Marv: I wanted to start out this week’s article by not mentioning the Superbowl. We’re talking hockey here so I want to talk about chilly ice rinks, sticks, pucks, highlight reel goals and of course plenty of PIMs. The only thing I will say about football is now that it has finished, fantasy hockey participation will regain some momentum. All of a sudden there are more trade offers coming in, trades being accepted, lineups being updated and commentators (good and bad) back in full swing. Now I push trading and waiver wire activity a lot, but even if you’ve fallen off the wagon and are trying to claw your way back into playoffs, it’s never too late to update!
Marv: What a difference a week can make, I’m back! A little too many video games combined with a little too much sleep equals one quick week, but a good one. Video games, movies, hockey & complete laziness aside, with the New Year came an itch to shake things up in my hockey league. I might not have needed the players or the trade, but the act alone and the wheeling a dealing has brought me back to life. To my point, if you’re feeling a bit stretched or a little unmotivated around the halfway mark, throw some trades out there, see who’s biting, just don’t get bit, Ha! Marv: I initially compiled most the players off this list around a week and a half ago. I’ve updated the information for most the players that required an update. Some might have been snatched up after great new year starts but there is still some value to be had. The only Sell I had I removed only because it broke my heart, Marian Gaborik. After a descent December I thought he was pulling out but has barely registered a blip in January and is now on the fourth line, the mighty have fallen.
As we approach the season’s halfway point, we’re going to take a slight departure from the regular Goalie Report format and instead take a closer look at a few goaltenders in particular. Not the ones in the middle of the pack, but the ones who have surprised us, in good and bad ways. And we’ll ask the question of their second half chances: Pay or Stay Away? Yes, because it rhymes.
Okay, halfway point coming up. Which means it’s time to give some serious thought toward certain players who had either a terrible or amazing first half, and ask yourself whether or not the cold player will improve, the hot player will decline, or if they will simply keep up the same pace. I’ll be focusing on the forward lines this week, with goalies and defenseman articles coming up as we near the All-Star break.
Marv: Let’s run with the idea of not dwelling on the past and look to some players who have let you down but might be back (the booty call buy's). I will be including some guys on my list that aren’t typically on your radar, or at least were at one time and have fallen out of favor. Let’s try and not focus so much on the past but dream of a continued hot streak or resurgence these players are having in the near future.
Welcome to the second edition of Assume the Position. Today we’ll be looking at a few defensemen that can help you fill out your roster. There are only a few elite level defenders out there; after them, if you want to gain an advantage, you’re going to have to make some sneaky pickups along the way. In shallow leagues, you’re looking to ride the hot hand with your defensemen. Keep track of not only which players are getting the power play minutes, but of those players, who is actually producing at any given time and ride their momentum. In this type of league, most teams should be able to roster four D-men that contribute in several categories. And if you lose one to injury, your replacement will likely be a lesser version but still contribute. Going deeper, however…
Marv: I’ve always been told to start my stud players. Whether one of my studs is having a cold streak, their team has a strong schedule, they’re playing a hot goalie or is coming back from injury, they’re in my lineup. FYI I went against this and sat Michal Neuvirth for Saturday night’s game where he got a shutout, which definitely would have helped me out in this week’s matchup. I know a lot of fantasy managers play the matchups, and I’m definitely not encouraging you to ignore these items listed above or ignoring advanced stats (Corsi, etc.) but I, myself, play them not matter what. So maybe don’t go as hardcore and follow my lead, but try not to throw away a stud on a down week or with at least high potential for turning things around to grab a hot, unproven player on the wire. This might work out half the time, but more than likely you will see this stud get picked up off the wire by your competition. Losing the year is bad (for obvious reasons) but the loss is that much harder to swallow when you lose to a team who grabbed your stud who managed to turn things around. Marv: This week we’re starting off with some Studs who have fallen out of love with their old fantasy managers and find themselves available in under 50% of leagues.
Welcome to Assume the Position, a new weekly feature that will focus on one specific player position each week. On a personal note, I love a good, deep league, the kind in which it's actually helpful to know who the backup goalie is in Buffalo. We'll be wading deep into the player pool on most weeks, so dynasty and deep redraft league owners, take note. We’ll start things off with a look at the goaltenders, breaking them up into four tiers, with comments on each. Below, goalies denoted in parentheses are the clear backup, while teammates that are hyphenated play in a more balanced timeshare. Rating goalies by the numbers alone is tricky business. We’ll revisit the chart throughout the season and hopefully give you a leg (pad?) up on the competition that goes beyond the numbers.
Marv: Welcome back everyone, well to the six guys and one girl who read our Buy/Sell articles. I have to say it has been a pretty interesting start to the season. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well you clearly are not taking advantage of Viz’s daily recaps & articles. The guy has something up almost every day. So what’s your plan? Do you want to win your league or just contribute to someone else’s winnings each year? Oh yeah, can you feel it coming on? I feel a rant brewing, bubbling, I probably won’t be able to keep it in much longer…
Surprise!  I said yesterday that I wasn't going to have an article today but instead of posting my streamers in the comments section, I will post a short, separate article with my top options.  I said here that Leon Draisaitl was a must-add right now.  While his ownership is increasing rapidly, he's still only 36% owned on ESPN.  He gets an amazing matchup against Philly and to make it even better, it's at home with Philly on a back to back.  He's locked into the top line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the top power play unit.  Here's a look at some other guys who are available in most leagues that can help you out tonight:
Marv: Every year I spend way too much time preparing for my drafts. I love it all, waiting for your target to fall to your pick to the last minute scramble of finding a replacement when the guy picking before you grabs the player you want. I know tons of guys (& some girls) who love the draft as well and also spend way too much time preparing and worse, taking the full 90 seconds for each pick. What baffles me is when a person spends so much time preparing to draft and is so methodical in their draft picks but then never makes any moves throughout the year. Fine, you drafted an amazing team on paper and I’m sure I’ll hear about how great your players are, but if you’re not watching the available wire talent out there, you’re missing out securing your victory. For me, I believe that a fantasy league win is brought to you by 50% initial draft, 50% wire action (trades and pick-ups/drops). I guess I should also add 10% for sheer luck, but don’t trust me I’ve never been great at math. It’s so important to keep watching the wire/available guys but also do not forget to watch players who are getting dropped by your league mates. I can’t tell you how many times I have struck gold picking up a player who was dropped by an impatient owner. Pesos: Although I agree with what Marv is saying, it still has to be said that we are two weeks into a long, long season. Guys are certainly going to cool down. I’m looking at your Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. The key is being patient and looking at the possible reasons why someone is going on a hot streak to help determine if it’s an unsustainable streak or if the player is starting to get more playing time. Marv: Hopefully in your case you have a better team than Pesos and you are merely looking to swap out a player or two after a couple weeks (and not your complete roster, eh Pesos!) So please see below for our first Buy & Sell guys, based on players owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues.
Marv: My friend Pesos and I are pretty big into hockey (it's a requirement up in Canada). We are very excited for the new hockey season and we hope you are too. Pesos, you’re really sticking with that name eh? Alright, there have been worse names I guess (Maple Leafs). Pesos: Really? With a name like Marv you’re going to chirp me? When did we travel back to 1977? Anyways, the season is right around the corner and with the amount of changes league wide things are going to be as interesting and entertaining as ever. This is our preseason article where we will present some of our targets in our upcoming drafts and some of the guys we are avoiding. Marv: Can I just list the whole Leafs roster for players to avoid? Does that count? What fantasy draft prep wouldn’t be complete without checking out Viz’s Top 75 rankings and Top 20 defensemen rankings?