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Campkin explains why Ovie is once again King of the hill in fantasy circles.

 

It’s official folks, the Great 8 is back and dominating the NHL and fantasy leagues alike. As we near the end to this shortened season, a question I am commonly asked is “who has been this season’s fantasy MVP?” The answer to that question is today’s Geek of the Week: Alex Ovechkin.

 

 

 

The big 3 debate has been going on for years- Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin – who has more value in my fantasy hockey league and which guy should I draft first? After Ovechkin’s drop off last season, this debate started losing some steam and he was in fact passed by Stamkos and Giroux on many draft boards. If you are one of the GMs who let Ovi slip through your hands, you made a big mistake.

 

Before I carry on I want to quickly make two things clear. First, my opinions and analysis here are related to fantasy hockey value only – I do not intend to open the “who would you rather start an NHL franchise with” can of worms. Second, I always like to remind readers that it is important to understand your league before definitively identifying the most valuable player. Depending on your league settings, Ovechkin may or may not be the most valuable player to own but today I am going to show why in many leagues with common settings he is in fact the MVP and should be #1 on your draft board going forward.

Below shows the year to date player values in the Dobbber Pro Leagues

 

 

(12 team Yahoo! league measuring G, A, +/-, SOG, PPP, HITS)

 

Rank

Player

FHG Value

Games Played

G

A

+/-

SOG

PPP

HITS

1

Alex Ovechkin

159

44

28

20

-1

202

23

109

2

Sidney Crosby

136

36

15

41

26

124

17

21

 

You can see above that Ovechkin has now eclipsed Crosby as the most valuable player in a league of this format. I obviously understand that Ovechkin ranking above Crosby is aided by the fact that he has played eight more games but that is part of why I believe that Ovechkin should be treated as #1: he plays more games. In his career, Ovechkin has played 597 out of a possible 618 games (97%) while Crosby has played 470 games (76%) in that same time frame. Anybody in the midst of a H2H playoff this week can attest to how important your top player’s durability is.

 

The main source of Ovechkin’s great value is his peripheral stats. If your league counts shots and hits then Ovechkin‘s value

instantly goes through the roof. The fact that he contributes so well in these categories makes it virtually impossible for him to have a complete “tank” year. Even last season when Ovechkin had a massive drop off to a 65 point season, FHG calculated him to be the 14th most valuable skater in the league! Guys who get over 200 hits are rare (26 last season) and guys who get over 300 shots are even more rare (6 last season) but guys who do both simply don’t exist outside of Ovechkin.

 

Given that the coaching situation seems to be resolved in Washington and all of the drama from 2011-12 is behind us, I don’t think that Ovechkin will have another season as bad as last year. If last season is as bad as it gets for Ovechkin, then that means his low-end value is 14th overall in the league, which is actually pretty good. When a player like Daniel Sedin has a drop off in production his value falls from a top 5 guy all the way down to around 50th in the league because he doesn’t contribute in other non-scoring categories. Ovechkin’s high basement combined with his durability make him one of the most reliable fantasy-elite players out there – even in years when his production dips.

 

As a GM, the only thing more attractive than Ovechkin’s high basement is his high ceiling. I outlined above how even in a down year Ovechkin isn’t likely to dip below the 14th most valuable player in the league but that alone probably isn’t enough to justify picking him first overall. What is his upside? Let’s take a look at Ovechkin’s value from 2010-11, when he was performing at a similar pace to what we are seeing today:

 

Rank

Player

FHG Value

Games Played

G

A

+/-

SOG

PPP

HITS

1

Alex Ovechkin

162

79

32

53

24

367

24

241

2

Daniel Sedin

150

82

41

63

30

266

42

13

 

Looking above you can see that when Ovi was producing at slightly over a point per game, he was hands down the most valuable player in this league. This high rating isn’t even looking at Ovechkin’s greatest season either, when you consider that he only had 24PPP that season compared to the 23 that he has in only 44 games this season. In 2013, Washington seems to have gotten some of their mojo back with Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom also enjoying renewed success. Going forward, I personally think that Ovechkin will even surpass his 2010-11 output above. Let’s look just how high his ceiling can go if he produces close to how he was in his heyday (2009-10 season):

 

Rank

Player

FHG Value

Games Played

G

A

+/-

SOG

PPP

HITS

1

Alex Ovechkin

204

72

50

59

45

368

36

185

2

Mike Green

158

75

19

57

39

205

35

133

3

Nicklas Backstrom

143

82

33

68

37

222

37

90

4

Sidney Crosby

139

81

51

58

15

298

34

63

 

In 2009-10, when Ovi reached 109 points he was again the most valuable fantasy player in this league but this time it isn’t even close. Crosby actually played 9 more games than Ovi that season, but Ovechkin’s FHG value is in another stratosphere. Ovechkin’s numbers were elite across the board; there was no other fantasy hockey player even close to Ovechkin at this time. This is Ovechkin’s ceiling: complete fantasy hockey dominance.

 

Above, we have established how Ovechkin’s value has a very high basement (unlikely to drop below 14th most valuable) and that he has an incredibly high ceiling as the most valuable player in the league by an incredible margin. So where should we expect Ovechkin’s value to land going forward? Let’s take a look at his prorated stats for this season:

 

Rank

Player

Games Played

G

A

+/-

SOG

PPP

HITS

1

Alex Ovechkin

82

52

37

-2

376

43

203

 

Ovechkin is on a pace this season to be an 89pt, 376 shot, 203 hit player with 43 points on the powerplay. If he produces at this level next season then I would wager a fair amount that he will indeed be the most valuable fantasy hockey player in leagues of this format. Now consider the fact that Ovechkin started slow this season with only three points in his first eight games and has been playing at a 102 point pace since that point and you begin to understand just how close Ovi is to becoming the Ovi of old. A 2013-14 line of 50G, 50A, 375shots, 40PPP, 200hits is very attainable for Ovechkin and if he does indeed reach that total, his value will be near impossible to match. I don’t see his +/- getting all the way back up into the 40s anytime soon, but I do think his dominance in the other categories will allow him to maintain the #1 ranking into next season.

 

Alexander Ovechkin is back and the fantasy hockey world had better take note. He is on the verge of becoming the most dominant player in fantasy hockey again (if he isn’t already) and your window to act is being slammed shut. Using Fantasy Hockey Geek we can see how (even in a down season) Ovechkin’s value never drops all that far down but in a good season his contributions are unparalleled. He is my 2013 fantasy hockey MVP and I expect more of the same next season and beyond.


Recent Geeks of the Week:


Troy Brouwer

Derek Stepan

Evander Kane

Jarome Iginla


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Comments (2)add comment

gfunkb7 said:

gfunkb7
... Kudos to those who were able to land him via trade last or this seasons.

Shame on you if you've jump ship.

Great read as always!! Hourray for roto leagues.
April 22, 2013
Votes: +0

nattyB said:

batukhan
thanks, terry geek of the week is my favorite running feature on the site. from my limited experience with fantasy hockey, deciphering a player's impact across multiple roto categories--not falling too in love with goals and assists--is the key to finding value at the draft and through trade. you've nailed it with your choice of players this year (and i'm lucky to own a few of them)!
April 22, 2013
Votes: +1
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