Welcome back to An Expert’s Audit. Every month we’ll take an in depth look at a reader’s keeper league team in the hopes of helping him toward a championship. If you’re interested in getting an audit for your own keeper team you can begin the process by emailing Dobber about it.
Dobber tells me that apparently I don’t like points leagues because most of the time when I do an audit I choose a roto setup. That’s probably true. I just prefer roto setups. So ... this month I decided to change it up and select a points league format. Jules Dufour plays in a 15 team league where he is the reigning champ. It’s a points only format except goalies have this complicated formula that I think Stephen Hawking figured out and put in place. Suffice it to say that you want skaters who get points and you want goalies that get Wins and Saves.
Most of the preseason work that needed to be done was to determine which 7 keeps from last year’s championship squad to secure for this year and which rookie eligible player would also join this year’s team. The draft was to happen in early October so we just had to ensure that the draft list looked fine and then off Jules would go in his journey toward a repeat.
7 Keeps and a Rook
Nicklas Backstrom WAS – notice that the Centre in Washington also has a “c” in his first name, that’s how you tell them apart if you don’t have more info by the way. He’s come into his own as a fantasy producer and many guys had him listed in their top 5. Since you don’t have to worry about the scarcity of goals vs. assists in your format then I say he could go as high as top 3 in drafts.
Daniel Sedin VAN – some are still saying he’s the better twin to have on your team, he just doesn’t have the hardware in his trophy case that his brother does. Nevertheless he’s 1st round draft talent in a 15 team league so essentially you have two 1st round picks among your keeps.
Rick Nash CBS – like Sedin he has more value in leagues that track goals as a separate category but he’s still solid 2nd round talent in a 15 team league. If he’s healthy then he WILL be returning to 40 goal status this season.
Nathan Horton BOS – Dobber’s Draft List for this season had him listed as the 50th skater and I personally had him listed 43rd on my own projections this season. I take from that that I have a much higher projection for him this season. I’m expecting a big breakout for him this season and I expect that the B’s will be all that much better for having him around their offense. I don’t think that 70-80 points this season is impossible.
Mike Green WAS – in a straight points league there is no D in the league that is a better option than Mike Green. What more needs to be said here?
Duncan Keith CHI – if Green is the best option to have then Keith isn’t very far behind him. It’s phenomenal that you have BOTH of these guys.
Marc-Andre Fleury PIT – you had to choose between MAF and Varlamov for your last keep. I was arguing that MAF had the better situation since he had lesser talent chasing him for starts than Varlamov does and then Varlamov got hurt making the argument moot anyway. I’m projecting close to 40 wins for MAF this season.
Nikita Filatov CBS - ROOKIE – both Filatov and Varlamov still qualified as rookies in your setup so there was considerable conversation around who should be your rookie keep. I very much wanted you to keep Filatov here and I was grateful that Dobber had ranked him higher than Varlamov so I just went with that argument. If Filatov turns into a Kovalchuk goal-scorer type then you’ll be golden for years to come.
You had a late draft day, that was helpful; it enabled you to tweak your draft list for as long as possible. To make things a little tricky on yourself this season you had traded away your 1st and 2nd round draft picks in order to secure your championship last season and you had secured a 2nd round pick in return. That meant that you wouldn’t have a pick until the middle of the 2nd round and then you’d select last in every round after that. The win is always worth it but it sure does hurt when you have to pay the piper at the draft next season. You started with Dobber’s draft list and we tweaked things based on your interests. Going into the draft you wanted to base your offense from the back end by getting solid D options whenever possible.
2nd round – Travis Zajac NJ – I was a bit astounded that he was still available with this pick and the only other considerations I would’ve considered instead were Henrik Lundqvist or Jaroslav Halak who were both available. I see at least 70 points for Z this season in your format.
3rd round – T.J. Oshie STL – Nik Antropov was available and I probably would’ve gone that way but T.J. has a shot at keeper status due to his age and upside. If he clicks big he could be in for a really nice season.
4th round – Ian White CAL – I just know that White is going to have a big year but as I look at how your draft went I see that Patrik Hornqvist went with the next pick after White and I’d rather have Horny in this situation. I think it’s no matter though because I expect a 40 pt season out of White this year and you wanted to be sure to have good D options for your team.
5th round – Cam Barker MIN – this is a risky pick if you ask me. He could turn out to be a great compliment to Brent Burns on the PP or he might just end up with a career like Marc-Andre Bergeron since they he could easily be labelled as a PP triggerman with no value in his own end.
6th round – Pekka Rinne NAS – I don’t get how he lasted this long in your draft. In a league where you need goalies who get saves and have a decent shot at wins then you’ve got yourself an excellent choice with excellent skills and opportunity.
7th round – Jiri Hudler DET – I love this pick here. Guys still available included Jason Arnott, Scott Gomez and Mason Raymond but I just think that Hudler has more upside than those guys this season because he’s got more to prove. He’s getting PP2 opportunity with Flip and Mule and most of his even strength time so far this season has been with Cleary and Modano. If he can move up into some 2nd line opportunity then his stats will increase dramatically.
8th round – Anton Babchuk CAR – he got 35 pts two seasons ago and I definitely saw him getting overlooked in drafts this season. There are several options for PP time for the Canes this season but I still see a shot at 30-some points this season.
9th round – Kyle Quincey COL – I’m pegging him for another 30 pt season this year and that’s pretty good at this stage of a 15 team draft. I did notice that Cam Ward went in the round after Q went and that’s just plain wrong on so many levels. Nevertheless, you had your goalies already set.
10th round – Sam Gagner EDM – he’s got the skills to be a top C option and so far this season he’s getting ice with Hemsky and Penner. Opportunity like that can go a long way for him and if he takes huge advantage of this he could explode for stats this season. It is chances like this that win people fantasy championships and this could be well worth the gamble.
11th round – Pierre-Marc Bouchard MIN – he’s still at least a couple weeks away after only putting in 1 game last year. The Wild are so desperate for offense that as soon as he’s ready he’ll get plenty of chances with the best options the Wild have to offer.
11th round (2nd selection) – Valtteri Filppula DET – he hangs out with Mule and Bert for the most part and that could go a long way for some general offense if everyone stays healthy this season.
12th round – Ryan Ellis NAS – well, you took a chance that he’d make the Preds and then contribute offensively, particularly with the man advantage. As I thought about it more though it seemed that perhaps you’re just planning for your rookie pick for next season and this makes more sense as I consider it in this light.
I have some concerns for your team. You’ll need PM Bouchard to return soon and contribute significantly for you this season and it seems to me that the best reason to draft Ryan Ellis is to protect your rookie interests for next season. I’m doubting Ellis will have much value (if any at all) for you this season.
The season is young and I find that the best advice at the beginning of the season is to take your time and find out what you have before you decide what you need to go after. Draft time is always fun though eh? It just takes a little time to figure out what you have at your disposal. In the meantime, I’m just an email away Jules. Best of luck to you.