Daily Fantasy Hockey: Rivalry Night 1-31-18

All star weekend has come and gone as the NHL begins the second half of their season.  Wednesday night rivalry night is upon us and we will take a look at an exciting lineup of games for daily fantasy hockey.

(7:30 pm CST) New York Islanders at Toronto Maple Leafs

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(8:00 pm CST) San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings

(8:00 pm CST) Philadelphia Flyers at Washington Capitals

Here is a quick peek of who to keep an eye on when selecting your daily fantasy lineup with the use of advanced statistics.

First of all, let’s briefly cover what some of the analytical terms mean that will be used to help determine who to choose based on information from:



– Corsi (CF) is a measurement based on shots taken (Corsi For) and shots against (Corsi Against).  The specific number we will be looking at is the Corsi For Percentage (CF%).  This is represented by (Corsi For) (Corsi Against) = (CF%).  In other words, a team or player that has a CF% above 50% is more likely to out-produce their opponent.

– Fenwick (FF) is a similar measure to Corsi, but does not include shots that are blocked.  Corsi is any and all shots taken, whether they hit the net, don’t hit the net, or blocked by a defenseman.  (Fenwick For) (Fenwick Against) = (FF%). Once again, we are looking for a team or player that has a FF% above 50% to produce for our daily fantasy lineups.

– Offensive and Defensive Zone Starts (oZS and dZS) refers to where a skater generally begins their shift. For example, some players are utilized more once they enter the offensive zone and others are used more in the defensive zone.  Henrik and Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks, when looking closely at their Zone Start Ratio 

(oZS (oZS + dZS)), spend over 70% of their ice time in the offensive zone which makes them more likely to be on the ice for goals and assists.

Now that we have an understanding of a few popular analytical hockey terms, let’s dig in to tonight’s matchups and check out who to focus on for daily fantasy picks.

Islanders vs. Leafs

The Islanders sit third-to-last in the Metropolitan Division at 25-21 with 55 points and the Leafs third in the Atlantic Division at 28-18 with 61 points. Although the Islanders have star power like John Tavares, I’m looking in another direction with the 20-year-old Center Mathew Barzal.  Barzal on the road this season has 7 goals and 15 assists with a CF% of 52.9.  He is one of only four players on the Islanders above 50% Corsi on the road.

As for the Leafs, they tend to perform well at home with 12 skaters that have a CF% above 50%.  Left winger James Van Riemsdyk is the most intriguing play tonight with a FF% of 53.3 and a CF% of 56.1.  Even more interesting is the amount of time he spends on the ice starting in the offensive zone compared to the time he is on the ice in the defensive zone.  When Van Riemsdyk is on the ice he’s involved offensively 64.0% of the time, and once the puck moves to his defensive zone, he is only on the ice 35.9% of the time.

Sharks vs. Red Wings

Joonas Donskoi, the young Finnish Right Winger, has already surpassed his point total from last season.  He may not be the most well-known name on the Sharks with players like Joe Thornton (IR), Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and all-star Brent Burns.  But with 10 goals and 11 assists on the season, Donskoi is one of the only Sharks that is in the positives of their plus/minus stats sitting at plus 2.

The Red Wings are a middle-of-the-pack team in the Eastern Conference in a three-way tie with Florida and Montreal at 46 points.  Leading goal scorer and 6’5’’ Anthony Mantha has really stepped up for the Wings this season producing 108 shots on goal and hitting the twine 16 times.  As an average for the season, Mantha is spending  almost 17 minutes on the ice per game.  As a winger and splitting playing time with three other lines, that’s a large number.  I expect Mantha to keep the pressure on San Jose who is playing the second night of a back-to-back.

Flyers vs. Capitals

It would be easy to talk about the Washington Capitals and tell you to select Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, or Evgeny Kuznetzov, because who wouldn’t want to choose any of the top three point-getters on one of the top teams in the NHL over the last few seasons.  So let’s go in a slightly different direction.  Right Winger Tom Wilson is having a special season, ranking 3rd on his team in CF% at 52.0.  Another lesser known skater on the team to watch for is defenseman Christian Djoos.  He is one of four players on the team with a CF% and FF% above 50% and spends the majority of his ice-time in the offensive zone 62.9% of the time.

Claude Giroux of the Flyers seems to be one of the anomalies regarding advanced statistics. He has an oZS% of 43.6, but a CF% and FF% at or above 53.  This means, when his team does possess the puck in the offensive zone and he’s on the ice, they are likely getting points.





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