Looking at Average Draft Position Discrepancies Among Major Sites
With the opening of Yahoo fantasy hockey, now is the time when fantasy owners can start gathering preliminary information from the public. This is an exercise that should not be ignored. Keep in mind that outside of the hardcore fantasy hockey owners (like those that are reading this, and visit Dobber frequently), fantasy hockey is still small in comparison to the other North American sports. Many people who play fantasy hockey rely on the more well-known sites like Yahoo and ESPN for their information. Dissecting said information helps get a leg up on the non-hardcore crowd (or, even more of a leg up).
One way to dissect the information is to look at average draft position (ADP) discrepancies. For whatever reason, sometimes there are small differences in how players are ranked/drafted between the two sites, and sometimes there are very large differences. Finding these, and exploiting them, can be helpful.
A couple notes on this:
- League settings change things for individual players, so keep that in mind. With that said, the biggest difference between standard Yahoo roto and ESPN roto is that ESPN includes time on ice by default.
- ESPN has players ranked by single positions (no multi-positional players in their ADP numbers). That helps explains some of the discrepancy.
Here are several players that caught my eye with regards to ADP differences. Their ADP is listed per site, along with the positional rank that ADP entails.
With that out of the way, let’s begin.
John Gibson (Anaheim – G) – Yahoo: 30.7 ADP, Goalie-8; ESPN: 68.9 ADP, Goalie-12
As it sits at this moment, Gibson’s ADP on Yahoo is slightly ahead of Henrik Lundqvist (33.9). Let that sink in.
This is a nice way to kind of wrap up what I wrote about Gibson in a Ramblings last week. My concern has long been that Gibson would have to be drafted as a top-12 goalie. This isn’t to say he won’t be a top-12 goalie, as anyone who has played fantasy hockey for a few years knows, goalies can be volatile. But as alluded to in that Ramblings, the .920 Gibson posted last year isn’t necessarily representative of what will happen because of his absolutely insane save percentage while short-handed. In fact, in his regular season NHL career (or the last three seasons), his five-on-five save percentage (.924) is just slightly ahead of his backup Jonathan Bernier (.923). Gibson has still only faced a bit over 1750 shots in his regular season career, and he’s just 23 years old, so this is by no means is intended to indicate he can’t be excellent. But I am wary, and for the price that will have to be paid on draft day, he can be passed on.
Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus – G) – Yahoo: 141.6 ADP, Goalie-28; ESPN: 89.2 ADP, Goalie-18
Another one I bring up because of a Ramblings, particularly the one yesterday. Look at that Yahoo ADP. Look at it!
Readers don’t have to necessarily be a big believer in Columbus to be enamoured with taking Bobrovsky as a third goalie. Getting him anywhere outside the top-20 is pretty much a gift (will it be a box full of money, or a box full of snakes? Who knows!). Remember: over the course of his first three years with Columbus, the only regular starters with a higher five-on-five save percentage than Bobrovsky were Tuukka Rask and Carey Price, and that was done in a 147 game sample.
Last year was absolutely a disaster season for Constable Bob. But given the draft day cost, and his track record, passing on him this year is not a good idea, especially on Yahoo.
Ryan Suter (Minnesota – D) – Yahoo: 104.3 ADP, Defence-24; ESPN: 40.8 ADP, Defence-9
Suter had an excellent season, posting 51 points. He also tied his career-high in goals, set a career-high in assists, cracked 50 points for the first time, and set a career-high in shots on goal. Mind you, it was his 10th 82-game season in the NHL, and he turns 32 in January. This, ladies and degenerates, is what we call a” career year.”
This isn’t to say he can’t be good. He can be a 40-point, 150-shot defenceman that won’t hurt in the plus/minus column. That’s good. But it isn’t top-10 defenceman good. Not by a longshot. What he can be, though, is somewhere around a top-20 defenceman, which is precisely where he’s going on Yahoo. Let him be someone else’s problem in ESPN drafts, but keep an eye on him on Yahoo.
Patrice Bergeron (Boston – C) – Yahoo: 36.0 ADP, Centre-13; ESPN: 17.4 ADP, Center-7
I will freely admit that Bergeron is one player I have been struggling with over the last couple of seasons. This is mostly due to his career arc. He scored 31 goals in his second year in the league, and managed 73 points (2005-2006). He didn’t surpass 22 goals in any season afterwards until 2013-2014, a full eight years later. He has now cracked the 30-goal mark in two of the last three seasons. He also didn’t crack 60 points from 2007-2011 (in part due to injuries). He has managed at least 62 points in three of his last four 82-game seasons. It’s all very strange.
There is a serious decision to be made about taking Bergeron in the middle of the second round. Other elite centres like Anze Kopitar and John Tavares are probably still kicking around, which makes the decision difficult. On Yahoo, though, he’s going in the Nicklas Backstrom–Jack Eichel range, and that doesn’t seem to be much of a decision to me (though I think Dobber might disagree).
Patric Hornqvist (Pittsburgh – RW) – Yahoo: 112.8 ADP, RW-21; ESPN: 54.8 ADP, RW-8
This is in the same realm as Suter i.e. the Hoo Boy realm. Perhaps even more so because the ice time bump is pretty much irrelevant.
Any guesses how many players have 20+ goals, 50+ assists, 3+ shots per game, and not been zero or worse in the plus/minus column in each of the past three seasons? Four (from Hockey Reference’s Play Index):
(Writer's note: The previous paragraph was supposed to read 50+ points, not 50+ assists.)
Now, this isn’t to say that Hornqvist is in the same company as guys like Jamie Benn, Sidney Crosby, or Patrick Kane. What it is to say is just how amazingly consistent Hornqvist has been, and how hard it is to be consistent to his level in the NHL.
I wouldn’t really be all that comfortable drafting Hornqvist as my top right winger, which many will have to do on ESPN, apparently. Drafting him as my second right winger, in the same neighbourhood as Kyle Palmieri? As Paul Bearer might say, ohhhhh yesssssssss.
Brendan Gallagher (Montreal – RW) – Yahoo: 153.3 ADP, RW-34; ESPN: 124.7 ADP, RW-21
Anyone who has followed my writing for a few years now knows my level of love for Gallagher, both in real hockey, and in fantasy hockey. He was on the verge of a full-fledged breakout last year… and then injury. It sucked, both as a fan of the Habs, and as a fan of Gallagher.
Gallagher should be healthy this year, which is a good start (though he was last year as well, but I digress). Keep in mind that when he and Max Pacioretty play together, they are sublime (from Puckalytics, over the last three seasons):
There really isn’t a reason to believe that Gallagher shouldn’t be at least a 20-goal, 50-point scorer, as long as he’s healthy. And I’m about the most pessimistic Habs fan you’ll meet.
Gallagher as a second right wing, as is apparently the case on ESPN, is fine. There probably isn’t a huge profit potential there, but it seems to be a safe decision. On Yahoo, however, getting him as a third right winger looks like a very solid profit play. This is another player where passing on him at that point in the draft is just a foolish mistake.
Evander Kane (Buffalo – LW) – Yahoo: 161.2 ADP, LW-40; ESPN: 67.6 ADP, LW-10
Maybe I missed one, and that’s a definite possibility. From what I could tell, though, among players ranked inside the top-200, this was the biggest discrepancy in ADP. Back in a Ramblings in June, I indicated that his ADP should probably fall somewhere around the 12th or 13th round. His Yahoo ADP is in fact the 14th round, which sounds about right. His ADP on ESPN, though, is way too high.
Kane’s ADP on ESPN is literally a few picks (not rounds, picks) behind Max Pacioretty’s. There is no way to justify this. Even as a Kane fan (on the ice), he has not proven himself to be reliably healthy, and has scored more than 20 goals once in six 82-game seasons. Hard pass.
On Yahoo, however, that ADP is way more palatable. He can likely be had as a third left winger, and that’s a perfect profit potential. Even a decent year like 18-20 goals, 40 points, and lots of both shots on goal and penalty minutes would be sufficient. Of course, should he fulfill his potential, there is profit beyond that as well.
Drafting Kane as a top-24 left winger seems to be a mistake. He can be had for much later on Yahoo, though, and that’s worth keeping in mind.
Hopefully there will be adjustments made at some point – as a Twitter follower pointed out to me yesterday, this happened with Alex Ovechkin – but there are a couple of position problems on ESPN right now.
First, Filip Forsberg is listed solely as a centre. He took nine faceoffs last year. Obviously, there isn’t much profit in drafting Forsberg as a centre. The profit comes from him being a potential (likely?) 30-goal, 65-point left winger. A fantasy owner can conceivably get those numbers from Mark Scheifele, Nathan MacKinnon, Jack Eichel, or Sean Monahan a couple rounds later.
Also, Ovechkin is listed as a right winger. This is a problem because the big two left wingers are Ovechkin and Jamie Benn. Without Ovechkin listed as a left winger, Benn is really in a class of his own at the position. That makes him nearly a must-draft after the first few picks of the first round, if only because he provides such a positional advantage. The only player that might come close to Benn at left wing is Johnny Gaudreau, and that’s far from certain.
These are just a couple things to keep in mind for those drafting on ESPN in the near-term. It does affect how some players should be viewed.
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