Most daily fantasy sports players understand that limited rest for athletes tends to result in subpar performance. The second half of a back-to-back series is often referred to as a “scheduled loss” because playing well on consecutive nights is difficult, especially in a sport as physical as hockey.

Players competing on consecutive days are often summarily written off by DFS players. For the most part this action makes sense, but if we look deeper we’ll find there’s hidden value in certain back-to-back situations.

In this piece we’ll look at how each skater position has historically performed with multiple days of rest at home and on the road compared to games in which they played the previous day. Since selecting players on the power play unit is important in NHL DFS, we’ll include in the sample only players who see ice time with the man advantage. We’ll using our NHL Trends tool and proprietary Plus/Minus and Consistency metrics to evaluate player performance on DraftKings.


The wing position seems to be the most volatile in NHL DFS and can be tough to analyze slate to slate. Here’s how rest has historically affected performance at the wing position:

Count Ex. Points Avg. Points Plus/Minus Consistency
H Rested 6,781 2.68 2.94 0.26 44.2
A Rested 5,744 2.68 2.74 0.06 41.5
2H B2B 721 2.7 2.68 -0.02 38.4
2A B2B 1,767 2.68 2.46 -0.21 35.3

As expected, playing in back-to-back slates has historically hurt wingers regardless of whether they are at home or on the road. In most situations, it’s probably best to roster wingers with multiple days of rest.


Centers tend to be more consistent than wings and are generally safer plays compared to their offensive teammates. Some DFS players may assume all offensive players adhere to the same trends, but let’s look:

Count Ex. Points Avg. Points Plus/Minus Consistency
H Rested 4,786 2.67 2.91 0.24 44.5
A Rested 4,053 2.67 2.79 0.12 42.3
2H B2B 494 2.66 2.8 0.13 41.3
2A B2B 1,249 2.67 2.72 0.05 40.9

Right away we notice that lack of rest doesn’t affect centers as it does wingers, who lose -0.28 Plus/Minus at home and -0.27 on the road in the second half of back-to-backs. With centers, we still see a dip in fantasy output, but it’s not nearly as marked as that of wingers. It’s notable that centers playing without rest at home slightly outperform centers on the road with rest in all measures other than Consistency.


Defenseman is the most consistent NHL DFS position and provides a large back-to-back edge:

  Count Ex. Points Avg. Points Plus/Minus Consistency
H Rested 4,884 2.45 2.76 0.31 47.7
A Rested 4,126 2.45 2.6 0.15 44.2
2H B2B 514 2.4 2.66 0.26 46.1
2A B2B 1,280 2.43 2.49 0.06 41.8

Clearly defensemen are the least affected by playing the day after a game. Defensemen playing without rest at home not only outscore those on the road with rest but also are cheaper and more consistent.

It’s important to remember that our sample of players includes only those who participate in the power play. As Joe Holka discusses in his consideration of offensive defensemen, not all ice time is created equal. There is value to be found in defensemen who are important to their power play units but receive limited action at full strength due to defensive deficiencies.

It’s possible that the defensemen in our sample are not as dependent on rest as other skaters because they don’t play a big number of minutes per game on account of their being liabilities in their own zone. It’s probably easier for someone like Shayne Gostisbehere to play a back-to-back than someone like Cody Ceci, as Gostisbehere on average plays less than 20 minutes and Ceci plays a hard 23-plus minutes of even strength and penalty kill time.

Putting Our Findings To Use

Our findings can be used in any DFS contest but are probably most actionable in tournament formats, where ownership is important. This data doesn’t make selecting wingers any easier, but it does give us a nice edge at center and certainly defenseman. It’s probable that when ownership and production are taken into account we can exploit the back-to-back stigma by rostering ‘unrested’ centers and defensemen at home instead of their rested counterparts on the road.