UPDATE as of 2PM EST: New promotions just added for kick off (see bottom for details)
It's finally here… After much anticipation, DraftStreet opened up their site to NHL contests yesterday. Here are my thoughts on the launch, along with some advice on who to target as you get settled in on DraftStreet puck action.
First off, when you're getting familiar with the league, get to know the system. Rosters feature the usual 2 spots at all 4 skater positions (LW,RW,C,D), along with 1 goaltender. Draftstreet throws in a flex position that allows you to add any skater. Sorry, no doubling up on goaltenders.
The point system is well-balanced and doesn't over-emphasize goalie wins or plus-minus (both are good features in my book). A quick run through the FPPG shows that, as usual, goalies tend to carry the most value (expect 7 FPPG on a decent night), while defensemen barely register (1 to 3 points). A decent forward with earn you 3 to 5 fantasy points a night. Of course, salaries also reflect points, so goalies will cost you much more than defense.
That said, your best general approach is always pick the goalie with the best chance of winning. However, with a high value on saves (.3) versus goals against (-1), it's not a total loss to grab a goalie likely to get peppered with shots. Consider:
- A decent game - 30 save win, 2 GA --> 10 points
- A busy loss - 40 saves, 4 GA --> 8 points
- A bad game - 10 saves, 3 GA --> 0 points
There can be a huge variance in goalie salaries, so there is a balance to consider. On opening night (Tuesday), I was able to claim Anton Khudobin (MIN) for $5,831, while Tim Thomas (BOS) was going for $23,201. Both ended up being worthy picks last night, but I saved $15k to stock up elsewhere. That's a rare situation, but there are obviously bargains to be found.
As for defense, I don't recommend spending much coin. You'll find plenty of decent options in the $5k to $7k territory, leaving you ample space to load up your roster with higher scoring forwards.
In general, pricing seems to be closely tied to past performance, versus projected performance. Grant Clitsome (D-COB) is just 14 games into his NHL experience (3 this season) and was the 3rd highest priced defenseman on opening night. That won't last. In other words, don't blindly assume the best players are the most expensive.
Assessing the Field
Of course, one of the keys to success on any site is finding value in your picks. There's always a grossly undervalued gem, an overpriced defenseman to avoid (see above), and a handful of players worth targeting in the middle. Here are my early notes on who to target:
Even though he's temporarily out of commission, Jimmy Howard is a good find at $15.6k. He's expected back in action later this week, and if there's not a price correction, keep him on your radar. Jonathan Quick is another somewhat surprising name to find at the bottom of your scroll list. The Kings have been losing lately, and Bernier's been seeing more action, but Quick still has significant value at $15.3k.
Even though he comes at a high cost, I can't stay away from Daniel Sedin. Target the twin every chance you get, then find some value with a few of these options:
- Ville Leino (PHI) - $7.9k
- Taylor Hall (EDM) - $8.1k
- Milan Lucic (BOS) - $7.7k
And while he's disappointed fantasy owners so far, I think the biggest steal at this position is Simon Gagne (TB) at a mere $5.2k. He's starting to turn the corner, having scored 3 goals in his last 3 games. Expect his value to steadily climb, so use him while he's cheap.
Generally, you should have plenty of cap to put at least one player over $10k, if not both. However, if you're needing a more economic option, consider Claude Giroux ($8k). Come next season, he'll be one of the priciest options for sure. As a rule, he's undervalued on just about every site. Some others to target under $10k:
- Justin Williams (LA) - $9.9k
- Jason Pominville (BUF) - $7.8k - he continues to make up for his slow start
- Nathan Horton (BOS) - $8.6k
Regardless of the price, if Stamkos is on the schedule, he's in my lineup. His opening price was a hefty $14.2k, but worth the investment. Here's some cheaper alternatives for the other open slot:
- Mike Richards (PHI) - $9k
- Matt Duchesne (COL) - $9.4k
Finally, here are some names in that $5k to $7k range to keep in mind while filling out your defense spots:
- Brent Burns (MIN) - $6.1k
- John Carlson (WAS) - $5.5k
- Drew Doughty (LA) - $6.7k
- John-Michael Liles (COL) - $6.5k
As with other daily fantasy sports sites, we will soon be adding Draftstreet to our War Room, giving you our target picks, strategies, starting goalie analysis, and top scorer reports based on their scoring system. Look for that later this week. In the meantime, stop by Draftstreet and try it out. They have free leagues running each day if you're not interested in diving into the money games.
Please use my referral code (LANDSHARK) when you register.
Promotions (Update from this morning)
Just got this from the crew at Draftstreet:
Fantasy NHL leagues are now available and to celebrate the launch we are offering a FREE contest with $400 in cash prizes! On top of this, we will also be offering an exclusive deposit bonus. To register for the freeroll, select the “private leagues” option at the top of the lobby and click on the “NHL” Freeroll. When prompted for a password, enter DSNHL.
Check out our NHL fantasy scoring system on the rules page (https://www.draftstreet.com/rules.aspx) and make sure to set a legal lineup before the scoring period starts this Thursday, Jan 20 at 7:00pm ET.
Also, if you use my promo code "LANDSHARK" when registering, you will get a 30% bonus on your deposit.