Here's a fluff piece I wrote on Fan Duel Insider for fantasy hockey newbies:
Fan Duel Hockey 101
As the baseball season winds down and the NBA lockout continues, hockey becomes the only sport that is currently running contests on a daily basis. Without any other options to get your daily Fan Duel fix, here’s a primer for you Duelers trying hockey for the first time.
Lesson #1: Everybody plays. NHL teams dress 20 players: 12 forwards, 6 defense and 2 goalies. With the exception of the backup goalie, everyone who suits up will get significant time on the ice. Star forwards will often average 20 minutes of ice time and some of the best d-men will log 25 minutes or more.
Pay attention to which players get more time, because they will have the most opportunity to put up points for your squad.
Lesson #2: Make sure your goalie is starting. Goaltenders are the most consistent scorers in Fan Duel hockey. Just like you would check on a starting pitcher in baseball, look around for confirmation that your pick will be in the net. Starting goalies usually play the entire game, only getting pulled if they perform very poorly.
It stings to get zero points from your goalie, just because you didn’t double check his status.
Lesson #3: Empty net goals can decide your contest. NHL games are very close affairs, many decided by one goal. One of the most exciting moments in the game is when the team that is behind pulls their goalie for an extra forward. This 6 on 5 scenario often results in a goal for one team, usually in the final seconds of the game.
This last second scoring is one of the things that makes Fan Duel hockey so exciting. You’re never out of it until the very end.
Lesson #4: Penalty minutes are good for you. Having a referee escort your player to the box might not seem like a good thing, but it helps your team. Fan Duel scoring awards 0.25 points for each penalty minute received.
There will be nights when teams like to drop the gloves and fight each other. On those occasions a player with major PIMs might earn you more than a scoring forward. There are many value priced players out there with a propensity to earn penalty minutes.
Lesson #5: Learn how plus/minus is scored. One of the great equalizers in Fan Duel hockey is the plus/minus scoring. It’s a simple concept: When a team scores a goal, each skater on the ice for the scoring team gets a +1. Conversely, the skaters that were scored upon get a -1. However, it is also important to note that no plus/minus scoring occurs during power play goal situations.
With the potential to both gain or lose points, plus/minus scoring can help you make a significant comeback in your contests.
Let’s drop the puck and enjoy Fan Duel hockey all winter long!
Buffalo66 is a long time Fan Duel member who runs several fantasy web sites of his own.