It's the best time of year!
Alright folks – it’s that time of year where you strap on your NHL GM hats and draft your team in the fantasy hockey league that you are participating in.
Before delving into numerous amounts of rounds building your team, remember to consider reviewing the following steps before putting your hockey team together:
- Know your league settings: Remember to look at how many players you are drafting per position; what stats are being counted and what roster updates you are allowed to utilize. Every fantasy league is different and can impact certain player's values, so make sure to follow the league’s guidelines.
- Look at the player's history: Before selecting a player, do your homework and look him up. What has his point production been like? Is he a consistent point producer? How can he help you if you draft him? How can he hurt you if you draft him? What is his injury history like? Do your homework!
- It’s a number’s game: Just because he is your favorite player, doesn’t mean he is going to produce for your fantasy hockey team. Look at all the numbers: Games Played, Goals, Assists, Points, Power Play Goals, Plus/Minus, Penalty Minutes, Shots, etc.
- Don’t draft too many from the same team: Spread your picks out when it comes to NHL teams. Sure, the Washington Capitals have a lot of point producers but that doesn’t mean that you need them all on your team. Spread the wealth.
- Spread the wealth: Draft position players evenly. Try and make sure you get a quality player early at each position if you can.
- Start from the net out: Not everyone uses this strategy but drafting from the net out is usually a good way to go. Goaltenders can accumulate a large number of points for you depending on what league you are in, and there aren't many reliable number one studs anymore (Miller, Brodeur, etc).
- Don’t worry about pre-draft rankings: Prior to each draft, most of you fantasy puckheads probably pre-rank your players, which is great. However, do not be surprised if you deviate from them once the draft begins. Do not be afraid to be unpredictable!
- Find the sleepers: Every year on Yahoo!, it seems you can find steals and sleepers later on in drafts. The rankings usually favor the previous year's rankings/points... so an injured player from the year before (i.e. Marc Savard) could be ranked (much) lower than his actual value. However, Yahoo! seemed to do their homework this year, and those are harder to come by. Still, check other sites' rankings to make sure you're not forgetting someone buried in the rankings!
Luckily for you fantasy hockey GM's, your livelihood does not depend on this. Remember to draft smart, play to learn, and potentially win... and more importantly, have fun!
(Ed. note: Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey has started up once again. If you're interested in joining one of our leagues, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!)
Ryan Porth contributed to this piece
Photo credit: Yahoo! Fantasy Sports
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