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Welcome to “An Expert’s Audit”. I’ve been writing these sorts of things for several years now, previously at another website and most recently at my own Blog . I approached Dobber about doing this sort of thing and submitting it for posting and he ran with it. I’m grateful for the opportunity. My name is Ian Fergusson and I post similar types of audits on my fantasy hockey Blog, shallowfrozenwater.
When Dobber announced this upcoming feature we were flooded (literally flooded) with requests for an audit, which of course is really gratifying and I give Dobber all the credit for running such a superb hockey site that something like this can take off so easily. Anyway, I sorted through the submissions and selected one that hit close to home. I picked a Winnipeg boy. I’m a Winnipeg boy and in his request for an audit he opened with a Go Jets Go … so I was hooked...
Let me introduce you folks to R.J. Pangman, or "the taxman" as I call him. RJ works for Revenue Canada and I couldn’t resist the idea of doing an audit on a taxman. Besides, if I pull this off then it never hurts to have a taxman in your corner, particularly if he owes you a favor, and you do RJ!
RJ manages the New Jets in a 12-team roto keeper league at CBSSportsline. I don’t know if you’ve ever checked out the game engine at CBSSportsline or not but I mostly like it, it allows for some options that you can’t get in other engines that I’ve looked at. It’s actually quite accommodating for keeper leagues.
RJ’s league has 35 man rosters including minor leagues and they keep 25 players from year to year. There’s no waiver wire to speak of, unless a person is drafted and then dumped to waivers in which case he becomes a free agent that can be claimed. Instead of having waiver wire/FA pickups they hold two mid season drafts that are essentially waiver adds. If you were to lose a player to injury or if he returns home to live with mommy or something then the only ways to get replacements are by adding a FA (that would be a guy that one of your competitors drafted and later dropped), trading, or by getting and using picks in these two midseason drafts.
The categories in his league are: FG, FA, DG, DA, +/-, PIM, special teams points, and GoaliePTs (I like to call this category WOTL since it’s ((Wx2)+OTL) but goalie points sounds less confusing). I find it interesting that the league separates goal and assist categories into forward and defensemen. This gives a lot of extra value to defensemen across the league since you can’t just rely on guys up front to carry your offense, you have 24 roto points waiting to be divvied up for offensive contributions by defensemen; to say nothing of the roto points that D already provide to the +/- and PIMs categories. In this league defensemen become a key to winning, particularly goal scoring defensemen because they’re more rare.
The league starts 5C, 3 LW, 3RW, 6D, 2G and they have weekly roster changes available. RJ drafted fourth overall this season and when I came on the scene he sat in sixth place. The top four teams win some cash which I’m sure will be declared on his income tax when he gets there, although he has never had the opportunity to wrestle with the idea of whether or not those funds should be claimed since … he’s never finished in the money.
A league like this is designed for trading; it’s the only real way to get replacements for your roster. At the same time RJ, you trade too much. You’ve made 15 transactions involving 37 players since your draft this season and it has become obvious to me that you just love to make moves. Your team has had Sidney Crosby, Tomas Vanek, and Martin Havlat on it at some point in the last 12 months and I personally can’t see a situation where you’d trade away those names and not get all the world and somebody’s kitchen sink back in return. This isn’t something I haven’t already told you. In my experience, trading lots dilutes your team and if you’re in a keeper like yours the only diluting should happen is when you’re on the threshold of a championship.
Let’s take a look at the roster, I’ve marked those that I think should be your keepers with a (*).
C Rod Brind’Amour CAR (*) – the oldest guy on your team but can still contribute.
C Mike Ribeiro DAL (*) – really surprised this season but should maintain pace.
C Derek Roy BUF (*) – when all are healthy in Buffalo you’ll love his production for your team.
C Paul Stastny COL (*) – absolutely LOVE him. He’s dreamy.
C Cory Stillman CAR (*) – another Cane geezer but that’s ok, he’ll still help.
LW Andrew Brunette COL – the production vs age isn’t enough. You can try and get him back in the draft though.
LW Martin Erat NAS (*) – young guy, solid production.
LW Alexei Ponikarovsky TOR (*) – ditto Martin Erat.
RW Alexei Kovalev MON (*) – enigmatic but definitely skilled.
RW Miroslav Satan NYI – is among your older set and just doesn’t produce as much as the others so he isn’t a keep.
RW Nikolai Zherdev CBS (*) – after last year there was no way I wanted anything to do with him but he’s showing quite a bit more this year.
D Tobias Enstrom ATL (*) – he’s surprisingly helped your DA category more than anyone else this season. Don’t trade him.
D Ron Hainsey CBS (*) – serviceable but I’ve never really liked him.
D John-Michael Liles COL (*) – he’s supposed to help anchor your DG category but not really doing much of that so far.
D Shane O’Brien TB (*) – PIMs.
D Chris Phillips OTT – character guy to have on a REAL hockey team but adds less to your fantasy team than he does to the Sens.
D Craig Rivet SJ – you like this guy. I don’t.
G Miikka Kiprusoff CAL (*) – one of the best tenders in the game.
G Ray Emery OTT (*) – eventually he’ll run with the job.
BN Kyle Okposo NYI (*) – they’re calling him a mini Iginla. Yes please.
BN Andrew Cogliano EDM (*) – upside might be a Daymond Langkow type.
BN Mathew Lombardi CAL – I think he’s reached his upside.
BN Travis Zajac NJ (*) – young and if he gets more opportunity then he’s worth keeping around.
BN Ales Kotalik BUF – he’s helping you in special teams but you could always get him back in the draft next year too.
BN Marc-Andre Bergeron NYI – I wanted to include him amongst your keeps but defensive problems have followed him his last two teams. At the same time, despite his numerous healthy scratches he’s your only D scoring goals right now. I’ve waffled on his keeper status all month.
BN Nick Boynton PHX – PIMs and nothing else.
BN Trevor Daley DAL – no real fantasy value at all.
BN Kent Huskins ANA – ditto Trevor Daley.
BN Jordan Leopold COL – used to have value, now not so much.
BN Nathan Paetsch BUF – Dobber loved this guy to start the year but it hasn’t really panned out yet. I’m sure lots of guys followed Dobber’s advice on him, I did too.
BN Keith Yandle PHX (*) – you’ll love this guy within two years, maybe even one.
BN Martin Gerber OTW (*) – if he gets traded elsewhere in the next year you’ll be in even better shape here.
BN Peter Budaj COL (*) – your G4 and one reason why you can afford to trade Kip if you like.
BN Jimmy Howard DET (*) – I see him as the starter for the Wings perhaps as soon as next year but two is more likely.
BN Mike Smith DAL (*) – should be the starter for the Stars in a couple seasons too.
Inj Kevin Bieksa VAN (*) – he’ll help your DG and PIMs a lot when he’s back.
Inj Jason Williams CHI – he was useful before getting hurt.