Welcome back to another edition of the Roos Lets Loose monthly mailbag, where I answer your fantasy hockey questions by giving advice that should be useful to all poolies even if they don't own the specific players being discussed. As a reminder, if you want your fantasy hockey question(s) answered in the next mailbag, check out the end of the column, where I explain the ways to get it/them to me as well as the details you should provide when sending. The earlier you send a question the more likely it is to be included in the mailbag, and the deeper dive I can provide with my reply.
Question #1 (from DobberHockey Forums)
I notice that often in your answers you talk about things like what percentage of a position comprises a team's line-up, or what percentage of categories apply to goalies/skaters, plus things like how many keepers there are versus drafted players, whether to keep younger/older players, etc. How important do you consider those data points? How can we use them to improve our teams?
Although I think the significance of these factors can vary, they should always be assessed. Here is how I would recommend doing so.
The first thing I always do is determine how many total players will be kept in a league among all teams. Where this helps for the most part is in deciding whether you might need to embark upon a rebuild. For example, in a 16-team league where ten players are kept, one would expect each team to have about six players in the top 100. As such, if a team doesn't have more than a couple of top 100 guys, a rebuild might be in order, while if all ten of the team's keepers would qualify as top 100, then chances are other teams won't have as many and those teams would be looking to upgrade via trade, giving the team with a surplus of top guys a chance to perhaps move some of its older keepers for younger ones so as to ensure a continued cycle of winning; more on old vs. young below.
After that I examine goalies, often the number that starts is low compared to the impact they have in the standings. For example, if just two goalies start, versus 13 skaters, that means goalies comprise 13% of a team's line-up, but if goalie categories in that same league are weighted at 30%+, keeping at least one goalie is likely necessary and prioritizing goalies during the draft is more important than normal. Although, one should try and not reach for goalies, choosing instead to tier them and wait until nearly all from a tier have been drafted before pulling the trigger on one come draft day. Let's say for example a league allows only up to three total keepers per team; then unless categories for goalies are worth 40%, most teams wouldn't keep a goalie at all, except perhaps if he was among the very best of the best. Given how unpredictable goalies have become though, for leagues with fewer keepers my advice when it comes to netminders is think before you keep.
On the other hand, the more keepers there are the more I aim to get a mix of positions. Why? Say it's a 16 team, keep 12 league; if you don't keep at least a couple of d-men and a goalie – o