Geek of the Week: Jonathan Toews

by Scott Maran on September 25, 2016

Jonathan Toews is one of the top all-around NHL players, but his ADP is still way too high.

It’s almost October, so you know what that means: With the NHL season just around the corner, fantasy hockey poolies are prepping for the upcoming year and are doing their research. As we went over last week, a crucial part of this is syphoning out under-valued players and targeting skaters who will give you the best value. But what about the opposite players, the ones who don’t provide enough value relative to their draft position? Just as important is identifying overvalued players, and almost no other player represents this best than Jonathan Toews.

Over the years, Jonathan Toews has built quite the reputation around the hockey world. Tearing it up in youth hockey, Toews was already on a lot of people’s radar as he joined the University of North Dakota in the NCAA. Tallying 39 points in 42 games in his first year, Toews quickly rose up the rankings, with the Chicago Blackhawks selecting him with the third overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft. Even though he would spend another year in college after being drafted, Toews exploded onto the scene in his NHL rookie season in 2007, amassing 54 points in only 64 games.

But with all the hype, Toews’ stock in fantasy leagues has also risen over the years, with him even being ranked in the top-20 overall skaters over the past few seasons. Yet when we take a closer look, Toews has never been a superstar for fantasy hockey and has seen his true value start to decline.

During his best years, Toews was a great player to own. In the three seasons between 2010 and 2013, Toews scored at a .97 point-per-game pace, with him scoring over a point-per-game pace in his injury-shortened 2012-13 season. However, after that, Toews has seen his production (and fantasy value) decline year after year. In 2013, Toews scored 28 goals and 40 assists in 76 games, averaging a little over a 73-point pace throughout 82 games. But in the next season, Toews would see his point totals dip to 66 and an even worse 58 in last year’s campaign.

So where is Toews ranked now? What is his projected real value for this season? Using the Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, we can see what Toews’ projected value will be next season (using Dobber’s projections and an average 12 team Yahoo! H2H league measuring G, A, PPP, SOG, Hits, W, SV%, GAA, SO).
 

 

FHG Rank

Yahoo! Rank

Fantrax ADP

G

A

PPP

SOG

HITS

Matt Niskanen

133

184

147

5

29

10

112

155

Jordan Staal

134

278

186

18

30

12

179

165

Jonathan Toews

135

66

43

28

33

15

188

80

Gustav Nyquist

136

175

174

25

30

19

177

58

Nino Niederreiter

137

335

200

22

30

13

171

134


Not too good for the Chicago center. Sandwiched between Jordan Staal and Gustav Nyquist, Toews is only projected to have the 135th most value out of all skaters (excluding goalies). But while 135th isn’t terrible, what makes Toews’ value toxic to fantasy owners is where he’s being drafted. In Yahoo leagues, Toews is ranked as the 66th best player while in Fantrax leagues, he’s being drafted on average 43rd overall. But why is Toews so overrated? I think it really boils down to three things:

1. Toews is a much better real life player than fantasy player

Toews is a really good hockey player; nobody is arguing that. But he is a significantly better real-life player than a fantasy hockey player. He’s known for his defensive abilities and leadership, but sadly those traits don’t exactly help fantasy owners win their matchups each week. He may be a strong defensive player, but 58 points is nowhere near elite production. Combine that with his low hit totals and average shot rates and there aren’t too many ways Toews can benefit your team at the spot where he’s being drafted. There are plenty of better players to choose from that will provide much better fantasy value.  There is a huge gap between his perceived value by poolies and his real value to your team. Exploit the difference!
 

 

FHG Rank

Yahoo! Rank

Fantrax ADP

G

A

PPP

SOG

HITS

Jonathan Toews

135

66

43

28

33

15

188

80

Ryan Johansen

44

61

64

20

49

24

171

118

Gabriel Landeskog

36

68

94

22

39

21

193

178


2. Three Stanley Cups

There’s no denying that Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks as a team have been very successful in the past several years and Toews has been the face of the team throughout their success. Winning three Stanley Cups in seven years will definitely make you well known and inflate your name value. Similar to before, the number of Stanley Cups you’ve won won’t help in fantasy hockey, but it can dramatically increase your perceived value, especially if you’re the captain and get called the best player in the world.

3. Past production

Lastly, Toews’ past production early in his career set high expectations that Toews hasn’t been able to reach. Some poolies still think of Toews as a 75-80 point player even though it’s been years since he’s averaged a point-per-game pace in any season. His days of 70+ points are likely gone, but the memory of those seasons still linger.

Overall, Toews isn’t a terrible fantasy option, but he does not provide as much value as you think. Combine that with his high average draft position and you have quite the overvalued player. Be mindful of Toews and other players like him when drafting, so you’re not stuck overpaying for average fantasy talent.

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!