Hello everyone, I’m Reid and I’ll be writing for Razzball this season. Fantasy hockey drafts are coming up soon and one thing nobody wants to do is botch their early picks. The purpose of this post is to make sure that you don’t take somebody early in your draft who is a great hockey player for their franchise, but just an average player for your fantasy hockey team, since we all know fantasy hockey is about your lineup and only your lineup.
Here are the stats of four players with drastically different Average Draft Positions (ADP), yet comparable fantasy value:
Player A: 28G – 30A – 58P – (+/-) 16 – 62PIM – 9PPP – 179 Shots – 15.6 Shot% – ADP 21
Player B: 26G – 33A – 59P – (+/-) 3 – 33PIM – 22PPP – 178 Shots – 14.6 Shot % – ADP 229
Player C: 31G – 27A – 58P – (+/-) 35 – 20PIM – 11PPP – 213 Shots – 14.6 Shot% – ADP 152
Player D: 21G – 32A – 53P – (+/-) 5 – 78PIM – 15PPP – 164 Shots – 12.8 Shot% – ADP 113
So you must be wondering who each these players are and whether Player A just had a “down year” or not.
Player A is Jonathan Toews.
Player B is Brayden Schenn.
Player C is Tyler Toffoli.
Player D is Ryan Kesler.
Now nobody is going to tell you that Brayden Schenn is a better hockey player than Jonny Toews. But that’s NOT what fantasy hockey is about. It’s about having the best fantasy hockey players on your team. And last year, Brayden Schenn was a better fantasy hockey player than Toews, while going at the end of your draft or downright undrafted in most leagues. Compare that to using an early 3rd rounder/late 2nd round pick on Toews, that’s a huge difference in building your team. Even if you look at the Toffoli and Kesler stat lines, you can get comparable value to Toews 7 rounds later!
Toews with an ADP of 21 is somewhat alarming. Here’s a player with an ADP of 24, 3 picks later than where Toews went on average. This should be the type of value you get from one of your top picks:
Player E: 38G – 40A – 78P – (+/-25) – 30PIM – 28PPP – 224 Shots – 17.0 Shot% – ADP 24
Good stats, right? Yeah, that’s Joe Pavelski. Viz has him high on his rankings, and I actually like him even more than that.
What does this mean for your upcoming draft? Well here’s where I have to put on my future-reading glasses and tell you that the stat line from Toews should be around the same next season. His line mates won’t be any different, and Marian Hossa isn’t getting any younger. Please do not consider this some vendetta against Toews. I love his game and think he’s one of the best players in the league. The problem is that the numbers don’t lie. His shot totals have been on the decline for each of the past 4 seasons, and in the words of the Great One, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If you want to have actual value when taking Toews, I wouldn’t take him before the 6th round. The only way I can justify his selection before that (and never before the 4th) is if Face-off wins is a category for you, because Toews takes a ton of them.
As for Schenn, I think a lot of people in your draft, who aren’t smart like you and go on this site to get quality insight for your drafts, will completely forget about him since he’s not a big-time name. Here’s the thing. He finished the season on the top line with Claude Giroux and Viz’s man-crush Wayne Simmonds. That’s a line that will put up serious points, and I think he can do just as well next year if he stays on the line.
There are other players whose popularity gets them drafted much higher than their fantasy value indicates they should be selected. Toews is just the most glaring example of such a trap. So don’t fall for the “he’s a great player though” argument. Look at the numbers. Do they justify the selection in that round? If not, then look elsewhere. Here’s a name to keep an eye on that I think could actually get you value worth of an ADP of 21 overall: Mark Scheifele. A huge second half, including 17 goals and 17 assists in the last 26 games to end the season, should be a sign of things to come.
Thanks for reading. Please leave questions below and I’ll be sure to answer them. My next post will be about Connor McDavid and the expectations around him so be on the lookout for that.