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Hey, everyone.

This is being written before my Buffalo Bills face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the playoffs. I’m predicting 17-14 Bills.

As you might know by now, my managing style and what I discuss in my advice column is maximizing games played and putting more skaters on the ice that your opponent. I use data pulled from my own league as well as the two RCL’s to give this idea some supporting data, so let’s hop to it.

Using the Active Stats tabs from my most competitive league as well as the two RCL’s, I’ve compiled a table of every matchup we’ve played this year (I finally added weeks 11-13 to my master sheet!) Out of 580 data points, managers who have played ten or more skaters (as of the end of week 13) than their opponents are 65-5-6. 65 wins, 5 losses, 6 ties. Even 5 more players on-ice than your opponent moves your meter considerably closer to the Wins column (from a coin-flip to winning 62% of the time). Yes, some teams might have better players, or might put up more points (G+A), but nothing correlates more accurately to a Win than the difference of games played between teams. Points, goalie starts, you name it… the bottom line is, you want to put more decent skaters on the ice per week than your opponent, and wins will follow.

To wrap that up, this column isn’t for spot-streams, it is for grabbing players on Monday or Tuesday and having them play on short-slate days in order to maximize player starts.

Going over weeks 11-13, we had a few teams put up great Games Played numbers. Hatrick Laine set a new high mark with +26 skaters played in Week 11. Other managers who deserve props for tons of skaters on ice are Ottawa Sharks, Team Boughner, and I Am Score, who lost a heartbreaker 62 skaters to 59. Slugfest.

A side note is that micro-managing your lineup this way means fewer counting stats left on the bench. An opponent I played had Dylan Larkin sitting when he got a SHP, which is a total waste you cannot get back. When I play, I rarely, if ever, have a player on the bench accumulating stats.

In order to give Razzball readers a potential plus-6 or plus-8 skaters on the week of 1/8, I’m going to cover the three teams with an optimal schedule to grab additional starts. This is an interesting week with a ton of teams only playing one or two games, so be sure to look at your own team and plan accordingly.

Week of 1/8

Teams to target:

Columbus (M, Th, F), Toronto (M, W), Chicago (T, W, F, Su), Minnesota (T, W, St, Su), Ottawa (T, W)

Columbus and Toronto are playing Monday, and are the only teams going. This means you could snag 2-3 skaters and have a leg up on a few counting stats. Toronto is a little more flexible, because after their game on Wednesday you can just cut the guys you picked up and plug holes the rest of the week.

From Columbus, Pierre-Luc DuBois is a solid pickup, with a decent shot rate and ice time, and the best possession numbers on the team. He’s also a little behind on expected goals. For pure shot rate, Josh Anderson is available in most leagues and he’s scoring at an expected rate.

From Toronto, Zach Hyman is an immediate pickup owned in only 10% of ESPN leagues, boasting a similar expected-goals profile to Auston Matthews. I just wish he would shoot more. Leo Komarov is behind on expected goals so you can expect some positive regression at some point, but I’d be more willing to grab Tyler Bozak for two games and roll the dice on his power-play time.

Chicago and Minnesota don’t have anything special on their schedules other than volume, and games on the short Wednesday and short-ish Friday/Sunday. Since Wednesday is the other super-short slate, I’m including Ottawa grabs that you can set free Thursday morning.

Chicago: I mentioned Nick Schmaltz and Jordan Oesterle last week, and both are still available in a ton of leagues. With good shot rates, TOI, and production, either is worth a shot, especially while Oesterle seems to be staying hot.

Minnesota: Charlie Coyle is owned in only about a third of ESPN leagues, and he’s got a good shot rate and solid TOI, although I don’t like his possession stats. Beyond that, Nino Niederreiter is available in 50% of leagues, if he’s on your wire I would grab him as a borderline hold. He’s in the running for the best skater on the team, and is prone to awesome hot streaks.

Ottawa: For two games, I still like Derick Brassard, if he’s available in your league. Solid shot rate, good TOI and PPTOI, he’d be a good fill-in. I also like Ryan Dzingel for deeper leagues. He’s got good possession numbers and is behind on expected goals, if you’ve got the move available for a player on Wednesday and nothing else strikes your fancy.

That’s it for now. I’ll be watching this thread as much as I reasonably can all week, so if you have questions that you want an arbiter for, I will chime in (and will work to give you the best information I have). I am sure Viz and Reid will also pop in every so often. I hope this is helpful, and GO BILLS!

Good luck this week!!

  1. W 5, L -5, GA -2, SV 0.5, SO 6. 3 G Max. and I have one spot to stream. I am looking ahead to this weeks goalie streams. Reimer is available vs. Calgary Friday, but I did stream Stalock against them @ MIN & that did not work out too well. Opinion? Also, WPG & EDM have back-to-backs Friday & Saturday. Their back-ups are available. My guess would be Mason @ MIN & Montoya @ Vgs Saturday. Hard to say though, as both teams are on their bye after Saturday, so could go with No. 1 both days. Mason the better/more likely choice there? Then MIN, NYR & PIT all back-to-back Saturday / Sunday, so possibly Stalock vs VAN, Pavelec @ PIT or Jarry vs NYR all in play Sunday. Pavelec or Jarry? Thanks Lackeydrinksonme (&/or Viz)!

    • Lackeydrinksonme

      Lackeydrinksonme says:
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      @madden_curser:

      Interesting situation.

      I’d say it’s unusual for a team to go with their #1 both days of a back-to-back, even with the bye weeks coming up.

      EDM @ ARI is worth a look tomorrow, they might throw Montoya out there instead of Talbot. Montoya has some tread on his tires but I’m not afraid of the Yotes. I would avoid VGK with Montoya, though.

      I also like Stalock vs VAN, but MIN might follow suit with what they did in their first B2B and play Stalock first, in which case I would avoid Stalock v WPG.

      Is Grubauer available tonight/tomorrow against CAR? I probably like that the most if the other two don’t pan out. Home, if possible. After that I like snagging Jarry for a start against either NYR or DET. Both at home? Yes please.

      Given that we’re dealing with scenarios that could change, I like Montoya v ARI the most, then Stalock v VAN, then Grubauer v CAR, then Jarry v DET/NYR. Steve Mason is a decent goalie, but I imagine that both games are going to be slugfests. The first two streamers I mentioned might not even happen. Grubauer is a good overall play regardless.

      I hope this was helpful… You might have to go with your gut depending on who ends up getting the calls, but remember to check the Vegas betting lines for probables and O/U.

  2. I appreciate you clued me in on Grubauer. I scooped him up for the stream tonight. Since Dec. 31, Bernier is 4-0-0 with a .959 save percentage (five goals allowed on 121 shots). The next game for the Avalanche is at the Dallas Stars on Saturday (Bishop). I would likely go with Jarry if he plays Saturday, but Bernier could be a fall back? Thinking it will be Jarry or Stalock Sunday, but need one Saturday. Thanks again Lackeydrinksonme!

    • @madden_curser: I appreciate you clued me in on Grubauer. I scooped him up for the stream tonight. Since Dec. 31, Bernier is 4-0-0 with a .959 save percentage (five goals allowed on 121 shots). The next game for the Avalanche is at the Dallas Stars on Saturday (Bishop). I would likely go with Jarry if he plays Saturday, but Bernier could be a fall back? Thinking it will be Jarry or Stalock Sunday, but need one Saturday. Thanks again Lackeydrinksonme!

    • Lackeydrinksonme

      Lackeydrinksonme says:
      (link)

      @madden_curser:

      I’m playing Grubey tonight, so we’re in this together. Disappointed in Holtby last night and I could see CAR making a statement (currently favorites), but I’m going for it.

      Those numbers for Bernier make me want to post that meme of the sweating guy dabbing hit forehead. I actually grabbed Bishop (and I have two goalies now and I hate it) for his run of home starts, because he’s 15-4-1 and .935 at home vs 4-7-1 and .890 away. Because of that I’d say banking on Bernier, even if he’s hot, for the W is a long shot. Jarry would be the way to go, but Saturday should have options… are you looking to ramp goalie starts just to maximize points?

      • @Lackeydrinksonme: Maximize points. 5 moves/week. Can only have 3 G max., so I stream the 3rd goalie slot. Of course I can only acquire waiver guys in a 10 teamer, so 30 goalies are not available. I have to stream the best of the rest, based on match-ups. Mostly backup guys. You have been very helpful. Thank you.

      • @Lackeydrinksonme: So now I see Murray has left the team for personal reasons. Hopefully my opponent does not see that before the games start @ 7, as I have to wait until game time to play Grubey tonight. As soon as the games start, I can drop Grubauer for Jarry. Dang, this goalie streaming is hard work. Ha ha. Hopefully my opponent is looking at guys for tonight, not thinking Jarry for tomorrow.

      • @Lackeydrinksonme: I do like the David Rittich matchup against Reimer tonight. He is promising and Calgary has been rolling, but I like Grubey too.

        • Lackeydrinksonme

          Lackeydrinksonme says:
          (link)

          @madden_curser:

          Florida are narrow favorites, but I do like CGY and they play such a fast, physical game. Tkachuk is a little punk but he’s basically mentality of the team. Should be a close one, too.

          The line for CAR and WSH isn’t moving from a narrow CAR favorite, so I’ll be watching Grubauer tonight closely. Also, Dallas is a yuuuge favorite over COL.

          Seems like you have a plan of action laid out for you. If Murray is on hiatus Jarry is a good hold, too.

  3. @Lackeydrinksonme: So I should hold on to Jarry? Do you think he plays back-to-back? Was considering dropping him for Stalock Sunday. I did read a report suggesting Jarry might play Saturday & Sunday. You have been a great help this week. Thank you so very much!

  4. If I drop Jarry for Stalock vs. VAN Sunday, I can pick Jarry back up once the games start Sunday, or pick-up Carter Hutton is also an option for next week.

    • Lackeydrinksonme

      Lackeydrinksonme says:
      (link)

      @madden_curser:

      Stalock vs VAN is a solid matchup. If Jarry plays twice I miiiiight go with him as a hold, but if you have a spot for streaming, Stalock is your man. Hutton next week is who I’m eyeing too, when I put out Monday’s article I’ll mention some goalie streams.

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