Pesos: The term Quarter Pole is typically used to describe the quarter point of the NHL season. Quarter pole is a horse racing term that signifies one quarter mile remaining in the race. Since there’s actually 60 or so games left in the 2015-16 NHL season, we shall refer to this point in the season as the Quarter Mark and wait to say Quarter Pole sometime in February or March.
Marv: ….Right….. (Insert scene where Dr. Evil doesn’t understand care what Scott is trying to say). I figured for a change I would let Pesos start us off this week, a “throw him a bone” and even let him make up the title. Don’t let anyone say I never gave him a shot.
Ok, so what Pesos is so eloquently saying is we are around the quarter mark (or pole, or mile, or whatever) of this hockey season and this is typically the time where we can get a good handle on a player’s stats. Hot streaks have started to cool and players that have had cold starts have finally started to help their fantasy teams out (just in time). This is also the time when the owners in your league tend to show their true colours. Just to step on Pesos’ toes, I would call this article:
Marv vs Pesos : Save your Season!
I know you just want to see who you should drop and who you should pick up, but I’m telling you, if you’re only working the wire, you’re missing out. I’m sure some of you are rocking your leagues, active on the wire and maybe some of you need some help, but no matter how good/bad your team is (or how well/poorly the team is doing) you still have time to turn things around (or nose dive).
The Owners in Your League
Marv: They say that a sucker is born every day (Pesos). There’s always 1 or 2 per league and these guys can either be great trade partners or your worst enemies. By the way, ¼ of the way into the season, if you can’t identify the sucker in your league it might be you, so pay attention. Suckers will do one or more of the following things:
- They’ve already given up on the year (free money!)
- They send out way too many trades, all of which are awful.
- They don’t update their lineup (and have great players wasting away).
- They don’t pay enough attention to the games (this year or in general) so you can typically sell them players with big names (that are on the decline) and acquire young/hot but proven talent from them.
It’s great to identify these owners as you want to make sure they are keeping the league fair. If you have someone that has flaked on the year, lock the team out. It’s not a fair competition if they’re only updating once a month or so. Most teams will have an easy week with an out of date lineup, but then all of a sudden he’s paying attention and someone is facing an updated lineup. Getting these types of owners to trade will sometimes help get them back into the fun of fantasy. As you want a fair league, you probably shouldn’t take advantage of him in trades (although if you don’t, you know someone else will. I’m on the fence with this). Truly, if the owner can’t even be bothered to put in the time to update his lineup, replace him with someone else. There’s always someone looking to join a fantasy league.
Looking around my leagues by the Quarter Mark, there are now clearly defined personas. Can you spot any of these teams in your league?:
- The owner who was doing really well but now forgets to update his lineup/doesn’t answer trade offers.
- The teams that had great first weeks but are now fighting to stay out of the basement. You might have seen a couple trade offers float your way from them already.
- The owner that is paying attention, but based on his team and the lack of talent on the wire has already given up this year and is selling the farm. Hopefully a keeper league, if not, please invite this sucker person to join my league next year.
- The owner that is loading up on every rookies/hot streak/speculative new player he can get.
- The owner that is doing fine (roughly ranked 2-4) and updates his lineup but won’t get back to trade offers, comments and typically only reacts every month and drops or adds players from the wire.
Obviously this list doesn’t classify everybody, but I bet you can spot a couple of these in your own pools. The main point here, is recognize if you are one of these owners, and do something about it. Balance your team out, take a look at how the player has started the year and take a look at his last 14 days. Has there been improvement? Is the player just having bad luck? Is their team doing poorly? Either way, you can get through it, and you know what can help? Pushing through a trade.
Trading stock (players)
Marv: Trading players is not requirement for fantasy hockey. There will never be a minimum set of trades one must accomplish nor will there ever be punishments for letting trades expire (but there should be).
The most frustrating thing to me about trading (especially with someone who wants to trade) is sending out a trade and not receiving anything back. I’m fine with a rejection or counter, but do something. This obviously is different if the person is hounding you with trade offers, but it takes 2 seconds to say no to an offer.
Over the years I’ve heard tons of excuses why not to trade such as (and my solution):
“I looked at the trade but I haven’t been watching hockey, I’m not up with the players”
- First off, what else are you doing that your missing hockey? If you’re not watching your team at least every other game, shame on you. At the very least, stay up to date with weekly recap or a couple of articles. Throw on some weekend highlights, PVR sports center/ TSN. Go do it now, I’ll wait. After that, go to Razzball.com, go to the hockey section and read some of the latest articles. They are loaded with current info and great analysis.
“I don’t have time to analyze the guys involved in the trade”
- Re-read what I wrote above. Viz writes recaps almost every day. Also check out Matt’s Assume the Position articles (here is the latest one), basically laying out position battles and rankings each week. Ok, so you don’t want to give out your great razzball source, I get in, then tell about the competition then (that way they will have a false sense of player values, HA!). In the end, suck it up and point them to Razzball.com. Honestly, do you want to play in a boring league with a bunch of head scratchers or in a competitive league? Trust me, winning the year in a league where you have to fight to stay on top every day is the best feeling ever.
“ No matter who I trade I always end up losing, your team is awesome and mine is simply awful”
- Can’t help you there Pesos, Ha
Advance your Stats
Pesos: …. I kind of hate you sometimes. Getting back to hockey, it’s still kind of early in the season so I wouldn’t be thinking of doing anything crazy, leave that for the all-star break but we are a quarter way through the season and if you’re sitting in last (or near the bottom) you need to get on-top of that now or else you won’t have enough time to make up ground.
Marv: I completely agree (it feels weird) but if you’re at the bottom of your league and you have been updating regularly: you either drafted a bad team, you are not watching the wire, or the guys you own have underperformed (and most importantly, must have been skipping our articles). Whether these guys are finally heating up or while some have some potential value, I would change things up, big risks now can pay big later, especially if you’re in the bottom, what do you have to lose (be smart, use your tools – advance stats, player trends, Razzball articles).
Pesos: A good way to try and get yourself back into contention if you’re a seller dweller is to take a look at a given players “advanced stats”. Targeting guys with a positive shot attempt ratio is a good starting point. This means they are giving themselves a better chance of scoring than being scored on because they’re, theoretically, spending more of their ice time in the offensive zone as opposed to the defensive zone. This isn’t an exact science. According to NHL.com’s advanced stats page, the forward with the best shot attempt differential is Nick Shore (who???) of the LA Kings yet he only has 4 points and is a -8. Now, it helps that Shore starts 58% of his shifts in the offensive zone. It’s best to take into account multiple metrics when making a decision.
Marv: Multiple metrics is a must, you don’t want to rock a team of Nick Shore’s, there’s risk and then there’s fantasy suicide. There are tons of advance stats out there, but combine them with individual the players peripherals; the team he plays for, position, is he injury prone?, what line and who is his line mates? does he have time on the PP?
Pesos: Zone start and finishes are another good thing to look at. This tells us whether the coach is starting the player more often in the offensive zone or defensive zone. Obviously a player who starts in the offensive zone has a higher chance of scoring than a guy who starts in the defensive zone but it doesn’t mean player 1 is better and will provide more than player 2. Everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt and used in conjunction with other metrics.
So if you need help in your league or just want to stay on top, remember, above all, just watch some real hockey (games, injuries, highlights). First hand viewing is the best way to gauge a player’s fantasy value and potential. Combined with watching hockey, keep an eye on your fantasy waiver wire for potential steals, don’t be shy to send or counter trades (don’t let them just sit there) and start to try to implement some advance stats in your player comparisons. This will help you win your league, or at least get out of the basement.
As always, comments are welcome and we look forward to helping you with any questions you have. No Buy and Sell from us today, but we will try and get that article out soon.
Marv & Pesos