Last week, an interesting question was raised in the forums by “Yardsale” regarding whether or not scheduling makes a difference during the playoffs in H2H leagues. The most logical answer is YES! This week we’ll take a look at a bit of the “mathy” stuff to really breakdown the players to own for the H2H playoffs.
One of the big things to keep in mind is whatever happened during the regular season does not matter when it comes to playoff time. You could have destroyed your competition by 100 points, or might have just snuck into the playoffs with a last minute win, but it’s all fair-game come H2H playoff time.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to win all of the categories. You only need to win 50 percent, plus the tie-breaker (1. Winning percentage against your opponent during the regular season and 2. Playoff seed). So when you are building your H2H playoff team, build it to secure 50 percent of the stats, but beware that you’re not outright handing categories to your opponent as freebies.
Now back to “Yardsale’s” question: Will having a few extra games in your pocket make a difference? Yes, it will and here’s the reasoning behind it. Most playoff teams will be built fairly evenly, everyone’s going to have their two C’s, two RW’s, two LW’s, four D’s plus three G’s and three bench slots. If every player plays every game (average of three per week), you’d have roughly seven or eight starts for your three goalies, and 39 starts for your offensive players, (assuming there isn’t any scheduling clashes). Now what happens if you suddenly have a few four gamer players, instead of 39 starts for your offensive stats, it might climb up to 42 or even 45. The extra two or three or six, in some scenarios, could make a dramatic difference when it comes to the end of the week. With more starts, you obviously have a higher chance of accumulating more G, A, PIMs, or SOG, thus increasing your chance of garnering the 50 percent of stats that we’re after. So it’s pretty simple math really, more games = more potential for points.
So that’s part one of the analysis, now here’s the good stuff that everyone is waiting for, so which teams are the best to invest in for the H2H playoffs?
Initially, I looked at the schedule of the final 3 weeks of the season. Here is the table for the Western Conference teams.
For offensive stats, I looked up the league average in three key areas. 1) Home/Road winning percentage. 2) Goals for per game average and 3) PP efficiency. Then I generated z-scores for each of those stats and came up with a home/away offensive stat aggregate.
For defensive stats, I took a similar approach, but only used two key areas. 1) Home/Road winning percentage and 2) Average goals allowed per game. Then, I also generated z-scores for each and came up with a home/away defensive stat aggregate.
Look at the table below to observe the findings.
Offense: (positive is better)
Defense: (negative is better)
Then I looked at each team’s offensive stats vs their opponent’s defensive stats based on their situation. For example: Vancouver’s first game I analyzed their road offensive stats vs. Minnesota’s home defensive stats to come up with an aggregate score for the matchup.
Here’s the data for week 1 (March 19-25) of the H2H playoffs:
Here’s the data for week 2 (March 26-April 1) of the H2H playoffs
And week 3 (April 2-April 7) of the H2H playoffs
Aggregate scores for the playoff period of either three or two weeks.
So if you’re going to finish out of the top two spots in Yahoo! H2H leagues, then you’ll probably have a first round playoff matchup. The best team out West to load up on will be the Red Wings. The problem is most of the “big named” Detroit players like Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom or Johan Franzen are probably already owned, but if you can somehow get your hands on them, then definitely make a play. A few cheaper and more attainable options might be Valtteri Filppula, Jiri Hudler or even Todd Bertuzzi, the trio has 30, 21 and 17 points at home respectively (six of the final 10 contests will be at the Joe).
Vancouver is also another good team to load up on, especially if you’re in a two week fantasy post-season situation. The Nucks play seven of their final eight contests at home, in which they average 3.21 goals per game. It’s probably going to be impossible to land either Sedin, Ryan Kesler or Alex Burrows, but someone like Chris Higgins (17 points in 25 home games), at just six percent Yahoo! owned, could make a bit of an impact. David Booth (15 points in 20 home games), at 23 percent Yahoo! owned could also be a late-season bargain.
San Jose completes the trio of worthwhile investments. They’re currently on a bit of a slide, which has a few poolies panicking, but it would make for a great time to “buy low” on a few Sharks for the playoff period. Seven of their final 11 contests will be at the Shark Tank in which they average 3.14 goals per game. You probably wouldn’t have to pay a premium for Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski or Patrick Marleau anymore, so it’s probably worth tossing a line out there to see what you can reel in. Logan Couture or Ryane Clowe could also be had for a reasonable price. But a player to really keep an eye on is Michal Handzus, (two percent Yahoo! owned), he has 18 points in 29 home contests and could create an impact in the final two weeks of the fantasy season especially now that the Sharks beefed up their third line with T.J. Galiardi, Daniel Winnik and Dominic Moore. Also don’t forget Martin Havlat (46 percent Yahoo! owned), who’s scheduled to return around mid-March from his hamstring injury. He had nine points in 14 home contests prior to his injury and could provide a much needed offensive boost down the stretch.
The biggest winners coming out from the trade deadline could be Nashville. The acquisition of Andrei Kostitsyn could have some huge fantasy ramifications for the stretch run as 56 of his 210 career points (26.7 percent) have been tallied from the man advantage. The Preds’ current 21.7 percent PP efficiency is tops in the league and the addition of AK will only improve those numbers. At just 11 percent Yahoo! owned, he’s certainly something to snag for your roster. Another Pred to make a play for is Patric Hornqvist. He has posted 14, 15 and 15 points respectively in the March/April period during the last three seasons. Horny’s less than 50 percent Yahoo! owned at the moment. The ever so consistent, Martin Erat also follows along the same production path. He has posted 14, 11, 11, 11, 13 and 17 in March/April since the lockout. He’s a bargain at just 32 percent Yahoo! owned at the moment.
Los Angeles is in a bit of an interesting situation. In the first contest that Jeff Carter suited up for the Kings, they pasted Chicago 4-0 on Saturday night. The question that remains is whether or not that trend will continue, or will they revert back towards their defensive style of play and continue to play for one-goal games (59.7 percent of their games have been 1GG). I believe in the old adage, “you can drag a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. Coach Darryl Sutter isn’t going to suddenly turn the Kings into offensive juggernauts they needed a coach like Bruce Boudreau to do that. Now might be a great time to serve up Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Drew Doughty and maybe even Jeff Carter on the trade block and see what you can land in return.
The fire sale has begun in Columbus, so now’s probably a great time to move some of their players for an upgrade. I don’t know how much you’re going to get in return, but it’s worth a shot. Rick Nash will probably have limited fantasy value for the home stretch of this season, so you might want to use his “big name” status to see if you can parlay that into something better.
Calgary is a very difficult team to read for the playoffs. First of all, they only have two contests for the final week, which is a huge detriment when you compare them to Vancouver, who has three fairly easily matchups. With that said, five of the last nine contests will be against division foes in which they own a 13-4-0 record while averaging 2.82 goals per contest, so it’s going to be darn near impossible to try to predict what’s going to happen in Calgary. The only keepers from the Flames might be Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay and maybe Olli Jokinen, everyone else should be considered movable.
The positive is that Minnesota has seven of their final 11 contests at home, but the negative is that they’re amongst the league worst offensively averaging just 2.55 goals scored. There’s a few “big named” stars like Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi that might tweak a bit of an interest if offered in a package deal, so it might be a smart idea to send out an offer and see what reply you get back.
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