National Lacrosse League 2014: Midseason Fantasy Update and Picks

Jim FlanneryAnalyst IMarch 5, 2014

You can't go wrong with your fantasy lacrosse team by grabbing a face-off specialist like Bob (left) or Geoff Snider (right).
You can't go wrong with your fantasy lacrosse team by grabbing a face-off specialist like Bob (left) or Geoff Snider (right).Photo: Jim Flannery

All but two of the nine teams in the National Lacrosse League have now played half (or more) of their games so it's time to reflect back on the first half of the season and look ahead to what the rest of the season holds for fantasy lacrosse players around the world.

There are a few names right at the top of the list that should be of no surprise to anyone. Toronto Rock forward Garrett Billings (20 goals, 50 assists) has had back-to-back 100-point seasons and is on pace to shatter the single-season record of 116 points set by John Grant Jr. in 2012. He's as close to a sure thing as there is in lacrosse these days, but you'll also have to pay a premium to add him to your list of forwards.

Speaking of Grant Jr., he has 57 points so far this year, good for third best in the NLL and tops on the Colorado Mammoth. He is yet another player who is a virtual guarantee to get you a bunch of fantasy points every week, but also someone who will cost you.

You might instead check out Philadelphia Wings forward Kyle Buchanan. In his sophomore season, he has evolved into an elite scorer, scoring 16 goals and adding 32 assists in just 10 games. His pace is more than double his rookie production. He's still undervalued at this point, so grab him before people notice how effective he has been.

On transition, your surest bet is always to go with a faceoff specialist. Geoff Snider and his brother Bob are the top two in loose balls so far this year, with 123 and 113 respectively. Those loosies are in large part due to recoveries off of faceoffs and are driving up their value.

Geoff scores more than Bob, so he's right near the top of the pricing list, but he's a virtual lock to pay for that investment every week. Bob is cheaper, but he's also a good bet for double-digit fantasy points game in and game out.

If you're looking for a defensive bargain (and who isn't?), look no further than Tyler Garrison of the Vancouver Stealth. With 10 points and 61 loose balls on the season, the sophomore has been the most effective defenseman in the league so far and, like Buchanan, is undervalued right now.

C.J. Costabile of the Wings is another good choice as an inexpensive defense option. Yet another second-year player, Costabile has already doubled his point output from last season, with 4 points, and is eighth in the NLL in loose balls with 75.

Goaltending is always a tough call. The Buffalo Bandits have been the big surprise of the year, with Anthony Cosmo enjoying a huge rebound from his performance in 2013. Cosmo is third in the NLL in goals against average, at 10.21, and he has already made 337 saves this year.

Unfortunately, the Buffalo tandem's price has shot up with their first half success. Instead, perhaps take a gamble on either the Colorado Mammoth or the Calgary Roughnecks.

Following the Tuesday announcement that the Mammoth have fired most of their coaching staff, they are primed for a late-season improvement. Add in the strong play of rookie Dillon Ward and the potential improvement that goalie coach and NLL Hall of Famer Dallas Eliuk could provide, and this could be a team seeing a big jump in their numbers.

As for Calgary, starting netminder Mike Poulin's best three games of the year have been his last three. His 12.36 GAA still looks pretty unremarkable, but recently he has been earning his nickname—"The Poulin Wall"—and may be shaping up to be the fantasy bargain of the second half.


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