|A Deep Analysis - from HPG - September, 2011||Tweet|
|Written by Hockey Pool Geek|
|Monday, 12 September 2011 00:09|
Welcome to Hockey Pool Geek’s Deep Analysis. Our goal is to dig deep into the team and league that is being analyzed in order to bring out some insight and push you into really getting the most out of your team and ultimately taking down the rest of the league.
Neil McWilliams, aka wendelclark17 on the DobberHockey forums, was one of the lucky winners of our contest. Let’s dig right in.
Team Name: Wendel’s Warriors
League Name: All-Star Keeper League
Evaluators: The Hockey Pool Geek Team
Date of Analysis: September 2011
Format: 10 teams, fantasy points, no maximum GP.
Rosters: 12 forwards, 6 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders.
Each team also has a farm team consisting of 8 NHL players of any position, as well as a “prospect list” of players from which to draw upon during the year to be placed on their farm team or live roster. There is no limit to the number of prospects -- though they can only be added to a team through the draft.
Scoring categories: Goals and assists = 1pt , PIM = 0.1 pts, Shot = 0.05, +/- = 0.2, Shoot-out goal = 1, Goalies – Win = 2pts, Shutout = 3pts, assist = 2pts, goal = 10pts, PIM = 0.1
Number of keepers: Everyone!
Keepers declared by: July 1st
Draft: Inaugural draft was June then a prospect only draft in July (less than 25 games for skaters and less than 20 games for goalies), there is a yearly 6 round draft for prospects only.
Season add/drop limit: no limit but only done once per week on Wednesdays submissions are opened in chronological order.
Trade limit: no limit
Trade deadline: (date here)
Team Assets at Time of Deep Analysis:
F: Perry, Giroux, Ryan, Stastny, Ribeiro, Krejci, Plekanec, Zajac, Van Riemsdyk, Bergeron, Cammalleri, Grabovski
Farm: Bernier, Savard, Vermette, Penner, Fleischmann, Wideman, Leino, Rundblad
Background and Environment:
Neil says he built his team as a win now (ish) franchise but has tried to have mostly young elite talent (Ryan, Giroux, Stastny, Perry, Letang, etc.). He doesn’t know how the league will shake out as of right now since this is the first season.
He thinks his team is a top 5 team for short-term challenging but it’s hard to gauge.
A Look at League Strategy:
First step in looking at the strategy for any league is to understand the scoring system, statistics, and player values.
This league is a fantasy points league, which means there isn’t a lot of magic to a winning formula here: you want to accumulate more fantasy points than your competitors – it doesn’t matter where they come from in the scoring categories, you simply want the most. Concepts of category balance go out the window!
Close to 90% of the fantasy points generated on most teams in this league will come from 5 categories: Assts (45%), Goals (24%), SOG (11%), Wins (9%), and PIM’s (6%). These are rough calculations but reasonably indicative of where scoring comes from. The other categories are minor contributors with shutouts leading the way at around 2%.
Slice it anyway you want, but you need your 12 forwards and 6 defenders putting up points as a priority and secondarily shooting a lot and taking penalties and your goalies putting up wins. Obviously, you look for a positive +/- and avoid a negative +/- because that can create a fantasy point swing in your favor and obviously to your detriment if it goes the other way.
The productivity and durability of a starting line-up, in this league, are key, since bench players aren’t moved into and out of the line-up easily to increase production -- a couple of rules clearly deter that. The strength of the bench is only important in a competitive season in so far as it provides coverage for injuries and perhaps big time slumps in the starting roster, so maximizing your investment in your starting roster makes a lot of sense.
Of the 8 players on the bench, perhaps 4 players (2F, 1D and 1G) should be productive now, to cover the starting roster, the balance can be developing players or players who are worthy trade bait for upgrades.
At any given time, there are 200 players in this league who are putting up fantasy points that count. So is one position more important than another? Well, not really – because it is simply a matter of comparisons with other teams – on average you want your players to be producing just a little more than the other guys’. Once the draft is over, every move a team makes should be with an eye to increasing the average fantasy point production of the starting roster, in the short term if you are being competitive, or in the long term if you are building for the future. Bench points don’t count.
After inputting the league setup into the HPG site, our first stop is the League Breakdown.
Why? It gives you an idea of how the positions are valued relative to each other. Since the size of the rosters is fixed, the contribution of a player relative to other players of the same position is what needs to be focused on in order to get the most out of a team. For wendelclark17’s league, it looks like this:
What does this tell us about strategy in this league?
That takes care of strategy as it relates to skaters. But what about the goaltenders?
In this league, an average of 85 fantasy points per starting player is going to win the league and an average of 80 fantasy points per starting player is likely to be a 3rd place team. So the targeted average needs to be 85 fantasy points per starting player and that can be accomplished with forwards averaging 90 fantasy points, defense averaging 70 fantasy points and goalies averaging 90 fantasy points. Obviously you can rob Peter to pay Paul, but these are worthwhile targets to consider when building a team.
In wendelclark17’s own words he thinks this is a win now team, but he doesn’t seem as confident in that as he could be. To understand the value of his players, we generated a set of rankings customized for this specific league setup using last year’s statistics as a benchmark. Why last year’s stats? Mostly because we don’t want to give away Dobberhockey’s 2011/12 projections for free in this article – they’re available to HockeyPoolGeek subscribers, though. A summary of the players and their total fantasy points are below.
We’ve also got a column that shows roughly the HPG values based on the Dobberhockey projections for the coming season so you can get a feel for where the players will go without us actually giving away the goods.
Wendel’s team was drafted pretty recently, but he’s already made a trade.
Wendel sent PK Subban, Andrew Ladd, and a 2012 1st round pick for James van Riemsdyk, David Rundblad, Mike Cammalleri, and Cody Franson.
What do we think of it?
The Trade Analyzer is just the right tool to sort that out!
Since this deal was a 4-for-2, we need to look at the two players that were bumped off Wendel’s roster to make room for the extra bodies so we can compare apples to apples. We checked with Wendel on this and it turns out that he was already two players short from a previous deal, so it actually is a legitimate 4-for-2 deal. To evaluate the trade fairly, we plugged in waiver-level players into those slots (10 teams x 25 roster players per team plus say 20 prospects that are contributing = roughly the #270 player – and we roughed out the stats to give the right HPG value).
That 2012 1st round pick isn’t much of an asset for a win-now team like Wendel’s… if he’s going to be placing top-5 in the league that means the pick would be cashed in for the #6-10 prospect in the 2012 draft, who likely wouldn’t make a major impact in the NHL until 2014 at the earliest – too far off!
So on that level this deal looks to be pretty much a saw-off, and it solved the problem that Wendel was short a few bodies.
But what if Cammalleri bounces back to his 75+ point ways? What if JVR breaks out and hits 70 points? Using the What If? tool, we can see how that would affect things:
The trade is pretty much a saw-off if JVR and Cammalleri perform as projected, but there’s definite upside on those projections, so we like this trade.
What does our man Wendel need to do to be competitive? The HPG team ran the numbers for the whole league based on Dobber’s 2011-12 projections and here are the team estimates for fantasy points.
This is based on a few rough assumptions:
So Neil mostly got the team that he was trying to put together, competitive and still young and developing. But he isn’t going to win now without some major renovations. He needs an average of 5 more fantasy points per player to catch the 2nd place team in projections and 8 more points to catch the 1st place team. Again these are projections but those numbers are significant enough to suggest the challenge is huge for the win this year, for Wendel’s Warriors. In fact, there are 3 teams that could sneak up easily and knock him out of the money.
Perry, Riberio, Bergeron, Grabovski, Plekanec, Krejci, Leino are all players who we might say are: “What you see, is what you get.” They all have upside over Dobber’s projections, but this year and in the future, you probably aren’t going to see a big upswing in production. Solid core and the right age to keep for a few seasons more, for sure.
As a group, they probably aren’t going to produce an average of 85 FP as desired, but they could be close at 83. Of this group, Perry is the only one that is where you want him – the others are only going to produce enough to keep the Warriors close to the money. If two of the second group of forwards (listed below), manage to have significant breakouts, then this forward group is solid enough.
Stastny, Giroux, van Riemsdyk, Cammalleri and Ryan are all forwards who have significant upside against Dobber’s projections. As a group this year, they project to average 84 FP but could easily increase that to 87 or 88 points on average if things go well, particularly in the case of Cammalleri and Van Riemsdyk.
All in all a very solid core of forwards for now and in the future. But one can always improve and to win this league that is going to have to happen either now or in the future.
Well the good news is that the projections show that Letang, Chara, Edler and Giordano will be extremely solid producers on D.
The bad news is that the Warriors are short 2 D guys that will produce enough to move the D corps beyond slightly sub-adequate. Wideman/Meszaros and Franson are each 15 to 20 points off the desired target.
More good news, though – Rundblad is on his way. He might make a splash early, but he might not. Great pipeline though!
The Warriors need to look at upgrading the two D positions in order to move this roster to where it needs to be for the win.
Two starting goaltenders should be good enough, but what happens if there’s an injury, a significant slump, or worse yet – if Crawford really stumbles? Presently, Bernier is not adequate insurance, though he sure is a great asset longer term.
Rinne is an absolute stud in some scoring setups… but not this one. He’s great in terms of SV% and GAA, but unfortunately for Wendel those aren’t scoring categories in this league. He’ll have wins in the mid-30s and a handful of shutouts. That’s pretty much an average starting goalie in this league.
With so much scoring tied up in goaltending – with an average starting goaltender contributing 87 fantasy points – this is an area to look at improving.
Rinne and Crawford are solid in this format, but not good enough if you look to win position battles with other teams. At a minimum, they need to collectively produce another 5 fantasy points each to make the cutting score and of course, more is better. Will they produce more wins and shutouts in the future? It’s hard to see that happening, actually. 10 fantasy points may not seem like a lot but every roster position needs to pull its weight in this league.
The Warriors goaltending is just on the bubble of being good enough for the win but an upgrade to either would be a good thing.
Forward: Zajac, Penner, Savard, Vermette, Leino
Defense: Rundblad, Meszaros
Only in the case of injury or one of these bench guys becoming a present day stud will any of them see action on the starting roster. Leino could end up replacing Fleischmann as a minor upgrade, but otherwise not one of these bench players will do anything this season to usurp a healthy starter on the Warriors – well okay, a miracle recovery by Savard, maybe.
Ignoring Savard for the moment, only Bernier and Runblad have the upside to figure into future plans for the Warriors – the rest are insurance against injury and hopefully serve as decent trade bait. As mentioned previously 2F, 1D and 1G are good to keep for injury replacements – looks like Zajac and Leino will fit the bill as forwards, Meszaros at D. Vermette and Penner aren’t really needed.
Neither Bernier nor Rundblad are adequate injury replacements for this season, but they are keepers. So there really isn’t an adequate goalie replacement in case of an injury to Rinne or Crawford.
Savard is a hope shot. He can stay for now, as we are sure Neil sees it the same way and do the right thing once more information comes in.
The Warriors farm roster has some notable players on it, but all are some time away from the big show and hence really not a factor in this audit, except where they may become trade bait for starting roster upgrades. This league screams for starters with high upside, so any players on the farm that don’t have an upside of 80 + points for forwards and 55 + points for D guys should not be given a lot of consideration for the future.
The Next Moves:
The HPG audit team thinks that Neil is at a fork in the road with his Wendel’s Warriors: one fork leads to the path that has him going for the win this year, and the other is backing off from that and tweaking his team for a win in a year or two.
Based on Dobber’s projections coming true, the Warriors are probably 150 fantasy points away from being right in the mix. If one takes the optimistic view that his roster is going to exceed Dobber’s projections (which could very well happen in the cases of Cammalleri and Van Riemsdyk), the Warriors are still probably looking at a deficit of about 100 points give or take. So to go for the win, where are those points going to come from?
It’s easy to imagine that they could come in the form of 25 fantasy points from 2 better D guys, 10 points from a better goalie and about 65 points from at least two high end forwards. These margins are not small: it will mean acquiring someone else’s high producing keepers. They are out there on every team, for example: Green, Keith, Weber on D; E. Staal, St. Louis, Thornton types at forward, Lundqvist, Bryz, Price types in goal.
We aren’t sure why anyone would trade players of that caliber to the Warriors unless they are a team that is lurking back in the pack and can make really good use of good future draft picks and high end prospects. So should the Warriors decide to take on the challenge of making a run this year, they can expect to be parting with some serious futures in the way of picks and prospects, unless they can pull the wool over someone’s eyes, which might be difficult when this audit is published on the Dobber Sports Network.
Is it doable? Yes, we think so, but, not with a lot of certainty. Neil can expect to be without Bernier, Rundblad, a couple of his best farm players and a couple of very good picks in future drafts once the dust settles. The future of his team will certainly be dimmer and he has to decide if it’s worth the run.
This amounts to taking a step back from going for the win this season and building towards a more certain challenge in a season or two. In this case, the idea would be to acquire players who are close to breaking out, who have higher upsides than the bottom end players at each position – upgrading on the Widemans, Grabovskis and Bergerons to eventually gain 10 or 15 extra fantasy points per player. In all likelihood it would take 4 players of this ilk, plus the Warrior’s developing players like Giroux, Ryan, JVR taking another incremental step for the strategy to be successful.
The HPG audit team composed a list of 15-20 players that we believe are worthy targets in this strategy. We won’t publish them here, that would be a spoiler, but we do think the idea has wheels. One of the pros for this strategy is that the targeted players should cost less to acquire (they won’t be free though), which allows the Warrior’s to retain some assets for the future to feed the system. These are all players who have an upside of 80+ points and are probably within a season, and at most two, of hitting 70 points.
One aspect in favor of this option is that it offers the luxury of time to put the plan together – whereas Option 1 is definitely a “go hard and do it now” scheme. Option 2 offers less pressure, and hence, more time for consideration and planning to avoid errors. An extended time frame will often allow for more shopping for better deals as well.
Wrapping It Up:
So there it is. Neil has drafted and traded his way into a solid young team that probably doesn’t have what it takes to win now, but certainly can compete for place or show money.
We believe that the Warriors need two things to happen concurrently for this team to seriously challenge for the win: Firstly, the present top end of the roster needs to produce close to its upside and secondly, there need to be some trades made to acquire players who will replace the bottom end of the starting roster with much more production, either now or in the near future.
The HPG audit team does not see sit and do nothing as an option – this roster does not presently have the horses to win, although it’s within shouting distance, so a dramatic renovation isn’t really necessary.
We have laid out two options that we think are rational in terms of building a winning team. We recommend that Neil decides which he likes best and then get on with it.
Which option has the highest degree of probability for success? We think they are close but we think Option 2 has the higher degree of probability of being put into action and grabbing a title. We went back and forth on it a number of times – it’s close!
After the fact:
After Neil read this Deep Analysis (but before we published it) he decided to go with the second option, and he pulled off two deals.
The first deal: Dustin Penner and Travis Zajac for Bryan Little, Alex Burmistrov, and Michael Backlund.
We like this deal for him, but we can certainly understand why the other GM would go for it too. All of the assets coming back to Neil are young and likely have their best producing years ahead of them. Penner seems to have proven where he’ll produce. Zajac’s injury will slow his production this year (and he’s one of those middle-of-the-road players that Neil has a few of), but most importantly his good production has come due to chemistry with Zach Parise – and there are plenty of rumblings that Parise won’t be in NJ anymore after this coming season.
In Little, Burmistrov, and Backlund, wendelclark17 gets a series of good young players who are all in good situations in the short- to medium-term, and will likely see some decent opportunity for icetime. Who knows how they will pan out as players, but we like the combined odds of at least one of them taking a big step forward in the next 12 months.
The second deal: Ville Leino and Marc Savard for Nikolai Kulemin and Alexander Radulov.
We love this deal for Neil too, because it’s all about risk and reward. We view Leino and Kulemin as pretty close to a wash this coming season; there could be a compelling argument for each of them, but both fit pretty solidly in the 55-65 point window. So if those two pieces are close enough to equal, it’s down to Savard vs Radulov.
Radulov might never come back to the NHL. Savard might never play again. Nobody really knows about either of those situations. But what happens IF one or the other returns? If Savard makes a comeback, he is one injury away from never playing again. He was once a 90-point player, but we think that day is long gone. If Radulov makes a comeback, he will likely step in and produce in the order of 60 points, with the possibility for much more – so this is the type of “position for next year” move we absolutely love.
Great work Neil, and good luck with your team!
Fantasy hockey is complicated and to win you need to draft, trade, and value players well.
Subscribers to www.hockeypoolgeek.com have access to cutting-edge tools and customized rankings so they have the right information to make better decisions and take down their fantasy hockey league title.
For less than two bucks a month, you get:
Skaters: G, A, P, +/-, PIM, PPP, PPG, PPA, SHP, SHG, SHA, SOG, GWG, GP, Shot %, OTG, ENG, First G, ES P, ES G, ES A, Hits, Blocks, Takeaways, Giveaways, Total FO, FOW, FOL, FO %, Majors, Minors, Misconducts, Game Misconducts, Missed Shots, Shifts, Total TOI, ES TOI, PP TOI, SH TOI, ES TOI / GP, PP TOI / GP, SH TOI / GP, P / GP, G / GP, A / GP, Shots / GP, TOI / shift, Shootout goals, Shootout shots,
Goalies: GP, W, SV%, GAA, SO, GS, SV, GA, SA, L, OTL, Min played
Big Ev said:
|Last Updated on Monday, 12 September 2011 19:50|