Thursday, 4 September 2014

Yahoo - NHL Fantasy Drafting

Yahoo Sports has become a serious player within the sports world.  They offer fantasy play for all the professional leagues in North America, and the NHL is no different.  They offer a very engaging and appealing live draft experience, in which users can control the regulations within their league.  The head-to-head style of play seems to be the most popular, and involves weekly match-ups between individuals.  The winner of this match-up is determined by several categories, which can include points, goals, assists, face-offs, hits, etc.  Nearly every player statistic can become a category within this pool type; Which can create a very interesting draft.  Most serious fantasy leagues include statistics such as face-offs, hits and blocked shots.  The inclusion of these statistics makes it much more difficult for users to select players come draft day.  All of a sudden, typically overlooked players will become highly sought after commodities.  Each pick becomes more strategic, and users need to take into account many elements when deciding who will fit best on their fantasy squad.

Research - Unfortunately for all of you lazy fantasy owners out there, you are going to have to do some work if you are going to play in the yahoo fantasy leagues.  The only way you can win is by building a balanced team that will make you competitive in all statistical categories.

Tip #1:  Draft players from good teams!  This will be crucial down the stretch, as bad teams often result in bad numbers for your players.  Avoid teams like Calgary, Buffalo and Winnipeg if at all possible.  These teams have some standout players, but they will not get you the points you need playing on that roster.  Winnipeg has some good picks, but smart fantasy owners will avoid these guys as they play in an extremely stacked Western division.  If you draft the high majority of your players from elite teams, you will almost guarantee yourself a spot atop the +/- category every week.  Do not take a hit in the fantasy ranks because you drafted your favorite player, or a guy from your hometown team.  Draft smart, win big.

Tip #2:  Be a scout!  Every smart manager knows the talent for the upcoming years well before most fans.  A smart fantasy owner will keep his or her eye on players who are looking to break out with a monster season.  This is obviously key when you are selecting late round picks.  Often you will see rookie fantasy owners take runs at heavily spotlighted young stars like Johnathan Drouin for example.  A lot of guys will be looking to pick up the kid, even though many know it is a huge gamble.  Myself, on the other hand; Look towards guys who have a year or two under their belt.  Players moving into their second or third year are usually the best bet for a strong "sleeper pick."
I hate to give away some of my top young guns, but I will throw a few names your way.  One pick that should be a guarantee for 50 points is Reilly Smith.  He put up 51 points last season at the age of 23, and will once again be playing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.  This guy is a steal in the late rounds.

Tip #3: Draft smart, review the surrounding talent of the player you are considering.  This all needs to be done in advance, so it is vital that you do some research.  Many fantasy owners draft based on the reputation of the team and the player himself, which can be good.  However, paying attention to surrounding talent and potential line-mates is huge.  You need to know what to expect from a player going into a season.  Will he be playing on the top line, second line, or third line?  Is there room for that player on the teams' power-play?  If you take the stats from last season, and then review any roster moves; You should be able to get an idea as to where that player sits.  If you want, tonnes of information can be found online for projected starting day line-ups.  Try to draft guys who will be surrounded with talent.  It will only make him that much more likely to pick up points, especially if he is putting up big minutes.  Keep an eye on the power-play unit for that team.  A large chunk of points comes from the power-play in modern day NHL.

Anyway, those are some quick tips on how to crush everyone in your Yahoo fantasy league.  If you want to see some awesome sleeper picks, simply check out my other post titled " My Fantasy Sleeper Picks - NHL."  Some of these guys may not be suited for your particular league, depending on the rules.  However, most picks are pretty well-rounded guys who will be overlooked by most fantasy owners.  Be smart, keep them on your radar.

When in your Yahoo fantasy league, check out " my team" at the top of the page and go down to "watch list."  This will prove useful come draft day.