Geek of the Week: Derek Stepan

by Scott Maran on October 2, 2016

Derek Stepan is falling a lot farther than he should in fantasy drafts.

Over the weekend, one of my fantasy leagues had its draft, and I was making my usual preparations. While compiling my rankings and figuring out my draft strategy this year, I added Fantasy Hockey Geek to the list of my resources. Plugging in all my league’s settings and scoring categories, I was quickly given another set of rankings that I also planned on using throughout the draft. As I was combing through the list of players, an interesting name caught my eye. I was a bit surprised to see Derek Stepan carry so much value ranked as the 26th-most valuable skater. I dug a little deeper and realized that Stepan could provide a lot of value slotted right behind Filip Forsberg and just ahead of Drew Doughty.

Drafted in the second round of the 2008 NHL Draft, Stepan was picked by the Rangers because they hoped he would turn into a top-six forward for the team. Making his debut in the 2010-11 season, Stepan showed much promise as he tallied 21 goals and 24 assists in his rookie campaign. As he was given more ice time and a bigger role, Stepan would go on to improve those numbers in the following season, scoring six more points for a total of 51. But it wasn’t until his third season when Stepan exploded for 44 points in only 48 games.

The 22-year-old Stepan’s stock rose, and poolies were expecting big things out of the young center. However, despite the sky-high expectations, Stepan only managed to record 57 points in the next season – not bad but far from the pace he set the previous year. Even though he wouldn’t reach a point-per-game pace again, Stepan has continued to produce at an above-average pace, scoring 55 points in 68 games two years ago and 53 points in 72 games last year.

But even though Stepan has been a consistent 55-point guy (who would have more points if he didn’t get injured over the past two seasons), I didn’t expect him to have the value he has. Using the Fantasy Hockey Geek tool for my fantasy league, here is where Stepan was ranked (using Dobber’s projections in a 12-team, head-to-head league that counts goals, assists, shots on goal, special team points, faceoff wins, wins, save percentage, goals against average, saves, and shutouts).
 

 

FHG Rank

Yahoo! Rank

Fantrax ADP

G

A

SOG

STP

FOW

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

24

45

28

20

34

234

22

0

Filip Forsberg

25

50

47

32

37

269

25

2

Derek Stepan

26

169

156

23

41

232

26

580

Drew Doughty

27

44

42

13

38

249

22

0

Max Pacioretty

28

47

50

33

32

272

25

5


Even though Stepan provides the 26th most value out of all skaters in this league, he is only ranked 169th overall by Yahoo and 156th overall by Fantrax. In comparison, all the players around Stepan provide value that is very close to their average draft position. In this specific league, Stepan provides a ton of value mostly because of his faceoff ability combined with his other solid stats. His 500+ faceoff wins are a huge asset that is often overlooked in leagues that count faceoffs as a category. Filip Forsberg and Max Pacioretty are both likely to outproduce Stepan points-wise, but since they are wingers, Stepan makes up the difference with all the faceoffs he wins.

He may not score at an elite rate, but his still above-average production keeps him at the top in this league.

But how about in leagues where faceoffs aren’t counted because plenty of them don’t count faceoffs? Here is where he is ranked in an average 12 team Yahoo H2H league measuring G, A, PPP, SOG, Hits, W, SV%, GAA, and SO using Dobber’s projections.
 

 

FHG Rank

Yahoo! Rank

Fantrax ADP

G

A

PPP

SOG

HITS

Alexander Radulov

79

119

121

22

40

25

183

44

Nick Leddy

80

191

164

9

35

18

149

78

Derek Stepan

81

169

156

23

41

22

232

39

Sean Monahan

82

49

86

29

39

24

191

40

Bobby Ryan

83

126

153

24

36

15

226

111


His value does take a bit of a hit when factoring out faceoff wins and adding hits as a category, but Stepan still provides good value. Even though he is being drafted at around 150th overall, Stepan has the 81st most value among all skaters in standard leagues, significantly outperforming his draft position. Sean Monahan might be a much flashier name, but he’s providing the same value 100 spots higher in the draft at around the 50-80 range.

I think the main reason why people aren’t so high on Stepan this season is his health over the past two years. Stepan missed 14 games two years ago and 10 games last season. But besides the possibility of getting injured again this season, Stepan’s injuries have also kept his overall point totals low, preventing him from actually having a 60-point season, even though in both years he was on pace to exceed that mark. Barring any sort of injury, Stepan should have another solid year and should provide lots of value to your fantasy team late in the draft.

Of course, your individual league setup and scoring system will affect these outcomes.  To identify more players with great value in your specific league settings, check out Fantasy Hockey Geek to generate custom rankings tailored for you.  Even better, use the Draft Guru tool (included with the Draft Kit) to get advice on the best players available after each and every pick to absolutely dominate your draft.   Head to the Dobber Sports Shop and pick it up today!