Draft Well and Know Your League’s Settings
Come to your fantasy hockey draft prepared from the first round to the very last. Know your league settings and how many roster positions you have to fill and prepare your own rankings. Keep in mind that automatically generated rankings on sites like Yahoo and ESPN are not tailored towards your particular league settings.
Believe in the Big Name Players
Don’t overreact to last year’s stars or this year’s up and comers. Put most, if not all of your stock in players with a solid track record. Don’t underrate guys like Martin St. Louis to gamble on an up and coming youngster like Nail Yakupov or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Both will be great, but don’t do it – you’ll screw at least one of these gambles up. That being said, if you are in a keeper league then age and potential are bigger factors in your fantasy hockey draft.
This logic of not overreacting also applies when making trades in your league. Buy low on stars and sell high on players who are just playing well at the time. Don’t stray too far from this rule unless you absolutely need to gamble on a hot player to win a matchup or league.
This “believe in the big players” advice might sound like mere common sense, but you would be surprised how easily a GM of a struggling team with either drop a struggling borderline-star or trade a big name away for too little. Don’t expect a hot streak to continue unless the player is proven or they are playing with proven players. This includes up and coming stars, who tend to be inconsistent.
Catch Trends Before Others See Them
While the last section was all about believing in your star players through thick and thin, this section is about picking up on hot players to add to the bottom of your roster. Most GMs won’t notice a player doing well without a big name attached to them. They also tend to overlook players whose overall numbers are diminished by injuries, by playing for a team out of the spotlight like the Panthers or Blue Jackets, or simply by not showing up enough on the goals column – the most salient statistic of all.
Master the Art of the Fantasy Hockey Trade
Identify the team needs of your opponents and exploit them. Nothing annoys me more than when I get offered yet another a mediocre centerman (when I already have three!) for my elite winger or goalie. Nobody wants to add more at one position than they need unless they are clearly winning the deal. Instead, figure out what other teams have too many of, and try to steal one of them away in return for one of your decent players at a position that they desperately need.