In today’s big DFS world, football is the biggest of the DFS money winner. Hockey is new to this world as far as DFS is going. A lot of people have not ventured into this arena yet as they don’t understand the sport, which is the same for me and NBA. This guide is to help people understand the format of NHL DFS in both Draftkings & FanDuel. So let’s get into it.
Knowing what games to play is important to your success and similar to table selection in poker. The most common tournaments are guaranteed prize pools (GPP) with large playing fields or 50/50 tournaments where half of the playing field doubles their money.
Small leagues are also popular because the winning scores tend to be lower than what you’ll find in the big GPPs. There are also a lot of contests that pay out 3X, 4X, 5X or 10X the buy-in. A lot of these aren’t worth playing in until your bankroll grows larger.
I recommend focusing on 50/50 cash games initially. To lower your variance enter your line-up into multiple small buy-in events rather than one big one. For instance putting your line up in 3 different 50/50 where it is an entry field of 100 is a good idea. As you only have to beat 49 other people to cash. The more 50/50 cash games you enter, the better your chance of cashing. When you first start out, focus on the larger 50/50 games (100 players).
You should also play a single line-up initially while learning the ropes. Your bankroll will grow at a small rate unless you hit a top ten finish in a GPP, which can be frustrating, but remember that this isn’t a sprint. As your bankroll grows the amount you’ll win will also. Unlike GPP play where you will need a lot of exposure to many lineup combinations, in the 50/50 as in football, you just want higher scoring players at each position as opposed to stacking lines. More on that later.
“Knowing the scoring format of each site, DK and FD respectively are very important. Each site is different in their own way. So a lineup that you play on FD might cash, but the same lineup in DK might not. So let’s look a little at the scoring formats of each site.”
Fanduel Scoring System
- Goals = 12pts
- Assists = 8pts
- Blocked Shots = 1.6pts
- Shorthanded = 2pts
- Power-play Points = 0.5 pt
- Shots on Goal = 1.6 pt
- Wins = 12 pts
- Goals Against = -4 pt
- Saves = 0.8 pt
- Shutouts = 8pts
Draftkings Scoring System
Players will accumulate points as follows:
- Goal = +3 PTS
- Assist = +2 PTS
- Shot on Goal = +0.5 PTS
- Blocked Shot = +0.5 PTS
- Short Handed Point Bonus (Goal/Assist) = +1 PTS
- Shootout Goal = +0.2 PTS
- Hat Trick Bonus = +1.5 PTS
- Goalies only will accumulate points as follows:
- Win = +3 PTS
- Save = +0.2 PTS
- Goal Against = -1 PTS
- Shutout Bonus = +2 PTS
Goalie Scoring Notes:
Goalies WILL receive points for all stats they accrue, including goals and assists.
The Goalie Shutout Bonus is credited to goalies if they complete the entire game with 0 goals allowed in regulation + overtime. Shootout goals will not prevent a shutout. The goalie must complete the entire game to get credit for a shutout.
Notice the difference here? Goalies get points for assists and goals, whereas, on FanDuel, they do not. They offer more ways to score points, but if your goalie is not so hot, you can lose a lot too. As you can see they offer points for Hat Tricks, shootout goals, blocked shots, and shorthanded points, which is a big difference than FanDuel. But building a winning 50/50 line on DraftKings is tough, as scoring is different and they use the utility position here. Again, more on the lineup building soon.
Fanduel Lineup Building
Building that lineup that you can get some cash with is tough. The first thing I suggest is coming to Scout Fantasy Sports and picking the brains of the NHL experts. We put a lot of research in our lineups, and we can help answer questions you have. So let’s look at lineup building for each site.
Fanduel has changed their format from last season, Instead of 2 LW and 2 RW, now you can have four players that are just wingers. So you have to pick:
- 4 – Wingers (LW or RW)
- 2 – Center
- 2 – Defense
- 1 – Goalie
How do you go about building your lineup? Well, the easy answer is research. But you are new to this, so you don’t know where to look or where to go, or what to look for. So, next answer is the premium forums on Scout. We do the research for you and help you in constructing your lineup.
When building a FanDuel lineup for a 50/50, you want to look at the games that night. If you have two teams playing each other that are the top two teams in the NHL, you can expect a low scoring game, and most likely would fade all their players, except the goalie, as he might have a higher chance of getting the win and or shutout. Another good piece of advice is to watch out for stacking players. Unlike a GPP, you don’t need to stack three or four players from one game. That can sink your lineup, and in a 100 player 50/50, you only need to get 50 or higher to cash. So the guy with the highest score wins the same amount as you do. A look at building a lineup.
On FanDuel, you have $55,000 to spend on all players. Like a GPP you have to find value plays to fill in a winning lineup. It is hard to suggest punting a position on FD but if you must, look for a low played D man that is not on the ice that much and a winger the same. But it is very rare that you will have to punt, due to the amount of players at good value. I go about building my cash lineup as follows.
“When building your line-up in NHL DFS, you need to target your goalie first. Your goalie is the most important player on your team, as they score the most points on average. If your goalie doesn’t get the win, you’ll find that it’s tough to cash in any DFS NHL format.”
Offense – I look for players who are on the top power play units and are known to shoot a ton, also playing against a team with a weak Defense. Those are my top three players. This does not mean I am going to spend top dollar, but these three are going to be my bread and butter. Most of the time I do a two player stack out of the three depending on the match-up. If for instance, the Pittsburgh Penguins are playing the Toronto Maple Leafs, I might stack Phil Kessel with Carl Hagelin. They are linemates, plus on the top power play unit. I doubt I will use anyone else from this game, as you do not want to tie your entire lineup into one game.
As for my other Players, I always look for value. Guys that I expect to be medium owned have a mid to low range cost but are on a top team that is winning at a good pace. Again I am not looking to own all the best players, cause A, you can’t afford them all, and B a lot of the top players by cost are on the same team. You must diversify. I look for a fairly good amount of Time On Ice or TOI, and a middle of the pack points per game rate. I am investing in my top three guys to give me the points, and my middle three to chip in with the booster points as I call them.
Defense – I look for lower cost D-men who are on a good scoring streak, but their cost is low. I look for teams where one of their top two D-men might not be playing. This is going to allow for one of the lower cost guys to be bumped up to the main line pairing. I do this mainly because they have a good chance of being on the ice while their team scores. Also, they have a good chance of seeing time on the power play unit. Which is helpful. A guy like Olli Maatta, who cost around 4k on FD is a second line pairing Dman; I might use him based on his cost, the possibility he is on the ice when his team scores a lot. If he can score me 12 points that night overall, he has, in my mind, outperformed his value. I won’t get into performance value.
Goalie – The goaltenders, as mentioned above, is highly important. You will not want to punt this position. I normally build around a strong goalie, but in 50/50 I look for a good play, with value, in a good match up as well. Holtby or Fleury can’t win every game, and some nights their matchup is not that great. I like to find a starting goalie that is on a nice streak, playing at home (as playing at home is a big up) and playing either a team on a downslide or the back end of a back-to-back. In most cases, I spend between 7k to 9k at this position. Except for a goalie, that is on a huge hot streak. Even then it can be risky. Always check the Vegas lines as well as the goalie’s record against the team he is playing.
Draftkings Lineup Building
A look at setting up a DraftKings lineup is a bit different. On DraftKings you have:
- 2 – Centers
- 3 – Wingers (Left or Right don’t matter)
- 2 – Defenseman
- 1 – Goalie
- 1 – Utility (Can be any position but goalie)
Like FD, the goalie is very important. He can get you negative points, so you want to choose wisely. Same concept on DK, you don’t want a low-end goalie on a horrible team. He can cause you to miss out on cashing. Yep, one player can do that. You don’t always have to pay up for the best, but on DK it is easier to do so based on their scoring format. I will explain in a minute.
Here is where you can see how DraftKings and FanDuel are very different. Unlike FanDuel, your goalie can score offensive points. This opens you up to a larger choice of players. Having a good player from a bad team, well it pays off better here. For lineup construction, you want to look at the following
Offense – It is beneficial to stack in a 50/50 on DK, But as in FD you don’t want to over stack a team. Your team could score one goal, and all three of those players might not be part of that one goal. So it is good to be very diverse on your offense. Again just because he is worth a lot to pay up for him, does not mean you have to get him. Look for value on offense, even in 50/50. I like to look for a third line player or even a player that is mainly used on the Penalty Kill on a highly penalized team. Why? You ask. Well, he has a better chance to block shots and get you that .5 points for doing so. Also, that third line guy is also a good portion of the time on the second power-play unit. Another little trick I like to do is look up guys that have scored shorthanded. Nothing like having a guy that is low owned and he gets your a shorthanded goal. Remember that goal gives you a nice four points, that most others won’t get.
Defense – I use the Powerplay/Penalty Kill approach to my defense. I mix them up. I take one defenseman that is on the top power-play unit, like a Kris Letang, cause he is more likely to get a power-play assist and or goal. Then I like to get a defenseman that is on the top Penalty Kill unit of a highly penalized team. He is more likely to get you that blocked shot bonus and has the opportunity to score you a shorthanded goal. Sometimes one player can be on both top PP/PK unit. Which is money in the bank if he gets points on either.
Goalies – As mentioned above, try not to get a goalie on a highly penalized team. This can surely hurt your chances for a goalie getting the win, plus you have a better chance of scoring very low if not in the negative for this guy. Check Vegas lines and try to get a goalie with a good chance for the win. Also look for mismatched teams. For instance, If the Penguins are playing the Coyotes, your chance for the win is higher, as the Coyotes are younger, and have a lesser defense. As in the FanDuel choice, if a team is on a nice winning streak, or a goalie just totally owns a team, you will want to look at putting him on your team.
Utility – This is a fun little position to have. It is hard to say who to use here. It can be a center, a winger or a D-man. This is also the position I decide if I do want the 3rd guy from a team, but that is not always a good thing. In GPP games, sure, in a 50/50 or any cash game, not so much. I like to look for value here. Find a guy that is low cost, on a great team that is favored to win, and is either on the power-play or penalty kill unit. This position can make your team.
The one thing about a 50/50 type cash game, is that most players you take will be high owned. And that is okay. If he is more the 50-percent owned, then you know that you along with at least 50 other people will crash or burn with him. But you want diversity; sometimes you want the 5 percent owned guy in your lineup. This is just a quick look at building a lineup and what to look for. This in no way is an advanced guide, just a run down of how the game of NHL DFS works. As always, use the chat rooms to help you in building winning lineups, before you know it, you will be an expert and cashing out in GPPs. Remember you should start in cash games like 50/50 or 2x multipliers. Don’t dive right into GPPs as you will be depositing into your account instead of withdrawing from it.
Thank you for reading, and I hope I helped you a little into understanding the sport I love and the side of DFS I love even more.