Dont Force It

I’ve been reading alot of books lately about how to make better decisions in DFS, some of it I touched on already on this site. If you had a poor night you always rue the guys you had in your lineup that you eventually took out. Last night was one of those nights for me.

I was reading a Jonathan Bales book a few days ago, and although it was about football and baseball I was trying to find ways to apply the insights to hockey, especially when he start talking about lineup building. One point I found very interesting was about finding value. 

We all want value in our lineups, it’s what makes them go and gives us a chance to have a successful night. but to borrow a term from basketball, “should we go stars and scrubs or alot of midrange guys?” If you go stars and scrubs it doesn’t take alot for those really low priced guys to reach value. Recently those have been guys like Marchessault, Namestnikov, Andrighetto, Carr, Arvidsson, Jarnkrok. Guys who have been put in scoring line situations with good matchups. Some of them have produced like Marchessault has recently, and some of them have not. 

Playing some of those really low priced players makes guys like Seguin, Benn, Pavelski, Burns or Karlsson affordable; but for those guys they need a bunch of points to reach or exceed value. If you are paying up for one of the expensive guys, you need a really nice return.

Last night Brent Burns was clearly the best play on defense. He shoots the puck a ton, he’s involved in everything the Sharks do, and on top of that he has a bunch of blocked shots. The Sharks were playing at home against Colorado who just got beat the night before by the Coyotes. 

It seemed like an idea situation for the Sharks to fire on all cylinders. The projections really liked the Avalanche though. Which led me precisely to fire off this tweet…….


I knew he’d be a popular play, but the projections had Colorado as one of the higher scoring teams and had Pickard rated as the best GPP goalie available. 

So I got sucked in to trying to fit Pavelski and Burns into my lineup. I had a lineup I really liked with Pavelski in but not Burns. I had Toffoli, Kucherov, Forsberg, Koivu and Doughty. If you played last night you know how those guys did. Thats at least eight goals including a hat trick and an assist right there without counting for shots and blocked shots. 


The lineup had alot of midranged guys and I got exposure to the Sharks without paying for Burns. The price difference between Doughty and Burns was $2500. That right there was the difference between taking guys like Toffoli, Kucherov and Forsberg and some of the extreme value plays. 

This is exactly the point Bales and company were trying to make. Reaching value is good, and the reason some really low priced guys seem like good values is because they have to do just more than nothing to reach value, and the most expensive players have to do a bunch. Constructing your lineup with a bunch of mid-ranged guys, especially at the forward position is a great idea.

Multi-point games are rare even from the elite players in the league. If you are paying top tier price from a player you need a multi-point game or at the very least a goal and a pile of tertiary points. It’s easier to get home with a lineup full of mid-priced players in good match-ups than it is constantly trying to pay up for the stars. If I followed that advice from Bales and stuck with my original lineup I cash every contest I’m in on DraftKings. I tried to force Burns and Pavelski and was left wanting. Dont make the mistake of paying up if you cant fit a decent roster around those players. Tonight I’m sticking with my mid-ranged guys come hell or high water.

*A side note about the projections. The top two projected GPP goalies the last two nights were Hellebuyck on Sunday and Pickard yesterday. Last night the projections also loved the Avalanche and Nashville. They’ve been on lately. Give them a shot for yourself

Photo: AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt

Adam Jazdzewski

I am the founder and owner of DFS Datalytics. I've been stats minded even as a kid. I used to write down my own stats in NHL '95, I've played season long fantasy sports since the mid 90’s and have made the jump to DFS three seasons ago. I specialize in NHL and NASCAR. Catch my on twitter @LedgerSko and @DFSDatalytics #DataForWinning

ledgersko has 223 posts and counting.See all posts by ledgersko

4 thoughts on “Dont Force It

  • December 29, 2015 at 3:43 PM


    I like your stuff.

    But it’s more than that. As Tony M has said, start with your goalie, build your lineup from there out. Then, I think it is mandatory to stack lines, to take down GPP’s. (Cash is a different animal.) But in GPP’s, it’s so hard to hit on so many different players – regardless of great matchups, and that’s why correlation plays are best IMHO.

    I wish someone would do a book like Bales on hockey, because I’m certain that a study would reveal that stacking is USUALLY the way to go to take down GPP’s.


    Sent from my iPhone


    • December 29, 2015 at 3:45 PM

      True. I was talking more in generally of just putting together a good lineup. On FD it’s a must to stack lines to win GPPs. On DK it’s less so because there is no plus minus.

    • December 29, 2015 at 3:46 PM

      And to respond to the other point there are good d values usually somewhere around 5k. I’d rather punt one forward than one d. I’ve had alot of smart guys say they build net then d and go from there….I’m starting to do that more and pay less for forwards

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