The Shark Blog
14. February 2013 16:06
The landscape of
fantasy hockey changes very quickly.
Just look at the San Jose. Two
weeks into the season, you couldn't go wrong with a lineup stacked with Sharks. Since the calendar turned to February, no
team has been worse. At the same time,
owners were ready to bail on the likes of Kessel, Ovechkin, and Kovalchuk. Don't look now, but all 3 are hot. It's critical to stay on top of the trends,
which is why you're going to continue scrolling down this article...
Phil Kessel (O-TOR)
It took him 10 games
before acquiring his first goal; however, it has been a sweet ride since he
broke through. 7 points in his last 4
Alex Ovechkin (O-WAS)
After the worst
start to his career, he has shown some good signs of life lately. He has 7 points in his last 4 games and is
currently riding a 3 game goal streak.
Cam Ward (G-CAR)
It was a tough
start, but the wins and quality performances have started to come around for
Ward. He has won 4 of 5 starts.
Patrick Elias (O-NJ)
8 points in his last
five games, including 2 straight 3-point nights.
rookies are dropping off:
Nail Yakupov (O-EDM)
Following a 6 game
scoring streak, Yakopov hasn't seen the scoresheet in the last 3 contests.
Cory Conacher (O-TB)
After a stunning
start to the season, Conacher has hit a wall.
He's now gone 5 games without a point, heading into Thursday night.
Dougie Hamilton (D-BOS)
After a strong, much
heralded start, the rookie has dried up offensively. 6 game scoreless run right now.
Brian Elliot (G-STL)
After a fast start,
Elliot and the Blues have crashed and burned following the injury to
Halak. Nothing but losses and four
straight games allowing 4+ goals. He's
being dropped all over the place. May be
the time to stash him on the bench, as this won't last forever.
Marian Gaborik (O-NYR)
Mr. Streaky has just
1 stinkin' point in the last 7 games.
- Jonas Hiller (G-ANA) - lower
- Mikka Kiprusoff (G-CGY) -
- Erik Karlsson (D-OTT) -
achilles. Out indefinitely.
- Jaroslav Halak (G-STL) -
still toying with a return date.
- James Reimer (G-TOR) -
strained MCL. Who knows when?
Jiri Tlusty (O-CAR)
Tlusty has been
mixing well with the older Staal lately, compiling a nice 9 points in the last
6 games. He is coming off back to back
2-goal performances going into Thursday night.
Mike Cammalleri (O-CGY)
I wrote this guy off
years ago. Mostly from banging my head against the wall. The Flames are starting to put up goals and
Cammalleri is part of that action. He
had a 3-game vacation with a hip flexor, but sandwiched around that were 7
points in 2 games.
Chris Stewart (O-STL)
Stewart has been a
big disappointment since arriving in St. Louis; however, the streaky winger has
been showing signs of life lately. He
has 2 multi-point games in the last 3 games.
Keep an eye on him.
Brayden Schenn (O-PHI)
Schenn has piled up
7 points in the last 7 games as he continues to gain ice time and a more
prominent role with his new team.
Alex Steen (O-STL)
Steen continues to
roll, and therefore, continues to disappear from waiver wires, but he still
remains in many leagues. He has 12
points in 13 games, including 8 points in the last 7 games.
Cody Franson (D-TOR)
stepped it up on the Toronto blueline.
His name is Cody Franson. Riding
a 4-game point streak, he has an impressive 8 points in 10 games, yet remains
unclaimed in many leagues. He's hitting
his prime now at age 25, so jump on it now.
Ben Scrivens (G-TOR)
It's unclear how
long Reimer will be out, or how long until the new management team in Toronto
pulls the trigger for a new man in net.
For now, it falls on Scrivens.
Toronto has been winning games, so if you're desperate for goalie
starts, it's worth a look at Scrivens.
Michal Jordan (D-CAR)
No idea if this guy
will be able to translate offensive success into the NHL, but it's his name is
Michal Jordan, and he will be starting his career in North Carolina. Different sport, but history shows this might
be a good thing.
8. February 2013 09:38
Believe it or not,
after this weekend we will be 1/4 through this NHL season already. If your league has playoffs, you may be a 1/3
through the regular season already. In
other words, if you don't like your team by now, you'd better act quick. Fortunately, we're hear to help. Here is this week's edition of the fantasy
Kunitz. Crosby. Malkin. Dupuis.
Even Matt Cooke is starting to put points on the board.
Kane has been
inconsistent in recent years, but he has come out on fire this season. The hotness continues, with 6 goals and 8
points in his last 4 games.
Similar story for
Hank. With 4 goals and 5 assists over
his last 5 games, he's risen near the top of the scoring leaders.
Pekka Rinne (G-NAS)
After a sluggish
start, Rinne is on fire. He's won 4
straight, allowing just 3 goals during that span.
Sheldon Souray (D-ANA)
Seems like he has a
new sweater every year, but one thing stays the same: he scored goals. He's potted one in each of the last 3 games,
giving him 4 on the season. That's more goals
than Kessel, Sharp, Hall, Richards, Nash, Semin, Ryan, and many other
In terms of goals,
see Souray's file above… here are a few more disappointments:
Jordan Eberle (F-EDM)
Just one lousy
assist in the last 5 games. This guy was supposed to challenge the leading
scorers this year.
Mikko Koivu (F-MIN)
Those good vibes to
start the season on fire with Parise have vanished. Four straight games without a point. -3 over that span.
Rick Nash (F-NYR)
Just one point in
his last 4 games. Ice time is starting
to be reduced.
Milan Michalek (F-OTT)
After a solid start,
he's registered just 1 assist in the last 5 games. Somebody missing Spezza?
Evander Kane (F-WPG)
3 games without
seeing his name on the scoresheet. He
did register 7 shots on goal last night.
Need one to go in now, Evander.
Marian Gaborik (F-NYR)
Is there a streakier
human being on the planet? After four
straight games without a point, he broke through with a goal last night. Guess it's time for another hat trick, Marian?
Shea Weber (D-NAS)
You're killing me,
Shea. 1 lousy point on the season? Please don't look where I had him ranked
- Cam Fowler (D-ANA) - upper
- Brad Marchand (F-BOS) - same
- Ray Whitney (F-DAL) - lower
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (F-EDM) -
upper body, day to day
- Patric Hornqvist (F-NAS) -
- Jaroslav Halak (G-STL) -
practicing, but not ready to play yet
Viktor Fasth (G-ANA)
You may have already
missed the boat on this one. Fasth isn't
your typical rookie up for a cup of coffee.
He's 30 years old and has had success in Europe. Now, he's challenging Hiller for the job in
Anaheim. 4-0 so far in his NHL career
with a GAA under 1.
Colin Wilson (F-NAS)
The Preds are
quietly making their move, and 3rd year winger Colin Wilson is leading the
charge. He has 6 points over the last 3
Martin Hanzal (F-PHO)
Seems to be
recovered from some early season injury woes, and is running the show in
Phoenix. 4 goals and 1 assist over the
last 4 games for the Coyotes.
Andy Greene (D-NJ)
Before last week, it
was foolish to suggest the name Andy Greene on a fantasy hockey website. However, 2 goals and 4 assists later, he
deserves a nod.
Jiri Hudler (F-CGY)
The Flames are a
team worth looking at in fantasy circles.
They've played just 8 games, meaning you can take advantage of those
extra games going forward. Hudler is on
to consider. 7 point in 5 games this
1. February 2013 15:50
We're two whole
weeks into the 2013 fantasy hockey season, which means it's time to revive the
weekly fantasy hockey planner. As in
seasons of old, each Friday you should plan to spend your lunch break catching
up on the latest news, trends, and fantasy advice right here. Whether traditional season-long fantasy games
is your thing, or if you've gotten hooked on daily leagues, I'll try and give
you an edge over your competition.
Really, it's still
pointless to talk about who's hot. Just
look at the point standings. It's all
Sharks, Hawks, and Bolts. Come back next
week for a more relevant conversation on this topic.
Got to stay on top
of those injuries. Here's the latest
with big-time fantasy impact:
- Jason Spezza (F-OTT) - out
- Justin Faulk (D-CAR) -
recovered and should be back in action soon
- Gabriel Landeskog (F-COL) -
- Steve Downie (F-COL) - out
for the season. Time to drop.
- Scott Hartnell (F-PHI) -
broken foot. Not good.
- Joffrey Lupul (F-TOR) -
broken arm. Not good.
EARLY WAIVER SURPRISES
Most likely, if you
haven't jumped on board with these quick starters, it's too late. But if you're in a sleepy league, here are
some monster surprises to start this unconventional season:
"The Zombie" Markov (D-MON) - how many times can this guy come back from
the dead? After three straight
injury-riddled seasons, most of us had given up caring. Many (count me in) assumed he would
never be a fantasy factor again.
Yet, here he is, #1 on the charts among defensemen in points and
goals. How long until he's back on
the IR? Doesn't matter. If it's not too late, claim him now.
(F-STL) - I'll admit. Never heard
of him before last week. Guess I
didn't catch enough of those KHL games during the Dark Ages (aka lockout
months). Through 7 NHL games, he
has 5 goals and 9 points, playing alongside Andy McDonald and Alex
Steen. Trust me, you're probably
too late for this bandwagon.
- Another rookie bursting out to a fantastic start. He's partially part of the rising tide
in Tampa Bay (ranked #1 in goals scored so far). And he's doing it without the help of
Stamkos and St. Louis. Good news or
bad? In other words, should we
trust the Captain LeCavalier can keep it rolling enough to make Conacher a
long-term play? Worth taking a
flier on if he's still free.
- The loss of Parise hasn't hurt the fortunes of Mr. Clarkson. And if your league favors well-round
stat producers (beyond goals and assists), Clarkson is gold. In addition to healthy point totals, he
has strong numbers in hits, PIMs and shots.
- Sam Gagner (F-EDM) - While the focus
has shifted to the younger guns in Edmonton, Gagner is still a young gun
himself. Despite being at just 23
years old, many have pushed him to back burner with the arrival of all the
other 1st round forwards to crash the Oilers bench. Don't forget, this guy had a couple of
crazy games about this time last year.
ON WAIVER WATCH
If you missed the
first round of waiver claims, here are a few more recent risers that haven't
hit the top 40 in scoring yet:
"The Other Zombie" Redden (D-STL) - so, this is Redden's first official trip back
from the grave. Now that the
Rangers have opened the tomb and allowed him to stumble West into a fine
Blues defense, he's back to being fantasy relevant. 2 goals in first 3 games is a nice
start, but apparently, the undead are not immune to the flu. He'll be sitting this weekend, but it's
worth stashing him on your bench for when the sniffles go away.
- Matt Frattin (F-TOR) - after just 4 games
with limited ice time in Toronto, Frattin has piled up a nice 4 goals and
2 assists. Should his ice time
increase, he could be a player worth seizing in the weeks to come.
- With O'Reilly still out of the picture, Mitchell has recently seized the
opportunity in Colorado. He just
registered a 3-point effort against Calgary, giving him 4 goals in 7
- The Islanders just keep scoring.
While the top line may be gone in your league, it's a safe bet that
Nielsen, and his 7 points in 7 games are still available.
FUTURE WAIVER WATCH
If you're playing in
a deep league, or just want to stay ahead of the curve, here are a few
off-the-radar players to keep an eye on for the next few days:
(F-MON) - Currently logging 3rd line minutes, but making the most of it
for Montreal. The 18 year old
rookie has 5 points in his first 6 NHL games.
- The first round draft pick of Carolina couldn't stick with the Canes,
but struck potential gold this week when he was claimed off waivers by the
Penguins. Word is, he'll get an
audition next to guys named Malkin and Neal. Tasty.
(F-OTT) - Just claim him for the name.
Somebody will have to pick up those minutes left behind by Spezza's
injury. 2 points in 2 games so
far. Let's see what he does with
top tier wingers and more than 10 minutes of playing time a night.
If you're trying out
daily fantasy, use my referral codes.
18. January 2013 08:39
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. Many of the principals are the
same as CBS (and any league for that matter), so if you missed it, check it out
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.
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, this year
they dramatically opened up the number of players that qualify at multiple
positions. 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, he's the only one of the three to (arbitrarily) be granted
C/LW status. That makes the reigning MVP
the best option on offense this year. 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. Kesler).
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 rarely play
on Yahoo.) 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 Zenon Konopka only nets you 2 goals again next season, his
15 Pims a week may be worth it.
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 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.
Here are some
undervalued players that you can wait on and grab as a steal later than you
would in other draft rooms:
Nugent-Hopkins, Benn (despite the contract issues), Skinner
Left Wing: Lupul,
Right Wing: Gaborik,
Here are some names
that will fly off the board before their time, based on Yahoo overrating them:
Zetterberg (demise in Detroit is upon us), Backes
Left Wing: Heatley
Pominville, Alfredsson, Jagr
16. January 2013 09:19
Everyone seems to be
in scramble mode this week to pull together drafts, leaving very little time to
prepare. If you're like me and play on
various sites, it's easy to forget the rules and nuances of each league. Blindly drafting without regard to the rules
can be fatal. Even if you're Biff
Tannen and you know exactly how many points each player will score next season,
it's no guarantee for fantasy victory if you don't fashion your draft strategy
to the league you're in. In this post,
I'll give you some tips and guidance on how to draft (and win) in a standard
CBS fantasy hockey league.
The first step for
any league is to study the point system so you know the relative value of each
position. CBS does a good job of
weighting the value of offense, defense, and goaltending, to ensure that each
position has somewhat equal weight.
Quick recap of points in key categories:
Offense: Goals = 3, Assists = 2
Defense: Goals = 5,
Assists = 3
Goalies: Win = 5,
Saves=.2 , GA=-1
So what does this
mean? First off, the tendency for the
inexperienced GM is to blow off drafting defensemen until the later rounds,
since the big names and leading scorers obviously come from the forwards. Huge mistake here. Because of the weighting of points, a 20 goal
scorer on offense will earn 60 points for his efforts, while a 20-goal
performance by a defenseman will net 100 points. Another critical factor to realize is the
relative gap between the elite players on defense versus on offense. When it comes to defensemen, there's a fairly
small number of predictable, elite performing players. After that group of 10 or so, it drops off
considerably to the point where it doesn't matter much who you pick. The story is different for forwards. (Aside from a few obvious exceptions like
Crosby, Stamkos, and Malkin), you won't see a huge point difference between the
top 10 forwards and the next 20 or so on the list.
Bottom line here:
don't be shy about drafting one or two defensemen in the first 4 rounds, even
if it means enduring a laugh or two from your unschooled competition.
And what about the
other stats categories?
- Penalty Minutes - At .25 a
piece, it's worth considering, but not worth planning your draft around
it. There are few players in the
league that bring a steady diet of points and PIMs. Those that do should be bumped up your
list a few notches (Perry, Lucic, Clowe, Marchand); however, don't go
crazy drafting goons.
- +/- - Perhaps the most
arbitrary stat in fantasy sports.
Don't waste your time trying to predict this one. Generally speaking, favor players on
good teams over those with poor goal ratios. Often times a decent +/- will line up
nicely with points, and when it doesn't, it's not worth worrying about.
- SHG/PPG - For as often as a
short handed goal is scored, pay no attention. Power Play time (and goals) on the other
hand are more predictable and should factor into your rankings. CBS offers a bonus point for each goal
on the power play, so give a slight boost to guys like Selanne and Franzen
that might otherwise not be worth a look.
CBS strikes a decent
balance when valuing goaltenders between wins, saves, and goals against. A player who sees a ton of shots (Rinne,
Ward, Smith) has an edge out of the gate over a guy who only has to wake up
every few minutes to turn aside a casual kick save (Lundqvist). So don't completely shy away from a good
goalie on a poor defensive team.
Shutouts are hard to predict, but there are certain goalie who
historically will give you that added bonus on a regular basis (Smith,
Lundqvist). The obvious category (and
the one that may be easiest to predict) is wins. At 5 points a piece, this is where you'll
want to weight a good bit of your ranking for this league.
Bottom line: focus
on Wins and Saves.
Points Per Game Rule
One last point worth
noting in CBS scoring rules is how they award points. It's not the total points earned that matter
in a head-to-head matchup. It's fantasy
points per game played. While this won't affect most of your
decisions at draft time for forwards and defense, it's something to think about
for goaltenders. This makes a
split-crease situation somewhat more palatable. This makes the goalies in St. Louis a prime
target in CBS, whereas they may be overlooked in other formats. Halak could be the most valuable player in
the league. It's still risky to go with
a part-time goalie in net, but in this format, you can pull it off.
Then 2nd thing to
consider for any league is the number of players per position, and how the
league breaks down offense. The standard
CBS rules call for:
- 2 goalies
- 4 defense
- 6 forwards
- 4 bench spots
One of the nuances
with the CBS draft rules merits serious consideration. While you can mix and match centers and
wingers once the season begins, CBS
limits you to selecting just 3 total centers at draft time. I don't understand why they do it, but if you
don't play to this rule, you could seriously hurt yourself late in the
draft. First off, high-scoring fantasy
centers are abundant. It's tempting to
jump all over guys like Stamkos, Malkin, and Giroux in the early rounds, but
step back and look further down the list.
Guys like Backstrom, Jordan Staal, and Benn will be around much later in
the draft, and is that really so bad? If
you spend 3 early picks on centers, you'll be regretting it in round 14 when
you see that Henrique and Jeff Carter
are still available, but CBS won't let you pick them. Budget your center selection for value and
save one of the 3 for the final couple of rounds. Give yourself room to cash in on a sleeper.
Note: Perhaps the most frustrating part about
this rule is that it's different in the mock drafts. In a mock draft, CBS will let you pick up to
6 centers. I had to learn this the hard
way two years back in my Premium League when I went to take Anze Kopitar in
round 9, only to have the unfriendly red text tell me somebody else would be
benefiting from his breakout campaign.
Consider yourself warned.
Also note, some CBS
leagues draw distinction between left wing and right wing (as opposed to
grouping them all together). If this is
the case, you must mock draft this way to learn a thing or two. You'll quickly find the talent pool drops off
considerably by position in these drafts.
Centers are a dime a dozen, relatively speaking here, and shouldn't be
drafted until round 5 or later.
In a 12 team league
starting 2 goalies, it's critical to get at least one elite player at this
position. Having two is even
better. If you don't pick a goalie in
either round 1 or 2, you may lose interest quickly, because you'll be losing on
a regular basis. There's only so much
talent to go around, and you'll only find a handful of useful options on the
waiver wire over the course of the year.
Contrast that with the forward position.
You're guaranteed to always have a serviceable forward available
throughout the season when the need arises, purely based on quantity.
Note: The 3 player
limit also applies to goalies during the draft, so if you're the type that
likes to stash 2 backups on your bench, you'll have to wait until after the
draft to add #4. The approach here
should be different than for centers, however.
There are only 25 or so goalies worth drafting, and you need a good
player in your 3rd slot, so do not wait past round 11 or 12 to grab your
CBS grants you 4
bench spots, one for each position.
Again, once the draft is done, you can fill those 4 spots with any mix
of position. At draft time, you'll
obviously want to place 1 center and 1 goalie in there. Beyond that, feel free to grab 2 defense, 2
wingers or 1 of each. You'll probably
end up dropping one of those within a few weeks anyway (possibly for 4th center
or goalie), so don't sweat it much.
The third major
factor to consider is the default player rankings in CBS. Each site features their own set of player
rankings, and it's worth studying them in order to guess the tendencies of your
opposition. Most GMs will tend to lean
on the default rankings, particularly late in the draft. With this in mind, you can learn a lot by
searching for both underrated and overrated players in their listings.
If you run through a
mock draft or two, and look through the rankings, you should find some players
significantly undervalued in their rankings.
While you may have ranked these players quite high on your list, they may
just go a few rounds later than you would have picked them. Take advantage of this information and spend
that early pick on a another position and get the value in the next round. This is a risky strategy, but if you're in it
to win, you've got to take some chances to cash in big. Here are some players that I find to be
noticeably undervalued by CBS's rankings:
Goalies: Halak, Fleury, Schneider (perhaps they don't
get news out of Vancouver?)
Nugent-Hopkins, J. Staal
Gaborik, Vrbata, Lupul
NOTE: if you're in a
more serious league with established managers, take this advice with a grain of
salt. If you know what you're doing,
you'll have done your own homework and have your own custom draft list.
On the opposite end,
it's worth looking for players that CBS has rated artificially high against
your personal draft list. In this case,
you have a decision to make. If you want
the player badly enough, know that you'll have to grab him earlier than you
would like. A better bet may be to
resign yourself to finding value someplace else. Here are a handful of players that probably
won't make it on to my squad, as somebody is bound to grab them way too early
for my liking:
Bryzgalov, Luongo (see Schneider above)
Del Zotto, Brendan Smith
Zetterberg, Kopitar (hurt)
Wingers: P. Kane,
delve into the Yahoo fantasy draft strategy.
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