Many of us go with New Year’s resolutions in order to better ourselves. We promise to eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight or learn a new skill.
Of course, we can always improve ourselves when it comes to fantasy hockey. Below you’ll find 10 resolutions that you can apply to your fantasy hockey teams for 2019. Remember, you’ll only be able to fulfill the truly achievable resolutions. It’s all well and good to say you’re going to trade for Mark Scheifele, Connor McDavid, Johnny Gaudreau, Thomas Chabot and Andrei Vasilevskiy for Brandon Manning and a fifth-round draft pick, but odds are that won’t be happening.
Enjoy the resolutions and Happy New Year!
10. Pay more attention to the IR
The IR is your friend and you should be using it wisely to improve your squad. My favourite weekly article on the Dobber web site is the Injury Ward column that gives updates on injured players. It’s a good update on many injured players that are littering fantasy rosters. There are two good reasons to pay closer attention to the injury reports. The first is it creates a good opportunity to deal for players that other owners may not realize are close to returning. The second is that it is also a good time to scour your league’s waiver wire to pick up injured players you might be able to stash. Andrej Sekera is practicing with the Oilers, but may still be out for another month. When he returns, he could provide a boost to the Oilers’ middle-of-the-pack power play.
9. I won’t overrate NHL trades
Players who are traded in real life see a spike in their value in fantasy leagues, but you shouldn’t assume that just because a player is dealt that he is going to perform that much better on a new squad. Last year actually turned out well for a few traded players (such as J.T. Miller, Paul Stastny and Evander Kane last year), but more often than not, it doesn’t provide much of a boost. Even if it does, it may not be worth the extra price it would take to acquire these players.
8. Pick up Dobber’s Midseason Guide
Dobber is one of the only, if not the only, prognosticator that essentially comes out with a brand-new fantasy guide halfway through the season. The guide has plenty of great resources: It looks at team’s schedule down the stretch, risers and fallers from previous drafts, points projections for the second half, prospects that may be close to ready for the NHL, players on the trade block and a bunch more. It’s a great source for helping you succeed in the second half of the season.
7. Promptly respond to trade offers
I have to admit this is a big one for me. I have a tendency to check emails right before I leave where ever I am or right before I am about to do something that I know will take up a lot of time. I see a trade offer and think, ‘I’ll get back to that person later.’ Of course, by the time I get back to my email again, I have a bunch of new emails and I never get back to responding to the trade offers. Don’t be like that. Even if it’s just a quick reply, it’s always better to respond quickly. This will be the one I will work on the most in 2019.
6. Look for smart pickups for next season in keeper leagues
If you’re out of contention in keeper leagues, it’s a good time to start buying low on players having off-seasons. Two years ago, I used this strategy in my points-only league and traded for players such as Anze Kopitar, Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere. They far surpassed my expectations last season and helped lead me to my third championship title. It’s always good to kick the tires to see if you can get someone cheap. Right now, I would be focusing again on Gostisbehere, as well as Vladimir Tarasenko, Shea Theodore, Cam Talbot, Philipp Grubauer, Connor Hellebuyck, Jeff Carter and Kevin Shattenkirk.
5. I won’t trade for the sake of trading
One of the biggest mistakes fantasy GMs make is making trades for the sake of making trades. You can do a lot of damage to your squad that way as there’s no real focus. Are you rebuilding or going for it? I have a GM in my points-only league that will trade some of his veterans for youth, but then a short time later, will trade his youth for veterans. He goes around in a vicious circle, and it usually leaves him in a middle-of-the-pack purgatory.
4. Pay more attention to second-half players
The NHL is littered with players who have a history of performing great in the first half only to tail off in the last few months of the season. Those are the guys you might want to consider trading at this time of year, and look at players who have a history of turning it up a notch in the second half. Players such as Roman Josi, Mikael Granlund, Phil Kessel and Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie Benn have a history of turning it up a notch in the second half.
3. I won’t give up on my team in one-year leagues
It’s never a good idea to simply let your roster sit idle when you are having a bad year in fantasy hockey. Yet quite a few people seem to have done this. Leafs defenseman Martin Marincin, who has played only eight games this year while being a healthy scratch for the rest of them, is still owned in a quarter of Yahoo pools. That’s just insane. Sure, you may be out of contention in roto or points-only leagues. Or maybe at some point earlier in 2019, you know you have no chance of making the playoffs in head-to-head leagues. That doesn’t mean you should just give up. You not maintaining your lineup could shift the balance tremendously for those that are contending for the top spot.
2. I won’t go overboard with tanking
While it might be nice to tank for a shot at teenage phenom Jack Hughes, you have to consider the price it could take on your team. Why trade away studs like Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Kane and Erik Karlsson to try to get Hughes? Depending on your league settings, you may not even be guaranteed to land the number one draft pick. Even if you do, what good is Jack Hughes to your fantasy squad if the rest of your team is full of scrubs? It could take years to recover from all the bad trades it took to land Hughes.
1. I won't take leagues too seriously
I’ve read from a few people saying they are burned out from fantasy hockey and they are stepping back from hockey leagues as it is taking away from their personal life. Remember, fantasy hockey is a fun break from real life. Have fun and don’t worry too much about your decisions. If you make a bad trade, laugh it off. If you draft a backup goalie too early, don’t worry about it.