I am about to get intimate with a man in a way I never had before. In all my years as an intense fantasy player you would be surprised to find out I have never done it before. Needless to say when the opportunity presented itself I jumped at the chance.
A good friend of mine was recently a groomsman for a wedding in Cambodia. He discovered something while he was there. That the NHL and NHLPA agreed to a new CBA and that the season was going to be underway shortly. This soon led to a second discovery; his NHL redraft fantasy league was going to be drafting even sooner. It so happens that their draft was on a day when he was in the air on the way back. So he needed someone to draft for him.
As you can probably agree, there is something intimate and personal about oneís fantasy team.
Now this isnít as big a picking out someoneís wife or adoptive child or even a job for them. However, if you are like me and take fantasy as seriously as I do it is still a pretty big deal. Perhaps this is similar to choosing a pet for someone else to foster. You get this new thing in your life that you are responsible to care and maintain. You grow attached to certain parts of it and end up with a disdain for other parts. In the end you know they aren't here forever (unless you have a dynasty league). Also, if things donít work out you can always spend less time on your fantasy team than you anticipated or even give-it up. However, just as returning a pet to the shelter, this is socially frowned upon . . . with good reason.
So here I stand.
Going into the draft I did a few of the things I usually do to prepare for a draft, but a few extra things as well. If I was in the league with him it would be different. I would simply get a pick list from him and run them off as requested. However, I was not in this league and it was like the gift of getting to do an extra draft.
I reviewed the roster size and scoring system of his league. I noticed that it is a simplistic league scoring only goals, assists and game-winning goals. Goals were worth 1.5 points and assists only one point. That meant 8 goals were worth 12 assists. Combine that with with GWGs counting another point it was evident that goals were a premium. They would be my early target. The goaltender scoring was odd with a high reduction of points for goals scored, wins being almost negligible and shots against seeming to make the second largest difference. This made it almost impossible to predict who the best choices were. I decided to focus guys I thought would start a lot.
I also took some time consider the nature of head-to-head match-ups. To this point none of my leagues are H2H in hockey. However, I do have a baseball and football fantasy league that are both structured as such. In those leagues I find flexibility is important. Given that you dress two centres and each type of winger with six other forward slots I thought that was a great way to focus as well. Flexibility.
Finally, I reflected on the type of GM he is. He does like to trade, but also uses the waiver wire a lot. So I figured I would go early with proven guys, but later in the draft mix it up, by taking a few more risks and sleepers than I would be comfortable with. (On an aside, I canít stress how hard it is for a conservative fantasy GM such as myself to go outside my comfort zone and take risks like this and leave sure points on the board.) Usually, I permit two well timed ďhunch picksĒ per 25 round draft.
I took all this information and used the FHC Hockey Pool Playbook to craft my draft board. Iíll let you all know how it turned out after the draft tonight.
Coach Matt Perry
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