Terry Campkin explains how to identify and fill needs in-season using common sense and the Fantasy Hockey Geek tools.
The NHL season is now well under way and you should be starting to get a pretty good picture of where your team(s) sit and how much work you have to do in order to bring home the championship. If you are in a Roto style league (either yearly total or a head-to-head weekly matchup style) then the most important thing to get a grasp on right now is which categories you are excelling at and which categories you need to improve on.
In one of the yearly leagues I am in, my team (Easton Fection) is an early season contender, having won all head-to-head matchups thus far and sitting in second place overall. This is a 12 team standard Yahoo! head to head league (G, A, +/-, PPP, SOG, PIM, W, Sv%, GAA, SO). A further look inside the numbers though, shows that I am not quite where I need to be in all categories:
You can see that I am performing very well in Assists and PPPs, which is probably largely driven by the fact that I like to draft high quality defensemen early and high end d-men tend to excel in these categories. My shots are a little bit light, which is probably not helping my low goal total so I know I need to find some players who shoot and score. Looking at my PIMs, I am decent, but I can’t afford to drop because teams ranked 5-8 have totals that are very close to mine.
Recently, I lost Mark Giordano to injury and I was looking for somebody on the waiver wire to replace him. This loss hurts my team, but it isn’t a crushing blow that would jeopardize my season. Keeping in mind the category needs that I laid out above, I sought out to find a defense replacement that best fits my team.
I opened my league in Fantasy Hockey Geek to assist with my quest. What I like to do, is go into FHG and create a “mock” league that has all of the same settings as my league actually has, but I only enter the categories that I am looking for: in this instance Goals, Assists and Penalty Minutes. Running the numbers like this, FHG returns a list showing who in the league is most valuable for these 3 specific categories only, which will help me to pick the exact right add for MY team in MY league. When the report came out, I filtered by defensemen and here are some of the results I found:
|Overall Rank||Defense Rank||Name||Goals||PIM||SOG|
It was no surprise to me that Dusty Buff and PK Subban were the number 1 and 2 defensemen in these particular categories, but there were a couple of other great finds here for me:
Radko Gudas: This previous Geek of the Week is projected to be the third most valuable defenseman for these 3 categories and he is only 25% owned. Unfortunately for me, some of my buddies read Dobber as well and Gudas isn’t available in this particular league. On a side note ,I am happy to see that the ownership of Gudas has grown so much over the mast month plus.
Zach Bogosian: Bogo has a lot going for him, but he has a lot working against him too. He is buried on the PP depth chart in Winnipeg so his point totals and PPP totals suffer. This slides him down draft boards and pushes his overall ownership all the way down to 16% in Yahoo! leagues. Here’s the thing though: over the past three seasons he has averaged 2.4 shots per game. That’s Doughty/Weber territory. He’s also good for 8-10 goals over a full season, which is very solid from the backend and he will also chip in with about a PIM per game. FHG calculates him as the 15th my personal needs and he is only 16% owned. Bogosian is a great option for me to fill in my vacancy on D.
Erik Gudbranson: Based on the above preseason projections, FHG calculates Gudbranson as being the 19th most valuable D for my needs and he is only 3% owned. He is also currently on pace to surpass the preseason projections in both shots and PIMs. The only problem with Gudbranson is that he just doesn’t score (a putrid 1.4 shooting % for his career). Gudbranson is a good option here for me as well, but I personally prefer somebody who has a better chance to realize some upside in the next 3 months.
Brendan Dillon: Based on preseason projections, FHG calculates Dillon as being the 22ndnd most valuable D for my category needs. Dillon shoots at a decent clip and converts far more than Gudbranson (6.2% for his career). He should be good for 8-10 goals on the season as well as upwards of 100 PIM. He is only 16% owned. I really like the Dillon option as well and if my league counted hits, he would be the pick for sure (although if my league included hits, Dillon would likely already be owned).
So there you have it, simply by plugging my specific needs into FHG, I have found four (!) widely available players who are top 25 D-men in terms of filling my immediate needs. I am so pleased with the options that I found that I think I’ll change my strategy a little bit. I decided on Bogosian because he has some good upside and he is seeing some PP time behind two injury prone guys on PP1. My personal order of the four players outlined would have been Gudas, Bogosian, Dillon, Gudbranson. If Bogosian serves me well in the categories I need while Giordano is out, then when Giordano is ready to come off the IR, I think I will shop him rather than activating him. With Giordano’s hot start to the season, I am sure I can get a little something in return to help out my forwards but a player like Bogosian might be more what my team needs right now anyway.
Fantasy Hockey Geek provides great tools to use for player analysis like this throughout the season. A lot of people I talk to use FHG heavily for draft prep but then not as much during the season. I would encourage you to take advantage of your subscriptions and do analyses similar to what I have done here all year long, so that you can strategically make player adds that are the most beneficial to your team. Adding Bogosian won’t single handedly fix my low totals in all three categories that I need, but it is a step in the right direction and I will keep looking at my FHG output to determine more good adds (or trade targets) as I continue to build on my team throughout the season, hopefully on my way to a championship.