DFS strategy, lineups for Round 5
The fifth round of the free-to-enter NHL Yahoo Cup runs on Thursday, and there’s still time to join the contest and win your share of $5,000 if you haven’t already.
It’s an interesting night for DFS purposes, as even though there are nine games scheduled, only two feature an over-under total of six goals or more.
Even with the majority of games projected to be low-scoring affairs, there are certainly some teams I’m looking to stack for my lineup.
Here are three options for Round 5 of the NHL Yahoo Cup.
The Boston Bruins haven’t played since Saturday and are tied with the New York Islanders for the fewest number of games played this season (7), but I think the rest will do them some good against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.
Despite the lack of action, Boston’s top players have largely played well. Brad Marchand has recorded four goals and eight points, David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall each have five points, while Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy have both netted three points. All five of these players are featured on the Bruins’ power play, which will match up against a Detroit penalty kill that ranks ninth-worst in the NHL. The Red Wings are also allowing the third-most goals per game (3.40) of any team in the league.
At centre, I also went with Chandler Stephenson from the Vegas Golden Knights. I know the squad’s offense looked horrendous in its shutout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, but Stephenson has seen 19 minutes of ice time in six of his last seven outings, and as long as he has a top-six and first power-play unit role, I’m interested. He’s also tallied five points in his last four contests, which isn’t bad at all.
On defense, I selected Keith Yandle. He’s currently quarterbacking the Philadelphia Flyers’ second power-play unit, but he’s acclimated well to his new team. He has five points across eight games, and even though he’s been held scoreless in five straight, he has fired three shots in three of his last four contests.
Between the pipes, I selected Jeremy Swayman as the Bruins are heavily favoured over the Wings. He’s only made three appearances so far this season, but aside from a brutal outing against the Flyers in his second start, he’s been good. Additionally, due to limited resources, I’m also rolling with 21-year-old Joel Hofer of the St. Louis Blues. The youngster will likely be making his first-ever NHL start, but he’s not short on big-game experience. He backstopped Canada to a World Juniors gold medal in 2020 and took home best goaltender honours for the tournament. Hofer has played four games in the AHL with the Springfield Thunderbirds in 2021-22 and has posted an impressive .936 save percentage and a 1.74 goals-against-average.
Option 2: All-in on Vegas Stack
The Golden Knights were just shut out by the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, but I think the team’s top players make for a fine stack against the Ottawa Senators.
None of Vegas’ players figure to be heavily-rostered on Thursday, but the Sens have emerged as a team that DFS players should try to pick on. Ottawa owns the fourth-worst Corsi-for percentage in the NHL, according to Natural Stat Trick, meaning its opponents are typically the ones controlling the pace of play. Stephenson, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, Alec Martinez, and Shea Theodore are all featured on the Golden Knights’ power play, which is a good thing as the Senators have the seventh-worst penalty kill in the NHL.
I picked Mathew Barzal as he’s a member of the Islanders’ top power-play unit, and the Isles’ opponent, the Montreal Canadiens, have the third-worst penalty kill in the league.
Considering I had some extra funds with all the money I saved on the extremely cost-friendly Golden Knights stack, I paid up in net and went with Robin Lehner and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vegas is a road favourite at Ottawa while the Tampa Bay Lightning are actually an underdog in Toronto against the Leafs, but Vasilevskiy is capable of stealing a game at any time and on a night where he’s not the most expensive goalie on the board, he’s worth taking.
Option 3: Battle of Pennsylvania Stack
If you’re a big believer in historical trends, then the Battle of Pennsylvania stack is what you’re looking for.
The Flyers and Penguins have combined for six goals or more in eight of their last nine meetings. With that in mind, I filled out all of my forward spots exclusively with members of the two teams. Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, and Travis Konecny combine on both the Flyers’ first line and top power-play unit, making them the go-to targets from Philly’s offense. Jeff Carter will slide back onto the first line and top power play for the Penguins now that Sidney Crosby is back on the shelf with COVID-19. Jake Guentzel will accompany Carter on the wing both at even strength and on the man advantage, so pairing those two together is the play.
Because the stack is pretty reasonably priced, I was able to spend a little more of my salary on defensemen. I picked the two most expensive blueliners on the board — Victor Hedman and Aaron Ekblad — because why not? Hedman has nine points — all assists — in nine games this season and has recorded a power-play helper in each of his last two games. Ekblad also has nine points in nine games, although he’s scored three goals this year. These are two of the NHL’s very best rearguards, so having the opportunity to fit both into my lineup is a nice luxury.
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