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