This is the first hockey season that I am making a concerted effort to play more daily games. Usually, I find myself just not having the time it takes to study and do the research to put in a competitive lineup, one that I would feel comfortable spending money on. What games do I prefer to play? Well, since I have just started with a small bankroll, I have been playing 50/50 games. For those of you who don’t know, that is a game in which you only need to finish in the top half of all players to win cash. If there are 20 players, the Top 10 will all be paid the same amount. It’s a good way to get started and to build up some cash.
My strategy for setting up a lineup is generally pretty simple. I build from the goalie on out. I’m going to check each game that day and look at the goalie matchups. What goalies do I like? Once I limit it down to a few net minders, I will check to make sure they are starting that night. This is important; the last thing you want to do is start a goalie that isn’t going to play that night. Don’t ever assume who the starter will be. Do I automatically pick the best goalie? No, I’m looking for value, and I’m also looking for a goalie playing against weaker opposition. At this point in time, I’ve been picking against the Buffalo Sabres. Last night, I started Bruins’ backup Niklas Svedberg against them. Some might find this to be risky, starting a backup goaltender over more established backstops like Marc-Ander Fleury, Carey Price, or Cory Schneider; but saving the $1000 in salary allowed me to start another superstar forward (Steven Stamkos). Was I expecting a shutout from Svedberg? No, but I wanted a good competitive game out of him and was then banking on Stamkos to more than make up the difference.
I like to stack my lineup against weaker teams (Buffalo, Carolina, Arizona) that are playing the second half of back-to-back nights if possible. You always want to start players against lousy teams, but on back-to-back nights those teams are even more tired and probably don’t have the depth to cover up for it.
I always want to get as many stars into my lineup as possible. My last bit of strategy is to generally go cheap on defense. This isn’t exactly a revelation, as quite a few DFS players do this. I’m looking for defenders who won’t hurt my plus-minus, but also those who will get some power play time. The Bruins Dennis Seidenberg will be a must-start for me until his teammates Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara return. His price is just too good.
Daily Fantasy Games can be addicting, so be careful and make sure you trust wherever you get your information from. I don’t play every day; I avoid nights when there aren’t all that many games, or nights when I won’t be home to watch the action. If I’m home and surfing through all the games, why not play a $10 or $20 tournament?
One last thing I like to do. This certainly isn’t very strategic, just a personal preference. All things being equal and if I’m planning on watching all the games, including the late ones, I like to have one player on my roster from one of those late games, just so that I have someone who can help me come from behind to cash if I need it. Now, I wouldn’t take a lesser player just to fill this preference, but something I do look to do to keep myself interested.
One question I keep getting – What position the Sharks Brent Burns should be placed at? Burns has been a defenseman for most of his career, occasionally playing forward when team needs required it, but last season he played wing full time. That meant that coming into this season quite a few sites had Burns as a wing/forward even though the Sharks had stated that Burns would move back to defense full-time this season. As a defenseman, an argument could be made that Burns will finish in the Top 10, maybe even Top 5; but for Fantasy purposes he’s a forward playing defense, which will see his value plummet dramatically. What can be done? Unless your constitution specifically states that a player starting a game gets that position’s designation after a certain amount of games, there is nothing you can do. You should never change Fantasy rules of any sort in midstream unless everyone, and I do mean everyone, in your league agrees to it. The owner that drafted Burns, or acquired him, should’ve known the rules and done his homework.
The Kings are a bit of a mess right now. They are smack up against the cap and can’t afford to bring in any players to replace the injured Anze Kopitar and the suspended Slava Voynov. This had led them to decide to play shorthanded for now, not a big deal as long as everyone remaining on the roster stays healthy, but a big problem should any more nagging, day-to-day injuries occur. As for Marian Gaborik, who hasn’t played since Oct. 12, he has finally started to practice again this week, but is still not ready to return to the lineup; maybe this weekend.
You can feel free to follow me on Twitter, @georgekurtz.