3 Daily Fantasy NHL Stacks for 1/20/21
In daily fantasy hockey, stacking is a key strategy in tournaments. We want to correlate our lineups with up to four players to maximize our upside, as if one player on a line is scoring goals, it's likely that his linemates are getting assists as well. Ideally, we'll want players that will get a lot of ice time together on an even-strength line and a power-play line. Two good resources for line combinations are LeftWingLock.com and DailyFaceoff.com, so be sure to check those sites for up to date line information.
We’ve got a typical mid-sized Wednesday slate with five games on it, so let’s look at some lines we can stack that have the upside we need to win tournaments.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs are at the top of the North division after four games, as many expected them to be. They're also expected to be a high scoring team, and they've scored at least three goals in every game thus far. The top two lines are always what we want to target for the Leafs, and there's been an interesting development there. John Tavares ($8,400) now has a higher salary than Auston Matthews ($7,900) due to early-season performance. Gone are the days where you can play both and get the correlation, as they no longer play on the same power-play unit. So if you have to choose one, I still prefer the Matthews unit. Matthews and his main running mate Mitch Marner ($7,800) are second and third in minutes on the team, averaging close to six minutes more per game than Tavares. Matthews also has 40 shot attempts already this season, no other player in the league has more than 29, per Natural Stat Trick.
Both lines are viable in this game against the Edmonton Oilers tonight. The Oilers have been the disaster defensively that a lot of people thought they would be heading into the season. They've allowed the most shot attempts per 60 minutes and the second most shots on goal per 60. The Maple Leafs have the highest implied goal total today, sitting at 3.57.
Tavares' linemate William Nylander ($6,800) is also off to a hot start and comes at $1000 lower than Marner, but also is getting seven minutes less of ice time per game. Each of the lines has an inexpensive third wheel that gets way less ice time than the other two players, and it's another point in the favor of the Matthews line as Joe Thornton ($4,400) will play on the power play as well. The Leafs should be able to put up some goals tonight, so even if the first line might be better, the second line could be a preferred choice over some other teams' first line.
The Montreal Canadiens are a tricky team to stack, but a team that you'll probably want a piece of tonight. They are tricky because the forward lines don't always correlate at both even strength and on the power play. The first line has Brendan Gallagher ($7,100) and Tomas Tatar ($6,200), and while they correlate on the second power play, their center Phillip Danault ($4,600) doesn't get any power playtime. They also don't get the run that a first line normally does, as both Tatar and Gallagher have averaged under 15 minutes a game so far this season. You can still use them, however, as Gallagher is one of the best players at generating good scoring chances, finishing second in individual expected goals per 60 minutes last season. Tatar has been off to a hot start, with three goals in the first three games, and is also a player who isn't shy about shooting.
The second line is more affordable and can be used with another, more expensive stack. Nick Suzuki ($5,900) could be taking a second-year leap, with a point in all three games to start the season. He's flanked by Jonathan Drouin ($4,700) and Josh Anderson ($4,600), two players who are good values at their salaries. Suzuki and Drouin are on the same power-play unit, and you can also use Shea Weber ($5,600) for his bomb of a shot on the PP. This would be useful against a Vancouver Canucks team that hasn't been good on the penalty kill so far this season, killing just 66.67% of their penalties.
The Canadiens implied team total is up to 3.44, the second-highest on the slate. This means that we're likely to see goals, we just have to figure where they'll come from, and one of the top lines is a good bet.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights are off to a 3-0 start, although they haven't been totally dominating games like many expected. They'll play the same Arizona Coyotes that had a two goal lead over them on Monday night, that required Vegas to score three in the third period to get the win. Most of that came through Vegas' first line of Max Pacioretty ($8,300), Mark Stone ($7,400) and Chandler Stephenson ($3,800). Stephenson and Pacioretty each had a goal, and Stone chipped in with one assist. This line is leading the league in this early part of the season with four goals at even strength. It's good that they've done that, because Vegas has yet to score a power play goal in the three games. The even strength dominance has made Stephenson a useful component of this line, so at his low salary he is usable even if he doesn't get any PP time.
Vegas has the third highest implied team total on the slate. The Coyotes have not been as good defensively so far this season as they were in the previous two, as they've allowed the third most expected goals per 60 minutes to start the year. The Golden Knights are sixth in expected goals rate themselves, so this game sets up nicely for them. This sets up well for Pacioretty particularly, as he was ninth in individual expected goals rate last season. He's also been off to a great start, scoring a goal and getting at least five shots on goal in every game this season. The last piece of this stack would be defenseman Shea Theodore ($6,100). He had the third highest shot attempt rate for any defenseman last season and if the power play was to get going, it could be through him.
Vegas is usually going to be in play when facing one of the weaker teams in their division, and that's the case here tonight. We haven't seen a total explosion from them yet, but a team with this much talent won't continue to be scoreless on the power play, so we want to keep rostering them for when that explosion does occur.
Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.