be able to afford that luxury. If that’s the case, I would look for value on their respective teams and try to find inexpensive defensemen that get some power play time like a Jay Bouwmeester or Jake Gardiner.


GPP Option # 2 – “One Line Stack”: Going back to our team we started building for option #2, for defensemen we definitely want the top power play defenseman (Victor Hedman) with our Tampa Bay Lightning top line. As far as the other defenseman goes, we just want potential for a big game. Rolling the dice on a Brian Campbell type is a great example of this. He is generally a lot less expensive then a stud defensemen like Shea Weber, but possesses similar upside when it comes down to what he can produce on any given night.


Sample GPP Lineups


GPP Option # 1 – “Two Line Stack”


Using everything we discussed above, our first GPP lineup should look like this below.


G – Alex Stalock

F – James van Riemsdyk

F – Phil Kessel

F – Tyler Bozak

F – Alex Steen

F – David Backes

F – T.J. Oshie

D – Alex Pietrangelo

D – Dion Phaneuf


This is a full Blues and Leafs stack with our value goalie Alex Stalock.


GPP Option #2 - "One Line Stack"


An example of our 2nd GPP lineup is below.


G – Thomas Greiss

F – Ondrej Palat

F – Valtteri Filppula

F – Ryan Callahan

F – Rick Nash

F – Marian Gaborik

F – Kyle Okposo

D – Victor Hedman

D – Brian Campbell


This is a Tampa Bay stack, with four single upside players added, along with value netminder Thomas Greiss.


Bonus Strategy Tip # 1


Rules & Scoring – Make sure you know the rules and scoring for FanDuel. FanDuel has plus/minus and penalty minutes, which is a foreign concept to non-NHL fantasy sports. A win for a goalie is worth 3 points on FanDuel, so you should try and target goalies who are favored based on the Vegas odds for that day.


Bonus Strategy Tip # 2


Some people prefer not to stack a line at all for GPP tournaments, and I am ok with that. However, I have found that the one and two line stacks have been the most successful. You are generating so many points each time your line scores, and it is rare to see an unassisted goal in hockey. Whether it occurs at even strength or on the power play, you are likely getting 2-3 of your players involved every time your line scores and that is how you jump up the leaderboard. Stack away!


Bonus 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, so take advantage of the discounted price. You want to nail the night they go off, not jump on board after they get hot.


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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