Geek of the Week – Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin

by Terry Campkin



How Crosby surpassed Ovechkin as the 2013-14 Fantasy Hockey MVP

About a year ago, I wrote how Alex Ovechkin was once again the king of all fantasy and I named him my 2013 MVP. His torrid scoring pace combined with his unmatched peripherals made him a runaway winner in my eyes. As we wind down the end of the current campaign, the race for fantasy hockey MVP is a lot closer and we have a new player leading the race: Sidney Crosby.


I feel like the Crosby vs. Ovechkin debate will rage on for years with a little bit of Stamkos and Tavares sprinkled in there as well. It seems as though Crosby has separated himself from Ovechkin amongst hockey fans and media and with good cause; I think it’s clear to most that Crosby is the superior player. When it comes to fantasy hockey though, I have always leaned towards owning Ovechkin. Looking back at the Fantasy Hockey Geek numbers I pulled near the end of last season, you can see why Ovi was my #1 ranked player heading into this season:


RankPlayerFHG ValueGames PlayedGA+/-SOGPPPHis
1 Alex Ovechkin 159 44 28 20 -1 202 23 109
2 Sidney Crosby 136 36 15 41 26 124 17 21


As I outlined last season, Ovechkin is an elite talent putting up gobs of goals but what has separated him from the other superstars is his ability to put up huge peripherals to go with the points. His propensity to put up gigantic hit numbers is absolutely unparalleled for an elite scoring talent. As of this writing, there are seven players who have over a point per game this season and amongst those seven, Ovechkin’s hit total is more than DOUBLE the next closest guy (Getzlaf).


Since 2008 Ovechkin has completely dominated the league in shots with 2,144, a whopping 554 shots more than Phil Kessel, who is second. To put that in perspective, you could add Toby Enstrom’s shot total over the same time frame to Kessel’s and the two would still have less than the great 8.


This isn’t an Ovechkin article though, it’s a Crosby article. Let’s take a look at the top end values from this season:


RankPlayerFHG ValueGames PlayedGA+/-SOGPPPHits
1 Sidney Crosby 163 72 33 60 10 231 35 42
2 Alex Ovechkin 149 68 48 24 -28 353 34 189


Once again Ovi and Sid are in the top two, but you can see that this season Crosby has actually proven to be the more valuable fantasy own. It should also be noted that the league I ran this in is one that is more heavily favored towards Ovechkin. If I had run this in a league that didn’t include hits or did include FOW, then Crosby would have been ahead by Ovi by an even greater margin. I point this out because it shows that Crosby would likely be valued higher than Ovechkin in most leagues this season, not just the format I selected.


So what happened? Last year I wrote that Ovechkin was the better own and that it wasn’t really even all that close. How is Crosby suddenly the most valuable? First of all, I would like to point out that you aren’t giving up much with either one of these guys. If you have the first overall pick and take Sid or Ovi, there is no real wrong answer. This is fantasy hockey though and we like to debate things, we want to know who is #1 even if it’s by the slimmest of margins. FHG says that this year, it’s Crosby and here’s why he was able to pass Ovi:

Last season, Ovechkin’s PPP rate was much higher than that of Sid and in many leagues, PPP is one of the most important stats when determining a players’ value. This season, Sid has caught up to Ovi in powerplay production and they are on an almost identical path.


Ovechkin’s assists have dried up terribly with only 24 on the season and an abysmal 10 at even strength through 68 games. Looking back through the years, Ovechkin has had four seasons of 50+ assists which is fantastic but a closer look will show you that since 2010-11 he hasn’t even eclipsed 30 As. I personally attribute this largely to the loss of Alex Semin as another great trigger man. Going forward I think we need to start looking at Ovechkin as a 50-30 guy more than a 50-50 guy going forward. Crosby on the other hand is continuing to dish apples at an elite rate, compiling almost TRIPLE the helpers that Ovi has this season. That will quickly help Crosby to account for his shortfall in hits.


One of the bigger drivers of the value change is +/-. I really don’t like writing about this because I detest +/- as a fantasy category but it is relevant here so I have to talk about it. FHG doesn’t put a huge weighting on +/- but the gap between Ovechkin and Crosby is so enormous that it does indeed impact their values. I reran this league in FHG omitting the +/- stat and Ovechkin actually is calculated as the more valuable player when doing this.


All of those factors combined have caused Crosby to be the more valuable own so far this season and deservedly so. Crosby is a guy who literally does it all, contributing at an elite level in goals, assists and PPP while also having very strong contributions to +/-, SOG and Hits. Probably the most important stat for Crosby this season is the number he has beside GP. All of these things together make Sid the Kid my fantasy MVP for this season.


Looking at everything as I have above though, I would still personally draft Ovechkin ahead of Crosby in this same league next season. Crosby’s injuries are always a concern, Ovechkin is unlikely to repeat a minus 30ish result next season and there is a good chance that Ovi will contribute a little bit more on the assist side going forward. I like that Ovechkin is RW eligible and I love his ability to contribute to shots and hits.


When I think about this season, it was almost like the perfect storm for Crosby to pass Ovechkin again: Crosby stayed healthy, Ovechkin went deep into the minus and Ovi’s teammates converted a few less of his passes. With all of this falling in Sid’s direction this season, Ovi’s value still wasn’t that far off from Sid’s. Next year, I would expect the pendulum to swing again in Ovechkin’s direction, causing Ovi to reclaim the #1.


With his amazing complete season this year, I’ll take Sidney Crosby as my fantasy hockey MVP but for next season, but I’ll stick with Ovi if I’m blessed with the first overall pick. Better yet, I’ll hope for #2 overall pick and have the guy ahead of me take Sid.


To check out who is the MVP in your league, enter your league into Fantasy Hockey Geek today. You may be surprised to see who is up there!


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