As a follow up to my
previous article on CBS Fantasy Hockey Draft Strategy, I wanted to come back
with a breakdown of how you should approach drafting in a standard head-to-head Yahoo
league. Unfortunately, Yahoo has
discontinued the Pro Leagues (probably due to their stubborn refusal to move
off the rotisserie format).
Many of the
principals are the same as CBS (and any league for that matter), so if you
missed it, check it out here:
For now, I'll focus
on the specific things you need to know for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey leagues in
order to draft a winning team.
Get to know that
phrase, as it is key. The first thing to
note about the standard Yahoo settings is that they choose to break down
forwards by specific position (C, LW, RW), as opposed to grouping wingers, or
all forwards together. This has a
noticeable impact on your strategy. It
used to be on Yahoo, that Left Wingers came at a premium; however, recently
they dramatically opened up the number of players that qualify at multiple
positions. (say it with me - "Dual
Eligibility". That designation is
gold here. The flexibility gives you far
more options when it comes to setting your day to day lineup. So, while I would otherwise favor Stamkos and
Crosby over Malkin, Seguin, or Giroux, they both have (arbitrarily) been given
dual eligibility. I can't
over-emphasize the edge that this gives you to have that flexibility.
Yahoo has a unique
option that lets you carry one player on the IR that won't count against your
other roster spots. Take advantage of
this throughout the season, and even during the draft. I recommend drafting a player you know will
start the season injured (e.g. Drouin).
At the start of the season, you can put him into the IR spot and you'll
have a free pick to backfill it. Always
look to pick up hurt stars and keep the spot filled.
As opposed to CBS,
which awards fantasy points based on stats, the standard head-to-head Yahoo
leagues are scored on an old-school rotisserie fashion. (Note: this is one major reason I no longer
play Yahoo. In fact, please join me in my effort to
permanently ban rotisserie format forever.)
This setup affects your strategy in several major ways.
1. Pay attention to all categories.
In a points based
system, +/- can largely be ignored. In a
Yahoo league, having the best +/- is
just as important as goals. This makes
no logical sense, but that's the way it is, so plan your draft
accordingly. If a guy is notoriously bad
in +/- or refuses to take a penalty to save his life, downgrade that
2. Goons are welcome.
minutes are valued equal to goals, why not draft a goon to round out your
wingers? One player could
single-handedly win that category for you, so even if Tom Sestito only nets you 2 goals again next season, his
15 Pims a week may be worth it. Note:
Antoine Roussel is definitely a name to target late in your draft.
3. Bring on the backup goalies.
Total goals allowed
and saves matter not here. It's all
about the averages (GAA / save %). What
that means is that a workhorse who may lead the league in saves won't
necessarily be as valuable as a guy who plays every other game and puts up a
low GAA in the process. So don't
necessarily shy away from backups or goalies in a split-crease scenario. You have to meet a minimum games played each
week, so the best strategy here it to grab a top-notch, # 1 goalie early in the
draft, then wait it out for your 2nd goalie.
There will be plenty of solid backups out there into the 10th round and
beyond. Options like the split crease
in St. Louis or Anaheim become viable, as they'll both see a game or two a week
and should register decent numbers behind that solid Blues defense. In a points-based league, these two would
slide to late in the draft. This
approach may hold you back in wins and shutouts, but you'll benefit in the
4. Sadly, Defense is irrelevant
It breaks my heart
to say this, but in this format, you can and should treat defense as an
afterthought. If you can grab one of the
top 5 defensemen early, go for it, because the talent level drops off
significantly after that. Karlsson and
Weber will score like a forward and so they are worthy of early selection. However, since defense and offense are
grouped together in Yahoo leagues for scoring, they have relatively little
value. Best plan is to grab 1 elite
defenseman if you can early, get your second D around round 8-10, then fill up
your other starting spots before rounding out this position.
Draft Room Rules
Unlike CBS, Yahoo
leaves you the keys and lets you drive your car how you please. There is no restriction on the number of
players you can draft at any position.
If you want to fill your bench with 4 goalies, you're free to do
so. I only point this out, as it's a
dramatic difference from the approach in CBS.
Here, you're free to take the best player available at all times.
Finally, take a
close look at those Yahoo player rankings and play off of them
accordingly. The average GM will tend to
follow Yahoo's picks rather blindly. Be
informed and watch for these situations.