Ramblings: Rising Average Draft Positions Across The League (September 15)

by Michael Clifford on September 14, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Rising Average Draft Positions Across The League (September 15)

Ramblings: Keeping an eye on the rising average draft position of some players.

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Not long ago in a Ramblings here on Dobber, the focus was on discrepancies in average draft position across the major sites. The reason for this is simply for savvy fantasy owners to look for value opportunities by identifying players that may be had for cheaper on one site compared to another. A fair numbers of fantasy owners don’t necessarily do dozens of hours of research and devise their own rankings for drafts. Sometimes, it’s just going off a site’s ADP or rankings, and that can be beneficial for those paying attention.

It is also important to note those who see their ADPs rise. There are some players whose rise is insignificant; going from 203rd overall to 199th doesn’t really tell us much. But the big jumpers, the undervalued becoming more valued, and the movers high on the draft board are all worthy of keeping an eye on. Here are some players whose ADP rise is worth noting. They will be noted first by the ADP rise itself (+13, +20, etc.), and then their overall ADP.

Reminder for those that brought it up last week: when someone is referred to as a “first round pick,” that is with the understanding that a 12-team league is the standard. So a first rounder is pick 1-12, a second rounder is pick 13-24, and so on. These are from ESPN. 

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Andrei Markov (+45 to 127)

There really isn’t anything wrong with drafting a potential 40-point defenceman outside the first 10 rounds. He has averaged 46 points per season over the last three seasons, and that’s pretty good in and of itself.

One issue with Markov is not only is he 38 years old in December, but they’re an empty 45-ish points. He doesn’t shoot (hasn’t managed over 135 shots in any of these past three years), he doesn’t take many penalties (he hasn’t cracked 40 penalty minutes in any of those seasons, either), and plus/minus could be a concern now at his advanced age. Carey Price should help in that regard, but it’s fair to wonder if the decline has begun defensively for Markov.

Again, there is not particular issue with drafting a d-man that can get past 40 points, but peripherals will have to made up elsewhere. With his ADP rising fast, the value is disappearing.

Auston Matthews (+25 to 100)

The actual World Cup of Hockey tournament hasn’t started yet, and Auston Matthews has already started to creep into the top-100 draft picks. Should he tear up the actual games… well, this could get ugly.

Perspective is needed for Matthews in one-year leagues. Last season, Jack Eichel had an incredible rookie year, posting 24 goals, 56 points (21 of which were on the power play), and averaged nearly three shots a game. In standard ESPN roto leagues, he finished just outside the top-100 players. Assuming Matthews will be a minus player (for leagues using plus/minus), Matthews needs to be roughly a 25+ goal, 55+ point, 20+ power play point shooting machine in order just to return draft day value, let alone be a profit.

This is my problem with drafting Matthews this year. The draft position doesn’t really have a high profit potential right now, and it’ll likely have even less as draft season wears on. Matthews could be a 20-goal, 55-point player, but without really strong peripherals, he won’t come close to being a top-75 player. How much can be expected of him?

Colton Parayko (+20 to 147)

Parayko looks to be every bit the part of a future fantasy stud. He shoots, he can distribute, he can drive the play, and of course has the booming shot from the point. These are all good things looking ahead.

Where the issue rises for Parayko is his positioning on the depth chart. Until Kevin Shattenkirk is traded (if Kevin Shattenkirk is traded), Parayko is number-3 on the depth chart. There aren’t a lot of third defencemen that carry significant fantasy value. It does happen from time to time – Parayko was solid last year, after all – but it’s not often. In that sense, Parayko’s season last year when considering his total fantasy value is a reasonable expectation for this year.

Repeating last year would make for happy fantasy owners, I think. Again, though, like Matthews, Parayko’s ADP doesn’t have a lot of value built in. He did tie for fifth-highest PDO last year among d-men, and fantasy owners know what that means. Parayko will likely be one of the first 30 defencemen off the board in the coming weeks, and there isn’t a lot of upside there until Shattenkirk is off the roster.

Patrick Sharp (+17 to 94)

I worry about Sharp’s value this year. A lot of his roto value last year came from a very high power play point total (24). The addition of Jiri Hudler muddles things a little bit. Now, the top power play will be Benn/Seguin/Spezza/Klingberg, and one of Hudler or Sharp. Over the course of the season, I imagine both will be getting their tours on the top unit.

For this reason, it’s probably smarter to buy on Hudler than Sharp this year. Yes, Sharp’s peripherals – namely shots on goal – will be superior to Hudler. But at present time, Hudler can literally be had 100 picks after Sharp. Are we sure that Sharp’s advantage in peripherals will be so high that it justifies spending an eighth round pick rather than a 16th round pick on Hudler? That is the decision fantasy owners are faced with.

Max Domi (+11 to 79)

One area where Domi’s draft position makes him relatively safe is ice time. After averaging over 16 minutes a game last year, with the roster the Coyotes have, there’s no reason that Domi won’t be over 17 minutes this year. It’s conceivable his ice time approaches 18 minutes.

That kind of ice time builds value in. I mean, even Justin Abdelkader has managed to crack 40 points in back-to-back seasons because of the ice time he gets. So if a talented player like Domi can get close to 18 minutes a game, that gives him a very high floor.

The only concern is just how much fantasy owners will have to pay in order to grab Domi in their leagues. Right now on ESPN, players within +/- 10 draft positions of Domi include Mark Scheifele, Ryan Johansen, Aleksander Barkov, and Nathan MacKinnon. It’s hard for me to put Domi on par with that calibre of players right now.

In and of itself, there isn’t a huge issue with Domi’s ADP right now. He will be a focal point of Arizona’s offence, and that means 15 power play points, and 50 overall, is a fairly safe floor. The issue is whether he has the same upside this year as players going in his range. I’m not sure he does. 

Wayne Simmonds (+10 to 48)

Simmonds has at least 28 goals, 50 points, and 20 power play points in three straight seasons. Throw in the incredible amount of penalty minutes, all while still being able to manage two and a half shots per game on net, and it’s a wonder that his ADP didn’t start where it is right now.

This is all what makes Simmonds so valuable. He contributes across the board in a way that almost no other fantasy option can, let alone does. The plus/minus isn’t great, but it certainly isn’t a huge hindrance, and there’s reason to believe the team will be better this year anyway.

Taking Simmonds anywhere in the fourth round is a fine option. He is a staple on the power play, can stuff the peripherals, and has proven himself to be one of the truly elite power forwards in the NHL. He doesn’t get he credit he should because he’s not a flashy, high-end talent like Shayne Gostisbehere or Claude Giroux, but Simmonds is one of the most consistently high-end fantasy options year in and year out. Beware his ADP going much higher, but don’t be afraid to take him where he’s going, either.

Henrik Lundqvist (+9 to 30)

It’s inconceivable, really, that Lundqvist will fall out of the third round in any league this draft season (barring some crazy stat adjustments in a weird league). Simply, he’s the best goalie the NHL has seen since the 2005 lockout.

The problem lies with his team. The forward group is deep, and the defence group is bad. With Keith Yandle gone, there is no depth on the blue line. Sure, maybe guys like Dylan McIlrath or Brady Skjei can step in and provide some help. But can they immediately handle top-four minutes for a full season, which is what they desperately need? That is a tall task.  

To that end, the problem with Lundqvist in fantasy this year isn’t a problem with Lundqvist at all. It’s his team. The Rangers led the NHL in five-on-five shooting percentage as a team last year, coming in just under 9-percent (8.95-percent, to be exact). The two years prior, the team was at 7.73-percent, or the middle of the league. If the Rangers score a goals at a mid-pack rate, with the amount of shots they give up, even the great Lundqvist will see his wins fall.

For fantasy owners that miss out on the elite tier of goalies, once it gets past Cory Schneider, it’s probably worthwhile to just wait on netminders at that point. Given how bad his team should be defensively, it’ll be tough for Lundqvist to be a top-10 goalie in fantasy this year barring a .930 season.

Roberto Luongo (+8 to 64)

Concern should be mounting with regards to Luongo’s fantasy value, given that he’s 37 years old, had offseason hip surgery, and the Panthers gave a long-term deal to James Reimer. Despite that, Luongo is pretty consistently a fifth or sixth round pick.

Personally, I loved Luongo in drafts last year. He was going well outside the top-12 goalies, which provided a great buying opportunity as the workhorse of an up-and-coming team. That worked out fine. Now, though, he’s pushing towards the top-12 goalies off the board, and has the issues presented above. It’s not the same as it was last year.

Given how good Luongo has been, if he’s healthy for the start of the year, his ADP is fine. I would, however, grab James Reimer at the end of drafts in order to have the goaltending tandem. Luongo could see his starts cut, and having Reimer would be a good way to mitigate some of the loss in wins. Let’s wait and see how Luongo looks in camp, first.

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I jumped into my first two ever dynasty leagues recently. Having never done one – I do have a couple keeper leagues – I wasn’t sure what to really expect. One thing that jumped off the page immediately is how scoring affects value.

This is something that really doesn’t get talked about much. I think in hockey, more than any other fantasy sport, the scoring settings has a big effect on player value. The dynasty league I started with some other hockey people at the Dynasty Sports Empire site has several categories, denominated by points. In this league, face-off wins and real-time stats are hugely influential, as both David Backes and Ryan Kesler were top-40 players (not just skaters, players) last year.

Just a word of warning: always look at the scoring settings and figure out how it affects drafts. Leagues like the one on DSE differ significantly from just points leagues, or standard roto leagues. It’s basic advice, but something that is often overlooked.

*Stats from Hockey Reference, Hockey Analysis