Becoming a successful fantasy hockey manager doesn’t have to be hard. The first step is knowing the NHL’s top players and familiarizing yourself with your league’s format and point system. Now you have a basic understanding of who to draft and why you want to draft them. Auston Matthews becomes more useful in leagues that value goals. Brady Tkachuk is a star in leagues that are heavily weighted towards hits. Not too hard, right? Understanding what will make you win your league and following these fantasy hockey tips is sure to give you an edge.
But first, the most simple rule: Stay Active.
That’s all. If you’re playing – play. Use every single move that your league allows. Following this rule alone will guarantee you don’t finish in the basement.
Now that you’ve agreed to stay active in your leagues, it’s time to prepare you for the draft. Before all the projections and predictions, it’s important to plan your strategy. Remember these five fantasy hockey tips when drafting or adding a player to your team.
1: Your Player’s Role in the Lineup
First and foremost, the makeup of your roster is one of the most important things to think about in fantasy hockey. Depending on your league settings, you need to devise a plan before your league’s draft. This doesn’t need to be extensive, but you will need to think about how many players you want of each position. As you add players you also want to consider how they will fit into the makeup of your team. For example, if PIMS (penalty minutes) is a category in your league and you already own guys like Tom Wilson and Darnell Nurse, maybe wasting a move on a ‘PIMS guy’ isn’t necessary. Target another category you may be weak in.
You should also consider the overall schedule of a team. If you have a bench in your league and have already drafted three of four centremen you want to draft, look at what nights they usually play. If the three centres you own play mostly Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday – drafting a fourth centre who plays a lot of Monday’s and Sunday’s will be beneficial. Maximize your man games. A little bit of planning will go a long way. Take a closer look at the 2021-2022 NHL Schedule for more information.
2: If You’re Worried – Stay Clear
Make that player somebody else’s problem. We’re not talking sleeper picks and fliers you can take in the late rounds of your draft. We’re talking about injury problems, attitude problems and overall performance concerns. Take Evander Kane for example – he’s been in the news a lot lately while going through an ugly divorce. Rumours are also swirling about his teammates not wanting him in the room. He’ll have value as he drops in your drafts, but he might not be worth the headache. The same rule applies to injury-prone players. Evgeni Malkin got hurt before this article could even get published.
3. Don’t Fall in Love With a Name
Newcomers to fantasy hockey are notorious for this. Don’t do it. Trust your hockey sense and select players based on their fantasy output and not their name value. If that means drafting Adam Fox over Drew Doughty or Mikko Rantanen over Sidney Crosby, do it and don’t feel bad. NHL teams don’t build fantasy teams, but you do.
Trust Past Productivity
Don’t cut guys because they are in a slump. Be patient. If the player has had past success in the league and his age isn’t a concern, give it time. Don’t be the person that traded Mika Zibanejad last year. On the flip side, if you own a player in their 30s on pace to have a career year, it’s most likely not going to happen. Trust a player’s track record and use it to buy-low and sell-high.
Consider The Little Things
There are always slight factors that should help you determine who to add to your team.
Situational: Players in a good situation might sway you to choose one player over another, and rightfully so. An injury to a top player means somebody needs to take his minutes. Be ready to add but be willing to part when the situation changes.
Contract Status: You should consider players who are playing for a contract at the end of the season. Of course, it won’t always hold true, but players playing for a job will usually perform. Draft a few on your team – you will hit on at least one.
Home Arena: Some arenas hand out stats like shots, blocks, and hits a little more freely. Use this to your advantage for short term pickups. For more information on this, take a look at how arena statistics impact fantasy hockey.
These five fantasy hockey tips should always be considered when selecting a player. There may be anomalies to these rules at times, but they will hold true far more often than not and will lead you to fantasy success.
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