Fantasy Hockey Geek

Trade Fever: Types of Preferences, Players Edition

Previously, Trade Fever explored ways to better draft results and introduced the notion of looking beyond the stats in order to play the player. Capping off the last edition was the idea of how to play off of opposing managers’ preferences towards certain players. Just like the real NHL, every Fantasy GM builds their team differently and in turn looks for specific pieces to complement their team’s puzzle. It becomes obvious to see which managers build their teams from strong drafts, from those that attempt to achieve success through trading. By looking at the teams in your league, you’ll have a great idea of where most of the GMs stand in their building efforts. During this process, observe these managers in order to figure out their game plan, then attempt to find any biases that might be at play. Doing so will influence trade talks in your favour and will likely help maximize the return for your team.

In just about any fantasy league there will be owners who go out of their way to seek out favoured players; it’s inevitable. As you’ll soon notice, the types of preferences listed below are those that often reflect a personal bias towards a certain grouping of players. Now, you might find yourself being influenced by some of these types as well, but don’t worry, it’s not a problem as long as you are aware of it. Being informed of a bias, especially one that surrounds you, will help better your understanding of how to deal with such situations. Once you realize that preferences are seen in pretty much all fantasy GMs, you’ll be able to spot them quicker and use them to your advantage.

Try and see how many of these preferences are familiar to you or other players in your league:

The "Favourite Team" type – We all heard the quote “pick from your head and not with the heart”. That saying is one of the first lessons learned when drafting a proper team, usually at the expense of a failed first attempt. Well, this is the type of preference which it applies to most. Too many managers are vulnerable when it comes to acquiring players from their favourite team; it’s like an itch they can’t control. These GMs tend to overvalue said players which leads to poorly judged or premature picks and trade acquisitions. For example, imagine being in a league where Chris Higgins is picked in the 2nd Round ahead of players like Lecavalier, Iginla, Marleau, Datsyuk, St. Louis etc… Seems like a joke right? Well unfortunately it isn’t. This feat occurred in the 06-07 season when Higgins was with the Canadiens. It only took one loyal Habs’ fan selection to drop the jaws of every manager in the league. So in honour of that classic event, “Higgins’ league” was formed (and is still happily running). Therefore, if you know that there is a diehard Leafs fan in your league and you have a player or two from that team, why not test the waters? They’ll definitely bite, and often overpay for them. Try it out!
 
Outcome:
It’s ok to select players from your favourite team if you rank them according to similar surrounding players. But for the managers who get caught in the trap, and so many do, picking premature selections (especially more than one) will without a doubt make their team finish middle to last in standings.

The "Hometown Guys" type
– Honestly who doesn’t like owning a player (or prospect) from their hometown? Same can be said about hometown teams (ie: OHL team). Thing is, most guys will go out of their way to draft or acquire their hometown “hero” way ahead of their time due to this emotional tie. Hey, it happens to the best of us! Being from Sudbury, even I get caught once in awhile trying to land Nick Foligno (Sudbury Wolves) or Andrew Brunette (hometown) simply because of their investment in the Nickel City. I’m sure Sarnia Sting fans would agree when trying to draft or land star forward Steven Stamkos. Poolies get pumped owning a player that they feel some sort of attachment to. Often times, this could be the ticket to get a deal done. Simply take a quick peek at your trade partner’s profile or spot it out from previous discussions. What is there to lose?

Outcome:
Much like the favourite team type, the outcome of this preference heavily relies on your and opposing bias towards hometown favourites. For example, I’ll draft Brunette for the 55-60 point player that he is, but even then, I’ll most likely pick another 55-60 point player ahead of him. If looking to acquire a hometown guy, be smart about it and conceal that information. On the other hand, if a GM is looking to acquire a specific player or prospect from you, do a background check and see if there are any hidden ties to the players mentioned.

The “Nationality” type
– There are managers who love owning a group of players from the same Country. If it isn’t due to personal preferences, it is usually developed during the flow of the draft. For example, if you know a GM who favours Finnish players, they’ll likely be accepting when negotiating deals involving players like the Ruutus, Koivus and Jokenins.

But what about this scenario? During a prospect draft you see a manager land Magnus Paajarvi and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Then in the roster draft they pick Nicklas Backstrom 4th overall and end up selecting Erik Karlsson in a later round. It gets you thinking, either it’s a convenient coincidence or that manager simply loves Swedish players.  Take that opportunity to explore trade talks by offering (or discussing) a Swede from your team, you might be surprised by the feedback you receive.

Outcome
:  It all depends on where you pick said players in respect to surrounding selections. Heck, you could field a whole team of North American players and do well! It would be an interesting task to accomplish, and if picked or acquired accordingly it could be done. Now I’m not giving any ideas for your next draft or anything… just trying to advise to make unbiased selections.

The "Line Combo" type – This is probably the most obvious preference to spot. It’s no surprise, line mates make watching games and refreshing score sheets that much more enjoyable. This type of GM is more likely to give more in a trade in order to complete their one-two punch, so it’s always good to explore this option. This is especially true when there is newly built hype from a recent trade or new line chemistry. For Example, those who own John Tavares might be inclined to want Kyle Okposo in their building efforts. On a bigger scale, those with Patrick Kane will probably want to have Jonathon Toews and Duncan Keith, who wouldn’t right? In terms of trading hype, when Ilya Kovalchuk was acquired by the New Jersey Devils for their playoff push, Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus’ value rose quite nicely. Why not make the most of these opportunities?

By all means, this isn’t a bad preference type, but if used improperly it could be. Sometimes managers get carried away when wanting to complete line combos, especially if pressured in trade talks or drafting on the clock. Example:  It might not be a stellar idea picking Tyler Bozak much before his due time, simply to match Phil Kessel, an earlier selection, or drafting Andrei Kostitsyn in order to compliment Tomas Plekanec when there are many other (and better) options at that particular time of the draft.

Outcome:
Positioning in the standings will really depend on how the flow of the draft went and the results from trades made. Often enough it’s a constant battle of Need vs. Want. *Note that this preference has the Regular Season in mind, therefore playoff formats may differ.*

The "Tough Guy" type
- A lot of GMs like the heavy PIM+Point combo guys but often enough they are overrated (depending on the situation, of course).  Players like Lucic, Backes, Dubinsky, Clarkson, Burrows and countless others are often favourites to get drafted. Although, so many GMs are quick to pick these players without even realising that their league might not favour them at all. Truth is, their value notably diminishes in point only leagues as well as most leagues that do not include the PIMs (Penalty Minutes) category. If this applies to you, definitely try to use the Tough Guy preference to your advantage in trade talks, simply because these bruisers are often prime suspects to be preyed upon by other managers. Another angle could be to draft them only to turn around and sell them, with an increased price tag (of course) to oblivious GMs. Someone will eventually bite, landing you a nice catch.

Outcome:
Again, you need to draft (and trade) according to your league’s categories. If your league plays with Hits and PIMs, these players compliment your team quite nicely. Although, when in point only leagues, only select said players when surrounding players are comparable in points. Note that sometimes they shouldn’t even be picked at all. In any case, just make sure you’re the seller and not the receiver!

At the end of the day, it is safe to say everything is good in moderation. There will always be situations in which a GM must come to terms with their own player preferences. Poolies must be able to accept the fact that unbiased decisions must be made in order to achieve success. At that point, new trading avenues will open up and talks will flourish. By being aware of preferences, a GM will be able to properly assess trade offers when dissecting its strengths and weaknesses in respect to their team and league. With this information in mind, take another look at the managers in your league and scan their teams. Do you see any patterns? Any biases? If so, finding ways to approach them with persuasive trade offers will become much easier. Who knows, it might just seal the deal! 

Whether this is a refresher course for experienced GMs, or new found skills for rookie poolies, we hope that your fantasy team can benefit from this article of Trade Fever.  In the next edition, we will be exploring the different types of preferences and biases seen when drafting a team. Until then, happy trading!

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions on preferences mentioned, (or not mentioned), feel free to email me at
Gates@gemcomdesigns.ca, by Twitter (@GM_Gates), or by clicking on the contact tab above. Simply direct it to GMGates by making Trade Fever the subject / title.

GMG Signing off

A look Ahead:

Types of Preferences – Draft Edition
Types of Preferences – Off Season & Keeper League Edition

 

Published Mon, Sep 06th, 2010