The regular season is almost here! Rejoice, fantasy hockey fans, the long (though not really?) off-season is almost at an end, with games that actually matter beginning in two days. Individual team rosters must be finalized by Tuesday afternoon, though most lineups are pretty much known at this point.
For those missing out on their advanced stats all year, Corsica Hockey 2.0 launched over the weekend. Emmanuel Perry’s site is truly a one-stop-shop for all the stats a fantasy hockey owner could need.
The upgraded version includes everything that was there before including a few new additions like predictions and graphs. It might take a little while yet for full functionality, but it’s a great day for hockey fans in general.
If you enjoy his site and work, I would recommend supporting his Patreon. I am not affiliated with the site in any way, I just think important work should be supported, and this site is very important to the hockey community.
This is a season-long fantasy hockey site, for the most part. I thought it might be worthwhile, however, to dig into daily fantasy hockey (sites like DraftKings and FanDuel) for a minute. No, I’m not paid by either of those sites to discuss them. While this discussion is more for those looking to dip their toes into the water for the first time, hopefully everyone can glean something from it.
First, the difference between the two sites.
Basically, there aren’t any. DraftKings scoring is as follows for skaters: goals are three points, assists two, shots on goal and blocked shots are 0.5, a short-handed point is one, a shootout goal is 0.2, and a hat-trick gives an additional 1.5. For goalies, it’s three points for a win, 0.2 points per save, a (-1) for a goal against, and two points for a shutout. On FanDuel, many categories (goals, assists, wins, goals against, saves, and shutouts) are simply multiplied DraftKings scoring by a factor of four. Shots and blocked shots are 1.6 points and not 2.0, however. DraftKings has a salary cap of $50 000 with FanDuel’s at $55 000. Both sites have nine roster spots to fill (3C-2D-2G on both) but DK has three wing spots and a utility where FanDuel just has four winger spots.
In that sense, if a player is in a good spot on one site, he’s probably in a good spot on both. At that point, it comes down to salary, and that’s the first important point to keep in mind on every slate: salary differential between the two sites. It’s something I look for every day and is one step in identifying good values.
For example, on opening night (Wednesday), Conor Sheary is $4500 on FanDuel (remember a $55K salary cap) while he is $6400 on DK. On the former site, he’s the 21st-most expensive winger while he’s the fourth-most expensive on DK. It’s pretty clear on which site he’s the better value. Things aren’t always this stark in contrast, but even small differences matter; you’d be surprised how often you just need an extra $100 or $200 to fill out the roster you’re looking for.
When it comes to goalies, there are a lot of players that chase the win. Elite goalies on DK will average about 5-6 DK points per game by the end of the season, so with three points counting for the win, you can see how important it is.
However, do not discount shot volume. Consider this: Mike Smith only won 19 starts out of the 55 he made last year playing for the bottom-dwelling Coyotes. However, he faced about 33 shots a game from a porous defence, and at least 40 shots in 12 of those games. In the games he faced at least 40 shots, he averaged 6.2 DK points even without the win. In the games he got the win, he made for a great fantasy night.
Goaltending is a volatile position year to year, let alone day to day. I’m not saying just throw your money every night on an awful team, but don’t dismiss goaltenders on bad teams out of hand. Sure, they’ll blow up as well, especially if they don’t face the shot volume you’re expecting, but that is just the nature of the position.
Those are just a couple of things I keep in mind every day. There are many strategies that can work on a given night, and different players do different things. I just wanted to give a couple tips to readers that might be trying DFS for the first time.
At this point, I kind of feel bad for dynasty owners of Julius Honka and Kasperi Kapanen. While it looks like Dallas may carry eight defencemen to start the year, the hopes of Honka taking a step forward this year for Dallas’ blue line keep getting snuffed out. Maybe he plays his way up the lineup, but even Mike Heika (a Dallas-focused writer) seems to think that Honka is destined for the AHL because he does not need waivers. It’s an unfortunate aspect of the CBA, but because of his contract situation, Honka probably won’t be with the roster this year for extended periods barring injury.
The same can be said for Kapanen. He’s almost certainly one of the top eight (or nine) wingers in the Leafs organization but he, like Honka, doesn’t require waivers to be sent down. A few days ago, Toronto separated their practice squads into what looked like their NHL roster, and then everyone else. Kapanen, because of the waiver exemption, was in the second group.
This is an unfortunate break for dynasty owners. Because of their contract status, neither player may get a serious look at the NHL level this year even though they’re clearly more talented than some players on the roster. It’s a broken aspect of the CBA, but a reality nonetheless.
There has been a lot of love for Brock Boeser so far this off-season from some fantasy hockey owners, and I don’t get it. I mean, I get it; Boeser looks to be a very talented offensive player. Here’s what I don’t get: do these people realize how bad Vancouver is going to be?
Last year, the Canucks were the second-lowest scoring team in the league on a per-minute basis. They were second-lowest the year before. Is adding Thomas Vanek and Sam Gagner going to change much? This team isn’t appreciably better than they were a year ago, the Sedins are a year older, Vancouver produced one 20-goal scorer (and it was exactly 20), and the team-high was 52 points. What, exactly, is the upside for Boeser this year on a team that should struggle mightily to score?
Out of the bottom-5 teams last year in scoring per minute (Colorado, Vancouver, New Jersey, Arizona, Detroit), there was one player with more than 55 points: Henrik Zetterberg. Radim Vrbata was the next-highest at 55, and a few players had 53. In 2015-16, the bottom-5 scoring teams (New Jersey, Vancouver, Toronto, Carolina, Buffalo) there were four players with more than 55 points: Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Palmieri, and Daniel Sedin. In other words, out of the 10 lowest-scoring teams across two seasons, five players (!) managed more than 55 points.
Again, I ask, what exactly is the upside for Boeser this year?
That’s a question I always ask with myself once the core of my team has been drafted; what upside does this guy have? Boeser’s ADP is just inside the top-200 players, and these are some guys going after him: Alex DeBrincat, Evgeny Dadonov, and Brendan Gallagher. Two of those guys are currently slated to start the season on the top line of a team that won’t be in the bottom-5 scoring, and the third is a rookie with a chance to skate with Patrick Kane (though he may get sent down, I admit).
This isn’t to slander Boeser. I agree that he’s a gifted offensive player with a bright future. The supporting cast around him is poor, and that limits his upside. Can he really post a 60-point season like Dadonov or Gallagher could? I’m not saying Boeser has a poor fantasy season, but I think he’s a much better asset in keeper/dynasty leagues than re-draft leagues, and there are guys with more upside for this year that are being drafted after him.
Some training camp notes from around the league.
It looks like Martin Frk is finally going to get an extended look in the NHL:
Red Wings have told Martin Frk to get a place in Detroit for month-to-month. Needs to find place that allows him to have his French bulldog.
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) September 30, 2017
Good news for Pavel Zacha believers:
#NJDevils coach John Hynes says "strong possibility" Zacha starts season centering Hall, Palmieri, Hischier starts with Johansson on his LW
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) September 30, 2017
Speaking of the Devils (hold your applause for that one):
First two PP units today:
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) September 30, 2017
A five-forward power-play unit! That is great news for fantasy owners of everyone with a player on that unit, and a kick in the teeth to anyone (present company included) that has shares of Damon Severson. We’ll see how long it lasts but, admittedly, this is a pretty cool experiment to be running at the NHL level.
Good luck, Sens fans
So the 6 healthy defencemen for Sens to start the season are: Phaneuf, Ceci, Oduya, Cleasson, Borowiecki, Wideman.
— Dean Brown (@PxPOttawa) October 1, 2017
- Ramblings: Tentpole Defensemen (Mar 16)
- Ramblings: Evander Kane Pops Four; Kuznetsov Injured; Forsberg Friday - March 17
- Ramblings: Second-Half Sam, Kicking the Tires on Kinkaid (Mar 18)
- Mikkel Boedker and the Sharks Have a Potent Week Ahead
- Desert Dogs
- The Journey: Undrafted College Players to Watch
- Saturday's NHL Game Picks - March 17
- Geek of the Week: Is Mikko Rantanen the Real Deal in Multicategory Leagues?