Andrew Ladd’s Fantasy Rotisserie Consistency Over His Career
Fantasy sports, in part, are an exercise in both patience and discipline. Being able to wait out slow starts from proven players, and believing in the value of known commodities over the unknown ones, are part of all fantasy sports.
Having both the wherewithal and discipline to believe in, and draft, those known commodities is an underrated aspect of fantasy hockey. It’s not always easy to do; it’s why Johnny Gaudreau was fairly consistently drafted ahead of players like Craig Smith and Mike Cammalleri. That may have worked out in the end, but the opposite is also true for fantasy owners that had the same belief in Jonathan Drouin.
By ESPN Average Draft Position, Winnipeg’s Andrew Ladd went off the board during draft season around pick 166. That was behind names like Matt Moulson (who was drafting Buffalo players that early?), Aleksander Barkov, and Justin Schultz. By Yahoo ADP, Ladd was going less than a round ahead of the aforementioned Drouin.
Going into Friday night’s action, Ladd was a top-20 roto forward in a standard ESPN league.
So why was Ladd so undervalued? Here’s a look at Andrew Ladd’s fantasy performance over the years, and why he should be revered in rotisserie leagues.
Ladd is a two-time Stanley Cup winner, something that can get overlooked. He was a rookie on that Carolina team that won in 2006, and was on the Chicago team that won in 2010. Up until he left Chicago, though, Ladd was a depth player. Before getting to Atlanta in 2010, Ladd never averaged more than 14:30 per game for a season in his first five years. For that reason, he never cracked 20 goals, and never cracked 50 points, during those years.
Despite the minimal minutes, the production in those minutes was readily apparent:
- From 2007 through 2010, Ladd was 38th out of 240 forwards in points per 60 minutes at five-on-five. His mark (2.18) was ahead of names like Eric Staal (2.09), Rick Nash (2.06), and Patrick Marleau (2.01).
Quality of competition and easier matchups play a factor in that, but it nonetheless gave a glimpse into a productive forward being used in a minimal role.
His first year with Atlanta showed that he could produce. Finally given first line minutes, Ladd managed 29 goals and 30 assists in the 2010-2011 season. He added 195 shots on goal and 39 penalty minutes. He was just 1 of 14 players to reach each of those marks that year (according to Hockey Reference), which was the first real indicator of his future rotisserie potential.
Ladd’s first year in Winnipeg, 2011-2012, saw the jump in penalty minutes that is necessary to be one of those across-the-board roto contributors. The 39 PIMs he had in the year before is nice; the 64 he had that year was a lot better. He also saw a huge jump in shooting rates, cracking three shots per game for the first time in his career.
At this point, Ladd had finished his first two years as a first line player. This is how he did in a few of the staple roto categories over those two years (2010-2012):
- Over those two seasons, Ladd was 1 of 7 players to crack 50 total goals, 50 assists, 450 shots, 100 penalty minutes. Others were farther ahead in value, Corey Perry and Steven Stamkos to name a couple, but he had similar production to Ryan Kesler.
One category that had been holding back Ladd’s value was plus/minus. Those two years saw Ladd go a combined minus-18. Not a deplorable mark for two full seasons, but way behind where he needed to be to produce consistently across all the categories.
After the lockout-shortened season that saw Ladd put up nearly a point per game (46 points in 48 games), he seemed to have settled in as one of the top roto performers in the NHL. It was also nice to see him improve to a plus-10 rating as the young Jets defense started solidifying itself.
Then there was last year. Ladd finished with 23 goals, 31 assists, 57 penalty minutes and 189 shots on goal. Not a monster season anywhere, but a good season across the board. Again, he was one of the few players to reach each of those marks. In fact, he was 1 of 8 forwards to do so (again, according to Hockey Reference).
For all that consistency, starting with Atlanta, and then three good years for Winnipeg, Ladd’s ADP fell last draft season compared to the year before. That presented tremendous value.
He delivered for his fantasy owners this year. As mentioned earlier, he was a top-20 roto forward going into Thursday night, and had managed at least 23 goals for the fourth straight 82-game season. He had also managed at least 50 penalty minutes in three straight 82-game seasons, and 185 shots on goal for the fourth straight 82-game season. In fact, since he became a first line player in 2010, this is how good Ladd has been across the board for roto owners:
- There are three players with at least 120 goals, 140 assists, 250 penalty minutes, and 950 shots on goal: Corey Perry, Jamie Benn, and Andrew Ladd.
Ladd deserves a lot more respect in roto leagues than he has been getting over the last few years. He’s certainly earned it.
The one caveat here is that Ladd has never been a big power play producer; Ladd has never had 20 power play points in a season, and this year’s mark of 19 set a career high. He’s a good offensive producer, not a great one, and that will never be a category of strength. He will never be a pit in that regard, though, like Brad Marchand, for example.
There should be an ADP bump for Ladd going into next year. Also, over those years, he hasn’t always been a top-20 roto forward. With that said, he hasn’t been too far away from a top-50 roto forward in those seasons either. With line mate Bryan Little under contract, the Jets getting better annually it seems, and Ladd having proved time and time again his value in a roto league, maybe next year is the year he’s consistently drafted among the top-50 forwards. If he doesn’t, he’ll provide good draft day value to whoever recognizes one of the greatest roto performers of the last half-decade.
*Some stats courtesy to Hockey Reference, Hockey Analysis, and ESPN.
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