Sunday, September 2, 2007

Magicpie's sure-to-suceed fantasy guide (part 2)

Here's some more fantasy advice, as always focused mainly on Yahoo leagues, now that I've had a chance to actually do a draft:

I was wrong about LWs.Last time I said that since Yahoo doesn't let players play multiple positions too much anymore LWs are going to be in far shorter supply than RWs. This is usually true, but after actually looking at this year's player rankings, the division of skill seems to be pretty even between LWs and RWs this year. So nevermind what I said. RWs and LWs are equal this year.

Plus Minus Matters.Don't ignore plus minus when making your picks. It's easy to get caught up in the "well Kovalchuk will get me so many points that this should cancel out his horrible +/-" line of thinking and draft 2 or 3 horrible +/- guys as your forwards. For the love of God don't do this, it's not worth the cost. The -20 that a bad +/- guy will get you will almost always lose you more standings points in the +/- stat than the extra points he will get you in goals and assists. Basically a bad +/- should be a dealbreaker. If a guy's got a bad +/- just don't pick him, simple as that.

Another argument against picking up guys with bad +/- is this: as we all know, people in yahoo leagues often realise they have no chance/just stop caring halfway through the season and stop updating their team. Injured players stop getting substituted, and so forth, meaning their teams stop accumulating stats as quickly in most categories. Simply by sticking around and being active for the entire season you should thus be able to beat these guys in most stats. Thus even if you actually have the worst team in the league, if half your league quits you should end up at least 5th/6th in goals, assists and most other stats. Plus minus, though, doesn't work like this. Even if a guy quits and benches all his players, his +/- won't actually go down but will stay at +28 or whatever it was. If your team's at -20 and last in +/-, you'll still be last in +/- at the end of the season and only get one standings point out of it. Thus even if your team's not great in points/assists, the worst you'll realistically be is 5th/6th in these stats, but if your +/- is bad you'll be dead last in it. So the short version is this: +/- is the only stat that doesn't benefit from people quitting so don't ignore it.

If you have to make changes to your team after the draft wait two days. All players go on waivers in the first two days after a draft. Thus when people decide to make minor changes of the "I didn't like my 15th pick let me get this guy instead" variety they don't realise that they're taking the guys off waivers and going to last in waiver priority in the process. Just wait two days until players aren't on waivers anymore to make these minor changes so you don't lose your waiver priority.

The two defencemen rule. A lot of times, because of off-season acquisition, a team will end up with more good offensive defencemen than it should have. This worries fantasy owners because they think there might not be enough powerplay time to go around, and so not everyone will be able to get their usual stats. Usually, if a team has two very good offensive defencemen, this doesn't become a problem. If it has 3 or more, then in general only the best two will get the minutes they need to have a season that's up to their regular standards. For example, last season Pavel Kubina went from 26 powerplay points to 8 because he went from being one of the top 2 guys on his team to playing behind McCabe and Kaberle in Toronto. If you're thinking of picking Dick Tarnstrom or Schneider(if Nedemayer comes back), you have been warned.

Get guys on overachieving teams. Every year there's one good offensive team that has "one of those years", where everything just clicks and the team performs well above its already high offensive standards. Last year it was Buffalo, the year before that Ottawa, and the year before that it was Tampa. This year, it will probably be Pittsburgh. The reason I mention this is that everyone on that team overachieves. More specifically, there's always a couple of fringe players that are usually not quite fantasy worthy that end up being quality, point-per-game guys for this one season and can usually be picked up cheaply at the start of the season to fill holes in your lineup. Thus, if you find yourself looking for a sleeper this year, take a chance on Pittsburgh's second-tier guys.