Fantasy Hockey Playoffs Strategy

Fantasy hockey playoffs
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Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. We’re entering the final month of the season which means most leagues are about to begin their fantasy hockey playoffs. The playoffs, by nature, would suggest that you’re in a head-to-head league. Whether it’s H2H points or categories, the strategy for the postseason should not change much. Let’s get into it.

Fantasy Hockey Playoffs Strategy – Format

Head-to-Head Points

Although you’re matched up against a single opponent, head-to-head points leagues are largely dependent on the success of your team. Sure, you can luck out a win when your opponent has a bad week, but ultimately winning has less to do about your opponent and more to do about you. Be ruthless (especially in redraft leagues) and maximize your man-games. Just because a player has been on your squad for months doesn’t mean that they should be untouchable. Plan ahead. If a team does not play often or a specific player won’t get into your lineup, cut them, and pick someone else up. Continue reading on to find out which players may qualify. Just remember, the goal is to get more points than your opponent at any cost.

Head-to-Head Categories

14-1, 10-5, 8-7 – a win is a win. It’s the playoffs. You don’t need to destroy your opponent; you just need to win. Head-to-head category leagues allow for a little more strategy to do just that. Look back on the performance of your opponent over the past few weeks and see where they are weak and where they are strong. If they average, for example, 40 hits a week and your team averages 70, there’s a good chance that’s a category you don’t need to worry about. Check off which categories you can lock up and which ones will likely be contested and plan your pickups accordingly.

Fantasy Hockey Playoffs Strategy – Schedule

Part of the planning process is knowing the NHL schedule. Here’s a breakdown of games by week for the last month of the season:

Anaheim Ducks – 3/3/3/2 = 11

Arizona Coyotes – 3/3/4/3 = 13

Boston Bruins – 4/3/4/3 = 14

Buffalo Sabres – 4/4/2/2 = 12

Calgary Flames – 4/3/4/3 = 14

Carolina Hurricanes – 4/3/4/2 = 13

Chicago Blackhawks – 2/3/4/3 – 12

Colorado Avalanche – 3/3/4/3 = 13

Columbus Blue Jackets – 4/3/3/3 = 13

Dallas Stars – 4/3/4/3 = 14

Detroit Red Wings – 3/4/4/2 = 13

Edmonton Oilers – 3/3/3/3 = 12

Florida Panthers – 3/3/4/3 = 13

Los Angeles Kings – 3/3/3/2 = 11

Minnesota Wild – 3/4/4/3 = 14

Montreal Canadiens – 3/4/4/2 = 13

New Jersey Devils – 3/3/4/3 = 13

Nashville Predators – 4/4/3/3 = 14

New York Islanders – 3/4/4/3 = 14

New York Rangers – 3/3/3/3 = 12

Ottawa Senators – 4/3/4/3 = 14

Philadelphia Flyers – 3/4/3/3 = 13

Pittsburgh Penguins – 4/3/3/2 = 12

San Jose Sharks – 3/4/4/3 = 14

Seattle Kraken – 3/3/4/3 = 13

St. Louis Blues – 4/4/4/2 = 14

Tampa Bay Lightning – 4/3/4/3 = 14

Toronto Maple Leafs – 4/4/4/2 = 14

Vancouver Canucks – 3/2/4/3 = 12

Vegas Golden Knights – 2/3/3/3 = 11

Washington Capitals – 3/3/4/3 = 13

Winnipeg Jets – 3/4/3/2 = 12

Depending on your move allotment per week, you may be looking at pickups for the long game or shorter term. In the first three weeks, the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs play 12 times – more than any team in the league. On the flip side, you may want to dispose of your fringe Vancouver Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights as they both only play five games in the next two weeks.

Players

Maximizing your man games is the name of the game. Simply put, the likelihood of beating your opponent is greater when you have more players to contribute to your point or category totals. Based on their schedules above, here are a handful of players that could be on your waiver wire that can help you in your championship pursuit.

Joshua Norris, Drake Batherson, Tim Stutzle or Connor Brown – If any of these Senators are available, now could be the time to jump on them. They play 14 games in the final month of the season, nine of which are against teams that currently sit outside of the playoff picture. The Sens have nothing to play for and in most of the games their opponents don’t either. The potential for loosely played hockey games means this group of Sens can put up some points.

Robert Thomas

Robert Thomas has been constantly overlooked this season as evidenced by his 27% ownership in Yahoo leagues. It’s not often that you can pick up a player with 52 points in 55 games this late in the season, but that’s the case with Thomas. He won’t help you with the fancy stats, but if points are what you’re looking for, he’s a great option. The Blues play 12 times in the first three weeks of April. Seven of those games are against non-playoff teams.

Anthony Cirelli

The fantasy hockey world expected more out of Anthony Cirelli this season. 37 points through 61 games isn’t anything to be ecstatic about. Good thing for you, you only need him to be good for your playoff run. He has five points in his last three games and will consistently see time in the top-six next to some of the most talented players in the league. Cirelli is just 28% owned in Yahoo leagues.

Michael Bunting and Erik Kallgren

Bunting and Kallgren – Michael Bunting continues to impress in his first full NHL season. He’s hitched his wagon to the Rocket Richard trophy favourite in Auston Matthews. According to Yahoo, he’s owned in just half of fantasy leagues. That number should be higher, especially given the number of games the Maple Leafs play over the next three weeks. In goal, with the recent injury news of Petr Mrazek, Erik Kallgren is the de facto number one goaltender in Toronto. Jack Campbell is on the mend, but with his injury history and inconsistent play, Kallgren could possibly get the majority of starts behind a solid Maple Leafs team down the stretch.

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