The Top 10 most frustrating things about fantasy hockey
As we start to get further into the season, most fantasy leagues are already seeing the top teams distance themselves from the lower teams.
And that has to be frustrating to those in the lower rungs, especially for those owners who believed they had a great team this season and were ready to compete.
Frustration in fantasy hockey runs on many levels. From drafting, to waiver wire pickups, to losing out in the playoffs to your bargain player in a cap league getting way too much money in free agency, there’s always something new that can frustrate us.
Of course, the winning more than makes up for all the frustrations. But it doesn’t make the sources of our frustrations any easier to deal with.
Here are 10 of the most frustrating things about fantasy hockey.
10. Cold streaks
Cold streaks from a second or third liner is one thing, as you expect it from them, but cold streaks from your top guys is another matter altogether. We expect every player to go through a cold streak at some point, but that doesn’t make it less frustrating when it’s happening. Alexander Ovechkin has zero points in his last four games. Sidney Crosby has just two goals in his last 18 games and one point in his last four games. Tuukka Rask has just two wins in his last six starts. Anyone icing those three guys for the past week is going through some (temporary) fantasy headaches right about now.
9. Wasting a waiver wire move
In the Dobber experts league, we have a season-limit of 25 moves totals. There are other leagues that have half that. That’s why it’s important that every free agent pickup is a smart decision. Sure, that move to pick up Cory Conacher early in the season or dropping Brad Richards a month ago may have seemed like smart ideas at the time, but when you look back on it, it can be extremely frustrating to see some of the wasted moves you have done.
8. Team scores a bunch of goals, your guy gets squat
James Neal owners know the pain of this one. On Nov. 18, the Preds dumped the Leafs 9-2. Eric Nystrom has two points. Paul Gaustad had two points. Taylor Beck had two goals and an assist. Poor James Neal had zero points. And poor fantasy owners of James Neal had zero points. This is actually more common than you would expect. On Oct. 25, the Islanders scored seven goals against Dallas, and Tavares was held off the board. In a seven-goal explosion for Tampa Bay against Arizona on Oct, 28, Stamkos had just one assist. On Nov. 8, Tampa scored another seven goals, this time against Columbus, and again Stamkos has held to just one assist. It’s frustrating to see such high-scoring games, but for your studs to come away with no points.
7. Losing to an absentee owner
In a head-to-head matchup in a one-year league, you’re up against a guy who has pretty much quit on the pool. Or in a keeper league, he’s doing his best tank job already. Maybe he’s still dressing Chris Kunitz, Sam Bennett, Jordan Staal and Valeri Nichushkin. Yet somehow, the 50 percent of the team he does have dressed has a couple of monster games and you lose the matchup pretty easily, dropping you further down the standings.
6. Giving up on a prospect too soon
Sometimes you just can’t help yourself. You’ve been sitting on a player for a year or two (an eternity in fantasy hockey), and the prospect never seems like he’ll get a chance to prove himself. So you end up trading away a Nazem Kadri before his almost-point-per-game campaign, or Vladimir Tarasenko when you were worried about the Russian KHL factor during the last lockout. Heck, I once traded Erik Karlsson for Ryan Suter in a points-only pool (keep that in mind when you get to No.1). Usually, you replace these guys with even younger prospects or picks, which means you’re still no further ahead. But to see those guys doing so well now makes you wonder, what if…
5. Your breakout player prediction totally sucking
Every GM has their favourite sleeper. And some fantasy owners will try to get that guy in as many different leagues as they can. One of those guys for me was Lubomir Visnovsky, as I picked him up in three of four drafts I was involved in this summer. And it has been a great big letdown. He started off the season injured, has just six points in 17 games and is injured again. Regardless if your sleeper was Visnovsky, Martin Havlat or Christian Ehrhoff, having them spend so much time on roster can make you want to scream at times.
4. Lose a matchup by a last-minute goal
This one is for head-to-head leagues when there’s a tight matchup, and one game left on the docket. Maybe your fantasy squad is leading your matchup, and the Ducks and Sharks are playing. You watch the game with great interest, and in the last minute, the Ducks score an empty net goal. Wait, your opponent has Ryan Kesler and Hampus Lindholm? And they were both on the ice for that last goal? All of a sudden, your opponent gets another plus-two for the plus-minus category, and instead of you winning 8-7, you lose the matchup. I’m of the adage that sometimes it’s better to lose big early to lose a tight one late for specifically this reason.
3. Guy on bench has a huge game
Sometimes you can overthink your roster. You study lineups and matchups. You look at recent and long-term history of the players involved. After hours of deliberation, you decide to sit Brad Marchand in favour of Brendan Gallagher on Saturday. Marchand responds with two goals, a plus-two, four shots and five hits. Gallagher gets just one shot and one hit. It can take the wind out of your sails pretty quick.
2. Owning a player on your favourite team
A Blues fan owning TJ Oshie and Paul Stastny. A Colorado fan owning Matt Duchene and Semyon Varlamov. An Oilers fan owning pretty much anyone on that team. It seems doubly worse when a player on your favorite real-life hockey team struggles when you also own him on your fantasy squad. At that stage, he’s not helping you anywhere, and each mistake he makes and each shot not resulting in a goal hurts twice as much.
1. Too many injured players
Maybe that team of yours would be a lot better if they weren’t injured all the time. At least that’s what you keep telling yourself. But injuries are easily the most frustrating aspects of fantasy hockey. In one of my points-only leagues, we have our top five defencemen count. I have only five defencemen total, and four of them (Kris Letang, Zdeno Chara, Tobias Enstrom and Visnovsky) are injured. Sometimes, the secrecy of the injury is worse than the injury itself (lower-body injury? Maintenance day?). When injuries start piling on your team, you feel like you feel the same pain the athletes are experiencing.
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