Good news, mafia! I spoke with Jeff Mans yesterday and we agreed to continue providing write-ups throughout the end of the playoffs. That, of course, includes single-game “showdown” slates – which is what we have tonight in Dallas.

First things first: I want to re-post my strategy session on building optimal showdown lineups. Earlier in the season, I went through 109 NHL DK Showdown slates, and found six “rules” you can follow, to help you construct high-ceiling lineups moving forward. I’ve since updated these rules all the way up until last night’s game. Here they are – complete with the updates:

**NHL STRATEGY SESSION #29: DRAFTKINGS SHOWDOWN TIPS**

**OPTIMAL SALARY**

Since December 1, there have been 109 DK Showdown slates. There are six categories I pay a lot of attention too. The first has to do with your lineup’s optimal salary. Keep in mind, this isn’t skewed by the fact that most people spend to the cap, these are the figures for the optimal, or perfect lineup on each slate.

73 out of 109 times (67%), the optimal salary was greater than $46,000. This should be obvious, as there is clear correlation between a player’s salary, and their projected points scored. However, it was a surprise to me that this number wasn’t higher. In fact, 21 out of 109 times (19.3%), the optimal salary was actually between $42,000-$46,000. After a little math, I think it’s fair to say that we should set our minimum salary around $42,000 when building, as this was the optimal range on 86.3% of slates. I would bet most people spend over $46,000, so by simply NOT excluding lineups in that $42-46k range, we have a little bit of an edge over most of the field that is simply spending to the max.

**UPDATE**: I now have 224 Showdown slates to pull data from, which will either confirm, alter, or completely reverse the following six rules. For minimum salary, an optimal salary of $46k or great went from 67% to 61.2%. $42-46k went from 19.3% to 21.4% – giving us a total of 82.6% of optimal lineups that had a salary of $42k and up. This is still a rule I think we should follow.

**RULE #1:*** ***Set minimum salary to $42,000, maximum to $50,000 (***86.3%**82.6%***of optimals)**

**OPTIMAL # OF PLAYERS PER TEAM**

Out of 109 Showdown slates examined, there were 4 players from one team in 52 of the optimal lineups (47.7%). There were 3 players from each team 24 times (22%), and 5 players from one team 33 times (30.3%). If you want to play the percentages, you can exclude any lineups that have 3 players on each team, which has provided the optimal lineup in 78% of instances. Personally, I do use this rule, but there is a fine line between the lineups with 3 players per team, and the lineups with 5 players on one team – this is something I will continue to test, in order to make sure the gap between those two doesn’t get any closer.

**UPDATE**: 49.6% of optimal lineups now include 4 players from one team – slightly up from the last time we checked. 5 players from one team appeared in 31.7% of optimal lineups – about the same as last time. This rule has been strengthened a bit – so let’s continue following this.

**RULE #2: Use at least 4 players for one team ***(78%***81.3% of optimals)**

**OPTIMAL NUMBER OF GOALIES**

Out of 109 slates, only 6 times (5.5%) were both goaltenders in the optimal lineup. Therefore, I think it’s safe to exclude any lineups that include both team’s goaltenders. One goalie has been in the optimal 53 times (48.6%), and no goalies 50 times (45.9%).

**UPDATE**: This has stayed about the same – slightly up from last time.

**RULE #3:*** ***Don’t play both team’s goaltenders ***(94.5% 95.1%***of optimals)**

**OPTIMAL NUMBER OF DEFENSEMEN**

Just 1 time out of 109 (0.9%) were there 4 defensemen in the optimal Showdown lineup. Only 8 times were 3 defensemen in the optimal (7.3%). Here’s where it gets a little iffy again. Only 17 times (15.6%) did a lineup not include a single defenseman. This is right on the edge of being a trend I want to make a rule from, or something I want to test more before excluding. 48 times (44%) there was 1 d-man in the optimal, and 35 times (32.1%) were there 2. For the time being, this is a rule I am following – and something I will continue to test to see if it breaks one way or the other in the future.

**UPDATE**: Here is a rule that changed quite a bit since February 25. 76.1% of optimals used 1-2 defensemen from December 1-February 25, but that number is down to 70.1% at this point. There were a ton of instances of lineups using 0 defensemen, so I think this rule should be amended to read: “play no more than 2 defensemen”.

*RULE #4: Play at least 1 defenseman, but no more than 2 (76.1% of optimals)***Play no more than 2 defensemen (90.6% of optimals)**

**OPTIMAL STACKS**

There are a lot of variations here, but the biggest surprise to me, is the lack of full-line stacks in optimals. Just 8 times out of 109 slates (7.3%) did the optimal include a full-line stack. More often than not – 76.1% of the time – the optimal included a two-man mini-stack. Of those 83 times, 41 instances included two players from a team’s top line, 26 times it was two players from the second line, 12 times from the third line, and 4 times from the fourth liners.

**UPDATE**: This number is down slightly, but is still a large enough number to keep this as a rule. Full-line stacks only appeared in 10.7% of optimal lineups. As a new rule, I would like to only use team’s top-six forwards when making the mini-stacks. Out of 175 mini-stacks that have appeared in optimal lineups, 81.1% of them were from team’s top-two lines. We can probably safely leave out third and fourth-line mini-stacks.

**RULE #5:*** ***Do not full-stack any lines (92.7%89.3% of optimals)**

**NEW RULE (#7):*** ***Use only lines 1 & 2 when mini-stacking (81.1% of optimals)**

**OPTIMAL STACKS PER LINEUP**

We’ve already determined that we don’t want to full-stack lines in our Showdown lineups. But should we always use a mini-stack? Or multiple minis? Well, here’s how it shakes out. In 61 of 109 optimals (56%), there was exactly one mini-stack. 33 times (30.3%) there was no stacking whatsoever. Only 15 times (13.8%) did an optimal lineup include 2 mini-stacks, and there hasn’t been a single instance of an optimal containing 3 minis.

**UPDATE**: This number has stayed about the same. 2 or more mini-stacks have only appeared in 14.7% of optimal lineups. We can continue to follow this rule.

**RULE #6:*** ***No more than 1 mini-stack (86.3%85.3% of optimals)**

I will continue to post these rules – or commandments, as I will begin referring to them – at the top of all my Showdown write-ups moving forward. Feel free to follow all of them with me, or not. For me – these are rules I follow 100% when building, but you can choose your own adventures if you wish.

Onto tonight’s game:

**ST. LOUIS BLUES @ DALLAS STARS (8:05pm Faceoff)**

**Game Three (Series Tied 1-1)Implied Odds: Dallas 51% | Total: 5.0**

The series moves to Dallas, with the Stars now holding home-ice advantage. We should see Radek Faksa match-up with O’Reilly and Tarasenko tonight, but otherwise, lines will probably just roll. Jaden Schwartz is moving to the Blues top line, which moves Perron back down to the second line with Schenn and Sundqvist – Stars lines remain the same. DAL3 comes into tonight with an xGA/60 of just 1.51 in these playoffs. On home ice – where they shadowed NSH1 last series – that number drops to 1.17…very impressive shut-down numbers from this line…I’ll probably avoid STL1 here.

We have very little data on STL2 together, but that’s who has the best matchup for the Blues. With Schenn and Perron also playing on the Blues top PP unit, they are the obvious mini-stack here.

For Dallas, I am big on the top line. This goes back to what I said about multi-entering these Showdown contests – it’ll be really tough to pick two of these guys and consistently nail it. You’ll ideally want to enter multiple lines using all three combos of Seguin/Radulov/Benn. If you insist on single-entering, I’d probably stick to Seguin/Radulov, as those are the two that shoot more often.

I will list a number of one-offs in these write-ups. These are generally going to be high-floor players – especially in regards to shot volume. We need to nail the goal scorers with our one-offs, so obviously we should be targeting the players that are shooting the puck.

Have fun with these Showdown contests, multi-enter, try to follow my rules, and you should be able to maintain a pretty good ROI to close out the NHL DFS season. One more note – if you’re using a goalie in these contests, you absolutely want to make sure you aren’t using more than 2 players from the opposing team…keep that in mind (RULE #8!).

*Favorite Mini-Stacks: **Seguin/Radulov (DAL1); Radulov/Benn (DAL1); Seguin/Benn (DAL1); Schenn/Perron (STL2)*

*One-Off Player Pool: DAL – **Bishop, Seguin, Radulov, Benn, Zuccarello, Dickinson, Spezza, Heiskanen, Lindell, Polak, Klingberg; STL – Binnington, Tarasenko, O’Reilly, Schwartz, Perron, Schenn, Sundqvist, Maroon, Thomas, Parayko, Pietrangelo*