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Steve Downie could have incredible fantasy value if he can stay healthy.

We are a little over a week into the season and as avid fantasy hockey GMs who have been chomping at the bit for the past 3 months, we are scouring box scores, line combinations and early season trends trying to take action quickly on the players who will help our teams this season. One guy who is (somewhat)quietly making an early impression is your Geek of the Week: Steve Downie.

There was a time when Steve Downie was more widely regarded as a fantasy hockey darling because of his ability to chip in on offence, while being a complete jerk on-ice and racking up the PIMs. Over the past few seasons though, Downie has suffered through a number of injuries and has fallen off some people’s radar. He was only 4% drafted in Yahoo! leagues this year, but owners are catching on and he is currently being snapped up in pools everywhere. He is still available in about 2/3rds of leagues though, so if you can you should act now. Even if Downie isn’t available in your league, chances are his current owner doesn’t value him as much as they should.

 

I got the idea to write about Downie when I was running my regular Fantasy Hockey Geek season to date numbers. I often do this early in the season to see if there are any guys that I may have missed on who are performing well. If somebody jumps out at me, I do a quick look to see if their performance is sustainable and go from there. When I ran the FHG numbers on Firiday morning, look where Downie was (right above last week’s Geek of the Week, Brent Burns):

 

FHG RankNameGA+/-ShotsPPPPIM
6 Steve Downie 1 2 1 7 2 17
7 Brent Burns 2 2 7 14 1

4

 

Downie has a respectable three points in four games (two of which came with the man advantage), to go along with a great contribution to his bread and butter category (17 PIM). Early season rakings need to be taken with a grain of salt for a number of reasons (small sample size, larger variances in individual categories – especially PIMs etc) BUT I would still absolutely recommend looking at the rankings because that is how you find value. No, Downie will not be the 6th most valuable player this season but just seeing him up there and looking at his multi-cat contributions you can see that he could indeed have some good value this season. How much value you ask? Let’s take a look.

 

The last full season that Downie played was way back in 2009-10 when he was with the Lightning. That season, he rewarded roto GMs everywhere with 46 points, 11 PPP and a whopping 208 PIM. I would say that this is close to his best case upside, but just looking at those numbers I know that there is good value there. To find out just how much value, I ran the 2009-10 season in FHG (FHG stores historical data way back to the 2007-08 season, which can be very helpful when looking into different scenarios).

 

FHG RankNameGA+/-ShotsPPPPIM
24 Steve Downie 22 24 14 116 11 208

 

That season, Downie was the 24th most valuable player in the league! That is an unbelievable upside for a player who is being drafted on average at 160th overall. Even if Downie continues his Band-Aid boy ways and misses 20 games he is worth owning for the games he does play because when he is in your lineup, his contributions are very high-end.

 

After running the current season in FHG and seeing that he is contributing (for the time being) as a top 10 player and then double checking with his best season and confirming that his upside is top-30 value, the last question I have to ask myself is: now that it’s four years later and he’s playing on a new team can he still produce at that level? Let’s take a look at his production in the 26 games that he has played for the Avs (and also look at what that prorates to in an 82 game season):

 

ScenarioGA+/-ShotsPPPPIM
Actual 26 GP with COL 3 14 11 50 4 39
Prorated for 82 GP 9 44 35 158 13 123

 

You can see that in his time with the Avalanche, Donwie’s pace is quite comparable to his best season when he was with Tampa. His point pace is actually seven higher than his career year and he has done that despite converting only 6% of his shots into goals while with the Avs (compared to a career average of 14%). The +35 pace is unrealistic and not sustainable, while the lower PIM total is probably a little bit understated. Based on Downie’s historical production as well as his 26 game trend in Colorado I personally see him playing at the following 82 game pace:

 

ScenarioGA+/-ShotsPPPPIM
Campkin’s 82 game Projection 15 40 15 150 12 150

 

I have done a lot of analysis to this point in an attempt to determine Downie’s upside and I feel good about my projections, which leaves only one more question: If I am right with my above projections, how valuable could Downie be this season? To answer this question, I ran the league in FHG for the current season using Dobber’s projections and then I entered my personal projections for Downie in the What-if tool on FHG.

table.

 

NameFHG ValuePOSGA+/-ShotsPPPPIM
Steve Downie – What If? 51.9 LW/RW 15 40 15 150 12 150

 

If my projections are correct, Downie would be the 31st most valuable player in this league in the current season. That’s incredible value. Keep in mind that this is based on him playing 82 games which I fully do not expect to happen, but if your league has an IR slot then Downie is a guy worth holding onto because when you can get him in your lineup – his production is huge. As a guy who you can get in the 10th round and later, I would much sooner have a player with 65 games of high end production than a guy with 82 games of mediocre production.

 

Downie’s value based on the current season to date (6th), his best season (24th) or my projections for the current season (31st) are all very good results for a guy who is owned in less than 1/3rd of Yahoo! leagues. Granted, the leagues that do own him are probably the leagues that value him the most so I wouldn’t count on getting him as a free agent at this point, but armed with the knowledge that you gain from FHG – you can target Downie in a trade and make out like a bandit. If you could pull off something like a Marleau for Lucic and Downie then it is quite possible that you will actually end up with the two more valuable players in that deal by season’s end. Having access to Fantasy Hockey Geek and the tools that it provides can help you make shrewd GM decisions like this and win your league.

 

Questions or suggestions: tweet me @T_Camp76



Read more from Terry Campkin:


Geek of the Week - Brent Burns

Geek of the Week - Radko Gudas

Geek of the Week - Brandon Dubinsky


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Comments (3)add comment

Two On One said:

Two On One
... Thanks Terry... Agreed that they're similar players, but Burrows decline in PIM and +/- (plus his lack of PPP) is concerning.

To play devil's advocate to your good analysis, I think one could argue that since Vancouver plays more "off nights" than Colorado (32 games vs. 22 games), one might see more value in Burrows. In a daily line-up league, many GMs are going to use either Downie or Burrows as a depth option. It's nice to these bench guys "fit" around your stars' games, who will monopolize the starting line-up.

However, as you pointed out, Downie appears to have more overall value (standard cats considered) than Burrows (when healthy). I'm guessing it's probably enough extra value to make up for the difference in the "off nights" between Vancouver and Colorado. I like how you ranked Hartnell - Downie - Burrows and that's probably how I'll go forward with that ranking in mind. Thanks again!
October 14, 2013
Votes: +0

T-Camp said:

TBone076
Burrows Thanks for reading Two on One:

(The answer always depends on your league type, but I will assume Yahoo! standard categories for my answer)

I like your question as Burrows is a great comparable to Downie. Off the top of my head, I am not a big Burrows guy because he doesn't shoot much and doesn't contribute on the PP. HIs points are decent and he plays with the Sedins and I think that can tend to make him overrated by some. When you asked though and I looked into it, I see that his PIMs are solid so that's good and he has also historically been fairly durable.

So I ran the numbers in FHG and for most seasons, Burrows ends up in the 80s in this type of league. Back when he was getting 150+ PIM, his value would have been much higher, but his PIMs have tailed off in the past few seasons and I think his +/- will as well....and his career high in PPP is 7. Downie is actually a better PP contributor and Downie's PIMs are elite, while Burrow's PIMs are just "good".

Because Downie's upside is higher, I would personally sooner own Downie. This is a perfect example of the who would you rather scenario. An OK guy, who is reliable to be a top 100 player? Or a guy who will likely spend some time on your IR, but be a top 40-50 guy when he's in? For me personally, I would prefer to take the upside and stick with Downie and when he gets his IR....I would expect to find somebody not much worse than Burrows on the WW (Depending on how deep your league is).

Really though, depending on how deep your league is - all of Burrows, Downie and Harttnell could be solid owns. My personal order would be Harts, Downie, Burrows.
October 14, 2013
Votes: +1

Two On One said:

Two On One
... Terry,

Good timing on your article as I am eyeballing Downie as a WW replacement for Hartnell. Question for you: How in your scenarios you compare Downie to Alexander Burrows, who I'm guessing will come off the IR in a week or two? Both have dual-eligibility in Yahoo! leagues and play a nice sandpaper style game. Thanks in advance and your weekly articles are becoming one of my favorites on this site!
October 13, 2013
Votes: +0
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