Which Position Should We Flex?

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I am enjoying the initial positive feedback. It’s great to be on this journey to DFS Hockey mastery with all of you. Today, I am going to tackle something that is an interesting subject for any of the big four sports on DraftKings: the Flex spot.

Even in football right now, I have heard many opinions on whether you should be playing a running back, a wide receiver or a tight end most of the time and even with all the reading and podcast listening that I have done in the past couple of weeks, I don’t have a confident answer to that question.

For hockey, many articles suggest that you should be playing a forward in your Flex spot which makes sense to me. They score more goals and since goals are worth the most (3 points each on DraftKings), forwards should offer the most upside, but I wanted to see the actual stats to know for sure.

Using last year’s stats, I calculated the average fantasy points (excluding shootout goals) and standard deviation for a number of random players:

Player Average FP Standard Dev
Max Pacioretty 4.324175824 2.462353917
Zach Parise 4.214285714 2.510562883
Tomas Plekanec 3.542553191 2.283248457
Andrew Ladd 3.405882353 2.230062616
Kyle Turris 3.369318182 2.208258166
Jiri Hudler 3.348314607 2.798543142
Derek Stepan 3.24137931 2.811792101
Mats Zuccarello 2.692771084 2.041985113
Mikkel Boedker 2.566666667 2.752271789
Player Average FP Standard Dev
Erik Karlsson 4.136363636 2.247255379
Kris Letang 4.014492754 2.291241339
John Carlson 3.890625 2.09159109
P.K. Subban 3.585106383 2.175916934
Keith Yandle 3.174757282 2.279177631
Ryan McDonagh 3.094444444 2.033282679
T.J. Brodie 3.016304348 2.010208954

Scanning this data, it does look like in general, forwards offer a higher standard deviation and therefore a higher upside. If you are having to choose between a forward and a defenseman with the same salary and the same amount of expected fantasy points, you should opt for the forward in a GPP.

However, it needs to be noted that not every forward had a higher standard deviation than every defenseman. Seeing Plekanec, Ladd, Turris, and Zuccarello leads me to believe that goal scorers have more upside than assist machines, but then Stepan’s high stdev value has me scratching my head. He didn’t score that many goals, but a quick look at his game log shows that there was a stretch of 12 straight games where he did not score a single point. Players who are inconsistent sure certainly have a higher stdev.

Hopefully this data has some of you wanting to explore this more deeply!

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