This is just a breakdown of rules and stretegies for our league, to discuss the league, go here. Okay, you guys asked for it, so here it is: SUPERSTAROV’S FANTASY HOCKEY 101 (PF.comFantasyHockey League Edition) In most hockey leagues, the teams have 2 Centers (C), 2 Left Wings (LW), 2 Right Wings (RW), 4 Defensemen (D), and 2 Goalies (G), at least that is what you should have in your line-up each day. In our league, we have 2 C, 1 LW, 1 RW, 2 W (Winger), 4 D, and again, 2 G. I set this up so we would have a little more flexibility setting our line-ups. There is nothing more frustrating than having an open RW roster spot, and a LW sitting on the bench. The scoring is as follows: Forwards/Defensemen Goals (G) Assists (A) Plus/Minus (+/-) Powerplay Goals (PPG) Powerplay Assists (PPA) Shorthanded Goals (SHG) Shorthanded Assists (SHA) Game-Winning Goals (GWG) Faceoffs Won (FW) Goaltenders Wins (W) Goals Against Average (GAA) Save Percentage (SV%) Shutouts (SHO) Now I’ve modified the stat categories quite a bit from the default settings. In the default settings, there were only 5 point categories for Forwards/Defensemen, and the same 4 for the Goaltenders. So basically, if one of your goalies gave up 6 goals in a game, you would be extremely lucky to win the week. In the league I was in last season, my friend and I both got beaten in the playoffs by the same player, who was no longer even setting his line-ups, because he had a hot goalie in his line-up. So, there’s the reasoning behind all of the offensive categories, and also it is because there are not a ton of good goalies to choose from. So in previous leagues, someone could chose 4 really good, proven goalies with their top 4 picks, and come close to winning the league based on that alone, while other players struggled to find goalie who was starting somewhere. How Scoring Works We are a head to head league, which means that we play another member of the league for a week. The week starts on Monday and goes through Sunday. So I usually set my line-ups for the entire week on Sunday, then as the week goes on, I’ll double check here and there to make sure no one is injured or whatnot. So the manager who has won the most categories at the end of the week, wins that match-up. Example: Team A has 6 goals for the week. Team B has 9 goals for the week. Team B wins that category, and gets a +1 toward the weekly total. So each team gets a point for each category that it wins. Categories that are ties are a wash (they don’t help or hurt). Weird Goalie Scoring Rule and Goaltender Stat Quirks This is strange to understand at first, at least it was to me. But you must have a goalie playing in a minimum of THREE games for any given week. That’s not saying that any single goalie of yours must play three games, but you must have three games played between all of your goaltenders. This can get frustrating, if you have the starter on a team, and the back-up gets on a hot streak, and the coach rides him for a while. You may have your goaltender slated to play in your line-up, but he may not actually play in that game. So the rule is 3 games played by any combination of your goaltenders. If you do not get 3 games out of them for the week, none of your goaltender stats count toward your weekly match-up. (Which is another reason I made Forwards and Defensemen scoring more important.) Here is a little tip for you on Goaltenders. Once your guys have played in 3 games, you can bench all of your goalies for the rest of the week, if you choose. So let’s say, by Tuesday or Wednesday, your Goaltenders have put up really good numbers, and have played in 3 games total: BENCH THEM ALL! Don’t even give them the chance of blowing it by giving up 6 goals in a game later in the week. Now, you may not win the “Wins” category that way, but you’ll probably win the other three goalie categories. That’s been my practice, and it usually works, unless the team you’re playing against has a goalie that records a couple of shutouts in a row. Yes, it can be a risky move, so keep your eye on your opponents stats before you decide to do it. Draft Strategy As I have already said, in a default league, goaltending would be super important. In our league, goaltenders only account for 4 out of 13 categories. So, the importance of goaltending is downplayed a bit. Just like Fantasy Football, there are a bunch of different “Draft Guides” around on the internet. Forwards who were big time scorers last season, are going to go fast. Goaltenders who are proven will go fast as well, probably in the first 4 or 5 rounds of the draft. But, with our league set up the way it is, that will be your call as to where you want to draft your goalies. Think of defensemen as another forward, really. They don’t get points (nor is it even an option in the scoring) for doing anything even remotely defensive (aside from +/-). But keep in mind that good offensive defensemen don’t exactly grow on trees. Also, keep in mind that you have 4 bench spots, and one injured reserve spot. So if you have a really good player, who gets placed on IR, they can go into the IR spot, and you can look for a free agent to fill his spot until the injured player is healthy. Then you'll have to choose which one of them to release to free agency. Personally, I try to get the players who are listed as more than one position, such as C/LW or LW/RW. It makes it much easier to fill your lines for the week with that little amount of flexibility. But again, with the way I've set the league up, this is not as much of an issue. The good thing about hockey is that unlike other sports, there are so many guys, that no single news outlet, or person for that matter, knows about everyone. So if you think you blew it in the draft, just keep an eye on player stats. Someone (or several guys for that matter) that no one had ever heard of before is likely to cause a stir by mid season, and will be nice additions to any team. Last year I picked up Ovechkin as a free agent about a month into the season… and he ended up 3rd in the league in points, and won the rookie of the year. While some moron in my league picked Sidney Crosby with his 3rd pick in the draft, who was suppsoed to be “a lock to win the rookie of the year”, and didn't. So, don’t buy into the hype around young, unproven guys, because there are always players flying under the radar in the NHL. Even guys like Mikael Samuelson, who had only played in 60 or so games his first 2 years in the league, and is now 30 years old, came out of nowhere to drop 42 points for the Wings in 71 games… he was a nice FA pick-up. The Bottom Line It’s all about winning. I’m serious. Don’t say “I just like to compete, and have a good time.” You like to compete, because you like to win. I was going to sugar coat it with “go have a good time” and “it’s all for fun”. But we know why we really do it don’t we? Because we’re too old and out of shape and our dreams of playing pro sports have long since been shattered, so we are forced to compete in other ways… like fantasy sports... through a computer… sitting alone in a room… crunching stats… and looking for the edge in next week’s match-up.