So Much Room for Activities!

Punting at a position in DFS so you have more salary to spend elsewhere isn’t always the best decision — just like making your own bunk beds.


Confession: I’ve been looking to sneak in a Step Brothers reference for over a month.

NHL is largely an event-based sport. You want goals. Naturally most people think paying up at the forward position may be the easiest way to get goals.

But what about paying up for defensemen? Could there be a hidden edge in paying up for guys who traditionally don’t score as often?

To Punt or Not to Punt?

Per our Trends tool, I have broken down ten salary tiers on DraftKings, ranging all the way from stone minimum ($2,500) to elite ($7,400 and higher). The only defensemen in these samples are those who play on the power play.

Our signature Plus/Minus metric shows how players perform in the context of their salary-based expectations:


Based on salary alone, the most value at the position comes from players at $6,800 and above. Apparently paying up at defenseman pays.

Why is this the case?

The Impact of Peripheral Stats

Defensemen rely heavily on peripheral stats like shots and blocked shots. That sounds bad, but the good news is these peripheral stats are much more predictable than goals, which are more volatile.

Shots on Goal

Here’s the previous chart — but filtered to look only at defensemen in the 90th percentile in shots per game:


There are a few items to point out about this chart:

  1. I have faded the samples with counts under 50. Narrow ranges can be useful, but we want to be careful not to get carried away.
  2. This chart reinforces the previous findings that the most value at the position is in players at $6,800 and above.
  3. The few high-shot defensemen who are priced down also tend to provide value and high Consistency. It’s not that they’re good: They don’t score many fantasy points. It’s that they’re cheap.

Blocked Shots

There is value in blocked shots at center. Is there value in it at defenseman too? Here are the previous salary tiers for defensemen in the 90th percentile in blocks per game:


The salary tails seem to provide the most value in defensemen who block shots. It’s especially noteworthy that the $2,600 – $3,100 shot blockers provide almost as much value as the $7,400-plus shot takers. That information is a huge edge.

Pay up For Shooters and Shot Blockers, Win All the Money?

I wish it were that easy:


The samples are small, and when we combine the two 90th percentile filters the change is negligible.

We tried.


Paying up at defenseman on DK typically provides the most value, but there are some cheap defensemen who provide value through the volume of shots they take and block.