Fantasy Draft Breakdown
I thought I would depart from my usual Eastern Conference focus in order to cover a tough draft that took place last Saturday night. The league is called the Rocky Horror Roto Show and is comprised of some of the hardest of the hardcore poolies drawn from our forums.
The league is a 12-team roto with the following categories: goals, assists, points, plus/minus, penalty minutes, shots on goal, power play points, hits, blocked shots and face-off wins for the skaters. goaltender categories include wins, goals-against average, save percentage and saves.
Rosters consist of four centers, four left wing, four right wing, six defensemen, two goaltenders, five bench spots, one injured reserve (IR) and one IR+.
We all knew our draft positions going in. I was drafting in the ten spot, but I don’t think there is a bad draft slot in a one year league. You just have to manage what you are dealt, but knowing your draft position ahead of time allows you a chance to wargame.
I knew this was a tough crowd and that getting bargains and thinking that guys would fall to me was unlikely, so I didn’t have a very detailed plan going in. Yes, my plan was to essentially wing it!
McDavid, Crosby, Burns, Benn, Karlsson, Holtby, Ovechkin, Price and Kucherov come off in order. One of my first two picks was going to be a goalie and it came down to Sergei Bobrovsky or Matt Murray. It took me 80 of the 90 seconds to decide between the two of them. Bob’s now my uncle. Pavelski and Tarasenko complete the opening round.
Patrick Kane and Brad Marchand are taken, then it’s back to me. I seriously debated taking Matt Murray, but just couldn’t sacrifice the offensive categories. Once I reconciled that I wasn’t going to take Murray, the decision was very easy. I took Dustin Byfuglien. He’s a roto beast and contributes in virtually every category except face-off wins. Seguin, Malkin, Simmonds, Murray, Hedman, Letang, Dubnyk, Tavares and Talbot are next.
Stamkos, Jake Allen, Wheeler, Gibson, Shea Weber, Giroux, Subban and Pastrnak are taken and the guy I had my eye on was still on the board. With every pick, my hope got greater and greater, but with the pick right in front of mine, Mark Scheifele fell. It’s somehow worse when the guy you really want is taken with the pick right before yours. I settled for Scheifele’s teammate, Patrik Laine. Josi and Forsberg complete round three.
Pacioretty and Crawford are taken and then I am left to decide between my first center or Ristolainen. Since I already had Big Buff and this league counts face-off wins, I decided to go with a pivot. I had to choose between Backstrom, Eichel or Auston Matthews. I had the three of them ranked in just that order. Statistically, I probably should have gone with Backstrom due to his superior plus/minus and face-off wins, but I couldn’t pass on Jack Eichel’s goals and shots on goal advantage. Bishop, Bergeron, Frederik Andersen, Tuukka Rask, Ristolainen, Doughty, Ekman-Larsson, Hamilton and Draisaitl go in order.
After mini-runs on goalies and defencemen, round five begins with Matthews and Backstrom, followed by Voracek, Getzlaf, Giordano, Perry, Martin Jones, Quick and Rinne. I had hoped that Quick would fall to me, but settled on Tampa’s Andrei Vasilevskiy as the goalie pool was beginning to thin. The Lightning will return with a vengeance and Budaj is not going to steal any starts from my second Russian ‘tender. Trouba and Schneider finish the fifth.
Klingberg and Jeff Carter are taken and it’s back to me. At this point, I decide to just go with the best player I can find regardless of position. I agonize over this pick and settle on Alex Pietrangelo for his combination of points and blocked shots. I am adamant that I get blocked shots from all of my rearguards. Ehlers, Hall, Brayden Schenn, Lundqvist, Ryan Johansen, Darling, Hoffman, Lehner and Gostisbehere are next. I am not a fan of Darling or Carolina. I don’t see this working out as well as Talbot has for the Oilers.
Craig Anderson, Gaudreau, Skinner, Radulov Toews, Kopitar, Shattenkirk, Krug and Panarin are taken. I identified Kopitar as someone I wanted to take with this pick. I think the change in coaches will have a positive effect on the Kings offense. Alas, I settled for my first left wing in Viktor Arvidsson, who has the nice dual eligibility on the wing. His 30-goal, 300 shot potential is sweet, but I also like that he falls strongly on the plus side of the plus/minus ledger. Mike Smith and Trocheck completed the round.
Faulk and Parayko were selected and I thought about taking my second center. I looked at Monahan, Barkov and MacKinnon. For a fleeting moment, I considered Evander Kane’s multi-cat goodness, but couldn’t come to terms with the risk. I ended up with Nathan MacKinnon, another high shot center with upside. Justin Schultz, Marner, Monahan, Halak, William Nylander, Evander Kane, Klefbom, Anders Lee and Kessel come off the board. Halak stands out as a gamble with Elliott, Fleury, Mason and Raanta still available.
Duncan Keith, Lucic, Atkinson, Carlson, Drouin, Werenski, Kuznetsov, Tkachuk and Phaneuf are picked. Barkov is still there, but I see too many defensemen come off the board. I consider Seth Jones, but chose Ivan Provorov who will provide nice numbers in many categories. Brian Elliott and van Riemsdyk finish the bottom of the ninth. Ridiculous that after nine rounds, the only pick that I see as out of place is maybe Halak and if he ends up back as the Isles starter, he would be a decent pick.
Oshie and Eberle lead off the tenth. I look at Kadri and Seth Jones and am so tempted to take Barkov, but I realize that I might need a guy with more face-off wins. I go with Ryan O’Reilly. Kadri, Yandle, Maroon, Guentzel, Steve Mason, Gudas, Seth Jones, Seabrook and Okposo finish round 10.
Niederreiter, Nick Foligno, Kreider, Couture, Barkov, Zetterberg, Palmieri, Aho, Martinez are taken. I had hoped either Kreider or Barkov would make it to my pick. Once they were taken, I looked to shore up my defence by going with a veteran on a strong team in the hopes of getting a bump in the plus/minus department. Ryan Suter should deliver. Kesler and Turris close the round.
Marc-Andre Fleury and Zibanejad are taken and I only have one right wing. I see Mikael Granlund who might get me 70 points, a nice plus/minus and some face-off wins from the wing. Elias Lindholm and then Palat go next. I’m disappointed because I almost always end up drafting Palat. The guy is criminally underrated in roto leagues. Ekblad, Duchene, Rakell, Raanta, Backes, Zaitsev and McDonagh are taken next.
Adam Larsson, Hornqvist, Luongo, Mark Stone, Muzzin, Thornton, Reimer, Stepan and Skjei are off the board. I only have one left wing, so I take Brandon Saad, who should post some nice goal and plus/minus totals. Niskanen and Schwartz disappear.
Mikko Koivu and Sheary are taken. I look to my favourite Norwegian in the NHL, Mats Zuccarello. The right winger will contribute in multiple categories. Dubinsky, Dumba, Leddy, Jenner, Fowler, Huberdeau, Landeskog, Chara and Eric Staal complete the stanza.
I select Charlie Coyle, my third right wing in the last four picks. Once again dual position eligibility and multi-cat goodness. Up next, I see an old favourite and grab David Krejci to round out my centers.
I was hoping Goligoski or Boychuk would still be there with my next pick, but they both vanish. I end up taking Jared Spurgeon. For my next pick, I decided to put my money where my mouth was. Dylan Larkin is a player I’ve touted as a comeback candidate. He’ll be playing center this year and is right wing eligible.
I miss out on Point and Gallagher, but realize that I only have two port siders. I settle on Max Domi and one of my sleeper picks, Andre Burakovsky. Domi is good value this late and should benefit from an improved Arizona offense. Burakovsky is a candidate for a top six role in Washington.
I was going to take a third goalie and Jimmy Howard made it right up until the very pick in front of me. My consolation prize? I’m not a big fan of him, but with my 21st pick, I couldn’t pass on Bobby Ryan.
Gustav Nyquist should still put up reasonable numbers and T.J. Brodie makes an appearance as my sixth defenseman. Both should add power play points. Antoine Roussel provides 35-point potential along with some truculence.
With my final selection, I was going to grab Petr Mrazek, but the same guy (4T2) who nabbed Howard right in front of me struck again! After about a minute straight of curse words, I grabbed defenseman Michael Stone, who will give me hits and blocked shots, but will also be my first drop when that first enticing flash of the season is revealed.
Overall, I feel good about the make-up of my team. I may need to shore up the hits if I’m not keeping pace and I should have enough plus players to offset my minus players. Only time will tell if I got it right.
Thanks for reading and best of luck in your drafts.
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