Geek of the Week – Brent Burns

Terry Campkin

2013-10-06

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How to take advantage of the fantasy hockey market inefficiency that is Brent Burns.

 

As a successful Fantasy Hockey manager, what separates you from the more casual hockey fans (and fantasy league ATMs who contribute to your winnings every year) is your ability to identify things that really matter and jumping on opportunities. Today's Geek of the Week had something happen to him that matters a great deal and not nearly enough people are taking advantage of the opportunity. Let's take a further look at Brent Burns.

As a young defenseman who shoots, hits, collects PIMs and puts up points – Brent Burns has always had good fantasy value. During his final season in Minnesota (2010) when he put up 46 points, 170 shots, 133 hits and 98 PIMs, he was probably already a top 10-20 D in most leagues. Since then, he was moved to San Jose where he continued to be a solid contributor but towards the middle of last season a key thing happened – he was moved to forward. It wasn't just any forward line either, he was moved alongside Joe Thornton. To make things even better, in late August an even more important thing happened for his fantasy hockey value: he was given his D eligibility in Yahoo! leagues.

 

I could have told you back in May that the potential was there for Burns to have some good hidden value, but things like this aren't always top of mind. The way I stumbled upon Burns for this week's article was by doing something as simple as running a Yahoo! standard league in Fantasy Hockey Geek and his name jumped out to me as being incredibly high on the list.

 

(Yahoo! standard 12 team H2H league measuring G, A, +/-, Shots, PPP, PIM and based on Dobber's projections for the current season)

 

FHG Rank Name G A +/- Shots PPP PIM
37 Brent Burns 19 34 0 180 17 63

 

Based on the Dobber projections, FHG calculated Burns as being the 37th most valuable player (and 10th most valuable D) in a league of this format. At first this really jumped out to me, but when I think about all of the things that Burns has going for him this season, it actually sounds about right. Here's what really surprised me though: his average draft position (ADP) in Yahoo! leagues is 123, making him one of the most underrated fantasy assets of 2013. He is currently being drafted on average as the 28th defenseman in Yahoo! leagues after guys like Carlson, Hedman, Markov, Enstrom, Gonchar, Timonen – all of whom are fine players in their own right, but none of whom have the upside that Burns does this season.

 

The Importance of Position

 

The "thing that matters" with Burns that I alluded to above is his D eligibility. In real life, Burns is playing RW and is probably an average RW in the NHL. Dobber has him for 53 points this season, which in the last 82 game NHL season would have placed h