Every fantasy hockey league is different. Even if you’re Biff Tannen and you know exactly how many points each player will score next season, it’s no guarantee for fantasy victory if you don’t fashion your draft strategy to the league you’re in. In this post, I’ll give you some tips and guidance on how to draft (and win) in a standard CBS fantasy hockey league.
The first step for any league is to study the point system so you know the relative value of each position. CBS does a good job of weighting the value of offense, defense, and goaltending, to ensure that each position has somewhat equal weight. Quick recap of points in key categories:
Offense: Goals = 3, Assists = 2
Defense: Goals = 5, Assists = 3
Goalies: Win = 5, Saves=.2, GA=-1
So what does this mean? First off, the tendency for the inexperienced GM is to blow off drafting defensemen until the later rounds, since the big names and leading scorers obviously come from the forwards. Huge mistake here. Because of the weighting of points, a 20 goal scorer on offense will earn 60 points for his efforts, while a 20-goal performance by a defenseman will net 100 points. Another critical factor to realize is the relative gap between the elite players on defense versus on offense. When it comes to defensemen, there’s a fairly small number of predictable, elite performing players. After that group of 10 or so, it drops off considerably to the point where it doesn’t matter much who you pick. The story is different for forwards. (Aside from the obvious exceptions of Crosby and Ovechkin), you won’t see a huge point difference between the top 10 forwards and rafting services the next 20 or so on the list.
Bottom line here: don’t be shy about drafting one or two defensemen in the first 4 rounds, even if it means enduring a laugh or two from your unschooled competition.
And what about the other stats categories?
- Penalty Minutes – At.25 a piece, it’s worth considering, but not worth planning your draft around it. There are few players in the league that bring a steady diet of points and PIMs. Those that do should be bumped up your list a few notches (Perry, Downie, Clowe, Burrows); however, don’t go crazy drafting goons.
- +/- – Perhaps the most arbitrary stat in fantasy sports. Don’t waste your time trying to predict this one. Generally speaking, favor players on good teams over those with poor goal ratios. Often times a decent +/- will line up nicely with points, and when it doesn’t, it’s not worth worrying about.
- SHG/PPG – For as often as a short handed goal is scored, pay no attention. Power Play time (and goals) on the other hand are more predictable and should factor into your rankings. CBS offers a bonus point for each goal on the