Fantasy Hockey Backup Goalies

When To Draft The Backup Goalie In Daily Fantasy Hockey

If you’ve been playing in Daily Fantasy Hockey contests at sites like Draftkings or Fanduel, then you likely already know how important the goalie position is to your daily fantasy roster. Quite simply the goalie will make or break your fantasy team.

So with that being said, should you spend the biggest chunk of your allotted salary on the top tier goalies? Well – yes and no.

How much you spend on a goalie really depends on the type of contest you are playing in and what the schedule looks like on any given night. If you are playing in a Head to Head match-up or a small player field contest, then by all means the best bet is to look at the top tier NHL goalies (ie. Rask, Price, Lundqvist) playing vs. weaker teams. However, if you are in a large GPP tournament, then knowing when to take a chance on a backup goalie might just give you the winning edge over the competition.

You see, many rookie fantasy hockey players will instantly look elsewhere when the backup goalie gets the start because they just don’t know the name and will draft a high-priced star instead. The truth is – on a good defensive team, having the backup goalie start really doesn’t hurt their chances of winning at all…in fact they might play tighter because of it. A goalie is only as good as the players in front of him and that’s why teams like Chicago, Anaheim and Boston can shuffle through goalies and still not take a step back.  It is rare in today’s NHL that a team can rely on their goalie to truly steal games night in and night out.

This doesn’t mean you should always select the backup goalie for your Daily Fantasy Hockey roster. You need to know when the opportunity is right. Here are the top strategies for when to draft a backup fantasy hockey goalie:

Wait For Great Defensive Teams

Like I mentioned earlier, defense rules when it comes to goalies. A strong defensive team can propel most backup goalies to a win. Some teams even play better when the backup is in, because they are more cautious, tending not to pinch their defenseman too much throughout the game. Teams that you can get away with the backup goalie in net are:

  • Boston Bruins
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Minnesota Wild

Back To Back Games

When teams play in back to back scenarios is when you will see the backup goalie the most. Now in most cases, the coach is going save the starter for the tougher match-up, therefore inserting the backup goalie vs. the weaker team. This is where it’s important to know those strong defensive teams and you should be drafting the backup in these scenarios for incredible value. Be cautious with some weaker teams who will insert the backup goalie in games they know will be a tough one. For example, if Toronto is playing Boston on Friday and Buffalo on Saturday, you might see the Leafs backup on Friday as they save their starter for an easier match-up because after all their chances vs. a much stronger team are slim to begin with. Every season is different and you got to pay attention to the standings.

The Shared Job

Every season there are a handful of teams that don’t have a clear-cut number #1 goalie. The coach will tend to split the games between the 2 goalies until someone steps up and claims the job. This, however, doesn’t always happen and you end up having both goalies sharing the netminder duties for the bulk of the season. This can provide good value to you because most sites will still set the salary pretty high for the unofficial #1 in most people’s eyes with the backup, who really isn’t a backup, offering some much needed cap relief to your fantasy team. The St.Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals are notorious for splitting goalie duties. Teams that might use this scenario for 2014-2015 NHL season are:

  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • St. Louis Blues

So remember – drafting the backup goalie in daily fantasy hockey can be an absolute steal of a pick, but know when to draft them and when to pick on them.