Fantasy Hockey For Dummies
September 5, 2014 9:13 PM   Subscribe

After a mediocre first year*, I've signed up for my second go-around in the MeFi Fantasy Hockey League! Last year I was hindered by my near-total ignorance of hockey (It took me a looong time to grok +/-) and my total ignorance of pool mechanics in general ("So, who wins the week is the one who gets the most points in those categories, not whose players actually won the most games. Ooooh.") Please share your management tips, tricks, and strategies so we can make this the Super Absorbent Pads' winningest year! *I think we still did better than Buffalo.

Questions

What are some strategies for drafts? Is the goal to put together real-life team lines that might be productive, are drafters just going after their favourite players, or as many players from their favourite team as they can draft? Last year the one marquee name I went after was Lundqvist, assuming everyone would go after Crosby, etc. as their first round pick and that if I had a solid goalie that could provide a good foundation for a team of B-listers. Dumb?

If you can pre-select and prioritize your draftees ahead of time, what's the benefit of doing the draft live vs. setting it to autopick?

Should one try to avoid drafting or recruiting players from the same conferences/divisions to prevent them from cancelling out each others' points when their real-life teams play? Or should I just bench the probable losers in those contests?

I'm fuzzy on waivers. If a player consistently underperformed, I just replaced him with a potentially better prospect. Did waivers give me the option of recalling the first guy if he turned things around in a set amount of time, or is it just a nice way of saying they are dumped?

And again, any general tips or strategies, or any ideas which might be sparked by the data below, as well as any resources you may have that will help me prep for this season, is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Information from Last Season Which May Be Useful or at Least Amusing:

Original Draft Results

1. (7) Henrik Lundqvist (NYR - G)
2. (14) Eric Staal (Car - C)
3. (27) Corey Perry (Anh - RW)
4. (34) Carey Price (Mon - G)
5. (47) Ryan Getzlaf (Anh - C)
6. (54) Patrick Sharp (Chi - C,LW)
7. (67) P.A. Parenteau (Mon - RW)
8. (74) Mark Streit (Phi - D)
9. (87) Max Pacioretty (Mon - LW)
10. (94) Tobias Enstrom (Wpg - D)
11. (107) Kimmo Timonen (Phi - D)
12. (114) Michael Del Zotto (Phi - D)
13. (127) Viktor Fasth (Edm - G)
14. (134) Patrice Bergeron (Bos - C)
15. (147) Mike Richards (LA - C,LW)
16. (154) Justin Williams (LA - RW)

My Final Line-Up After Many Probably Dumb Moves

Players ......... G A +- PM PPP SOG
Jason Demers 5 29 14 30 9 105
Louis Eriksson 10 27 14 6 11 115
Ryan Getzlaf 31 56 28 31 23 204
Andy Greene 8 24 3 32 13 134
Tyler Johnson 24 26 23 26 10 181
Torey Krug 14 26 18 28 19 183
Brad Marchand 25 28 36 64 2 149
Kyle Okposo 27 42 -9 51 15 195
Corey Perry 43 39 32 65 18 280
Jaden Schwartz25 31 28 27 10 188
Patrick Sharp 34 44 13 40 25 313
Reilly Smith 20 31 28 14 14 146
Eric Staal 21 40 -13 74 12 230
Marc Vlasic 5 19 31 38 1 138
J. Wisniewski 7 44 0 61 28 166

Goalies ............ W GAA SV SA SV% SHO
Henrik Lundqvist 33 2.36 1666 1810 .920 5
Carey Price 34 2.32 1694 1828 .927 6

Weekly Results

1 Luongo's Jockstrap Loss 2 - 8
2 Z-Bad Karma Tie 5 - 5
3 Cory's Better Loss 0 - 8
4 Cost Certainty Loss 1 - 6
5 Zamboni Drivers Win 7 - 3
6 Duncan Teef Loss 4 - 5
7 The Big Pavelski Loss 4 - 6
8 Freaks & Dekes Loss 1 - 8
9 Radek Bonk's Mullet Win 6 - 2
10 Luongo's Jockstrap Loss 2 - 8
11 Z-Bad Karma Win 7 - 3
12 Cory's Better Loss 3 - 7
13 Cost Certainty Win 7 - 2
14 Zamboni Drivers Tie 5 - 5
15 Duncan Teef Loss 2 - 6
16 The Big Pavelski Loss 2 - 6
17 Freaks & Dekes Win 8 - 2
18 Radek Bonk's Mullet Win 6 - 2
19 Luongo's Jockstrap Win 5 - 4
20 Z-Bad Karma Win 6 - 4
21 Cory's Better Win 5 - 4

I think I did better in those last five weeks because I finally got smarter about managing my team, particularly the goalies (There were a lot of opposing players on the IR at that time too, iirc).
posted by Alvy Ampersand to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Forgot to add a link to the MeTa post about the MeFi League. If you're interested, I highly recommend it, they are clearly a very welcoming and patient group. :)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:15 PM on September 5, 2014


Wow. OK I've run a rotisserie league for a lot of years, so maybe the details are different from head to head, which it appears yours is, but over time, it should all even out. Here goes ( I wish you had numbered all of those questions!):

First off, target goalies in your draft. The way scoring is apparently set up in your league, two dudes will be responsible for as many fantasy points as the remaining 15. Your Goalies are OK, but you can do better. Target a couple of those GK categories, and the goalies who top them.

Don't worry about players from the same conference or division. Just focus on the relevant stat categories.

When you're ranking skaters, which you should do even if you auto draft because the computer is a shitty drafter, find players who rank in at least TWO categories, and preferably THREE. So, look for defensemen, for example, who will contribute +- AND SOG or PIMs

Its a shame your league includes PIMs. Five years ago that was relevant. The NHL has changed, and a stat that usrd to measure toughness now measures screwups. Anyway, that's an opportunity for you. Don't worry about winning that category... Its not worth a roster spot. But you can find defensemen late in the draft who can contribute PIMs, +-, and maybe SOG (not as many as forwards, but still..), and do OK.

Overall strategy... You're drafting to score fantasy points that count in your league, not NHL wins and lossed (except for goalies). Winning the G category is worth as much as winning the SOG category. See where this is headed? Everybody drafts for G and A. But there are steals elsewhere. A balanced team wins more often than not.

Waivers rules are different from league to league. Basically, when a Club releases a player, the player goes into a kind of limbo for a couple of days. Any teams interested in grabbing that player place a claim. The player goes to the team highest on the waiver order (reverse of draft order at season opening, then shifts as claims are won (winner of a claim drops to the bottom)). This prevents some non official trade shenanigans among GMs.

Yes, keeping your roster up to date is important, in the same way 90% of business is answering the phone. No question your active goalie management at the end of the previous season helped.

I think that covers it. Drop the puck already!
posted by notyou at 11:35 PM on September 5, 2014


Oh, one more thing. If your league differentiates between forwards, look for those who are LW/RW (play both). You'll have some roster flexibility, all other things equal. Also. Scoring LWs are more rare than scoring RWs, so if yer drafting an can't decide among otherwise equal wings, take the LW.
posted by notyou at 11:43 PM on September 5, 2014


Whoops, I probably should have commented here rather than the MetaTalk thread.

Looking at the results, you had my number this year.

Just in response to a couple of points; the only time you need to worry about which team wins or loses is if you have one of the goalies playing that night. For skaters, it doesn't matter. A guy can score points in a win as well as a loss.

Did waivers give me the option of recalling the first guy if he turned things around in a set amount of time, or is it just a nice way of saying they are dumped?


No, it's just a nice way of saying they're dumped. In fact other players can call dibs* on them before they become free agents , but you cannot, as the guy that dropped the guy.

*everyone has a waiver priority rank, and when you successfully make a waiver claim you wind up on the bottom of the priority list until someone else makes one.

Last year the one marquee name I went after was Lundqvist, assuming everyone would go after Crosby, etc. as their first round pick and that if I had a solid goalie that could provide a good foundation for a team of B-listers. Dumb?

Personally I've always avoided taking goalies in the first couple of rounds, but that's risky. I have found people undervalue or overlook a couple of goalies most years that I can snag later on. You drafted 2 of the best available so no fault there; Rask and Lundqvist almost always go in the first round or 2 and Price not long after. And as notyou pointed out, this league has a lot of goalie categories so it's actually a pretty good idea taking a sure-thing goalie early and I might have to reconsider my strategy.

Also: in terms of defensemen, there are a few guys you can't go wrong taking early. Karlsson and Subban and possibly Weber. Those guys will give you the numbers of a decent forward while not occupying a forward slot. Karlsson is not a bad choice for a late first round pick, but if he's there in the second it's a no-brainer IMO. The others probably go in the third or later.

If you can pre-select and prioritize your draftees ahead of time, what's the benefit of doing the draft live vs. setting it to autopick?

Auto-pick is for bathroom breaks and taking the burrito out of the microwave. You can make a list and auto-pick but I don't recommend it because really you won't know who you are getting--you can prioritze players but you can't adjust it to the picks being made by the other people in the pool. Sometimes in a draft there's all of a sudden a run on goalies or defensemen. People kind of go "oh shit, all the good goalies are taken, better get one now!" and it becomes a domino effect and if you're not there to control for that your list takes Jeff Skinner automatically and now you're stuck with Pavelec and Reimer in net. Or alternatively you could wind up with 4 great goalies and no left wings or something silly, because there is no way your list is going to be able to react to how others are drafting in order to fill out your roster. I would use it more as a cheat sheet for yourself in case Yahoo's rankings don't reflect your own preferences (there are a few guys ranked way too low by Yahoo IMO and you don't want to forget about them). Yahoo does mock drafts, too. If you feel like it, make your list and try one out doing auto-pick; it probably wont be a disaster but there will be times you'll think "aw damn I would not have done that"
posted by Hoopo at 10:46 AM on September 8, 2014


Thanks, guys! Now I just need to get a burrito!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:43 AM on September 11, 2014


I don't tend to play HTH leagues (I'm usually not active enough to really be a good player) - I did run a Keeper Pool (which was a points pool) for the NHL for the past three/four years, so some of what I have to say may help or may not.

are drafters just going after their favourite players, or as many players from their favourite team as they can draft? Last year the one marquee name I went after was Lundqvist, assuming everyone would go after Crosby, etc. as their first round pick and that if I had a solid goalie that could provide a good foundation for a team of B-listers.

1. It really helps to understand the scoring of the league you are in - which is something it sounds like you figured out. Knowing that helps to decide player value in any pool. Depending on what's going on in the draft, you may shift your priorities - if goalies are going fast, you jump on a goalie or you may decide that the goalies that would really make a difference are gone, and use the opportunity to start snagging players good in other categories to snap them up while everyone else is chasing goalies or defense-men down the drain. In my experience, there are some players in each area/category who are stand outs; then a whole bunch in the middle; then some dregs. If the stand-outs are gone for one category, try to grab stand-outs from another because you can always snag someone from the middle. Exception - defense - getting good, solid performers on defense is hard, I have found. Grab defense when you can, especially if the pool stat categories are impacted by them (+/-

Don't draft players from your favourite team - I watched several guys do that over the years. It works if that team happens to be the best team in the league, but that doesn't happen - because everyone else is snapping up those guys too. Instead, you wind up with a roster overloaded from one team - and if that team gets shutout, goes on a losing streak, or what have you, your team is overly affected. Getting linemates is nice, as they can often act as magnifiers for each other (one player has a hat trick, the other one gets 3 assists); but again, too many players linked like that and you have the risk of taking a beating when they have bad nights.

2. Injury history - this, I think, is often overlooked - what is a player's injury history like? Because you can have players who are really, really high risk high-reward for this - if healthy, they are great - if not, they are a black hole for you. Prime example - in the first year/first draft of my Keeper League (so no one had any rosters yet), it was Crosby's return from concussion. No one knew what to make of him, and he went quite low in the first round (2nd last I think?) which was higher than I had him ranked (I think I was eying him as a second round pick). Good pickup (the rest of that guy's picks were not so good), but you could feel everyone in the room was leery of Crosby. Players who have significant injury histories are not as good as lower round, more consistent performers.

If you can pre-select and prioritize your draftees ahead of time, what's the benefit of doing the draft live vs. setting it to autopick

Mentioned above - but draft live is better; the computer won't react to the room and the possibilities that might be opened up. If, say, everyone is making a run on defense, the computer won't notice and will just keep on clicking along. And you perhaps miss out on an opportunity to steal someone or get the last top-tier guy at a position.

I'm fuzzy on waivers. If a player consistently underperformed, I just replaced him with a potentially better prospect. Did waivers give me the option of recalling the first guy if he turned things around in a set amount of time, or is it just a nice way of saying they are dumped?

I could be confused on how it works in your league, but I believe that the player's waiver status has to do with the ability of other teams in the league to take that player - i.e., there is an order of priority for the teams in the league to claim a player off waivers, in the situation where multiple teams submit a claim. As the team performing the release, I don't think you have any standing in that process, though you may be able to reclaim the player once waivers are cleared (i.e., no other team claimed the player during the waiver time period, and the player is now in the undrafted pool).

Couple of links for you
posted by nubs at 3:28 PM on September 17, 2014


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