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Fantasy Hockey Draft Tips

Thought we should put out a quick article with some tips for your fantasy hockey draft... now hopefully this is helpful but it is certainly NOT 2 things...

1.   Timely - a lot of you have probably already done your draft, we know... should have put this out earlier but been busy with other things.

2.   All-encompassing - don't take this list as being the bible of draft advice, just a few tips... the guys over at Waikiki Hockey had a great article about their 4-step plan to win your pool on the cheap... that is recommended reading. 

Alright here's a few quick tips:

1)  Preparation, Preparation, Preparation... 

  • Don't get suckered into taking guys with injuries. Avoid guys like Sergei Gonchar, Ryan Whitney, Erik Johnson, Justin Williams and Steve Sullivan who will miss most of the season with major injuries. 
  • Check out our Injury Updates page right before your draft for the latest on all the key injuries
  • Take advantage of our up-to-date free rankings while the other GMs in your league use a magazine that was printed in July.
  • We like to target guys on team's with coaches that are kind to fantasy hockey GMs... certain coaches can kill players and others make it happen no matter what players they have... take a look at our Coach Rankings for some of our favourites.

2)  Don't do your draft on auto-pilot:

  • Computers have perfected many things but fantasy hockey drafting is not one of them.  If you're doing an online draft make sure to take a look at the sites rankings in case you get booted off the system or so that you don't get fooled into taking Marcel Hossa or Frantisek Kaberle instead of their much more worthy siblings (both of these guys were mis-ranked on Yahoo's rankings when we did our draft a few weeks ago) 
  • A websites rankings may also underrate guys who missed a lot of time last year like: Selanne, Sakic, Nylander, Horcoff, Gagne, Bergeron, Havlat, Zubov, Boyle, Niedermayer and Souray.  Some of these guys are injury worries again this year but a lot are very solid options that might be missed by some CPUs and GMs.

3)  Strong Positional Play:

  • If its hard to find wingers out there but there are a ton of decent centers, look to some centers that could gain wing eligibility... currently on Yahoo, guys like Briere, Marleau, Drury, Franzen and Gagner are listed as Cmen but will probably be spending a lot of time on the wing and hopefully Yahoo will make them wing eligible at some point.
  • Dustin Byfuglien - a guy who's listed as a dman but is going to play wing the whole year is about as unfair as using Lawrence Taylor in Tecmo Bowl... if he's close to 40 points this year then he'll be one of the top 15 fantasy hockey dmen... treat him as such.

4)  Late round steals win championships:

  • We like to take flyers on guys in the later rounds... potential breakouts, rookies, backup goalies that could win #1 jobs, Sundin/Forsberg, etc.  They won't all pay-off but if you hit a few home runs then you're laffing and if you make a mistake then you just need to stay close to the waiver wire cause you should be able to find a decent replacement early in the season.
  • Don't overrate rookies too much, only about 4 or 5 a year will break 50 points and its even harder for rookie dmen to contribute right away, especially 18 year olds like Doughty and Bogosian.  2nd or 3rd year guys are much better bets and are often not as hyped as the hot shot rookies.
  • Speaking of steals, you should grab a copy of our Breakout Bible 2008 for only $5 cause its got 79 pages on players that have a shot to breakout this year and a lot of them would be great late round picks.

Good luck in your draft.