|Fantasy Indicators of Success||Tweet|
|Written by Ryan Ma|
|Tuesday, 11 November 2008 04:44|
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The value of defensemen is a widely debated topic in fantasy hockey, a few people believe strongly in “big named” D, while some completely ignore it and depend solely on waiver wire pick ups throughout the season. My argument is that the difference in owning Niklas Lidstrom, Dion Phaneuf or Chris Pronger is quite apparent when compared to just owning waiver wire D. Let’s look at an extreme example, Team A owns, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Alex Semin along with Alex Edler, Paul Mara, and Roman Hamrlik. Team B owns, Dion Phaunef, Dan Boyle, and Shea Weber along with Jason Chimera, Mason Raymond and Alex Ponikarovsky.
In a basic Yahoo settings league the results would look like this.
You have three superstar offensive players mixed in with three widely available D, compare that to three stud defensemen mixed in with three widely available forwards and you get fairly even results. Now imagine if you had a half decent offense along with those three D, you’re looking at it being more productive than a team that owns Crosby, Malkin and Semin!
Around the West
Keith and Campbell are the workhorses for the Blackhawks and receive the bulk of the power-play time. Barker is really beginning to gain some momentum as he’s picked up five points in five games so far this season after being recalled to the big club. It looks like he’s ready to take the next step in his development. He’s also averaging two shots per game for those that have shots on goal as a stat in their leagues. I’d put Barker on the watch list as this might be the year he tops 40 points for the Hawks.
In Columbus, there aren’t any big names that really stand out. The D that you might want to keep an eye on is Backman. He’s only 1% owned in Yahoo leagues, but the recipe for success is in place there for him. He’s averaging over five minutes of power-play time per contest on a team that is only firing at 12% on the power-play. With the big guns of Rick Nash, Kristian Huselius, Derick Brassard, and Jakub Voracek the goals will come and Backman could see a huge spike in production.
Lidstrom and Rafalski are the power-play quarterbacks for the offensive machine, with Kronwall getting a bit of power-play time on the side. Lidstrom’s plus/minus has not really been there this year which could be a bit of a worry, but still no reason to devalue him. Kronwall is 84% owned in Yahoo leagues, so he might still be available in a few leagues.
The Predators are largely dominated by Weber and Suter. The Predators offense isn’t as strong as many of the other teams in the NHL, so they’ll have to generate a lot of their offense from their blue line. That’s one explanation as to why Weber is operating at a point-per-game pace so far this season. Weber is definitely someone you should look towards acquiring, as he is just as across-the-board as the likes of Pronger, Chara, and Rafalski, but will a lesser name attached to him.
The Blues utilize five forwards on the power-play which is why you see a diminished power-play time allocation to their defensemen. The Blues defensive corps has also only tallied 11 points as a group so far this season. With the likes of Brad Boyes, Andy McDonald, Keith Tkachuk, T.J. Oshie and Paul Kariya upfront for the Blues, the blue line won’t be very productive this season. None of the Blues D are worth owning at the moment.
It’s not that hard of a formula to work out for the Flames. Basically you only need to know two words, Dion Phaneuf. The kid’s a fantasy stud as he contributes to pretty much every category in fantasy hockey. The only blemish maybe is minus rating, but that’s not too big of a worry because he’s so far above the rest of the pack in the other categories that it’s only a small price to pay. Adrian Aucoin remains to be a solid option as he works with the second power-play unit, but there might be a few better options on the waiver wire than Aucoin at the moment.
Liles is the main power-play quarterback in Avalanche country. He’s getting plenty of ice-time from Tony Granato and is certainly enjoying it. His seven points in 14 games leads all Avalanche defensemen and is nearing his career-high mark of 49 that he set three seasons ago. As you can see most of the even-strength ice-time is spread out between five defensemen, but the bulk of the power-play time goes to Liles and Salei. Clark picked up 21 points in 59 contests last season, but doesn’t look like he’ll get the time to produce at that rate this season. Leopold is the surprise as he has six points, while averaging the least amount of total ice-time for the Avs. Keep an eye on him if he starts picking up more ice-time he could be in for a 35-40 points season.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 05:03|