Before getting started, Dobber has given an update on his battle with leukemia. The title of his update, Kicking Cancer’s Ass, should give you an idea of how things have gone. It’s hard to believe it’s been over two years since Dobber made that sobering announcement. I imagine that there were many difficult days for him and his family, yet he seemed to approach this challenge with a high degree of positivity and ultimate belief that he would take care of business and defeat cancer. I can see that these were the same qualities that helped him build this site.
As much as we are passionate about fantasy hockey here, this kind of news should remind us all to take a step back and think about what’s most important: our family and our health.
I’m continuing on with mining the Yahoo ranks. Yesterday it was players whose values might be too high. Today I’m looking at players whose values might be too low.
I understand there may be discrepancies between the rankings that you see and the rankings I am using. I have been using Default Player Rankings in the Pre-Draft Player Rankings section in the Draft menu, which appear to be custom rankings for your league and may differ from league to league. I’ll be listing what I see from a league that counts G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SOG, W, GAA, SV% and SO.
Since many of you may also be looking at the Player List from the Players menu, I will also list these to try to alleviate any confusion. In the past, Yahoo has given you the option to switch between their default rankings and your customizable rankings. I haven’t had a chance to complete a draft on there yet this season, so I can’t say what it’s like. I’m sure I will complete a mock draft at some point though.
The Player List menu ranks may be more suitable for the player, but since I prewrote these a couple nights ago, I will keep the players I listed anyway just so I don’t have to scrap these and start over. At least this gives us a chance to discuss some qualities to ponder regarding the player. As well, the overall concept here is to consider how you will rank your players well before your draft. I’m sure if you’re reading a fantasy hockey article a month before the season starts, then you’re probably on top of things anyway.
So to prepare for draft day, and in case you haven’t already, don’t forget to purchase your copy of the Fantasy Guide. There’s lots to take in, so to get the most out of it you’ll want to ensure you purchase it well in advance of your draft. The Fantasy Hockey Geek will also help. If you’ve purchased the Fantasy Guide already, there’s a coupon code on page 8 for the Geek.
I should also mention that the French version (Le Guide des Poolers 2019-20 DobberHockey) was released at around 8 p.m. ET on Friday. Here is the link to purchase it.
Back to the players that might be ranked too low in Yahoo.
Brent Burns (Customized Pre-Draft 14, Player List 17)
If you’re in a league that counts pure points with no regard for positions, then both of these spots are too high. However, in multicategory leagues like I have listed above, you can draft Burns higher than in the teens because he is head and shoulders above his defensive counterparts. No defenseman has scored more points and generated more shots than Burns over the past four seasons, and it’s not even close (especially for shots).
When exploiting value, it’s the gap between Burns and the next-best defenseman that matters. Besides, who would you have as that next-best fantasy defenseman? Answers to that question will probably vary. For that reason, I would draft Burns in the later first round of a 12-team league in a heartbeat.
Mikko Rantanen (Customized Pre-Draft 51, Player List 16)
The argument here for Rantanen at the predraft spot (or at least not drafting him too high) would be light peripherals. Rantanen has never reached 200 shots over his three-year career, averaging 30 goals over the past two seasons because of a relatively high shooting percentage (16%). He’s not a banger either, with somewhat low penalty minute and hit totals.
The thing is, though, your first priority should be scoring, as it’s more difficult to replace than the peripheral categories. Rantanen cooled off in February and March (13 points in 24 games) after being at or near the top of the scoring race, yet the end result was his second consecutive 80+ point campaign. We can now say he’s a proven top-20 scorer who deserves to be higher than #51. Maybe he should be a little lower in the Player List and the Roto Rankings, though.
Mark Giordano (Customized Pre-Draft 76, Player List 70)
I’ll admit that one season ago I would have taken these rankings to be too high for Giordano, as he had just come off two consecutive sub-40-point seasons. What a difference a year makes, though. The reigning Norris Trophy winner was a near point-per-game player and an absolute beast in multiple fantasy categories as well. While I would expect some regression the following season when a player jumps 36 points while playing a similar number of games, the Flames possess enough firepower that the decline shouldn’t be that steep. I’d be fine with drafting Giordano a round or two earlier, especially in leagues that place special emphasis on scoring from defensemen or require more than four defensemen.
Elias Pettersson (Customized Pre-Draft 82, Player List 39)
When I took over the Roto Rankings back in June, I had Pettersson ranked at #58. After some derision on social media, I thought about it and bumped Pettersson within the top 50. No doubt some of you reading this will think that this ranking is crazy, although keep in mind that his shot total was low (144) and he doesn’t possess huge peripherals. Is it possible that Pettersson is a better real-life player than roto player? The scoring upside is there to make him a top-50 player, so go ahead and draft him there.
Jake Guentzel (Customized Pre-Draft 118, Player List 40)
This might simply be a matter of Yahoo catching up to the fact that Guentzel scored 40 goals and continues to be on an upward trajectory. I say that Guentzel might advance even further because of increased power-play time with the Phil Kessel departure, which I wrote about here. A lower ranking might have to do with said lack of power-play points (11) last season. You could get away with drafting Guentzel in the top 50, but even better if you can draft him after that.
Shayne Gostisbehere (Customized Pre-Draft 217, Player List 168)
When compared to expectations, Gostisbehere had an abysmal (39 points, minus-20) 2018-19 season. Then there’s always the threat that either Ivan Provorov or Travis Sanheim could take over the first-unit power play. Don’t forget, though, that he posted a 65-point campaign the season before. The power play will be critical for his success, as a significant portion of the point dropoff (19 points) was power-play related. Ghost remains a high-risk, high-reward blueliner whose floor could be healthy scratch, yet his upside is far too high to be ranked here. It is also worth noting that a knee injury held him back somewhat in 2018-19.
Matt Duchene (Customized Pre-Draft 224, Player List 81)
Whether you believe Duchene is going to score in Nashville (Fantasy Take here), you’ll have to admit that outside of the top 200 is too low. At the center position, the likes of Andrew Shaw, Anthony Cirelli, Zach Hyman, and Patrick Marleau are all ranked ahead of Duchene by Yahoo. We’re talking a potential 20-point gap between this group and Duchene. You may not need a top-100 pick to draft Duchene, but at least look for where he is in your pre-draft rankings.
Kevin Labanc (Customized Pre-Draft 140, Player List 203)
I have to mention Labanc here because he seems to be one of the most oft-discussed sleepers this offseason (could being a Dobber Darling have something to do with it?) The junior scoring, the gradual increases in production over his first three seasons, and the potential for first-unit power-play time with Joe Pavelski leaving are all reasons that Labanc could be in for a truly magical fourth season. If you can get him at around pick 200, then snap him up! But I have a feeling that at least one of your other league members will be on to him, so I’d have to guess that you’ll need to draft him no later than 140.
To give you an idea of how sought after Labanc is, his current price in my auction league is higher than that of teammate Tomas Hertl, Jakub Voracek, Mike Hoffman, Nino Niederreiter, James van Riemsdyk, and T.J. Oshie. That’s one example of the kind of buzz that Labanc is generating.
Martin Marincin (Player List 176)
No, of course he's not undervalued. This is why if you are autopicking, at least rank your players first. Marincin is back in a somewhat familiar spot, 36 percent owned in Yahoo leagues in spite of no real fantasy upside and just 5 points last season. Yahoo must have forgotten to pull him out. Don’t be that owner who drafts him.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.