Fantasy Value - Overrated or Underrated?
In this article, we break down overrated and underrated players in a rotisserie league using stats from the 2008/2009 NHL season.
The biggest driver of player value is position (which we touched on in the Fantasy Fundamentals series), so overrated players generally come from strong positions and underrated ones from weak positions. We’re not saying don’t draft the overrated guys and only draft the underrated ones – just don’t be fooled into thinking high point totals mean high value in your league! Let's take a look:
You might notice that all three overrated guys play centre… that’s the curse of playing at the ultra-competitive centre position – so many centres put up great points that it’s simply average to do so, and these guys don’t stand out anywhere else:
Nicklas Backstrom – C, Washington Capitals: Backstrom makes his living feeding pucks to Ovechkin, which is a good gig if you can get it. Unfortunately for his rotisserie league owners, he just doesn’t contribute as much as you’d like to the other stats – 22 G, 66 A, +16, 46 PIM, 42 PPP, 174 SOG.
Points rank: #9. Hockey Pool Geek Value: #17.
Verdict: Great for points, but his poor contribution to G, PIM and SOG really hurt his value. Look for his points to improve in 2009/2010, but until he shoots the puck and puts it in the net, he won't be a top-level multi-category player.
Joe Thornton – C, San Jose Sharks: What if? That’s the question with Big Joe. He can put up the points, but can he win your roto league? The answer doesn’t look good – 25 G, 61 A, +16, 56 PIM, 35 PPP, 139 SOG.
Points rank: #11. Hockey Pool Geek Value: #30.
Verdict: The points are there, but he really hurt you in other categories across the board…
sounds a lot like Nick Backstrom, doesn’t it? Expect a rebound season from Big Joe in the 2009/2010 season, with a return to 95+ points. He's not likely to regain the mean streak he had in Boston and the PIMs that came with it, and like Backstrom, he's a pass first player. Those factors keep his real value lower than you might expect.
Henrik Sedin – C, Vancouver Canucks: Henrik Sedin spends his time passing the biscuit to his twin brother Daniel, who buries it. Talk about born for your job… His stat line - 22 G, 60 A, +22, 48 PIM, 26 PPP, 143 SOG.
Points rank: #13. Hockey Pool Geek Value: #66.
Verdict: Notice the pattern yet? Pass-first centres who don’t take penalties are almost ALWAYS overrated in a rotisserie league because there are so many better options available at centre! Henrik Sedin is as consistent as they come and as close to a lock for 80 points in 2009/2010 as there is in the NHL - but he doesn't fill out your scoring categories. All these guys are great if you're targetting the assists category to address a shortfall there... but just don't have the well-rounded game of a Lecavalier or Savard.
The weakest forward position in the 2008-2009 NHL season was right wing, hands down. As a result the RWs below were worth their weight in gold; three diamonds among a slew of coal:
Corey Perry – RW, Anaheim Ducks: Skilled with a nasty streak, Perry can hurt you by putting the puck in the net or with a slash while the ref isn’t looking. Don’t let his point totals fool you: he contributes in a big way across the board – 32 G, 40 A, +10, 109 PIM, 24 PPP, 283 SOG.
Points rank: #34. Hockey Pool Geek Value: #4.
Verdict: Perry’s modest points mean he flies under the radar compared to his real value – this guy is a cornerstone in a rotisserie league. Look for more improvement in the G, A, and PPP departments in 2009/2010 while holding the rest of his solid peripherals steady.
Marian Hossa – RW, Chicago Blackhawks: A complementary player for the first time in his career last season on the ultra-deep Red Wings, Hossa adds good value to each scoring statistic – 40 G, 31 A, +27, 63 PIM, 23 PPP, 307 SOG.
Points rank: #37. Hockey Pool Geek Value: #6.
Verdict: Hossa’s nice G, +/-, and SOG totals give him a boost. He's not a great bet to have good totals for the 2009/2010 because of his injury, but in the games he plays he'll be a solid bet. His +/- will take a hit in Chicago compared to Detroit, but expect his points (per game) totals to come up to compensate.
Shane Doan – RW, Phoenix Coyotes: Multi-category consistency is why guys like Shane Doan will win your fantasy hockey league and the bragging rights that come with it – 31 G, 42 A, +5, 72 PIM, 25 PPP, 230 SOG.
Points rank: #33. Hockey Pool Geek Value: #18.
Verdict: Doan makes solid contributions to all the stat categories, and like the two other right wingers above, his value isn’t intrinsic so much as it is being the class of a weak field. 2009/2010 promises more of the same for Doan - great news for poolies!
How does player value change in your league? Check out the features on www.hockeypoolgeek.com to find out!