Editors note: Many thanks to Cyril (also known as seadawg on the forums) for updating the Windex Wonders (streaky players) and Band-Aid Boys (injury-prone players) lists. Read on for more of his thoughts on both kinds of players.
We often hear people complaining about streaky players (i.e., Windex Wonders) and injury-prone players (i.e., Band-Aid Boys), but this article is going to talk about the value those type of players can bring to your fantasy squad, in some situations.
For starters, I want to point out that not all Windex Wonders or Band-Aid Boys are created equal. I mean, in no league whatsoever can you argue on the merit of having Rick Dipietro on your team. Also, I’m not considering the superstars of the league (Crosby, Stamkos, Malkin, Sedins), no matter what category they belong to. For the most part, the elite superstars of the NHL are going to be owned in any league, no matter the format.
I’m talking about players like Thomas Vanek, Alexi Semin, Marian Gaborik, Jason Spezza, and Henrik Zetterberg. These players are both injury-prone and streaky. They have tantalizing skills and tease us with their potential, but they can’t be relied upon to remain healthy long-term, nor put up consistent numbers. Because of this, many avoid them altogether in their fantasy drafts (and rightly so) and would rather go with players that are less injury-prone and more consistent. I’m talking about players like Eric Staal, Joe Thornton, Mike Ribeiro, David Krejci, and Patrik Elias. I certainly agree that in most leagues, you want consistent, healthy players on your roster.
However, there are some leagues in which you may actually want the high-risk/high-reward player. If you are able to set your roster on a daily or even weekly basis, you can benefit from having high-risk players. For example, one of my leagues has been running with the same members for almost 20 years and I have learned something from observing which teams are successful. This league is a head-to-head (H2H) league with weekly starts. It is a 12-team league with 18 player rosters. Each Sunday, we set our rosters with any 3 forwards, 2 dmen, and 1 goalie to go up against our opponent for the week. Having someone like Eric Staal (who I have on my team this year) and his consistent, reliable production, is nice. In any given week you can almost bank on two-to-four points from Staal. But in an H2H league, Staal’s production hardly compares when your opponent plays Vanek in the middle of a hot streak and he puts up seven or eight points. Having someone like Vanek on your squad is a risk, but if you can choose when to start Vanek and when to sit him, dealing with his inconsistent performances and injury woes isn’t as big a concern as in other leagues in which you set and forget your roster.
At the end of a season, both Staal and Vanek will end up with roughly the same points, but if Vanek scored his points in bunchs while Staal put up consistent but low point totals on a week-to-week basis, you are likely to have more success in an H2H league with Vanek on your team.
Of course you have to take the good with the bad, and there is always the risk that Vanek gets injured mid-week (after setting your roster) or decides to fall into a cold spell in the middle of a week, but if you track the boxscores regularly, peruse the injury reports on a daily basis, and read Dobber’s ramblings, you can make wise decisions on when to sit or start Band-Aid Boys and Windex Wonders, and those players can ultimately be the boost your fantasy squad needs to come out on top in your H2H league.