I’m Lackeydrinksonme, a Buffalo sports fan and thus am a budding alcoholic. I play fantasy everything, and I’ve been in Viz’s fantasy hockey threads for a while now… I’ve also been handing out intermittent advice based on what I’ve seen and gleaned from the world of hockey. I’ve taken a unique approach to my fantasy hockey this year, and have worked to maximize player starts. To explain further, I drafted Braden Holtby in the 4th round, and outside of a joke Robin Lehner pick, that was it. One goalie for an entire season, and the reason behind that was an inkling I had last year, about maximizing skaters-on-ice; an inkling which I have taken to heart this year.
To provide evidence for the strategy, and to build an arsenal of data to help my own teams succeed, I’ve pulled all the Active Stats from every week my current league has played. Not just this year, but last year as well. I also pulled from both Razzball Commenter leagues, and now have 208 (and counting) matchups in a single Excel sheet, with all the stats and whether or not the team won or lost (by categories). I also ran down who every manager played against per week and the result. I am also putting together an article of interesting things I’ve found outside of player starts. You’re welcome.
So what do all these matchups tell us? Are there ways we can predict a fantasy hockey winner over a fantasy hockey loser? What I have so far is awesome: managers who have played ten or more skaters than their opponents are 41-5-4. 41 wins, 5 losses, 4 ties. Even 5 more players on-ice than your opponent moves your meter considerably closer to the Wins column. Yes, some teams might have better players or might put up more points (G+A), but nothing correlates more accurately to a Win than the difference of games played between teams. Points, goalies starts, you name it… the bottom line is that you want to put more skaters on the ice per week than your opponent, and wins will follow.
A side note is that micro-managing your lineup this way means fewer stats left on the bench. An opponent that I played recently had Dylan Larkin sitting when he got a SHP, which is a total waste you cannot get back. When I play, I rarely, if ever, have a player on the bench accumulating stats.
So, in order to give Razzball readers a potential plus-8 or plus-12 skaters in a week, I will be working on a weekly column indicating what teams you should grab free agents from, and some players who might be available in your leagues.
Week of 12/4
TEAMS TO TARGET:
San Jose: 4 games, one on Monday (4 games) and one on Sunday (4 games).
Easy enough, two short slates and insurance at both the beginning and the end of the week. I’m seeing Tomas Hertl and Marc-Edouard Vlasic available in a ton of ESPN leagues, and Joe Thornton and Logan Couture are both available in the league I am in. Pick for SOG and Hits, which means Vlasic and Hertl are great targets. You could go so deep as to play Justin Braun for four games.
Calgary: 4 games, one on Monday (4 games) and one on Wednesday (4 games)
With two short-slate games early in the week, the Flames are great to target for a few guys to pick up today and drop Thursday morning. You’re going to be playing 6 skaters when your opponent is fielding 2 or 3, which is a win in my book. Some names that come up are Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, and Michael Ferland. I might even roll with Jaromir Jagr for the first two and then cut him loose for a spot start on Thursday. If you’re in an especially deep league you could play Sam Bennett to get a leg up on SOG and HIT, and even keep him through the weekend.
Capitals, Flyers: 3 games, Monday and Wednesday short-slates
Continuing with the theme of grabbing a few skaters for volume, Washington and Philadelphia are great places to start. Of the two, the Capitals are probably a better investment, as they also play on short-slate Friday, if you grab two Caps players you might be gaining six starts on your opponent throughout the week. Players to grab might be Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, or Alex Chiasson from Washington. Philadelphia, you should look at Ivan Provorov (if he is available grab him anyway), Travis Konecny for hits and errant SOG, Dale Weise and Brandon Manning for deeper leagues.
Remember to cut bait and use your add/drops AFTER Wednesday if you are able to grab some Flyers.
That’s it for now. I’ll be watching this thread all week, so if you have questions that you want an arbiter for, I will chime in (and will work to give you the best information I have). I am sure Viz and Reid will also pop in every so often.
Good luck this week!!