Fantasy Champs Eye Big Picture

Dobber Sports

2012-02-05

Sam Gagner

 

Sam Gagner's eight-point night can serve as a good learning tool for poolies.

 

 

Hyperbole is defined as obvious and intentional exaggeration. An extravagant statement or figure of speech NOT intended to be taken literally.

 

In the world of sports, with both many fans and too large a percentage of the media, hyperbole has melded into a form of taking a snapshot of a player's career and then making what can often be wildly exaggerated defining statements based off what's really just a snippet of the larger picture. Which, in their minds, they mean to be taken quite literally.

 

In other words, people tend to make too much of anything and everything.

 

In fantasy sports, if you make a habit of overinflating either positive or negative performances (or both), that tendency will generally spell death for your team.

 

Take Sam Gagner and keep in mind this is not only coming from the perspective of an Oilers fan, but also one who has been steadfastly behind the idea of NOT dealing Gagner in recent seasons despite his so-so stats. I can't tell you how many "we're the Oilers' brain trust" discussions I've had with friends in the past few years and in every single one of them where Gagner's name has been bandied about, I said we should keep him because he just needed a better surrounding cast and time to develop.

 

Anyway, No. 89 – as you well know – had that spectacular eight-point explosion against the Hawks.

 

Thanks to the world of Twitter, we're now instantly able to see the thoughts of anyone and media member after media member tweeted things along the lines of Gagner – who has been heavily rumoured to be on the move this season especially with the emergence of rookie talent Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – now officially being off the trade market and having locked up a top six slot with the Oil. Gagner had arrived.

Really? Again, don't get me wrong. I love Gagner's skills. I want him as an Oiler. But while he now has 11 points in his two February starts and all he has to do is LOOK at the puck and it goes in the net these days, what about the fact that he only had 22 points over his other 43 games? What about the inevitability that it'll be RNH who will be back between Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle before too long when this hot streak invariably runs dry, as they all do?

 

Greatness is delivered over time and while people may not have confused Gagner for being on the same plateau as Wayne Gretzky or Paul Coffey, with whom the youngster is now tied in the Edmonton record books for points in a single game, there was still much too much made of the importance of that feat.

 

The fact that Gagner followed up the eight-pointer with three more last night, plus a nifty shootout goal, was tremendous. Enjoy the moment, to be sure. That game against Chicago was a rare accomplishment. But where will he be statistically next month? By season's end? By Christmas next year?

 

Consistency is the hallmark of a good performer and when you're devising your team's strategy as a fantasy owner, you really need to try to keep that big picture in mind at all times. Single season owners want to chart their course over the entire six-month regular season, while keeper league owners have an even larger canvas with which to work. Don't get too caught up with any given game or week's output and put