I had planned on starting this column in the offseason for a while. I will still be writing about stats, but I think this is a very important area to cover. Frankly, I believe it is an area that takes your above-average GM who invests 15 hours of sub-conscious time a week in to his hockey pool or pools and allows him to use that data in such a way that he is a perennial Top 3 contender versus being a perennial “middle-of-the-packer”.
First off let’s address just that. It is fine to finish in the middle of your league. It isn’t the end of the world, but if you have finished there more than three times in the last four years. Guess what. You are throwing your time and money away. The true value in any pool is winning. However, if you can`t win at least start making moves that allow for you to rebuild. Move up the standing or even down the standings if you are building for the long-term. However, it isn`t productive to have consecutive finishes of 6th, 5th, 6th and 7th.
Let’s assume the average GM puts in 10 hours a week managing their team. This includes reading up on players, fielding and making trade offers, adjusting line-ups and watching games that don’t involve their “ favorite team.” Let’s also assume that the average GM makes a bit more than minimum wage, say $15 an hour for example. Over the course of the year that is equal to $150 a week you your time each and every week. That is equal to $7,800 a year. Not including magazines. Not including league dues. Not including beers purchased to butter-up potential trade partners.
That is why a smart purchase, like one or even all of Fantasy Hockey Coach’s guides, is a smart move to cut your fantasy hockey overhead. It saves you time and can give you the edge you need to be in contention to win your pool
I know what you are thinking. I love it though. It isn’t work. I’d watch the games anyway. I understand. I agree. However, I still implore you to take the position that your fantasy hockey team is a part-time job.
Most jobs in North America have the following requirements and benefits that you can apply to your fantasy team to increase your success:
Set Goals – Every year I set goals. In my favorite keeper league last year I set a goal. Having won the league the year before my goal was to rebuild by improving my keepers through adding a big minute offensive defensemen, a starting goalie and youth at forward.
I turned Joe Thornton, Joffrey Lupul, Tim Thomas, Nick Lidstrom and other parts into Loui Eriksson, Jeff Skinner, Duncan Keith and draft picks. When the season finished I still hadn’t addressed my back-up goalie (Corey Crawford), but I still met two of my three goals so I considered it a success.
Monthly Review – I wear #21 when playing hockey. Therefore I chose the 21st of every month to review all my players objectively and see who is performing well and who isn’t. This doesn’t always result in action, but knowing exactly what I expect from each player and what they are doing allows me to pull the trigger quickly on trades or free agent moves when up against the clock. Plus it is nice to have a change of perspective from my daily check-ins on my team. I also review my performance. Did I blow a free agent add? Have I not made the right roster activations? If so why? What can I do differently?
Give Yourself a Raise – I have a strict budget for fantasy sports. Being a father with a family I can’t just join every league, buy every guide or bid on every free agent. However, if I think I have a shot at winning the title or if I have exceeded my goals I will go a week or so without Starbucks or another “luxury” item in my lifestyle and treat myself. This extra incentive usually helps increase my performance or at least my focus.
Take a Vacation – June is probably the best time. Most league’s have trade embargos until after the draft. This means you can stop looking at your team and potential trades and just be a pure hockey fan. Put down the Blackberry at the park with your kids or on the couch with your girlfriend and recharge. I guarantee that if you take two weeks away from you fantasy roster a bad situation will look better and your iron-clad contender will reveal a hole.
So that is my first bit of philosophy. Make your team your part-time job. Not because it should be work, not to take the fun out of it, but because it will help you win. If you have been in a league for 10 years without winning your pals have been taking you for $78,000 of your time. Sure you can’t get that money. However, does that not mean it isn’t valuable to you? Of course it is, and you know what feels better than taking home $7,800 of imaginary money from a game where you and your friends draft players who’ve never heard of you and dress them for teams that don’t exist?
Right, beating your friends at this made-up game and rubbing their face in it.
So Fantasy Hockey Philosophy 101’s first lesson is this. If you haven’t been winning. Change what you are doing. For hints on this, check out the stats section all offseason for tips, tricks and philosophy that I hope will help turn you into your league’s next champion.