fleischmann

Don't overlook valuable players on bad teams. 

In the world of fantasy sports, things are seldom as bad as they are perceived. Far too often I see managers (myself included) completely ignore valuable players because of the fact that they play for a bad team. “I like him, but his team can’t score so he won’t get any points” is the type of thing I hear all the time, but this isn’t always accurate.

 

In our constant search for value, some of the best finds can come from the worst teams. Every team plays the same number of games and someone has to fill over 4,920 minutes of ice time. Every team needs a first unit power-play, a top line, a #1 goalie etc. This is where we find our value as most managers will do everything possible to avoid a player on a bottom feeder (FLA, BUF, COL, CGY) or constant low scoring (NSH, PHO) team. The team a guy plays for matters, but what can matter even more are the opportunities he is getting on that team. Most of the time, a guy playing 20 minutes a night with top power-play time on a BAD team will produce more than he would if he were getting 14 minutes a night and no power-play time on a GOOD team. Hey, even Matt Stajan scored 55 points on a terrible Leaf’s team once upon a time when he was the third leading forward in terms of TOI. Or look at Dustin Byfuglien’s production once he left Chicago and was given regular time on the top unit. It’s all about opportunity.

 

When I am in a draft and the competition is reaching and gambling on who they think will be CHI #2 pivot (Andrew Shaw’s average draft position is #152 this year), I’m snapping up Mike Fisher (ADP is over 180th), knowing that he is one of the go-to guys in Nashville. When Paul Martin (ADP 156) goes high in the draft simply because he’s a Penguin, I’m all over Justin Faulk (ADP 166), Dimitry Kulikov (ADP 160) or even Marek Zidlicky (ADP 176) who I know will spend a good amount of time manning the top power-play. The point is, don’t get sucked into the “good team” mirage on draft day. You’re not drafting an NHL team, you’re drafting individual players. Top lines are deemed that for a reason: because they get the most TOI and are counted on for scoring. The guys getting good minutes on bad teams can make for very good “diamonds in the rough” and provide your fantasy squad with some good, low-priced value.

 

So let’s look at a couple potential diamonds in the rough to consider for the upcoming season:

 

Tomas Fleischmann


Teams at the bottom of the standings are there for a reason and they aren’t likely to have much scoring depth. Teams usually retain a few “stars” (I use the term “stars” loosely for the teams in question) but can’t put together 2-3 lines of quality players. What does this mean for us? Look at a guy like Tomas Fleischmann who hasn’t had much competition for top minutes in Florida. Florida is a cesspool of talented but unproven players at the moment and Flash has scored at a tidy 0.74 and 0.73 PPG since moving to the sunshine state, placing him amongst names such as Brad Richards, Patrick Sharp, Jeff Carter and David Krejci in 2013. Flash isn’t exactly going to win you your pool, but he can make for a suitable replacement for someone such as Loui Eriksson who is being drafted on average 100 spots prior to Fleischmann. Take a look at a comparison when I put these two players’ numbers through FHG:

 

(Based on Dobber projections in a 12 team Yahoo! Standard H2H league measuring G, A, +/-, PIM, SOG, PPP)

Projected FHG Rank

Player

G

A

+/-

PIM

SOG

PPP

148

Tomas Fleischmann

26

33

-10

30

199

19

151

Loui Eriksson

26

34

20

18

184

16

 

The only major difference between Fleischmann and Eriksson is their average draft position. Their projected output is almost identical, but Fleischmann is being drafted 8-10 rounds later.

 

Christian Ehrhoff


Another great example of a diamond in the rough is Christian Ehrhoff, who currently has an ADP of 132. He was a highly sought after fantasy commodity during his days as a Canuck, but has dropped off the fantasy radar since going to a terrible Buffalo team. The thing is despite Buffalo’s woes, Ehrhoff is still producing. Last season Ehrhoff came in at a 0.49PPG clip and FHG ranks him as having been the 50th most valuable player in the entire league last season, with only 13 defensemen being ranked higher. Despite this, he is currently being drafted on average as the 40th defenseman in Yahoo! Leagues. Running the numbers through FHG, look at how he compares with some other guys who are more top of mind because of their team situation:

 

(Based on Dobber projections in a 12 team Yahoo! Standard H2H league measuring G, A, +/-, PIM, SOG, PPP)

Projected FHG Rank

Player

ADP

G

A

+/-

PIM

SOG

PPP

72

Christian Ehrhoff

131.8

9

28

0

60

175

18

134

John Carlson

119.9

11

31

10

30

152

8

96

Slava Voynov

127.9

13

33

10

40

125

15

 

Ehrhoff is the more proven player, he has the better projections and he is the undisputed power-play QB in Buffalo. Despite all of this, he is being drafted after guys like Carlson and Voynov who are on better teams but may not have better opportunities. With an ADP in the 11th round, Ehrhoff is a great candidate to draft as a D3 or D4 who will contribute solid value to your fantasy team.

 

 Mikko Koivu


A guy I’ve always liked who never gets any respect is former Geek of the Week, Mikko Koivu. Minnesota has always been associated with low goal scoring and Koivu’s perceived value has suffered because of it. This year, he is being drafted 166th overall on average, behind a number of inferior centers. Take a look at the FHG projected values for the upcoming season compared to where each player is being drafted:

 

(Based on Dobber projections in a 12 team Yahoo! Standard H2H league measuring G, A, +/-, PIM, SOG, PPP)

Projected FHG Rank

Player

ADP

G

A

+/-

PIM

SOG

PPP

88

Mikko Koivu

165.8

17

45

10

50

185

22

160

David Krejci

73.9

23

40

20

36

150

12

315

Andrew Shaw

152.7

17

20

20

73

123

6

104

Mike Richards

141.1

21

34

10

68

164

19

 

Koivu’s projected value is almost 80 spots better than where he is being drafted. Look at the second/third line players on Boston, Chicago and LA and see how they are being drafted well ahead of Koivu – despite their lower projections. Koivu has averaged 0.84 PPG over the past four seasons while Krejci (0.75) and Richards (0.72) have been a fair amount lower. Shaw isn’t even in the ballpark. I say: avoid the depth players on the elite teams and draft the front line players on the teams that struggle.

 

The rest is up to you. Instead of focussing on the great teams, shift your focus to the great player situations that the rest of your leagues managers will be ignoring. Being at the top of the depth chart will almost certainly trump team affiliation. To help with the process, run your projections through Fantasy Hockey Geek to see which players will provide good fantasy value. When you find a valuable guy who happens to play for a bad team, chances are you can get him on the cheap!

 

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Geek of the Week – Mikhail Grabovski 
Bouncing Back 

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Comments (5)add comment

DarthVain said:

DarthVain
Fleischmann I own Fleischmann. I will likely drop him. I am in a points and +/- pool.

That makes Loui an 80pt player and Fleischmann a 50pt player. None of those other categories matter. If they did it would be a different story. That said I am thinking about keeping Wisniewski over Pavalski as Pavalski costs me 19$ more on a 200$ cap (overpriced). Of course if I do I will be hoping to hell that Wiz doesn't A) get hurt, B) go negative, or C) get suspended. Fleischmann, Wisniewski and possibly Dubinsky are pretty much my only options to drop overpriced Pavalski as they are all more less equally cheap, however none of them play on a good team, and +/- is a concern for all of them....
September 10, 2013
Votes: +0

Ed. said:

Ed.
... By all means. Your strategy has great merit, and it is one I use myself. I was just adding the caveat that +/- is often the category that suffers most in such a scenario, and that has to be taken into account. I do agree though that such a sacrifice is often worthwhile for a big boost in several other categories.
September 08, 2013
Votes: +0

T-Camp said:

TBone076
Eriksson/Minny Ed - I agree that Eriksson will almost certainly have a better +/- number, but that is accounted for in these values. Flash overcomes the lower + number with higher contributions in PPP and SOG, which makes his value about the same as Eriksson's and you are getting him 100 picks later in the draft. If I had one pick and could only take one of these two guys, I would probably take Eriksson too....but my point is that I would rather skip Eriksson earlier on in the draft....then 8-10 rounds later take Flash to replace Loui. Think about it, Loui is being drafted around the same time as Shea Weber in Yahoo! pools right now. If you skip Loui and draft Weber instead and then wait on Flash, you would have Weber + Flash as your LW and D. But if you take Loui and then scoop a D later on where Flash is going, your combo of these 2 pick slots would be something like Loui + Bogosian. FHG shows us that Loui and Flash are very close in terms of real value...so you are upgrading Bogosian to Weber simply by making the shrewd move of passing on Loui and waiting on Flash. Decisions like this are what win people leagues.

Isle - You're right, Minnesota si a good team...I should have been more clear. The article is about bad teams AND teams that are often perceived as low scoring teams. Minny falls into the latter group. They were 24th in NHL scoring last season and some GMs avoid them in the draft because of it (Koivu's ADP is evidence of that). Same point I made above applies to your concerns too: the point is not so much of one guy over the other....the point is that you can get equal/similar value in later rounds of the draft by picking some of these diamonds in the rough. I agree, I would want loui before Flash if it cost the same draft pick - but it doesn't. As for Ehrhoff/VOynov, I think I would personally prefer Ehrhoff in a single season league that doesn't count hits, but that's just personal preference and I respect your choice. Voynov is a very solid own.
September 08, 2013
Votes: +2

Isle B. said:

Isle B.
... How is Minnesota even a bad team? Not elite but a playoff team in 2013 and far cry from Florida, Calgary or Buffalo. Also, I would take Voynov over Ehrhoff in any format. Ditto Eriksson vs. Fleischmann. The overall point of the article is solid but the examples that are highlighted are unconvincing.
September 08, 2013
Votes: +1

Ed. said:

Ed.
... Very good points. I would point out however, that the other major difference between Eriksson and Flash in those predictions is +30 in Eriksson's favour, which can make a huge difference. Now if you're getting Fleischmann late, and he's helping you in every other stat category more than anyone else near his draft position would, it's probably worth it. However, when taking on guys from poor teams you sometimes have to accept the fact that you're pretty much punting +/- to try and win other categories.
September 07, 2013
Votes: +0
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