How to Dark Knight Your Fantasy Hockey Draft
I will start this piece by saying it isn't as much a statistical column as it is a strategy one. However, without strategy stats are worthless. I will do this in the spirit of the final chapter of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises.
Before we get down to brass tacks and Batarangs we have some house keeping to do around Wayne Manor.
1. I would be remiss to write about this movie without mentioning the tragedy in Colorado. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. This was the first movie I have seen since the incident and I couldn't help thinking about these poor people walking into the theatre, watching the lights dim and as the credit rolled.
2. So if you haven't seen the movie yet, go see it. Right now, don't shut down the computer because you are going to want to read this immediately after, but go see it. I will spoil the hell out this film.
3. If I were to be put on the spectrum of comic fandom I would probably fit snugly between "fan boy" and knowledgeable. I have read most modern DC story arcs and understand the Batman mythos, but can't quote issue numbers or rhyme off inkers at this stage of my life. I hope that sets the stage for what you will read.
So are you still curious how Batman can help you win your fantasy pool read on . . .
"I call him The Bat, and yes Mr. Wayne it does come in black." Lucius Fox
Batman has no shortage of toys, weapons and vehicles. A fantasy GM should be no different. If you are serious about winning your pool get the magazines you usually buy, read the sites you always read, listen to the podcast you normally listen to, but pick up one of the FHC Season Tickets as well. It will drastically help your chances of standing atop the Gotham City that is your hockey pool. If not you are just setting yourself up for a season where you are bent over backwards across Bane's knee.
"Age has robbed you of your strength! Victory has defeated you!" Bane [to Batman]
Before Batman dons the cowl in Batman Begins or before he climbs his way out of "The Pit" like Talia al Ghul in TDKR he always trains. Do your own training. Find a mock draft site and pound out a few. Come up with a few strategies and test them out. See what you end up with going winger-heavy early in a draft as opposed to goalie-first or a balanced approach. It will decrease your chance of failure on draft day and give you an idea of when you need to strike in order to obtain specific targets.
Know your weaknesses
"There is no cartilage in your knee. Scar tissue on your kidneys. Concussive damage to your brain tissue. I can not recommend that you go heli-skiing." Unnamed Doctor
Everyone has one. Most have a few. I have admitted my past tendency to overrate centres in all leagues and goalies in larger pools. Some people can't resist their favorite players or their favorite teams. Know your weakness and use it as a filter when making your decisions. It is fine to give in at times when the difference between two players is negligible. However, you need to ask yourself if you are hurting your chances at winning due to personal tastes and biases.
Don't Under Estimate your Enemies
"You fight like a younger man, with nothing held back. Admirable but mistaken." Bane
The problem with most drafters is they assume they will get the guys they want and don't come up with any back-up plans. This leads to scrambling and mistakes. The odds are high that there will be one or more guys who likes the same players you like. You are not special. You are rarely privy to information that isn't accessible somewhere else. Assume your competition is at least as smart as you are and you will rarely be surprised.
When coming up with your plan decide what you will do if you miss out on a run at a certain position. How will you handle a highly rated player falling to you if you aren't really that keen on him? Are you comfortable stocking up on a specific position and trying to make trades to balance your team out?
Familiarize yourself with everything
"My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men." Catwoman
Know your league's rules as it will help you with your strategy. Players like Dustin Brown and Scott Hartnell can have huge swings in value once you add shots or hits to a scoring system. Some leagues limit trades. So in those cases you should to draft the players you need when you need them and occasionally pass on a better option to ensure a balanced roster. Knowledge is power and interestingly a lot more knowledge is available than fantasy owners make use of.
"Theatricality and deception are powerful agents for the uninitiated. But we are initiated, aren't we Bruce? Members of the League of Shadows. And you betrayed us." Bane
Nothing is better than seeing your opponent scramble through a pristine magazine or print-out trying to decide on their next pick while they fumble through a draft. There is nothing worse than hearing a sigh from a guy right after you make a pick. As if there is a hidden gem you just missed. Don't be afraid to act like you know what you are doing. Be confident, talk a little well-timed smack. Target the more confident GMs when you do it and act like your best picks are just average ones. The draft is the one chance you get at using mind games on your opponents. Don't let it go to waste.
Stop Lying to Yourself
"Maybe its time we stop trying to avoid the truth and let it have its day." Alfred
This is the year Hemsky scores 90 points. I told myself that lie for three straight years. In order to win a fantasy pool you have to take risks. Act like you know the future. That you know which players are going to outperform everyone's expectations. However, keep in mind that history repeats itself. If you want 80 points out of your third round pick and you have two options.The guy who has done it who is in the same situation and a guy who should do it, but hasn't . . . maybe take the guy who has done it already. Perhaps your reach will be there when you pick again. Maybe not and he does break out. However, playing to win means playing the percentages more than playing your hunches.
"Where's the fun in that?" Catwoman
Remember, just like movies and comic books, these fantasy pools are meant to be fun. If I suggested something that would hinder the overall experience. Ignore it. For me winning is fun. However, you need to take in the camaraderie of being in a pool with friends that have a shared interest and to being open to something that is bigger than yourselves. When pools stop being fun it is time hang up your proverbial Batsuit and visit Florence with Anne Hathaway.
Finally, I can't believe I made it through the whole column without a quote from Bruce Wayne or The Batman himself so I will bid you adieu with one of my favorite lines in the movie.
"A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy's shoulders to let him know that the world hadn't ended." Batman