Four Strategies to Take Into Your Playoff Pool Draft
Over the last 15 years I’ve posted several articles along these lines, be it over at The Hockey News, for Puck Daddy or right here on DobberHockey. For easy reference, I’ve gathered the basics and put them together here in my promo piece for the 10th annual DobberHockey Interactive Playoff Draft List.
Traditionally, playoff pools are much more casual and far less involved than regular season fantasy hockey. This is a great time to get your friends involved in your world. If they like it enough, they’ll join you next year in your regular season league. All you have to do is let them win. No? Well, maybe just point them to my Draft List so they’ll at least have a fighting chance.
Strategies to keep in mind:
1. Limit Your Focus
This is common knowledge. I’ve been preaching this point since 2002. Depending on how many players are drafted (i.e. – if 12 people are participating and 10 players are to be drafted for each team, than 120 players are drafted in all), you want to limit the number of teams from which you choose players. My rule of thumb:
Under 100 players: Focus on two teams. One from each conference.
More than 100 players: Focus on four teams. Two from each conference.
Stick to your teams throughout the draft and do not deviate. Having players on seven different teams is a great way to never win. Sure, you can get third that way and perhaps even increase your odds of doing so. But are you in this to finish third? To me, it’s first place or last place.
Save the last two rounds (three rounds, for deeper leagues) for a special third team (fifth team, for deeper leagues). More on this below.
2. The Best Sleepers are Top Players on Ignored Teams
After you have gone through most of the draft and you have your players revolving around two or four teams, save the last two or three rounds for an ignored team. Usually two or even three NHL teams haven’t even been touched yet. Looking at those teams, do any of them interest you? Pick that team’s top scorer. Next round, choose the second best scorer. Take the third best option with your final pick. When I win a playoff pool, it is thanks to this ‘bonus’ team. If they steal a round, it gives you the edge you need. If they steal two rounds – then you’ve already won, assuming your other picks turn out even average.
3. Don’t Go Into a Draft Committed to a Team
For this 2016 draft, everyone is going to want Capitals and Blackhawks. That doesn't mean that if you pick 11th overall you go after Matt Niskanen or Brian Bickell. Face facts – the Capitals will be gone. The Blackhawks will be gone. Maybe even the Ducks, too. Forget them. Move on. Pick a Penguin or a Blue. Get the star from the best two teams still available. Then build around those teams. While the vultures split the Washington and Chicago bones 10 different ways, you can build a pretty good group, albeit from lesser favorites.