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Fantasy Hockey Draft / Auction Tips

Here at Fantasy Hockey Scouts we strive to give you all you need to succeed in your league/pool.  With our Fantasy Scouting Report (which includes our Projected Stats & Cheatsheets), our Fantasy Prospects DB and the Breakout Bible, you have all the pieces... now you just need to put them all together.

Our plan assumes two things: 1) you have a life and 2) you don't want to spend a fortune to get prepared.

This list is for the GMs out there who love fantasy hockey and don't think their waiver claim is more important than a few pints with friends or their kid's soccer game (or both).  We want to help you beat that guy in your league who spends every minute of his life reading and researching fantasy hockey (yes, we realize that description fits us pretty well).

Unlike this guy we're not going to say that picking a winning fantasy hockey team is a piece of cake... if you're in a decent league it's going to be tough.  But by picking your resources carefully and maximizing your efforts in the right spots, you should achieve the maximum value with the minimal effort.

1. Get the best sleeper / breakout list you can

  • Trophyhockey If you're paying for anything, this is where you should do it... we obviously recommend our Breakout Bible as we were the guys who called the big breakout by Steve Stamkos last year (see our Breakout Tracker).  But if you are looking for something different there is always websites like Dobber Hockey and Rotowire or magazines like McKeen's, The Hockey News or The Forecaster.  Each GM in your league will likely be using some sorta sleeper list, so having your own is a must and knowing what sleepers other GMs could be targeting helps as well.  
  • Breakouts / sleepers are where fantasy pools are won and lost.  You can get lucky (like with Tyler Myers or Patric Hornqvist) or you can see it coming (like we did with guys like Rene Bourque, Alex Goligoski or Jack Johnson last year). 
  • You may not be able to pick up all the big breakouts but try to get as many upward trending guys as possible.  Remember, upward trending doesn't have to mean risky, for example, Claude Giroux is a safe bet for 50-60 points this year but he also has the potential to go up to 70-80 if the stars align.

2. Project Your Draft / Auction

  • Get your projected stats or cheatsheet in an Excel file (ps... our projections were the most accurate last year) so you can sort, cut and paste your rankings to match your league's rules.
  • Tweak your list as best you can to match how your draft or auction will go.
  • Highlight all the breakout candidates you discovered in step #1.

3. Pick your Targets

  • Make your first three picks count; don't take risks early...i.e. no Marian Gaborik in Rounds 1-2.
  • Get as many sleepers as possible; try to draft them one round before you think they will go.
  • Goalies are normally the most important position in a lot of fantasy leagues so make sure you own at least one top netminder... you don't want to depend on any goalie who plays for the Oilers all year.

Stanley-cup 4. Hit the Free Agent Market Early and Often

  • Not all of your sleepers will blow up, in fact, some will implode, so you'll need somebody to fill in for them if they don't pan out... that's what the FA market is for.
  • This year's Tyler Myers, Dustin Penner & Antti Niemi are sitting on your waiver wire somewhere... find them (or just read FHS every day and we'll point you in the right direction).
  • Don't be afraid to hit the wire early in the season; you'll get more value out of your free agents and there will be more surprises early on.

5. Think Big Picture

  • We've been part of many league where we've seen GMs pour over stats, magazines, etc but don't take five minutes to come up with a plan for their draft or auction.
  • Think about your league's rules, your competing GMs, which players are available, which players will be free agents after the draft, what type of players were on past winners rosters, etc, etc. 
  • Develop a plan.  How much are you going to spend on goalies?  Where are you hoping to draft your top forwards?  Are you building a team around scoring or peripherals?  Are you going to tank any categories like +/- or PIMs?
  • Your plan can always change during the draft but having a plan to start makes sure you are not going to be wandering aimlessly through the fantasy wilderness.

Follow our easy five step plan and this could be you... livin' the dream, biatches!...