Geek of the Week – Dealing with Injured Players
Geek of the Week examines strategies to effectively manage injured players in fantasy hockey.
Injury-prone players are the most frustrating players to own in fantasy hockey and they are also the toughest to value. You never want to ignore a talent like Marian Gaborik, Evgeni Malkin or Joffrey Lupul completely but you certainly can't treat them the same as a player of similar talent who is less prone to injury. So how should we approach players like this in fantasy hockey? How do we decide how hard to hit the brakes on acquiring a player based solely on his proneness to injury? If you know a player is a point-per-game player but he will only play 70 games, do you treat him like a durable 70 pointer, 80 pointer or 65 pointer? Today I attempt to answer that question using Henrik Zetterberg as an example.
For today's article, I am assuming that the league has daily lineups and includes an IR slot which doesn't count towards your total roster size.
These factors are pretty key in making this analysis work. If your league isn't setup like this then you would need to look at it a different way.
I am going to use a fairly basic 12 team Yahoo! head to head league which measures G, A, PPP, SOG, Hits.
If you were to go onto Fantasy Hockey Geek and run the rankings for the above league using Dobber's preseason predictions, you would see Zetterberg shake out like this:
Dobber had Z for 70 points in 70 games which, given his history, seems like a completely reasonable prediction. FHG calculates that Dobber's predicted output would make Zetterberg the 27th most valuable player in the league. I was actually surprised to see him that high (above players with higher point and GP predictions) but Zetterberg's high shot and PPP totals make him even more valuable than a 75 point player who gets their points at even strength even if Henrik misses a dozen games. Zetterberg's average draft position this year was 55th overall so even at a reduced amount of games you can see that he's undervalued amongst the general public and this is probably related to the fear of injury.
Here's the thing though: even if Zetterberg only plays 70 games, it doesn't mean you are getting 0 production for the 12 games he isn't playing. Yahoo! allows you to put him on the IR and add another player who will contribute (albeit at a much lower rate) in Z's slot while he heals. In order to get Zetterberg's injury-adjusted value, I like to add the 12 game output from the scrub that I would add to Zetteberg's 70 games of greatness. In order to do this, I have to look at the best available player on the waiver wire and in this particular instance that player is (in my opinion) Jamie McGinn. Here are Dobber's preseason predictions for McGinn:
You can see that McGinn was only projected to be the 220th most valuable player which explains why he can be found on the waiver wire. I don't want to get too deep into the pros and cons of owning Jamie McGinn in particular but the point is simply this: when your injury-prone star goes down, you will be getting SOME production from SOME player and understanding what that production is will help you understand what the final production of the roster slot will be. In order to calculate the 82 game output of my Zetterberg roster slot, what I like to do is add up Z's 70 game output with McGinn's prorated 12 game output. Below shows what I would expect for that roster spot:
|Total Roster Slot||82||26||50||266||24||58|
Suddenly, my 70 point roster slot is a 76 point roster slot and I add in some good hits and shots to boot. To me, the true value of the roster slot isn't Zetterberg's 70 game value, it's the 82 game value of Z + McGinn. So great – now that I know I can expect that output from the slot, how do I figure out what that new output is worth? Easy, I use the What-If tool on FHG and enter the 82 game projections above.
|Rank||Player||Games Played||FHG Value||G||A||SOG||PPP||HITS|
|14||Henrik Zetterberg – What If?||82||83.4||26||50||266||24||58|
The what-if tool on FHG is the best tool going for taking your own personal predictions (like my calculations above) and applying them to your league to see what your predictions would do to a player's value in your league. Looking above, you can see that Zetterberg's 70 games plus waiver-wire-McGinn's 12 games have created me a roster slot that produces about the same as the 14th overall player. Not too shabby. With this information, I would be far less concerned about drafting/acquiring a player with a big injury history like Zetterberg. I have acknowledged that he has that history, I have accounted for it and I now know exactly how it will affect his value. If I think Dobber is out to lunch and Z will only play 60 games then I could just repeat the same process only apply 60 games of Z's production and 22 games of McGinn's. Or, if I am feeling lucky and I think that Zetteberg is going to play 82 games, I could prorate his 70 point production to 82 games, fire it in the what-if tool and see where he gets slotted then. I do this sort of thing on FHG all season and it really helps me to get a handle on how to get a little bit of certainty out of a situation (such as an injury-prone player) that can have a lot of uncertainty.
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