Every fantasy hockey league is diverse and has a plethora of stat categories and rules to consider. Here are five tips to give you a competitive edge for your run to championship glory!
- Check the schedule. Obviously right?! But it can be the difference between winning and losing so hear me out. This week in Yahoo fantasy leagues which typically run from Sunday-Sunday, there are two teams who play five games (Nashville and Carolina) ,eighteen playing four games and ten teams playing three games. Now I am not saying drop a superstar for a bad player on a team that plays five games but it might be beneficial to drop one of your fringe players for someone who can give you similar stats for more games.
- Really check the schedule: It is also important to look at when each game is played. Most teams in the NHL have a fairly even schedule for the entire week, but that is not always the case. The Buffalo Sabres demonstrate this playing two games early in the week and then not playing until Sunday. This means that you can play these players for the first two games and still pick up another player who plays more games later in the week maximizing your possible stats for the week. That begin said, be careful as any player you decide to drop can be claimed by an opponent in the future. Weigh the cost and make the appropriate decision- for better or for worse.
- Avoid emotional attachment to players that have brought you this far: Having the best fantasy team does not guarantee you a championship, not even close! Holding onto players that are going through a bad stretch could be your fantasy downfall. In my league, I wanted to hold onto Corey Perry because I believed if I held onto him long enough he was going to catch fire and put up the goals we all expect from him, but once the playoffs started it was time for me to finally part ways with him and pick up another player (although I might have to drop his replacement Coyle as well) who could potentially give me a boost.Granted, it is hard to predict who is going to get hot so it is more important to grab players who are preforming rather than holding onto players who have a higher ceiling.
- Play the Man: Make sure you are playing against your specific counterpart. Check the stat categories during the week and pick up players that will benefit specific categories you need to win. An example from last week: I picked up Justin Braun from San Jose and dropped Cam Fowler in the process. Braun, although not the best shot blocker available played two games and helped me win this category when a player like Kris Russell would have only played one game.
- Keep Moves Available: Every league has different rules about how many moves (adds/drops) have throughout the year. If you happen to be in a league such as mine that has a limit on moves it becomes important to make sure that you save these moves for the playoffs. I am not saying that you need to save every single move but it is important to have at least 10 available before entering the playoffs. Every single man game is important this time of year and not having moves can severely cripple your team, potentially causing you to lose. I was fortunate enough to play against an opponent that did not have any moves left on his team and that is the only reason I was able to win.
Although there are tips that I did not highlight, these are some key things to note if you want to dominate in your fantasy leagues. If you have any other tips comment on my Facebook page.
Unlike the actual NHL season most fantasy leagues start their playoffs either this week or the week previous. Before I talk about playoff strategy it is important to note that if you are currently in a league that allows for fantasy franchises to keep players your season is not over. If you do not know what I mean I will quickly explain. Now in my league (League of Shadows) we are allowed to have three different keepers of any specific league. Any competitive league that players are apart of will most likely have keeper players as well. Now as significant players get injured within the next few weeks fantasy GM’s will have to make decisions on whether they want to drop the player and pick somebody up off of free agency in order to try and continue to win. Seeing as there must be a reason that you as a franchise did not make the playoffs there is a significantly high chance that you might get to improve your keeper list without have to pay any draft picks for the following season if you stay vigilant.
Now this being said I believe that it is important for league officials to monitor every transaction that happens at this point in order to make sure that it is legitimate as it does effect the upcoming draft and studs that may have been available to other teams in the draft could be stolen away. You might not understand exactly what I am saying so I will be more clear. Most leagues are run with groups of friends which means that it might seem Acceptable for collusion of dropping players to happen once a team has been eliminated from the playoffs. Meaning that once a team is eliminated they do not have any other use for players who are not in their keepers list. This might prompt them to want to help a team which is less fortunate as it seems like their will or would be no consequences. However it is important to maintain a certain integrity as a league and therefore it is important to have a commissioner that is active and willing to look into these kind of transactions. I have heard some horror stories about some commissioner and what they have done with their leagues and although I give him a hard time am extremely grateful that my league has a really good set of commissioners.
If you have any questions or other tips about what you should do once you are eliminated from the playoffs comment on here or my Facebook page.
The Question here is whether it is better to take a great player on a team that is not going to make the playoffs or even go on a significant run or to take a depth player on a team that is great?
This year only really has a few teams that are not going to be making a significant playoff push in the next few weeks (specifically Colorado, Arizona,New Jersey and Detroit). Usually there are some quality players on these squads that can be nice additions to your fantasy teams but this year that may not be the case. Granted that a lot of players that might have been worth having on a fantasy team could have been traded to a contender at the trade deadline only a couple of weeks ago but this could not possible be the case for every team.
I have complied a list of the best players of the four teams listed above in order to see what kind of value these teams could potentially have for your fantasy team.
- Radim Vrbata: Ranked 183 in yahoo fantasy leagues this player could potentially add some value in leagues that only have goals assists and points as this player gives little to no hit or block support. Only 22% of people around all yahoo leagues currently have him which speaks to the fact that people would rather have players from teams they consider good rather then individuals that could help their squad from bad teams.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson: This player is having a down year compared to his stat line from previous years but this does not seem to have an impact on how people are perceiving him. Currently rated 231 in yahoo fantasy leagues his stats are fairly average across the board but with his potential upside it allows people to continue to have hope.
- Nathan Mackinnon: Nathan Mackinnon is your definition of Diamond in the rough. Although he is not having a great season offensively he gives a lot of value in leagues where more stat lines are taken into effect. He is a center who is counted at the rw slot which is huge in leagues that count face offs. Although he is a liability in such categories as plus/minus and points this seems to be overlooked because of the other stat categories that he is able to bring to the table. This is a classic case of where the talent of the player is taken into consideration even though the stats are not currently there. Currently 85th in Yahoo fantasy leagues.
- Matt Duchene: Matt Duchene falls into the same category as Mackinnon as being a center who counts as a winger but is having a far worse season. Duchene is a player who had a great year last season after a terrible start but has not been able to find is game at all this season. Currently 289th in yahoo leagues and a complete liability to any team.
- Gabriel Landeskog: Landeskog is still a player who can fit certain stat categories but not as well as other players in the league. He is still competitive as seen by his hits but cannot find his game defensively this season at all. With the season he is having it is quite surprising that more people have not abandoned ship on this player (as 65% of leagues still have Landeskog on a team)
Detroit Red Wings:
- Hennrik Zetterberg: Although only rated the 90th player in yahoo leagues this player would be a good asset on any team. He takes faceoffs from the wing and is not a liability when it comes to alomost any catergory. This could be the best player available from a terrible team this season.
- Tomas Vanek:Although second on the team in scoring this player gives almost no support to any categories. Currently ranked 325th in yahoo leagues I would not touch this player with a 10 foot pole. If there is no penalty for tanking in your league and you are hoping to go for the #1 overall pick this might be the player for you. With the players Detroit currently has on their team it is a wonder how they are even ahead of Arizona in the standings.
New Jersey Devils:
- Taylor Hall: Still owned in 94% of leagues Taylor has respectable stats but there are players who are definetly better then him potentially on the free agent market. Don’t get me wrong 44 points in 58 games is not bad but it isn’t the number that you expect from a first overal pick who should be entering his prime. He still gives alot of shots average number of hits so he is a decent player to have but is not the fantasy superstar which everytone thinks that he is. If you are banking on him helping you get to the promiseland I would have looked into acquiring other peices at the trade deadline.
- Kyle Palmieri: This player gives a average amount of points but could actually be an asset for other stat categories. He gives a decent amount of hits aswell as PIMS. There is definitely value in this player and therefore could actually be a good depth forward on a competitive team.
- Micheal Cammalleri: This is a classic case of players getting to old to produce at the levels that they were once able to. He doesn’t give many hits or blocks and his shots are down from previous years. New Jersey may want to consider bringing in some more talent to help players like Palmieri and Taylor Hall moving forward.
It appears that their is some talent on these teams as expected but not a whole lot. Although the prices for these pieces may be considerable cheaper then even a second line forward on a playoff or Stanley Cup contender it may be detrimental in your chase to pursue a fantasy title. This year is one of the worst for the bottom teams in the league. Honestly usually these teams at least have 1 or 2 players that are worth picking up in a fantasy league.
I did not look into specific stat categories such as players that can help with hits or blocks specifically so there might be some players that could help you depending on the strategy you have for winning in your league. All in all sticking to teams that have something to play for seems to be a winning strategy.