*Last updated Sept 28, 2018
While the concept of a Fantasy Hockey Pool is simple enough to grasp, drafting a stellar roster under the restriction of a salary cap takes a little prep.
As we discussed in our What is a Fantasy Hockey Pool article, the more consistent a player’s performance is in terms of earning points-per-game, the more valuable that player becomes. Meaning, while it would be nice to draft a lineup of superstars, your salary cap won’t allow you to do so.
General Managers in professional hockey – and any professional sport with salary caps – are faced with the same restriction. While they can likely afford a few top shelf players, the remaining teammates surrounding those players must offer some kind of value for a GM’s dollar.
For those of you who might not consider yourself a Fantasy Hockey pro, don’t sweat it. We’ve rounded up some basic advice that should help to point you in the right direction.
Understand the Point System
This applies to any contest in any fantasy hockey league you venture into. Understanding the dynamics of the point system will set the framework for shaping your roster. You will want to draft players that produce the best output of points in the categories that count in order to outperform your competition. Some of the longer-running daily fantasy sports sites have limited point categories. Usually something along the lines of 6-8 skaters and 4 goalies. At YouBGM™, we’ve expanded point categories to 15 skaters and 8 goalies. This should give you more players to choose from and more action on your overall score during games.
Be willing to draft players other than your favs
While your favorite player might be a point producer, all successful GMs operate with the knowledge that you can’t always draft a team of your favorite players.
Aside from schedule and salary cap restrictions, sometimes you have to draft players you might not be particularly fond of, but who will produce points. And depending on the team match-ups for any particular evening, this may even mean drafting an arch nemesis! But hey, if that player puts up points that help you win a contest, you might discover your loathing isn’t as deeply rooted as you thought.
Consider a player’s team, and that team’s standing within the (real life) league. If the team sitting in first place is playing a team sitting near the bottom of the league, generally speaking, you’re better off drafting players from the stronger team. Chances are, the top team is ranked highly because the players are strong, meaning they’ll more easily put points on the board during that particular match.
That said, the lesser-ranked team might also have a player or two worth considering. And should the teams be evenly matched? That’s where a bit of research comes into play.
Pay attention to the injury report
This one’s a no-brainer. You’ll want to avoid drafting players that are injured and are unlikely to see ice time. Alternatively, you’ll also want to keep an eye on who will be back in action following recovery from an injury. Helpfully, YouBGM will always let you know when a player you are considering drafting is on the injury reserve.
Draft players who perform consistently
Again, this may seem obvious, however, players who perform consistently also tend to become more expensive over time, and their fantasy value increases due to their consistent ability to put points on the board. This is where value picks will help you out. There exist players who will nicely round out your fantasy hockey roster, and fill in points where other draft picks will fall flat. Even your bottom-of-the-lineup utility players should be able to produce something. It may only be a point or two, but that’s still better than a player who gives you a goose egg.
Avoid drafting players who are on a downswing
Every player – even the superstars—will experience more than one downswing in performance at some point during their career. It’s inevitable. So just keep an eye out for this and avoid drafting players who seem to be stuck in a rut. If a usual Steady-Eddy pick is struggling performance-wise, let that player ride the fantasy pine until their performance is on the upswing again. And remember: Good players usually bounce back.
But… don’t be afraid to take risks
What is life without taking a chance or two? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you’ve been doing your homework and feeling confident, consider taking a chance on a player you might normally pass over. Every GM is happy when a player previously considered to be mediocre turns out a strong performance.
Value picks and sleepers
A value pick is a lower priced player that hits or exceeds their projected statistical expectations. Likewise, a ‘sleeper’ is a player who has yet to live up to their potential, but it is expected to at some point. Both offer unexpected production potential and offer high value at a low price if you can draft them at the right time. You’ll want to tap into online fantasy hockey resources that have done their due diligence and can suggest who these players are likely to be.
Do your research
Not everyone enjoys research, or even has the time to stay on the up-and-up regarding player performance. If you’re not someone who lives for that kind of thing, keeping track of player stats can be exhausting. The goods news is, you don’t have to. There are plenty of free, accessible fantasy hockey resources that do that for you. A quick online search will help you figure out to whom you can turn when you need the goods. Here at YouBGM, we will also do our best to bring you relevant, up-to-date hockey info to ensure your experience on our platform as is enjoyable and productive as possible.
Some In-House Advice
What kind of GMs would we be if we didn’t offer some fantasy hockey advice of our own?
- Avoid drafting highest or lowest priced players.
- Rather than unloading your salary on one or two superstars, maximize salary allocation with a few lower-priced players who have solid stats.
- If you’re looking at two players with the same stats, consider drafting the player on the home team versus the player on the away team.
- Look at the odds of which games are expected to have five goals or more—select players in those matchups, as the point distribution is bound to be more bountiful.
And last, but not least…
Practice, practice, practice
Practice may not make perfect, but like anything in life, the more you do something, the better at it you are likely to be. So get involved! Sign up for as many contests as you can (especially if you’re a rookie!), involve your friends, and we’re positive you’ll experience just how fun being a fan of the game can be.
Have some roster selection tips or resources you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
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