There’s nothing more, well, enjoyable than being in first place. Except when you’re in first in both leagues you’re playing in. Double the fun. It’s a nice feeling and one I’m more than happy to say I share in both leagues I’m playing in for fantasy hockey this year.
Initially, I thought this was going to be a much more difficult season than it’s turned out to be so far. Managing multiple teams in baseball at points was exhausting compared to the ease of doing it in hockey so far. Granted, I consider myself so much more fortune than some of my fellow managers. If I was in last place after having made 20+ moves by the beginning of January because everyone I picked up ended up on the IR I probably would have given up by now (at least that’s what finally did me in for baseball anyhow). Don’t laugh, there’s actually an instance of that in both leagues I’m playing it.
Team One – Jeepers Creepers look at those Keepers
If there’s one thing I can say about being in a keeper league like this at mid season is you look at the standings and unlike the real world where if you aren’t in by February One your probably not going to get in, there’s still an element of possibility here. As always, things were noise in the beginning. The newbies panicked (and so did a few of the original managers) as everyone was looking for quick points. I began in first, fell to fifth and clawed my way back up. I have a pretty sizable lead on two-three-four who are bunched together and they have a decent lead on 5 through 9 who are also bunched in, with the stragglers all way out of reach of anything and it’s pretty much been this way since mid-December.
Only a couple of notable moves so far, but don’t underestimate their impact:
C/LW Andre Burakovsky (Was) (669-478) wasn’t quite as exciting to begin with as I’d hoped (then again, he’s an 18 year old rookie and, I might add still improving and I may pick him up again in the future), however, former Capital prospect and tri-positional phenom Filip Forsberg (379-18) landed in Nashville after an ill-advised trade and he’s been tearing it up. This was my first major roster move and one that’s proven one of the single most effective ones I could have possibly made.
D Brian Campbell (Fla) (129-467) turned out to be a pretty big burn, but Johnny Boychuk (NYI) (253-118) has been a steady roller as of late on an overperforming Isles team and a huge pickup for depth allowing me more flexibility to play Burns & Byfuglien on offense. He was the second move I made and it was on watching a fellow manager drop him in a multi-player, IR-riddled move to boot.
G Jimmy Howard (Det) went and got himself placed on the IR. Holtby was pulling the majority of my starts anyhow so it wasn’t as devastating as it could be. He’s hanging out in one of my two available IR spots for now, replaced by G Devan Dubnyk (Min) (322-57). If losing Howard sucked gaining Double D is a steal, under 50% ownership overall and some impressive numbers in taking over as the #1 in Minny.
LW/RW Alex Ovechkin (Wash) 5-1, so much for Trotz’s D-centric nature holding him back
C/LW Patrick Marleau (SJ) 43-80, he’s putting up solid numbers, ignore the slide in rank
C/LW Alexander Steen (Stl) 75-23, so much for the slow start, no complaints here
C Anze Kopitar (LAK) 18-126, the Kings offense is a mess, including Anze, a disappointment but not dropable, even if he falls out of the top 100
C/RW Phil Kessel (Tor) 15-42, like Marleau, solid numbers, good depth player and still T-50 ranking
C/RW Gustuv Nyquest (DET) 103-56, makes up for Kops failures by up-performing himself
RW Kyle Okposo (NYI) * 94-40, the Isles continue to overperform, and thus, kyle does what he does
RW Jordan Eberle (Edm) 63-178 the Oilers are a damned mess and it’s hurting Eberle’s numbers but it’s hard to drop a kid who hasn’t even gotten out of his early 20s in a keeper league right now, even if I kept him initially by accident. He’s riding the bench for now because I have the depth to support his ups and downs.
RW/D Brent Burns (SJ) 142-50, nothing to complain about a guy who you can rotate as easily as BB
D/RW Dustin Byfuglien (Win) 132-21 the haters are going to hate, in the mean time I love the points
D Keith Yandle (Pho) 47-59 consistency, that’s all you can say about him
D Mark Streit (Phi) 145-92 Philly might suck but as both a second pair puck mover and first team PP guy he’s nice as a depth piece for sure.
D Justin Faulk (Car) 137-168, if we were including +/- Justin would be a bust, since he’s putting up good offensive numbers and huge minutes though, it’s a win even with the rank slide
G Braden Holtby (Was) 73-12, he’s been everything you could want and more.
* after I wrote the initial article Kyle went and got himself injured, resulting in pulling C Tomas Plekanec (Mon) off the waiver wire for now. Keep an eye on how this plays out later in the season)
Team Two – Don’t be blue
It’s a new league and there’s a lot of different skill and interest sets involved so it’s been difficult to judge so far. The points scoring as well as the games cap are both new to me and proved to be an early challenge. I’m still not really sure what I’m doing but I know how to manage players in a general sense and like the other league after a brief stint in first I fell back as both goalies and some player picks took time to settle in and then I leaped to the top of the league and have been there since mid-December. My points cushion deteriorated as I tried to get a handle on the games cap but it’s been a good adventure so far. The oddest thing was watching the former last-place player make as many moves as he has to eventually piece together a fairly decent team and make it to the middling of the pack. It says a lot about the depth of the waiver wire along with the performance of some pretty popular guys letting unknown blood into the top 100.
Again, a couple of moves to clean up my roster for effectiveness as players came out injured or weak.
LW/RW Dustin Brown (LAK)’s weakness (158-389) was flipped very early for C/LW Michael Cammalleri (NJ) (183-340) who I eventually moved for C/LW/RW Filip Forsberg (Nash) (379-18) and all you need to know on why is above
C/LW Valtteri Flippula (TB) (153-188) I dropped when I brought C/LW Brandon Dubinsky (Cls) (97-486) off the IR remember, he was down in the 1,000 range while on injury, the points per game are coming along nicely in his recovery and I really didn’t lose anything by holding him on IR. His injury originally brought me LW Daniel Sedin (Van) (62-49) who’s still with me. Riddle me this though, how was Sedin not drafted and available on the waiver wire though? Mostly, I think because there was a bit of a belief the brothers would have a down year in conjunction with being a single position player.
D Brian Campbell (Fla) all you need to know is to see above. His replacement was the venerable T.J. Brodie (Cgy) (380-80) who I picked up on the eve of his contract extension I believe and was solicited immediately for trades by other seeking him out. Needless to say it wasn’t just a fortunate upgrade against Campbell but it’s helped bouy Keith’s numbers too.
C/LW Patrick Marleau (SJ) see above
C/LW Alexander Steen (StL) see above
C Nicklas Backstrom (Wash) 70-16 the other half of the Caps dynamic duo is among the most underrated you can play, he just smokes it on so many levels
C/RW Evangi Malkin (Pit) * 4-4, yeah, that’s consistency at about the highest level one can do it
C/RW Ryan Kessler (Ana) 68-68, and this is still pretty elite level consistency too
C/RW Gustav Nyquest (Det) see above
D Shea Weber (Nash) 38-35 when you have a brick wall in goal you can do more on the ice, Shea is doing it as well as anyone
D Duncan Keith (Chi) 41-111 why, yes I could ask for more consistency, but the Hawks weren’t exactly foot on the accelerator at points so far either
D Olider Ekman-Larsson (Pho) 74-116 he had a supurb run early and since cooled off mostly under the weight of an unsightly -11
D Mark Streit (Phi) see above
G Henrick Lunqvist (NYR) 10-29 a T30 goalie only riding the pine because some other kid happens to be ever so slightly better than the king right now.
G Braden Holtby (Wash) see above
* after I wrote the initial article Malkin went and got himself injured, resulting in pulling C/RW Bryan Little (Wpg) off the waiver wire for now. Keep an eye on how this plays out later in the season