It’s been nearly two weeks since I wrote my last Ramblings. Should I be surprised that no new major RFAs have been signed during that time? I guess not. So we’re still in a slow news period, but there were still a couple of items.
According to Darren Dreger, the NHL will announce its intent to decline the option to re-open the CBA. If you didn’t understand that, it’s a good thing. It didn’t sound like the NHL would opt out anyway, but there is still the NHLPA to worry about as far as a 2020 opt-out goes. Unfortunately we’ve gotten to a point where work stoppages are simply a regular thing when a CBA runs out, but we can only hope that the two sides can find a way to agree how the large sum of money gets divvied up this time. But hey, if the NHL can recover from four work stoppages in the last 30 years, what’s one more?
He probably didn’t find his way onto many fantasy teams during his decade or so in the NHL, but Ben Lovejoy has announced his retirement. And the Reverend managed to do so in his own unique way.
— ben lovejoy (@RevLovejoy6) August 29, 2019
Just a friendly reminder to pick up your Fantasy Guide, if you haven’t already. It’ll be updated all the way into October – just remember to download a new copy whenever there’s a player transaction of any significance.
These rankings are from the Default Player Rankings in the Pre-Draft Player Rankings section. The player list and NHL.com rankings may have these players in a different order. The focus is more on avoiding being that owner who autopicks a team without ranking players first.
Before I get started, I’ll admit that I had a more difficult time finding holes in the Yahoo rankings than in the CBS rankings. In other words, there are no Martin Marincins this season. No rankings system is perfect, and each one should only be used as a guideline and is not a substitute for your own situational-based judgment.
Any players also chosen from another writer for a similar piece are purely coincidental, as I don’t collaborate with any other writers when writing here. In fact, there should be a stronger signal to target or avoid a player if you’ve seen at least two writers mention the same player.
Let’s start with players I believe are ranked too high. Just because I have a player listed here doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t draft the player; just that I’m not comfortable drafting that player at their Yahoo ranking. Remember, values are all relative. You’ll rarely catch me saying I’ll NEVER draft a certain player, but it has to be at the right price.
Taylor Hall (12)
This has nothing to do with Hall’s scoring upside and everything to do with his injury history, which I expanded on earlier. In fact, if Hall stays healthy for an entire season, he could pay off at that spot. But can you afford using a late first-round, early second-round pick on a player that has a history of missing significant time?
Evgeni Malkin (16)
Again, injuries here. This has nothing to do with Malkin as a player. Yet over the last six seasons Malkin’s games played totals have been as follows: 60, 69, 57, 62, 78, 68. That’s an average of around 66 games. Because I try to be balanced, the positive is that only Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and Patrick Kane have a better points-per-game average than Malkin (1.12) over that span. Grab the points and run when Malkin plays, but build some depth to your center position to be ready when Malkin misses his dozen or so games again.
Dustin Byfuglien (19)
Yet another pre-draft ranking has Byfuglien extremely high (see my CBS ranking analysis). Big Buff was the top-ranked blueliner on CBS, and he’s the second-highest ranked blueliner on Yahoo. For more on why I think he’s overvalued, read here. If you don’t have the time to read, my reasoning is the injuries and the wear and tear from playing a physical style. Full disclosure: I’m a Byfuglien keeper owner, so I’ve hedged against my own opinion. If he remains injury-free all season, I’ll be wrong and will benefit. But if he doesn’t, then I’ll be right, which I guess is what matters here.
Jordan Binnington (40)
There are rankings out there that are much different from mine, so I’ll admit that I didn’t think much of this one at first. But after reading the Prospect Ramblings by Pat Quinn last night, I realized I wasn’t the only one. We all know the rags-to-riches story of Binnington, so it doesn’t need to be told again here. The question is, what does he have for an encore? Guesses could range from a Vezina Trophy to a potential timeshare with Jake Allen. Of course I’m crazy for mentioning that either scenario could occur, but his Yahoo ranking assumes that the former is far more likely to occur. The recently retired Cam Ward also won a Stanley Cup in his first season – would you have ever drafted him that high after that?
Jamie Benn (41)
“Not CBS but yahoo mocks so far Jamie Benn is dropping big time.”
Benn is listed at #41 by Yahoo. In Yahoo drafts, Benn is being picked on average at 58.3. In a 12-team league that’s an average of 1-2 rounds later for Benn. If you still think Benn is capable of 80+ points, then the default Yahoo ranking would be a great spot to grab him. However, Benn declined from 79 points in 2017-18 to 53 points in 2018-19, so I wouldn’t bank on that large of a rebound. In PIM/hits, Benn hasn’t changed much over that span. However, Benn took noticeably fewer shots (241 to just 189) while maintaining around the same shooting percentage.
Mike had a very expanded view on Benn in a Ramblings from earlier this summer where he suggests that he is fine drafting Benn in the fourth or fifth round. My take: Assuming 12 team leagues, I’d pass on him in the fourth round, but I’d also be fine with taking him in the fifth round if you need a C or LW at that point and can benefit from his physicality. I suppose it depends on how much you think Benn will rebound.
Jack Hughes (86)
I’ll admit that it’s very difficult to rank rookies, so a valid argument could be made to rank him either higher or lower. So to the question of where I would rank him, I don’t really have an answer. I’m not one to make a splash on rookies in single-season drafts, so I’m not sure I would go with Hughes within the top 100 if we simply don’t know what he’s going to be out of the gate. He might be an x-factor by the time fantasy playoffs arrive, but remember that you need to get there first. If you can grab him after pick 100 when no one is paying attention, then I think he’s worth the gamble.
Mikael Backlund (92)
This must be one of those ones that mistakenly slipped through the cracks, because I can’t think of a reason to rank Backlund in the top 100. Unless you believe that Backlund will accrue a pile of points on Matthew Tkachuk’s line this season, but the thing is that he didn’t last season (47 points). Backlund has just one 50+ point season in his career and plays at the easiest position to find scoring waiver-wire options. He’s probably a safe bet to score around the same number of points again, but there are still a ton of 50+ point players left after pick 100.
Do you have any players that you’ve pegged as overvalued by Yahoo? Feel free to share below with the group.
By the way, I’ve had a few requests for me to cover the ESPN rankings as well, so I plan to have something for you on that in the near future.
Hurrah! I just won Jonathan Huberdeau in auction bidding. Now I have both Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov on the same team. Do you think it’s a good idea to have linemates from the same team? It can be a risky strategy, should the line dry up or if I have the Panthers for just two games in an important head-to-head matchup. But at the end of the day, talent wins, and I don’t think you should be targeting an inferior player because you’re afraid to put all your eggs in one basket. Plus if the line gets hot, you’ll pile up the points. By the way, I owned those two AND Mike Hoffman last season. And something like three Ottawa Senators, before Matt Duchene and Mark Stone were traded.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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