Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve covered players to watch going into the NHL Playoffs, along with a broad overview of what to look for in the postseason. So this time around, we’re going to maul over some basic daily fantasy hockey playoff tips that you can use when filling out your lineups. This advice differentiates from what we discussed strategy-wise during the regular season. Of course, the playoffs offer slight nuances in effective daily fantasy hockey strategy, which is the primary reason for the differences.
Tip #1 – The Value of Goalies increases
Much like any sport, playoff hockey sees a spike in defense – especially as a series moves into the fifth, sixth and seventh games. The simple answer why is because players hit more, defensemen are extra desperate to block shots, and there’s just generally less room to skate for offensive players. Teams also match up better towards the end of a series since they’re so used to each other. Getting to the point, scoring drops a little bit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which means the value of goalies increases. So while LAK G Jonathan Quick or NYR G Henrik Lundqvist are both quite valuable during the regular season, they become even more so in the playoffs since their GAA and shutout potential improves.
Tip #2 – Carefully review Past Playoff Performances by Certain Players
Unless you’re a daily fantasy sports professional, chances are that you’re not going to have time to look over past playoff performances by everybody. However, you can do yourself a big favor by looking up some of the top players you’re targeting to see how they’ve done in previous playoffs appearances. After all, some players put up excellent regular season stats, only to fall flat on their face when the postseason intensity picks up. And you certainly don’t want to be paying big money for these players since they could choke.
Tip #3 – Be wary of Playoff Newcomers
This advice is a combination between the first and second tips because playoff newcomers tend to struggle in their first postseason campaign. As we’ve discussed a couple of times already, the playoffs are a different beast than the regular season, and it takes some adjusting to get used to this. And while we’re not saying that every player will struggle in their first few playoff games, it’s usually a good idea to stick with proven players until you’ve had a better chance to watch the newbies.
Tip #4 – The Number of Value Picks decreases slightly
Now this tip isn’t meant to imply that you can’t find any value picks in the playoffs. In fact, there are still an ample amount of players in the first and second rounds whose solid scoring potential makes them far exceed their given salary. However, as the playoffs rage on, you’ll see a lot fewer solid value picks simply because there are less teams alive in the playoffs. Taking this into account, you’re really going to need to do some research in the $11k-$15k salary range so you get some mid-upper-priced guys who can produce.
Tip #5 – Focus on how Teams match up with Each Other
Our final tip for fantasy hockey playoff success is to look at how teams match up with one another. This isn’t like the regular season where the most a team plays somebody else back-to-back is once or twice. Instead, playoff teams could be seeing each other for seven games in a row, which makes individual matchups that much more important. When reviewing this aspect, it especially helps if two teams in a series have met before within the last two or three years. Even the top seeds in each conference can struggle with a lowly eight seed if they’re walking into a poor matchup.