Fantasy Hockey Geek

Fantasy Hockey Fundamentals - Position

You want to win your fantasy hockey league, right? You’re thinking about your draft, or maybe a trade. Which player should you go for? Slow down: before you get to that, there are some fundamentals you’ve got to have down in order to understand who is valuable in your fantasy hockey league setup.

There’s a lot to digest, so let’s take a look at the most important factor there is: position, and how it affects player value.
 
The most rational way to look at player value is to compare it to the average scoring at each position. Huh? Okay, we’ll back up a step.
 
In the simplest of fantasy hockey leagues there is only one position, skaters, and one scoring category, points. If the average skater puts up 60 points, then we can consider a player who puts up 70 points to have a value of 10 above the average. It’s pretty clear in this case that a 75 point player is more valuable than a 70 point player, right?
 
Now let’s look at a league with two positions, forward and defense. If the average forward puts up 70 points and the average defenseman puts up 40 points, which is better for your fantasy hockey team: Option 1, a 90 point forward and a 40 point defenseman or Option 2, an 80 point forward and a 55 point defenseman?
 
Option 1:
 
(90 point forward - 70 point average forward) = 20 point forward value
(40 point defenseman - 40 point average defenseman) = 0 point defenseman value
Total value = 20 + 0 = 20
 
Option 2:
 
(80 point forward - 70 point average forward) = 10 point forward value
(55 point defenseman - 40 point average defenseman) = 15 point defenseman value
Total value = 10 + 15 = 25
 
Many fantasy hockey leagues are much more complicated, with each team having position setups like 2 centres, 2 left wings, 2 right wings, and 4 defensemen and instead of scoring just points, they consider goals, assists, penalty minutes, powerplay points, etc. Luckily, you can still compare to the average player in each of those scoring categories at each position, and through that you can get a complete picture of player value.
 
By using an average player as the basis of comparison, you get a consistent idea of relative value. A common mistake that fantasy hockey GMs make is to load up on high-scoring forwards at the expense of defense. Take a look at how a typical newbie team might draft compared to a savvy GM:
 
 
Newbie GM
Savvy GM
Round 1
100 point F
95 point F
Round 2
90 point F
75 point D
Round 3
90 point F
85 point F
Round 4
85 point F
65 point D
Round 5
80 point F
60 point D
Round 6
80 point F
80 point F
Round 7
55 point D
50 point D
Round 8
45 point D
75 point F
Round 9
40 point D
70 point F
Round 10
35 point D
70 point F
 
On first glance, the Newbie GM probably walked away from this draft feeling pretty smug about his team. Assuming the same average point values as before, let’s look at the real team value:
 
Newbie GM       forwards: 100 + 90 + 90 + 85 + 80 + 80 = 525
                        defense: 55 + 45 + 40 + 35 = 175
                        total value: forward (525 - 420 average) + defense (175 – 160 average) = 120
                       
Savvy GM          forwards: 95 + 85 + 80 + 75 + 70 + 70 = 475
                        defense: 75 + 65 + 60 + 50 = 250
                        total value: forward (475 - 420 average) + defense (250 – 160 average) = 145
 
The savvy GM knows that, because he used average values as a point of comparison while he was drafting, his team is better off. He knows that it’s not about drafting the shiny high-scoring players, but rather about understanding how the points will be distributed to each position that is key to him winning his fantasy hockey league.

The above analysis can take weeks to do on a complicated league setup. Luckily for you, the Hockey Pool Geek has done all the work so you don’t have to – custom fantasy hockey player rankings are available free at www.hockeypoolgeek.com

Published Sat, Aug 08th, 2009