How do we build a winning team? Everyone knows the old adage of buy low, sell high but how exactly does that look over the course of a season? To answer the question well, we need to look at how poolies’ perceptions vary over the year.
It turns out that perceptions follow a very predictable pattern. Once we identify that pattern, it's much easier to position our teams to derive value from it. Taking advantage of this "perception cycle" is a very good way to accelerate a rebuild or just to make your keeper team stronger as the years go on.
In the end, this all comes back to supply and demand… specifically, positioning your teams to be selling certain commodities when they are in demand.
Each period of the year has its own particular characteristics, so let's look at them one by one.
April-June: Playoff madness
Every year there are players who step up above their normal production levels during the postseason. They raise their profile, and as a result can be overvalued. Fantasy hockey GMs use the line of thinking "He stepped up bigtime during the playoffs, so hopefully he'll carry that production into next year."
A few heroes from playoffs past are Ryan Malone (2007/08), Danny Briere (2009/10), Ville Leino (2009/2010), and Johan Franzen (2007/08 through 2009/10). None of them replicated their playoff scoring pace in the following regular season.
It's difficult to predict which players will surprise in the playoffs, but if you've got a good playoff player on your roster that you'd like to move, the best time of the year to do it is following a great playoff performance.
June: Prospect madness
The 2011 draft class will be reaching its peak of hype, so every GM and their dog will want to get first round prospect draft picks or the top 2011 prospects. Irrationally so. We all do it. Ideal trade bait for June are 1st round prospect picks or the 2011 draft class themselves. At the time of this writing, it's probably a little late to be acquiring these types of assets, but come late June it is definitely the time to sell.
July: Free agent madness