Hockey is back!
That means fantasy hockey is also back, and we’re all in a sprint to get our teams figured out before the season begins.
To make things a bit easier, I’ve put together five simple tips to help you out, not only before the season, but also during this shortened season.
While many things will remain the same (as far as fantasy goes), there are little things to take into account this year when putting together your team and when making decisions later in the season.
Here are five things you should think about:
1) Keep Backup Goalies in Mind
Backup goalies can be a source of some cheap stats during a normal regular season, but with the shortened season, there are some backups that will provide some bonus numbers. With a schedule that will see more games in a given week, certain backups will see more playing time. Matchups are key, but backups tend to face the weaker opponent when a team plays back-to-back games, so guys like Tomas Vokoun or Brian Elliott will have added value after the starters are gone.
2) Act Quickly on Players That Are on a Hot Streak
I usually wait four or five games before picking up a free agent player that is on a hot streak, just to be sure it’s not a fluke. With the shortened season, five games is right around a tenth of the season, so those stats over a few games could really help out. If the player is a recent call-up, or has taken over for an injured player, the hot streak might be short lived, but if you have the roster space, it’s worth acting quickly on.
3) Don’t Overreact to Cold Streaks
Especially early in the season, some players will be rusty and will undoubtedly go on a cold streak. Besides being rusty, even the players that were overseas will need a few games to get used to the different style of play. If you took a shot at a sleeper and he’s on a prolonged cold streak, then it might be time to drop him. However, if your superstar doesn’t look right, don’t give up on him! It will only be a matter of time before the stats add up.
4) DO React to Owners That Are Overreacting
Going along with #3, there will certainly be owners who look at certain players and panic. If their star player isn’t putting up numbers, especially with the shorter season, they’ll begin to sour on them. There’s no reason you can’t exploit this and try to pry a struggling player from that owner. Some owners even drop guys that are solid fantasy producers because they aren’t putting up numbers. Jump on those guys if they become free agents.
5) Keep an Eye on Injuries
Injuries are always key in any season, but again, with a shortened season, a simple injury could cost a player a good chunk of the year. This season more than others, it will be a good idea to look at the guys that are replacing injured players on their line. Especially if it’s a third-line player moving up to a top-two role, the added value in a short period of time will be worth jumping on. Also worth looking into is any player that will see increased ice time (power play time, etc.), or any players that are called up, and decide if they are worth the short-term add.
These tips are just a start. While your thinking going into the season should remain pretty much the same as other seasons, these five tips will certainly be things to keep in mind.
NHL Rankings & Content Editor
Dynasty Sports Empire