Top 10 auction-league fantasy hockey bargains
One of my favourite type of drafts is the auction mock draft.
This brings a whole different set of drafting skills to the table than your normal type of draft. Every general manager has the same shot at every single player. It just depends on how much you are willing to spend. There are different strategies when it comes to auctions. Some people believe in buying one big-name superstar. Others buy three or four and then cheap out on the rest. I prefer a lot of balance. Let others overpay for the superstars but build a more balanced lineup.
Finding bargains is obviously the best way to win your pool. Below you'll find 10 of the best bargains based on what players are averaging on Yahoo. Note this is for a $200 budget with standard Yahoo stats. On to the list.
Teammate Matt Murray is being drafted for $6.80 on average. Fleury is at $3.30. It seems weird that Fleur is half the price of his teammates. Worst case scenario is that Fleury splits half the games. Best case is he wins the starting gig. Remember Fleury had hit at least 34 wins in four of the last five seasons. The one exemption was the lockout year. Murray would need to be infallible to keep Fleury out of the nets for more than half a season.
Toffoli has shown progress in every NHL season so far. The next step for him is the 60-point mark (he was just two points off that mark last season). Most might think he's a shoo-in to play with Anze Kopitar, which will help. Last year Toffoli actually spent most of his ice time with Milan Lucic as 29 of Toffoli's 58 points came with Lucic on the ice versus just 13 for Kopitar. Still, $3.30 is a great bargain for Toffoli. Especially if he gets bumped up to the top line.
8. Tyson Barrie
Out of all the Colorado Avalanche players that could receive the biggest boost from Patrick Roy being let go, Barrie would be at the top of the list. Rumour has it Roy thought Barrie should be a number five defenseman and a power play specialist. It will be interesting to see what Barrie does this year but at the very least you can count on 10 goals and 40 assists. And that's pretty good if you can snag him for $2.40.
Here's a tip for whatever pool you are in. Treat Hamilton as a 50-point player this season. There were plenty of positive signs last year even though Hamilton has never hit the 50-point mark in his career. Hamilton had a really slow start to last season as he got used to a new team (just five points in 21 games) and he averaged just 1:35 power play time a game in that span. But that jumped up to 29 points in his last 42 games. That's a 57-point pace. And his power play ice time jumped to about three minutes a game. And he's averaging just $1.80 in auction drafts.
6. Mark Stone
While he may not be a lock for 70 points, Stone is pretty much guaranteed to get at least 60. He's the Sens' top offensive weapon that isn't a defenseman. What's really weird is that he's not much of a power play guy (just 28 PPP combined the last two years) and he doesn't shoot the puck enough (about 150 shots each year). But he's a bargain at $1.60 in auction drafts.
Alex Ovechkin and Pacioretty are the only two players in the entire NHL to have 30-goal, 60-point, 300-shot seasons in each of the last two years. And Rick Nash is the only other player to have done it once in that timeframe. So Pacioretty is a pretty special player in a league that counts shots. Throw in the fact his plus-minus should rebound with Carey Price in the net, and you have a player that is a significant contributor in four of the six basic Yahoo categories. That's pretty much a steal at $21.10.
The nice thing about Schwartz is that he's pretty much tied to the hip of Vladimir Tarasenko. Schwartz plays with him in pretty much every situation. Schwartz may be off the radar a little bit because he played in just 33 games last year due to injury. But don't forget he had 62 points and 55 points in the previous two seasons. He's a good bet to get to 60 again. And he's a great bargain at $1.30.
3. Kris Letang
Everyone seems to be hopeful on Letang this year. Most experts have him around 60-plus points. That's putting a lot of faith in a guy who has only hit that mark once in his career. Mostly because he can't stay healthy. But Letang will only need to play around 68 games to hit that mark. Letang is one of the best fantasy options — when healthy — because he contributes to every category: Goals, assists, plus-minus, PIM, PPP and SOG. It's great value if you can get him at his average price of $25.80.
2. Roman Josi
This one will be one of those values that will leave you scratching your head. There's only three defensemen in the entire league that has scored at least 14 goals and 55 points in each of the last two seasons: Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Josi. But Josi is at a fraction of the cost of the other two at $10.90. To put it in another context, linemate P.K. Subban is averaging $41.60. So you can get Josi at one-fourth the cost as Subban.
Something to keep in mind is that Kucherov has back-to-back 65-plus point seasons. Yet he is averaging just $36.50 in Yahoo auction drafts. That's excellent value. Especially when you consider what some of the other players are going for. Just compare him to Corey Perry, who is averaging $56.50. Here are their stats from last season:
Kucherov: 77 games, 30 goals, 36 assists, plus-nine, 30 PIM, 26 PPP, 209 SOG
Perry: 82 games, 34 goals, 28 assists, plus-two, 68 PIM, 24 PPP, 215 SOG
You're really paying an extra $20 for Perry for an extra 38 PIM. That's not worth it. Pass on Perry and grab Kucherov instead.
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