Last week my column was related to players who were being overrated in Yahoo Mock Drafts. This week I’m going to do a complete 180 and take a look at players who are undervalued and unappreciated in similar mock drafts. I participated in random Yahoo mock drafts ranging from eight to 14 teams from H2H to Roto leagues with standard settings. This is what I found based on the size of the leagues:
Most eight-team leagues are going to be deep in talent anyways, and should have plenty of quality players left on the waiver wire post-draft. I’m not going to mention too many sleepers in eight-team leagues, but just beware of the following players that may slip or forgotten come draft day.
Paul Stastny – C– Colorado Avalanche
Low: Undrafted (8-teamer), Drafted: 161
Dobber Expert Draft: 116 (Angus)
It’s kind of hard to ignore near point-per-game players in fantasy leagues, but this is exactly what is happening in many mock drafts regarding Stastny. A lot of his fantasy value has dropped because of the major injuries that he’s sustained in the past two seasons, but I’d give him one more season before we fully label him as a band-aid boy. Either way he shouldn’t be ranked as low as the 44th ranking center that Yahoo currently has classified him as.
Ales Hemsky – RW – Edmonton Oilers
Dobber Expert Draft: 63 (Doulos)
A lot of poolies have been waiting for Hemmer for quite some time now, which probably explains why Yahoo has Hemsky ranked as the 28th overall right wing in fantasy leagues. If you look at the numbers (.92 point-per-game average in the last four years) and his position on the Oilers’ depth chart (top-line right wing) you would have to think ranking him in the late 20’s is certainly unjustified. He averaged 18:38 per game last season and 4:14 of which was on the Oilers’ power-play. With the well known fact that Pat Quinn loves to give his star players exorbitant amounts of ice-time, surely bagging Hemsky as a second/third right winger will certainly pay its dividends during the season.
Brendan Morrow – LW –Dallas Stars
Dobber Expert Draft: 59 (Lanky)
Morrow’s been a bit banged up the last three seasons as two of the past three seasons has been of the 40 or less variety, but the other has been for the full 82 games. When Morrow plays he’s essentially the best across-the-board producer for fantasy hockey purposes as he has a .84 point, 1.67 PIM, and a 2.29 SOG-per-game average for the past four seasons, which certainly doesn’t justify his 33rd overall ranking amongst left wings in Yahoo leagues. He’s a fantasy stud and no one should be worried about his knee causing him problems this season. He’ll be a great late round steal in many fantasy pools this season.
10-12 Team Leagues
As most of you are going to be participating in 10, 12 or 14 team leagues, I’m going to focus most of this article for your benefit. These are the suggested sleepers that I found in many of my mock drafts this past two weeks.
Brad Richards – C – Dallas Stars
Dobber Expert Draft: 207 (Doulos)
Richards is a 0.88 point-per-game player. That statement alone is enough evidence to prove that Richard’s 58th overall center ranking is blasphemy on Yahoo’s part. Add that to the fact that Richards is a career 3.12 SOG per game player, and you certainly have a huge late round steal if you can nab him late in your fantasy leagues this season.
Jon Quick – G – LA Kings
Low: Undrafted (eight-teamer) Drafted : 212
Dobber Expert Draft: 164 (Angus)
Quick finished last season with a 2.48 goals against average (11th overall) along with a .914 save percentage (20th overall), which begs the question why is he the 26th ranked goalie in the Yahoo rankings? If you have a shaky goalie combo and are looking for a decent support third goalie, look no further than Quick, who makes his home between the pipes on a team that ranks 11th for goals against per game and fourth in terms of shots allowed per game.
Paul Kariya – LW – St Louis Blues
Dobber Expert Draft: 106 (Doulos)
Before exiting last season with a hip injury, Paul Kariya, Andy McDonald and Brad Boyes combined for 39 points in the first 11 games of the season. With Kariya now full rested after a nearly a season off, look for the trio to try to re-kindle that chemistry once again. He’s certainly should be ranked well above the 177 ranking that Yahoo has him placed this season, especially with the left wing class being so shallow this season.
Joffrey Lupul –RW – Anaheim Ducks
119, 98, 82, Ud (8), 100, 108, 167, 161, 109, 120, 118, 156, 102
Dobber Expert Draft: 134 (Lanky)
Last time Lupul suited up in a Duck uniform he fired 296 SOG on opposing goalies. I know you Dobberities are very very high on Bobby Ryan, but you certainly have to acknowledge the fact that Lupul is going to create some competition for that top-line gig alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and that Ryan isn’t going to be handed the job on a silver platter. If Lupul gets a fair shot, he might just claim that job and never look back for the rest of the season, and if he doesn’t, playing alongside Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu probably wouldn’t be that bad either. Either way it’s a fairly win-win situation for Lupul owners. If you are a Ryan owner, I would strongly suggest you get a Lupul-handcuff in the 23rd Yahoo ranked right wing just to cover your bases.
Ryan Suter –D – Nashville Predators
Dobber Expert Draft: 151 (Dobber)
I don’t quite understand why Yahoo has Suter ranked as the 35th ranked defenseman, when he was ranked 16th in terms of total points, 36th ranked in terms of PIMs, and 33rd ranked in terms of SOG last season. Either way suiting up alongside Shea Weber while averaging close to four minutes of power-play ice-time per game on the Predators’ top PP unit should garner him plenty of scoring opportunities this season. He’d make a great steal as a fourth D option in many 12-team leagues in my opinion.
Jason Arnott – C – Nashville Predators
Dobber Expert Draft: 168 (Youth Injection)
Arnott is getting up there in age, but his production doesn’t seem to be dropping all that much as he has a 0.80 point, 1.11 PIM, and 2.83 SOG per game career average. His 35th overall center ranking certainly doesn’t do him any justice, as he is hugely undervalued in many fantasy leagues. It’s probably silly to expect anything more than 70 starts for Arnott this season, but wouldn’t it be nice to own Arnott who could put up a line of 55 points, 80 PIMs, and 200 SOG for you as a third/fourth center?
Saku Koivu – C – Anaheim Ducks
Dobber Expert Draft: 225 (Yours truly)
Koivu lacks Arnott’s physical play as well as the SOG, but he certainly isn’t a shabby option for points potential this season especially with the revamped Ducks’ offense this season. Remember Koivu was only two seasons away from a 75 point season with the Canadiens in 2006-07, so he certainly has that potential playing alongside countrymen Selanne full-time this season. Either way Yahoo has him severely undervalued as the 49th ranked center in their rankings, so make sure you take advantage of that fact if you are in a deep 14-team league this season.
Andy McDonald – C – St Louis Blues
Dobber Expert Draft: 197 (Angus)
Did Yahoo really drop the ball on McDonald or what? They have him pegged as the 68th ranked center sandwiched between Maxim Lapierre and Tyler Kennedy. How are the three players even remotely in the same ballpark as each other? Either way look at the above blurb regarding Kariya, Boyes and McDonald and that should tell you all you need to know regarding Mr. McDonald.
Rene Bourque – LW – Calgary Flames
Dobber Expert Draft: 136 (Yours truly)
Calgary’s top-line left wing slot is wide open with Bourque owning the inside track for that roster spot alongside Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen, so why’s he ranked as the 47th left winger in the rankings? For that question, I have no answer. With left wings being so shallow this year, snagging a possible top-liner with the 200th pick should certainly help your fantasy squad.
Steve Sullivan – LW – Nashville Predators
159, 133, 86, 153, 120, 121, 185,
Dobber Expert Draft: 161 (Ferguson)
I’ll give Yahoo the benefit of the doubt because Sullivan did miss nearly two years of his career due to a serious back injury, but he returned last season and tallied 32 points in 41 contests while nearly getting the Preds into the post-season last year. So why is he ranked in the 400’s? Either way if you missed out on Bourque, don’t forget about Sully in your drafts.
P.M. Bouchard – LW – Minnesota Wild
Dobber Expert Draft: 186 (Dobber)
Much like Bourque and Sullivan, Yahoo seems to have dropped the ball on Bouchard by ranking him as the 49th ranked LW in Yahoo leagues. Bouchard is slated to start on the Wild’s top-line with Mikko Koivu and Martin Havlat, which should garner him plenty of ice-time to have a very productive season. Last season was really supposed to be Bouchard’s coming out party, but all the wheels seem to have fallen off, so consider this season “take two”. If you’re playing in a large pool don’t forget about Bouchard as a late-round sleeper pick, Dobber certainly has confidence in him.
Milan Hejduk –RW – Colorado Avalanche
Dobber Expert Draft: 184 (Yours truly)
There’s a plethora of right wings available late in drafts, but the only one that I’m going to touch is Hejduk. I fell jibbed that Yahoo dropped Hejduk so low considering he has six consecutive seasons of 54 points along with 200+ SOG seasons heading into this season. If you look at it from that perspective only Iggy, Marian Hossa, Shane Doan and Martin St. Louis have accomplished that feat. If you consider the fact that the Avs top-line center position has been in turmoil since Sakic missed most of the 2007-2008 season with a hernia injury, Hejduk really hasn’t had a quality centerman to play with. With Stastny returning back to full health, and recent draftee Matt Duchenne ready to take the next step in his career, Hejduk shouldn’t be short of a quality centerman for this season. Look for him to have a solid rebound year this season.
Stephane Robidas – D – Dallas Stars
Dobber Expert Draft: 245 (Angus)
Robidas enters this season possibly as the top-dog on the Big D blue line. He led the Stars in ice-time last season while averaging 24:32 per contest. He also led the Stars’ defensive corps in power-play ice-time while picking up close to four minutes of PP ice-time per contest. If that’s not enough of a selling point for you, perhaps you should consider his 76 PIMs along with 158 SOG. Big things should be in store for Robidas this season.
Erik Johnson – D- St. Louis Blues
Low: Undrafted (14-teamer), Drafted: 198
Dobber Expert Draft: 124 (Notch)
Johnson doesn’t have much history to provide exorbitant evidence that he’s in store for a huge rebound season, but around fantasy circles he has enough hype that it should be acknowledged that he’s going to play a role in many fantasy leagues this season. Yahoo has him ranked in the 600’s which is shocking considering, he tallied 33 points in just 69 games in his rookie season in the NHL. With the Blues offense much improved this season, along with the return of EJ, Kariya, and McDonald, the Blues should be in good position to make the post-season for a second consecutive year, which should provide nice stats to the owners who drafted EJ late in their drafts this season.
J.S. Giguere – G – Anaheim Ducks
Dobber Expert Draft: 208 (Yours truly)
Giggy is interesting considering he has a career 2.49 goals against average along with a .914 save percentage. Those aren’t just one or two year numbers, those stats are based on an 11-year career! I recognize that Hiller had brilliant stats last season, but with Giggy making six million dollars this season, surely he’ll get more than just a few opportunities to start for the Ducks especially if they are trying to showcase him to potential suitors. Either way with Giggy being ranked near 300, it wouldn’t be that much of a gamble to draft him in the final rounds of a draft, especially if you own Hiller, just to see if you can bag yourself a bargain. If he falters, it really only costed you a late round pick anyway, so you’re not exactly missing out on much in the end.
Questions or comments? Like always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them with you in the comments section below.