NHL Power Plays 1/4/18

 

We have a monster 12-game slate so we’re going to dig right in. Keep in mind that there’s a huge snowstorm that has already landed on the East Coast so there may be cancellations in the NHL tonight. Keep it locked to our Premium Slack channel for updates as the days wears on.

 

Center

 

Radek Faksa – DAL vs. NJD

DraftKings – $3,300

FanDuel – $3,800

The line of Faksa, Antoine Roussel, and Tyler Pitlick has become one of the favourites of Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock. Through the first 30 games of the season, Faksa played just 13:21 per game but that has jumped nearly three full minutes over the last 10 games to 16:18. Though he obviously doesn’t get the prime top power-play minutes that would be coveted here, that fact is built into his price.

Another issue is the fact that Faksa isn’t a shooter. Over his career, he’s managed just 1.61 shots per game, and his three-year shot rate at five-on-five is just inside the top 40 percent of forwards. That’s not bad, but it isn’t something that makes a DFSer feel safe with regards to a floor. That means he’s largely avoidable in cash games and more of a one-off tournament option.

New Jersey is in town and that’s the big reason for targeting Faksa tonight. The Devils are a very Jekyll and Hyde team with regards to home and road splits; at home they’re allowing the sixth-fewest shot attempts per 60 minutes whereas they’re allowing the most when on the road. Teams are worse on the road in the NHL as they are in any sport, but to fall off that much in relation to the rest of the league is huge. Faksa makes the perfect cheap one-off to use in tournaments given this great matchup.

 

Winger

 

Joel Eriksson Ek – MIN vs. BUF

DraftKings – $3,000

FanDuel – $3,100

Note that Eriksson Ek is a winger on DK but a centre on FanDuel. His preferred use is on DK.

Minnesota is basically healthy for the first time all season, and the thought had been that it would push Eriksson Ek to the fourth line or to the press box. Rather, he’s on the third line with Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle.

Last year, Coyle and Parise played over 361 minutes together with various line mates. In their time together, they were able to degenerate about 18 percent more high-danger shot attempts (12.53 per 60 minutes) than the team average (10.68). Now, most of their minutes were played with Eric Staal, but without Staal on their line, they managed to generate even more than with him (13.78). Regardless of who they played with, they were able to create dangerous shots. That’s good news for Eriksson Ek.

It’s tough to outright stack this line, even in a good matchup like hosting Buffalo. Parise will be playing just his second game back from injury, and that puts his ice time in question (he played under 14 minutes in his first game). Eriksson Ek playing with two good offensive players and getting depth matchups from a lottery team, though, puts him firmly on the list of cheap one-offs for both cash games and tournaments.

 

Defense

 

Jakob Chychrun – ARI vs. NSH

DraftKings – $3,400

FanDuel – $3,800

It has been just 12 games since returning from his off-season knee injury, but Chychrun has been very solid fantasy-wise. He leads the Coyotes blue liners in shot attempts per 60 minutes at five-on-five, he leads them in points per 60 minutes (in a very small sample, mind you), and he leads them in five-on-five ice time per game. He was always expected to be a very good defenseman, but it’s happening quicker than even the most optimistic draftnik could expect. In fact, his leading the team in points/60 minutes and shots/60 minutes extends back to last year as well if we aggregate his age-18 season.

Over Arizona’s last couple of games, Chychrun has been moved to the top power-play unit alongside Ekman-Larsson. That is especially important for tonight’s game as Nashville is by far the leader in giving up power-play opportunities (4.13/game; the next-closest is Minnesota at 3.90). According to Hockeyviz.com, the Preds are particularly weak at giving up shots from the point (likely by design), and Chychrun shoots more with Ekman-Larsson on the ice than the other way around. With his shot rate and power-play time, Chychrun can be used in any format tonight but is best-suited for GPPs given the low-scoring nature of his team.

 

There are a few pricing discrepancies between DraftKings and FanDuel users can take advantage of today.

 

Center

 

Kyle Turris – NSH at ARI

DraftKings – $5,600

FanDuel – $5,000

Since joining the Predators nearly two months ago, Turris has been playing largely with Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala. In their 246+ minutes together on the ice at five-on-five, the team has shot 9.59 percent. That might seem a bit high, but out of the 36 lines league-wide with at least 200 minutes played, they rank outside the top-10 in that regard, coming in 13th. While that number is a bit high, it’s certainly nothing extreme, and definitely not high enough that significant regression is a concern. In the two games since Filip Forsberg’s injury, the team has basically balanced their two power-play units, which means a larger share of available power-play time for Turris. Not coincidentally, but in those two games, Turris has played at least 18:00 in both contests, the first time he had back-to-back outings of 18+ minutes in his Nashville tenure.

Going into Arizona should make the Predators somewhat popular, but “somewhat” is intentionally vague because most road teams on slates this large don’t garner much ownership.  As I’ve written here before, top lines going into Arizona can often be faded to avoid the Oliver Ekman-Larsson/Jason Demers matchup. The second line, however, is in a great spot against the much weaker depth of the Coyotes. Turris and his line mates Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala are in play as one of the best shot-producing lines in the NHL, but Turris can be used as a one-off thanks to an increased role and relatively cheap price compared to the bevy of elite options on FD.

 

Winger

 

Josh Anderson – CBJ at COL (Pricing Discrepancy)

DraftKings – $5,600

FanDuel – $4,900

For this Thursday night slate, Anderson is tied as the 34th-most expensive winger on DraftKings. On FanDuel, he’s tied for the 63rd-most expensive winger (these all include injured players, by the way). That sort of discrepancy is huge and is largely the reason I include them in my weekly columns. It’s not as if Anderson is in a huge slide that FanDuel caught before DraftKings, either, as the winger has three points in his last four games with 11 shots on goal.

Columbus’s top trio of Anderson, Artemi Panarin, and Pierre-Luc Dubois form one of the top offensive lines in the league as they generate the most shot attempts per 60 minutes of any line with at least 200 minutes played, and the 23-year old takes a healthy amount of those shots at 3.21 per game. He also gets a lot of ice time, coming in at 19:51 per game since December 1st.

There isn’t much for matchup concerns here. When Colorado has their top line on the ice, the team allows 59.7 adjusted shot attempts per 60 minutes at five-on-five, and 63.8 when they’re off the ice. Regardless of which line faces Anderson’s, they should be able to generate offense. While a stack is fine here, Anderson’s shot volume, ice time, and price discrepancy make him a cash-game target on FanDuel.

 

Defense

 

Ivan Provorov – PHI vs. NYI (Pricing Discrepancy)

DraftKings – $4,700

FanDuel – $4,500

Though they played a little over four games together, the defense pair of Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere has been very good together; the team controls 51.6 percent of the shot share with them on the ice compared to 47.7 percent with them off the ice. On the season, that particular pairing has been on the ice for 61.05 shot attempts per 60 minutes against 56 when they’re off the ice, and control 55.6 percent of the shot share against 51.2 percent when off the ice. All this is to say that the Flyers have been better in all facets when these two skate together (unsurprisingly).

One thing Provorov does is provide a nice floor. He averages 2.33 shots per game and 2.31 blocks per game, which is a nice safety blanket to have for a guy priced in the mid-$4,000 range on FD. This is a good matchup for point production, too, as the Islanders allow the fourth-most adjusted shot attempts at five-on-five per 60 minutes in the league and have the seventh-highest expected goals against.

I suspect that even on a huge slate like this, given the matchup, there will be some ownership on the Flyers’ top line and Gostisbehere. Going with Provorov not only saves you money – particularly on FanDuel – but it helps differentiate in tournaments a bit. He doesn’t get those coveted top PP minutes, so Provorov is better used as a one-off than part of the aforementioned stack, but the savings he provides, relatively speaking, on FanDuel make it hard for him to ignore in any format.

 


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