Alright, we've had some good times at the expense of the ESPN Fantasy Hockey Rankings over the past few years... Two years ago the rankings & projections made about as much sense as a speech by Keith Richards and we speculated that Bernie Lomax may somehow have been involved. Last year things got a little better as they cleaned up the projections a bit but sorta ignored the rankings part of the equation (which is usually important when you're doing fantasy hockey RANKINGS). Well this year, we're a little disappointed to say that the rankings & projections actually look like someone put a little effort into coming up with them and the comedic factor has dropped significantly.
Last year it was clear right from the start (Datsyuk (#3) & Tim Thomas (#4) ahead of Crosby (#5) & Brodeur (#12)) that the rankings were going to be a shiitstorm but this year things seem to pass the smell test as we wouldn't squabble too much with the top 10 but after that whoever did these must have been getting tired or was having a bad day or was in the middle of shampooing Barry Melrose's mullet... cause things start to unravel when we look under the hood.
Now we can't say that we know anyone that uses ESPN to administer a fantasy hockey league but I guess it's possible?!?... so we've gone through the ESPN default rankings and we'll tell you where we'd make some adjustments so that you can make sure you're not picking retired dudes or missing guys all together.
These should be pretty self-explanatory, but we'll add some comments... the number indicates the overall ESPN default ranking and when we refer to our ranking, we're talking about the rankings from our Fantasy Scouting Report (FSR) cheatsheets.
Guys Who Should be Higher (higher, as in closer to Ovechkin):
- #11 Malkin - if he was healthy last year he would have put up 95 pts, 120 PIMs & 300+ shots
- #30 Brodeur - ranked as 4th best goalie? We say he's #2
- #38 Perry - they project 72 pts & 110 PIMs... that's pretty useful in our leagues
- #70 Spezza - 31+51=82 for their 50th best forward? We say he's #30
- #85 Lecavalier - most people see a bounce-back but they see a drop (26+42=68)
- #86 Lidstrom - ranked as 16th best dman? We say he's #6
- #109 Weber - ranked as 21st best dman? We say he's #8
- #138 Downie - he could put up 50 pts & 200+ PIMs... nobody does that
- #143 A.Markov - they project 10+38=48 but he's ranked as 30th best dman?
- #147 Oshie - our #1 ranked forward in the Breakout Bible
- #148 Subban - ranked as 32nd best dman? We say he's #13... kid's a six-category stud
- #168 Kiprusoff - they project 32W, 2.44 & .920 but he's only the 19th best goalie?
- #191 Yandle - they project 10+30=40 but he barely makes top 50 dmen
- #203 P.Martin - they project 37 pts & plus-43!... but he's 55th ranked dman
- #220 Niemi - likely this was before he signed with SJ... make sure you adjust
- #239 Turco - his 28W, 2.55 & .910 are ranked 33 spots behind Leclaire's 12W, 2.71 & .900
- #244 E.Karlsson - he gets our #1 ranking in the Breakout Bible... he could explode
- #260 Frolik - another one who could breakout
- #270 Neal - we'll take his projected 31+27=58 this late in the draft
- #274 Boyes - we think the former 40 goal man will bounce-back
- #290 Benn - he's ranked behind Fabian Brunnstrom?
- #298 C.Crawford - lots of upside playing with Hawks but ranked behind Lalime?
- #317 D.Brown - we'd put him at least 150 spots higher than this
- #319 Franson - has great breakout potential
- #352 Gilbert - he's not great but will give you 30+ pts
- N/A Hudler - he's MIA in the rankings after spending last year in KHL
- N/A Comrie - he's no shoe-in but could be playing with Crosby
- Take a careful look at the goalie rankings as there's some hidden gems way down the list... for example, Neuvirth (#127 ranked goalie), Elliott (#165), M.Smith (#172), DiPietro (#185) & JS Giguere (#201)
Guys Who Should be Lower (lower, as in closer to Jeff Finger):
- #5 H.Sedin - his inferior goals & shots (and position) should put him behind brother Daniel
- #8 Semin - he's fragile and we say he's the 18th best forward
- #37 Franzen - a little high for injury prone mule, considering Perry is #38
- #40 Horton - we like him but this is too early
- #43 Vokoun - sv% will be fantastic but won't rack up many wins with Panthers
- #64 Kaberle - maybe in points-only leagues but he's a liability in goals, +/-, PIMs & shots
- #66 Tanguay - see Kaberle
- #68 Brassard - they project a 56 pt breakout & he's ahead of Spezza, Lecavalier & Duchene?
- #71 N.Backstrom - ranked as 9th best goalie? We say he's #17
- #75 Penner - drop him down about a hundred spots
- #78 Lucic - his projected 42 pts & 116 PIMs are preferred over Hartnell's 49 pts & 150 PIMs?
- #83 Holmstrom - the always breakdownable Homer is waiver wire material
- #116 Souray - has upside but too many question marks to be ranked as 23rd best dman
- #149 E.Cole - do not draft him
- #179 Niittymaki - ranked as 20th best goalie, likely before Sharks signed Niemi
- #198 Guerin - he's no longer with Penguins and on a try-out with Flyers
- #246 Kariya - would literally make zero contribution to your fantasy team this year
- #264 Huet - only if your league counts Swiss league stats
- #278 Koistinen - looking for work
- #281 S.Kozlov - looking for work
- #288 Lalime - he's ranked as 35th best goalie? We say he's #59
- #289 Brunnstrom - had two goals in 44 games last year