The Contrarian – Building Knowledge

by Thomas Drance on August 10, 2014



The data revolution, and how it can inform decision making in fantasy hockey.

The talk over the last year has been about advanced stats. There are various categories and formulae. Each has a reason or defined purpose in mind. Without arguing against any of the methods you can say that they are trying to measure the performance of players and from that build understandings as to why a player ended up having the season that they did.


I think we can all agree that measuring performance is the first step. Then it becomes a matter of building enough knowledge to start understanding what may happen to players in future seasons.


It will take time but there are no shortcuts. The indicators that help will continue to be used and those that don't will be pushed aside or forgotten.


So, I ask, do you keep track of all of your fantasy keeper league movements? How about all the trade offers you give and all the ones that you receive?
If your answer was "No" why not?


Isn't that just as important? I say that it is even more important to you and your fantasy league because it is about your league. However, the only one that can keep track of this information is someone within your league and if we are talking about trade offers then it can only be you.


Sure, in the short term period, the commissioner announces trades and published who got dropped and who got drafted but that info is soon discarded.

Wouldn't you like to know how well the owners in front of you draft or if they have any tendencies? Do a few owners pick up the players they drop? It can help you understand what could be available at your draft and then you can adjust as needed. Which owners are likely to trade for draft picks? Which are likely to trade away draft picks? In what round do goalies generally get drafted?


Maybe an owner has been shopping a player around for a couple of years. It would be good to know if the asking price has gone down or up. Is he still asking for the exact same deal?


We collectively try to understand and predict what will happen in the NHL but in general we don't pay enough attention to what is happening within our own leagues. To me, it is an area where you can take advantage.


Is there a particular pattern when owners drop players? In my pool, Ray Whitney, Ray Ferraro and Ray Bourque where dropped quite frequently. There was also Scott Young and Gary Roberts just so you don't think that it was only because guys named "Ray" got dropped. Good enough to have for one season but then easily discarded when needed. Why trade for them if they'll likely become available?


How about players most likely to be in a deal? Again using my pool, current players like Radim Vrbata, Mike Fisher, Shane Doan, Jaromir Jagr, Patrick Elias and Daniel Alfredsson get moved a lot. It doesn't mean that these players are terrible, just that they are either highly sought after or easily parted with.

Do you know how long players have remained on each owner's roster? There could be owners who get antsy and want to move players after a couple of years because they are tired of having the same guys. Just as possible there could be a hoarder who doesn't move the majority of their lineup.


The data is right there in front of you. It is ready to be collected and analyzed. All it takes is a little bit of effort and some patience to build your knowledge.


P.S. Don't forget to enter my free Top 50 challenge. You still have time but entries have already started to come in.

P.S.S If you need some help might I suggest taking a look at Dobber's 2014-15 Fantasy Hockey Guide


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