There are only two weekends left before the beginning of the regular season, which means it’s crunch time for fantasy owners. For those that haven’t done their drafts yet, there is still a bit of work to be done. Owners may be well-read on rankings and positional battles, but differences between the two major drafting sites – Yahoo and ESPN – require a bit of exploration.
One difference between the two sites is that standard roto leagues on ESPN include average time on ice (ATOI), whereas Yahoo does not. That clearly gives defencemen a bit more value in standard leagues relative to forwards.
Despite that difference, average draft positions tend to be consistent between the two sites. There are, however, significant differences among a handful of the skaters. I thought it would be worthwhile to go through some of these players for fantasy owners drafting in public leagues. Here are some ADP discrepancies that stuck out to me.
Players are listed with their ADP as well as their ranking among the position, and the assumption is 12-team leagues.
Yahoo – ADP: 70.1 (LW9)
ESPN – ADP: 131.8 (LW23)
Even in a season in Columbus where he managed just three power-play points thanks to largely being stuck on an infrequently-used second unit, Saad managed his third straight season with at least 20 goals and 50 points. In fact, he had a higher points/60 minutes at five-on-five than guys like Johnny Gaudreau, Filip Forsberg, and Vladimir Tarasenko. If he can get those prime PP minutes on the top unit with Patrick Kane, Saad can get to 60 points this year. He’s an absolute steal on ESPN but overpriced on Yahoo.
Yahoo – ADP: 92.6 (LW15)
ESPN – 57.4 (LW10)
Though he missed 10 games while playing for the third-lowest scoring team in the league, Hall was one of 12 forwards with at least 20 goals, 30 assists, 30 penalty minutes, and three shots on goal per game. This is the entire list:
The team added Marcus Johansson, who is currently lining up as his centre, and the (way too early) returns on Nico Hischier are good. This team should be better offensively, though should still be a bottom-10 scoring team. In a 12-team league, Hall’s ADP on ESPN has him as a fifth-round pick, and that’s too high. On that team, he just doesn’t have the upside he would have in Edmonton. On Yahoo, however, he’s going a few rounds later, which is a lot easier to stomach.
Yahoo – ADP: 100.3 (C27)
ESPN – ADP: 44.7 (C13)
This is one of the bigger chasms among notable players being drafted anywhere in the top-100. It also speaks to the general uncertainty a lot of people have for Kopitar this season.
From 2006 through 2016, in his nine 82-game seasons, Kopitar cracked 60 points in all of them, 70 points six times, 20 goals in each campaign, 25 goals on seven occasions, and at least two shots on goal per game in eight of them. Last year, he failed to crack 20 goals, 60 points, or two shots on goal per game. It was undoubtedly the worst offensive season of his career.
That he was so consistent and came crashing down so hard, combined with the coaching turnover and questions about the offensive weapons on this team, is partly why his ADP has such a big gap. The fact that his ADP is so high on ESPN is mind-boggling, though; in their public leagues, his ADP is ahead of Jack Eichel. Whether fantasy owners believe he can rebound this year with a new coaching staff and line mates is up to each fantasy owner, but his ADP on ESPN is far too high given all the question marks.
Yahoo – ADP: 13.2 (C5)
ESPN – ADP: 50.9 (C14)
This one is truly bizarre. Granted that maybe there just haven’t been a plethora of drafts done just yet on ESPN, but Eichel having an ADP sandwiched between Milan Lucic and TJ Oshie (seriously, they’re 50.1 and 51.0, respectively, at time of writing) doesn’t make sense even if there was only one mock draft done.
Since the 2005 lockout, Eichel is the only player who, through their age-20 season, managed his per game averages of 0.34 goals, 0.46 assists, and 3.4 shots on goal. That works out to roughly 28 goals, 38 assists, and 280 shots on goal per 82 games. Those are studly numbers, and he is only getting better.
Barring injury, this should be the big breakout season for Eichel. He is being priced accordingly on Yahoo (and for what it’s worth, I have him inside the top-10). He is being very much undervalued on ESPN, so if that’s where you’re heading for your public leagues, anywhere outside the second round is gravy.
Yahoo – ADP: 82.1 (RW18)
ESPN – ADP: 51.0 (RW9)
In a Ramblings last month, I warned about drafting Oshie inside the top-50 as I was guessing here his ADP was going to fall. That guess ended up being close to where he’s going in ESPN public leagues.
The top line may look a bit different as the coaching staff had Oshie line up with Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky as opposed to Alex Ovechkin in a recent preseason game. Staying with Backstrom is a positive, as is being left on the top power-play unit. However, Oshie is not a guy to stuff peripherals, having never cracked 200 shots on goal or 20 power-play points in any season.
Drafting Oshie in roto leagues means largely relying on point production, and that point production with the impending shooting regression is uncertain. Again, drafting him anywhere near the top-50 is not advisable, and he is much more palatable where he’s going on Yahoo.
Yahoo – ADP: 15.3 (RW4)
ESPN – ADP: 32.0 (RW6)
While a round and a half difference isn’t generally make-or-break in fantasy, the higher the draft slot, the more important the gap is; there’s likely a higher opportunity cost of not drafting someone like Matt Murray or Tyler Seguin on Yahoo as opposed to Tuukka Rask or Patrice Bergeron on ESPN.
Laine undoubtedly has all the talent necessary to be an elite fantasy asset. Thus far in the preseason, he’s also lining up alongside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, the team’s two other top offensive players. He possesses an absolutely lethal shot which, hopefully, mitigates the fact that he as such a high average shot distance.
Those drafting in public leagues on Yahoo will have to use an early second-round pick to roster Laine. Doing so means foregoing established players like Seguin or Scheifele. Drafting in public leagues on ESPN, however, means likely being able to grab him in the third round. I don’t see an inherent issue with grabbing him on either site at either ADP, but it’s clear where the better value lies.
Yahoo – ADP: 41.6 (D8)
ESPN – ADP: 82.0 (D14)
In a preseason game on Tuesday, Subban lined up mainly with Mattias Ekholm while on the power play. Now, one preseason game is nothing to overreact to, but it’s important to note this pairing. The reason for that is Subban and Ryan Ellis were by far the second-most used defencemen on the Nashville power play last year, just behind Roman Josi as the lone blue liner on the top unit, but way ahead the pairing of Josi and Ekholm. That would indicate the team will still expect to use Josi on the top unit in a four-forward setup with Ellis out likely until February.
Now, even on the second unit, Subban still managed 16 power-play points in 66 games last year. But he did see nearly a minute less power-play ice time per game than in any season of his career. If the penalty parade continues all season as it has in the preseason, it may not matter. But relatively speaking, things may not change much. Being able to draft him that much later on ESPN, though, makes him much more appealing to draft if he indeed stays on the second PP unit.
Yahoo – ADP: 38.9 (D6)
ESPN – ADP: 68.9 (D11)
A couple months ago, I wrote that I don’t want to draft Letang as the first defenceman on my roster. Relying on a player to be a cornerstone of a fantasy roster when you can’t expect him to play more than two-thirds of the season is a losing situation. It’s incredibly unfortunate because Letang is an elite, dynamic option when healthy, but he’s almost never healthy.
In that sense, I’m avoiding Letang at either ADP here. However, for fantasy owners so inclined to hope that Letang can play 70 games, his ADP on ESPN is about two and a half rounds lower than on Yahoo. For those looking to buy in public leagues, one site offers much better value than the other.
Yahoo – ADP: 46.0 (G10)
ESPN – ESPN: 24.0 (G7)
Part of the difference in the raw ADP here is that goalies are just being drafted higher on ESPN than Yahoo; there are 10 goalies being taken (roughly) in the first three rounds on ESPN with just seven in the same range on Yahoo. There is, however, a difference between where they’re going among their peers, and that’s what provides Dubnyk with the softer ADP on Yahoo.
There is evidence that maybe Dubnyk has been over-performing what we should expect on a neutral team, but I wrote last month how Minnesota did a great job limiting dangerous scoring chances. If he can keep making the easier saves, it should keep his save percentage high. I don’t really have many concerns heading into the season with him as my primary goaltender.
Yahoo – ADP: 71.7 (G17)
ESPN – ADP: 43.7 (G11)
For those playing public leagues on ESPN looking to grab Frederik Andersen, he may have to be your first goalie in 12-team leagues. That is a lot of risk.
Last year, the Leafs allowed the fifth-most adjusted scoring chances per 60 minutes at five-on-five, and fifth-most shots overall. They were a high-paced offensive team though so they were still able to drive the play more often to the opponent’s net than their own. That was one reason for their success. However, the goalies facing so many shots is probably going to be bad for their goals against average. The trade-off is if his team scores a lot, he should still rack up wins, which is why he was ninth in the league in wins in 2016-17 despite having a lower GAA than Steve Mason.
Toronto will be better this year as the team continues maturing, but will they simply drive a higher pace or will they legitimately suppress their shots and chances against? I am not willing to bet on them lowering shots against at a significantly higher rate to the point where I’m comfortable having Andersen as the first goalie on my roster.
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