Dallas Jagr

When building your keeper league team or doing a fantasy draft for a one-year league, you are building your team, piece by piece, in an effort to have the most productive roster possible. However, if you are in a cap league, each player has an associated cost. In order to win the championship, you must get more value out of your available cap dollars than your opponents.

Over the next few weeks we are going to look at some fantasy-relevant players who may be counter-productive to your efforts to win your pool. For various reasons people may see value in these players, but when crunching numbers the facts show that these players should be avoided.

For the purpose of these articles, only players projected by Dobber to finish above 40 points this season are considered. It is not difficult to point out that a non-productive player with a high price tag is a bad investment. More importantly, it avoids the obligatory Scott Gomez analysis.

This week, we look at overpriced forwards in points-only leagues. Five alternatives to each of these players can be found here.

Jaromir Jagr - $4,550,000

The former multi-time scoring champion made a successful return to the NHL last season in Philadelphia. Jagr finished the season with 54 points in 73 games. Now with Dallas, he now has a contract that is much less cap-friendly.

There are reasons to believe that a decline in production may be in order. First, he no longer has Claude Giroux as a set-up man. He also wore down as the season progressed, perhaps as a sign of age or fatigue. Here is his production in each quarter of the 2011-12 season, courtesy of Frozen Pool:





































This could be more of an issue in Dallas, which has a more rigorous travel schedule that includes more Western Conference destinations than Jagr had in Philadelphia. Simply put, the 40-year-old is in tough to reach 50 points again.

Brenden Morrow - $4,100,000

Last season was a statistical disaster for Morrow, who finished with just 26 points. He did miss 25 games, primarily due to a neck injury, so a rebound is in order. Unfortunately, due to years of pounding and a reduced offensive role, Morrow is unlikely to hit the numbers he has posted in the past.

So where will his production fall? His 2011-12 numbers scale up to 37 points over 82 games. Factoring in injuries and perhaps better luck on scoring chances, Morrow could finish in the 35-40 point range. With all of the cheaper options available in this point range, the veteran’s contributions will be much more valuable to the Dallas Stars than to your fantasy team.

Ville Leino - $4,500,000

Like Morrow, Leino also had a disaster season last year, posting just 25 points in 71 games. This was not a satisfactory result for the Sabres, who signed him to a six-year contract last summer. His average ice time was just 15:55 and his power play time was a mere 1:02 – both surprising totals for a hot free agent signing. He is not a physical threat, does not kill penalties and finished with just 78 total shots, meaning that his ability to produce points is his bread and butter. He did not deliver.

Sadly, Leino’s 2011-12 point total was the second-highest of his career after putting up 54 points the prior year in Philadelphia to earn his bloated salary. The truth is, aside from one contract year, he has no track record.

Projecting Leino’s stats moving forward is difficult because he has had a short career and the pattern is anything but consistent. He is likely to be able to beat last year’s 25 points, but he is unlikely to top 50 without the same supporting cast that was present with the Flyers. Even if he regains form and becomes a 40-plus point guy, at that salary he is simply not worth it. Let him be someone else’s problem.

Tuomo Ruutu - $4,750,000

While he is valuable in roto leagues that count hits, Ruutu is overrated in points leagues. Over his career, he has cleared 50 points just twice and over the last five seasons he has scored 35 or fewer points three times. Plus, he has a history of getting hurt.

At first glance, the additions of Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin in Carolina seem to be a good thing for Ruutu. However, with Eric Staal, Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Skinner also in the fold, there are only so many points to go around. Ruutu is the least talented of the bunch and is likely to finish in sixth in the Hurricanes’ scoring race.

Despite what the facts show, there are people who value Ruutu as a 50-point player. If you own him, there may still be hope to move him, especially with the team makeover that took place in Carolina. If you are heading into a draft, slide him down your board and only grab him at the end of the draft if you still have enough cap space.

Michael Cammalleri - $6,000,000

A very polarizing figure in hockey circles, Cammalleri has shown a pretty consistent production pattern over the last three years that may help you make a final decision on his value to your cap league team. In each of those seasons, he played between 65 and 67 games while posting between 41 and 50 points.

Two conclusions can be drawn here: he is prone to injury and his point totals are very mediocre. If this production continues, then he is a major cap liability for your team. The only way can justify his salary for your team is if he returns to his point-per-game self, which is unlikely to happen in Calgary.

If you expect to win a championship, you need to avoid wasting cap space. Cammalleri still has some upside, but at that price tag and with excellent cheaper alternatives available, why take the risk? If you want to gamble on a hit-or-miss player, it would be a good idea to take a chance on a cheaper player so that failure is less costly.

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angus said:

September 27, 2012
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