Rick Roos takes a look at several types of players who are frustrating to own in fantasy hockey leagues.
What’s great about fantasy sports is that even if you don’t win your league, at least you can whine to your competitors - and in the DobberHockey forums - about your misfortune. Fantasy hockey in particular makes it pretty easy to complain, because there are so many ways your team and its players can let you down. For example, DobberHockey readers already are well aware of all too familiar frustrations like Band-Aid boys (players who are great when they’re healthy, but always seem to get hurt) and Windex Wonders (players who are either ice cold or red hot), but there are many other ways players can become sources of frustration.
This week I thought I’d go over the different types of players who can disappoint a fantasy team; and instead of an overall “Final Verdict” like I usually have in this column, I’ll rank each category of player on a “frustration meter” that ranges from one gray hair (a little annoying sometimes, but not a big deal) to five gray hairs (a major source of constant aggravation). One key thing to keep in mind – frustrating doesn’t always mean bad. Even a guy who gets a four or five on the frustration meter usually can still help your team; he just might drive you crazy in the process!
Now onto the list…
The category killer (four gray hairs if you realize this while it’s happening; otherwise, two gray hairs)
Unless you’re in a points only league, you always have to be aware of how you’re a player’s overall stats affect secondary categories, like plus/minus, hits, blocked shots, or power play points. For example, as much as you might have benefitted from Teddy Purcell’s great offense last year, you might not have also realized that he finished tied for 670th in hits and tied for 613th in blocked shots. Or maybe you patted yourself on the back for having Pascal Dupuis on your team last season…..until you realized he only gave you one of his 56 points on the power play! Then there’s maybe the most egregious example of category killing from last season - superstar Eric Staal somehow managing to finish tied for 879th in plus/minus!
The bad timing guy (variable gray hairs – see below)
Bad timing comes in three main forms, each with different ratings on the Frustration Meter:
· The guy who was great……until you drafted or traded for him – three gray hairs
· The guy who was terrible and sat forever on your bench, but then once you finally let him go he did great – four gray hairs
· The superstar who never got hurt…..until he was on your team and suffered a major injury right away – five gray hairs
The Where’s Waldo guy (five gray hairs short term, one gray hair overall)
We all get excited when we see that a team with one of our players on it won a game by a great score like 7-1. We rush to check out the box score to eagerly learn just how many points our player ended up with, only to see that despite 18+ minutes of ice time he somehow managed not only to finish with no points, but at a -1 in plus/minus to boot!
The bouncing between lines guy (three gray hairs)
This is a player who teases you into picking him up by getting placed on a great top six line, but then finds himself on the third or fourth line after a few more games. What’s even worse is if you decide to cut him loose, he then usually goes right back to the first or second line, but if you stick with him he either stays on a non-scoring line or, even worse, is a healthy scratch.
The offensive talent who gets stuck with bad linemates (two gray hairs)
This is different than the line bouncer, in that this guy never even gets a chance to play with top six talent. For every great story of a guy (like Martin St. Louis) who found success after being stuck for several years on non-scoring lines despite his offensive potential, there are sad tales of players (Bobby Butler is a current example) who can’t find success because most every time they get a chance to actually play in the NHL they get stuck with terrible linemates and little ice time. This is sad to see as a fan, but even worse if you happen to have one of these guys on your team and are forced to watch as his true potential never gets a chance to be realized.
The goalie who keeps losing shutouts in the last minute (five+ gray hairs short term, two gray hairs overall)
For the past three years I owned Roberto Luongo (of course now I don’t have him…..sigh), and one thing I noticed was that several times every season he’d take a shutout into literally the last minute of the game, only to give up a goal! Since most leagues count shutouts as a category and many full time goalies are often lucky to get more than a handful each year, there’s almost nothing more frustrating in the short term than seeing this happen to a goalie on your roster.
The milk carton picture guy (two gray hairs)
In recent years, we’ve seen players (I’m looking at you Jay Bouwmeester and Brian Gionta) sign big contracts only to have their great stats vanish right from the start with their new team. When you own a player like this, you get excited that he’s going to a team that obviously thinks he’s important given what they’re paying him, but then for whatever reason he plays terrible, disappointing you (and his new team) in the process.
The out to pasture guy (one gray hair)
Today’s NHL has many productive older players, and we’re all glad to have them on our roster…………until later in the season when their team has already clinched a playoff spot (but while we’re still competing for our fantasy league title) and then all of a sudden these guys get a day off here and there, which of course wreaks havoc on our lineup planning.
The guy you should drop but just can’t (only two gray hairs, because the frustration is spread over time)
This isn’t like a bad timing guy in that here the frustration comes from not being able to actually convince yourself to get rid of him, usually because you paid a big price (either in drafting or trading) to get him. So in the end you hold onto him out of stubbornness and then wait….and wait…..and wait….
The Infinite Potential Guy Who You Just Can’t Write Off (three gray hairs, mostly at the beginning of the season)
This is a bit like the guy you can’t drop but should, except it’s only for young prospects. One of the things that’s so great about Dobberhockey is readers are able find out about lesser known prospects early on and can grab them in keeper leagues before other GMs. This can lead to great rewards when that player meets or exceeds expectations (Jamie Benn is an example), but it also can end up causing huge frustration (I’m looking at you Michael Frolik and Peter Regin) when every year you get your hopes up that he’ll finally break out, but he just never does. And before you know it he’s out of hockey or over in Europe or Russia never to return.
Playing the schedule game, and losing (five gray hairs short term, two gray hairs long term)
Many leagues have weekly line-up setting without a cap on total games played, so fantasy hockey GMs will smartly play the percentages and start a guy who has three or four games that week over another who plays in only one. Or maybe you choose to start your third goalie since you know he’ll be in net against weak teams and your number one or two guy has a very tough week ahead of him. But we all know what ends up happening – the guy who only plays in one game does amazing and the guy who played in three or four games comes up empty, and the goalie you benched gets two shutouts while the one you started gets pulled and then doesn’t even play any other games that week. Perfect example - how many of you were like me and benched David Krecji when the Bruins had only one game in six days last week, only to see him put up two points against the Canadiens in his only game!
Be sure to leave comment on other types of frustrating players that I didn't highlight, or let me know if you think any of my ratings were way off. You can also provide ideas in the comments for debates to be settled right herein future editions of the column, or send me suggestions via a private message to my forum name - rizzeedizzee.
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