This article discusses building lineups for both cash games and GPPs.
Cash games are a general term used across the industry for your 50/50s, double-ups and head-to-head matches.
GPPs (guaranteed prize pool) are generally all other larger field tournaments and feature more top-heavy payouts.
When playing cash games, we are looking for guaranteed points—aka players with “high floors”—that are unlikely to leave us with extremely low scores even on a slow night. The idea is to simply produce a solid, well balanced team. Upside is still important, but you want to avoid “all-or-nothing” targets.
GPPs are different. In our GPPs we are not interested in safe plays as payouts get bigger as you finish higher. That’s why GPPs are all about UPSIDE. We want players who can explode and specifically lines or pairings of players that will correlate well in fantasy production.
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Cash Games – Simply put, DraftKings scoring rewards goalies who see a lot of shots. Win bonuses (+6 points) are important, and in cash games you’ll often still want to target goalies who are favorites on the moneyline as often as possible. However, while wins are nice for our goalie stats, heavy shot volume alone can also lead to solid production even if your goalie takes the loss.
Since we now get 7 DK points for every 10 shots our goalie stops — 0.7 per save — looking at opposing teams shot volume is a good way to start scouting for goalies in any format. Paying up for a goalie who is a heavy favorite on the moneyline, but is going up against a team that doesn’t produce a ton of shots on goal, means you may be left with only a slight chance of hitting the 35+ save bonus (+5 points) and a really poor outing if your goalie happens to lose.
GPPs – In GPPs, you can lean even more heavily towards goalies who will be likely to face a ton of shots, even at the expense of some win probability. Since goalies now have the ability to rack up both win and SOG bonuses on DraftKings, searching for those cheap starters who will give us a chance at both bonuses, and still allow us flexibility at other roster positions, should be the focus.
In big GPPs, taking goalies whose teams are underdogs on the moneyline can often be a fine strategy as they’ll often be cheaper and also potentially under-owned in big field GPPs. Balancing risk with upside is still important but leaning more towards goalies who we know will be under heavy fire all night — and are likely to produce a monster performance if they play well — should be the goal here.
Cash Games – Since forwards derive most of their points from shooting and point totals, valuing Shots on Goal (“SOG”) totals, potential power-play exposure and pure minutes played should all be heavily considered when looking for good forward targets.
Forwards will often get moved around a lot so watching for players who are cheaply priced but may be getting bumped up onto their teams top-line for a night—due to injury or a coach’s decision—can be a key factor in looking for solid cash game forwards. As DraftKings awards points for SOG — and a SOG bonus for 5 or more shots — we want forwards who won’t just be playing a lot but will be playing in situations where they’ll be likely to have lots of opportunities to rack up SOG.
GPPs – One of the main differences in looking for forwards to target in GPPs vs. cash games is that stacking — rostering more than one member of a specific line or power-play unit on your DraftKings roster — becomes a much more viable and necessary strategy in GPPs.
One reason why this strategy is effective is that it allows you a better chance at achieving the DraftKings point-scoring bonus (3 points scored by a player = +3 DraftKings points) across multiple players. A good stacking strategy therefore means looking for players with good offensive connections, who play together for large periods of time at both even strength and on the power-play (with the power-play time being the most important). These players will then have a strong chance at racking up an assist when one of their line-mates scores a goal (and vice versa).
One final note, if you’re ever having trouble between deciding between two players, it’s generally best to use the one with better goal scoring and SOG upside (as opposed to a high assist player). The higher-volume shooters simply give you a chance at hitting both the hat trick and SOG bonuses, which often feature on GPP winning lineups.
Cash Games – Here we want players who have scoring potential across all the major categories. Defensemen differ from forwards in that most do not feature high SOG rates but give us far better Blocked Shot potential. The real gems for our cash game lineups will have some kind of power-play exposure, be decent shooters, while also featuring as top blocked-shot producers among defensemen in the league standings.
Depending on the slate you can go with elite (expensive) or value play options, but if you’re going cheap a good rule of thumb is to ensure your target has a decent history of achieving the blocked shot bonus on DraftKings (+3 points for three blocked shots) or will be seeing an increase in ice-time or power-play exposure.
GPPs – Here we can weigh power-play exposure a little more as the key to achieving a big night for defensemen still lies with their ability to deliver us points — while still scoring in the Blocked Shot and SOG categories.
Looking for defensemen who will be playing big minutes alongside some of your forward selections on the power play is also a good idea as you’ll have a better chance of seeing correlated scoring from your group if they end up potting a goal or two with the man-advantage.
Roster construction in Daily Fantasy Hockey will vary on a night-to-night basis. However, ensuring you understand the intricacies of DraftKings scoring system, and how to apply it to your research, should give you a solid basis with which to start successful lineup construction.