If you’re like me, you indulge in the occasional fantasy. Whether it’s while waiting in line at the DMV, talking to your neighbor’s trophy wife, or behind the wheel of a speeding motor vehicle, we’re all allowed to take a break from the mundane reality in which we’re currently trapped. At their core, that’s what sports are for. Weekly, daily, nightly releases from the grind that makes us human and so sometimes terrible. Even when it isn’t being played on a computer surrounded by empty cans of Budweiser, a bottle of whiskey, and half eaten Subway sandwiches from two days ago.
Dude, you’re sad.
To that end, we sometimes combine obsession with sports and our (my) delusions of being not this and channel that in fantasy sports. I used to not be a fan of the fantasy sports – that is to say, I didn’t participate in any of them. Now, I can’t imagine a season without it. Except the NBA. That can go to hell.
Recently, my football league took shape and will draft soon. Surely the most popular of the fantasy sports, it isn’t the one I enjoy the most. For my money (which, there is none involved) it’s hockey. Are you shocked?
If you’ve never tried fantasy hockey before, stop being a chump. More than any other, hockey fans are more inclined to follow or watch another team besides their own on television- as my data clearly shows. Fantasy hockey makes it all the more enticing. Even if you end up with a garbage team to begin with, you might think twice about changing the channel when the New York Islanders are losing to the New Jersey Devils. Why? Because John Tavares has two goals and an assist, and Martin Brodeur still looks like he’ll get the win.
It’s moments like these where you then take to Twitter and type things like “FANTASY POINTS!” Trust me; all of my 230 followers love it.
Inevitably, the best part is the draft itself. If it’s your first time, you’re going to try and grab all your favorite Blackhawks players. Then, you’ll hoard them for the entire season even though you’re in last place. Why? Because you’re a jack-wagon. Loading up on your hometown team is one of the most common mistakes and there’s no other reason for it other than being a novice.
“But, why not? The Blackhawks are a good team.”
Terrible question, Internet. “Why not?” because regardless of what almost happened last season with the points streak, the Blackhawks don’t win every game. And, when they do win, you’re favorite players aren’t going to contribute every night. Sometimes for weeks at a time. We (I) call this the Viktor Stalberg Effect. As in, “your players effectively play like a bunch of Stalbergs and should go away.”
The goal (ha!) is to <drumroll> draft a good team. You do this by filling the positions with not who you like, or think is ZOMG cuuuuutttteeeee LULZ, but by who is the best available.
The most common league type for hockey is a soulless bastard known as Rotisserie. If you’re used to head to head style in your lesser worthy leagues, throw all you know out the window. But, don’t jump out yet. Wait on the ledge until you have a monster night from your team –SuperNintendoHjalmrs– and yet you somehow lose 11 points. Trust me, shit gets bananas.
The thing with Rotisserie is that you’re not playing just one team a week. You’re playing every team, every night. This is why it’s so important to spread your roster away from solely teams you like. If you loathe the New York Rangers and choose to skip out on drafting Henrik Lundqvist because you have a fan-boner for Cam Ward and the Hurricanes – while not necessarily a wrong choice, Ward is a good goalie – you might still end up regretting it.
When drafting, you need to take into account things like who else is on the team, what type of style does the team play, is their coach a first year coach/moron etc. For instance, last season when it showed that Dave Bolland would spend a lot of ice time with Patrick Kane, people may have jumped at the chance for that sleeper. Unfortunately, they were disappointed because for some reason playing on the same line with the teams’ leading scorer is just a way to get traded to Toronto.
While reading a projected Top 100 list from Yahoo! the other day, it was pretty clear that a lot of times, these lists are formulated by using the “copy, paste” method from the file titled “InternetListHockeyYAHOO2011thru2020”.
You have your typical top three in Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, and Evgeni Malkin, respectively. That being said, the surprises are there too. Tuukka Rask comes in at No. 7 with Pavel Datsyuk and Jonathan Toews ranked very low at Nos. 20 and 21.
Is it smart to follow these lists and draft accordingly? Hell no. You’d be unwise to not go your own route – within reason, mind you. Don’t go all “friend of mine” and draft Roberto Luongo No. 1. You read that sentence correctly. Two years ago, in my league, Roberto Luongo was drafted first overall. This friend hasn’t participated since.
What are your draft techniques? League preferences? Is there a player you will never draft again? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Brennan has appointed himself the Midway Madness fantasy hockey king. Tell him why he’s magnificent or incapable on Twitter @midway_brennan