Over the past week, Hockey World Blog has presented readers with Fantasy Hockey draft preparation, a five-part series that chronicled each position in hockey and highlighted several players who you need to have on your roster, who may still be flying under the radar or who may be poised for a breakout season. Here, in the sixth and final installment of this week-long series, we will share some helpful hints and tips for drafting a successful fantasy hockey team. As always, stay tuned to Hockey World Blog in the future for more helpful fantasy hockey information!
Tip #1: Preparation is key
There are numerous resources, both online and in print, available for Fantasy Hockey players to consult before draft day that will help them better prepare. Take a gander at some of these resources, print them off, read over them a few times and highlight some key names. Know what stat categories your league has and how many positions you can play on any given night. It also can’t hurt to make notes about which players excel in what categories (goals, assists, total points, plus/minus, etc).
Tip #2: Go into draft day with a game plan
Much like Tip #1, it is important to go into draft day with a game plan – but understand that plans can go awry. You might not be able to get Sidney Crosby or Joe Thornton in the first round, but if you want to take a center, know who else is available and have backup choices prepared for that scenario. Know who the big names are and who is likely to go quickly and plan accordingly. Know which players you want to take high up and which players you want to take later in the draft as sleepers. Have some sort of game plan for draft day on how you want to draft your talent and try to stick to it, but have alternatives ready if you can’t.
Tip #3: Select all-around good talent high in the draft
If your league rewards several offensive stat categories, like goals, assists, plus/minus and power play points, then consider taking a player that excels in several of these categories. He will be more valuable to you than a player that only scores for you in one or two categories. Research which players do well in multiple stat categories and try to take one or two of those players high in the draft.
Tip #4: Consider a right wing high in the draft
Scoring right wingers are hard to come by, so consider taking a right wing high up in your draft – it will pay dividends throughout the season.
Tip #5: Spread the wealth
Try not to take too many players from one team. If you select the first two lines of the Chicago Blackhawks, you should get a fair amount of offense on most nights, but if the team gets shut out then you’re in a world of hurt. Spread out your selections among different teams so that if one team tanks your team doesn’t follow suite.
Tip #6: Look for linemates
While you should try to avoid taking too many players from one team, it can’t hurt to try to match up linemates. It will be twice the fun if you can get both the goal and the assists in your fantasy stats when one of your choices sets up the other. If it’s an even-strength goal, you’re also a plus-2!
Tip #7: Look for that sleeper
Who would have expected Steve Stamkos to follow up a mediocre season with a 51-goal effort last year? Stamkos fell far in most drafts, but this year he will be at the top of the list for many managers. Keep an eye out for those young stars who could explode with a breakout year. You’ll look like a fantasy genius if you nab them late in the draft when nobody else even has the player on their list.
Tip #8: Goaltending is not a sure thing
Sure, Martin Brodeur or Roberto Luongo will likely get you a lot of wins and great goalie stats, but there are always goalies who come out of nowhere and have stellar seasons (think: Antti Niemi, Steve mason, Jimmy Howard, Tuuku Rask, etc). This just goes to show that you are not always guaranteed the best goalies when you take the highest ranked goalies. It doesn’t matter which goalies you take or where you take them in the draft, always keep your eyes on the free agent pool for that goalie who is about to start an incredible hot streak.
Tip #9: Don’t forget to have fun
Fantasy Hockey is intended to be fun. So have fun with it and enjoy yourself and enjoy the season!