NHL Rookie - Lesson 02 - Stats to Start - Skaters

All skaters on the ice have the same ability to accrue fantasy points. However, different positions and team styles can create increased opportunities for certain players to produce. Below is a breakdown of all skater positions, with stats to start for each.

Centers

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Because there is only one position in DraftKings DFS Hockey that makes up center ©, as opposed to wingers (W) being comprised of both right wingers and left wingers, picking solid centers is imperative to building a winning DraftKings lineup. On a packed night of action, one where there is more than five or six games being contested, you will find about five elite-level centers to target. Those are centers who are averaging more than 4.0 FPTS per game. Their salary cap hit will vary, but most will be $7,000 and above. These centers in this price range are typically the “Number One” center on their team and will see the most ice time and the most opportunity at both even strength and on the power play (PP). Even though you do not receive points on DraftKings for power play points (PPP), having players on your roster that see significant PP time is a bonus because of the increased goal scoring opportunity.

When it comes to mid-level and value centers, considering players that are on point streaks or centers who are moving up on their team’s depth chart is a sound strategy. The mid-level centers are going to be the players who are generally playing in the middle-six, or 2nd and 3rd line, roles on their teams. However, it’s important to research which mid-range centers see significant PP time for their team, as that always brings added opportunity.

STATS TO START

Goals – Goals are always going to be the most valuable stat for skaters. Worth 3 FPTS, finding centers who contribute at even strength and on the PP will give a lineup great upside.

Assists – Assists account for 2 FPTS, so looking for an active center on a high-scoring team, who also plays on the PP is never a bad option, as they will have a number of opportunities to set up their teammates.


Wingers

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There are twice as many wingers on any given night as there are centers in the player pool, giving us more of an opportunity to find quality, value-priced options. That means on most busy game nights there will be a significant number of impact wingers (high-end and mid-level) that you will be able to choose from, compared to a more limited amount of high-level centers. This is why having impact wingers is important. Wingers tend to be more shooting oriented, and thus tend to be the top goal-scorers on most teams.

The great thing about the fact that there are so many wingers is that even when you have wingers who play on the top line of their team, they might not necessarily cost anywhere near what the other elite-level players at the position will cost. If you can get one high-level winger and then additionally find another top-six winger that is less then $6,000 (or even lower than $5,000), that is an ideal fit. Again with all wingers, as with centers, you want to keep tabs on the players who are getting PP time. You might come across a third-line winger on a team who is a value player that costs less than $5,000, but is skating on a team’s first or second PP unit every game. That is the ideal third or fourth (UTIL) winger.

STATS TO START

Shots On Goal – Every shot on goal will account for 0.5 FPTS, so targeting wingers who put the puck on net often is never a bad idea. Not only do the FPTS accumulate quickly for shots on goal, but the opportunity for a goal or an assist increases each time the puck is put on net.

Goals – Same as with the center position above, goals scored are the top way for your skaters to accrue FPTS. Worth 3 FPTS, finding wingers who put the puck on goal (and in the goal) often at both even strength and the PP is a worthwhile strategy.


Defense

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When it comes to defense there is a significant drop-off in offensive production, with only a few really elite-level producers. You will find that the vast majority of defenders will fall into the mid-level and value level of salary range. The thing to remember with defensemen is that you want to try and target the ones that are well-rounded. While you will have the top-tier, elite-level defenders who will produce top point numbers, you want to consider the defenders that give you a solid blend of peripheral categories as well – shots on goal and blocked shots.

Don’t forget that when it comes to DraftKings scoring, a blocked shot is equally as valuable as a SOG. So a defenseman that has two SOG and two blocked shots is equal to the forward who had one assist and did nothing else. As with forwards at both positions, but most-similar to centers, you want to consider the defensemen who are seeing significant time at even strength with the top lines of their team and who are also seeing significant PP time. Depending on the team, you might come to find that only two defensemen get PP time, depending on how they set their lineup, so targeting defensemen who see even second unit PP time could be essential to that defenseman scoring points for your lineup.

STATS TO START

Shots On Goal – Offensive-minded defensemen are often great players to target. As mentioned with wingers, shots on goal will give a player 0.5 FPTS. Finding defensemen who are active shooters, and who are also on one of the two PP units will give us upside from the position.

Blocked Shots – Similar to the way wingers accrue points for shots on goal, a skater will accumulate 0.5 FPTS for every shot they block.

 


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is HardingJ2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.