It's about time I wrote my first fantasy article.
I have 5 fantasy football teams, but my first fantasy love is hockey, and after 3 drafts and doing the research for them all, I am fed up with all of the so-called "experts" opinions and pre-season rankings for the upcoming season. Some of them are OK, but many of them are complete crap.
To be fair, I should state a couple things.
1) Fantasy hockey is more of a crapshoot than probably any other sport, except maybe football.
2) A lot of experts rank players based on their website's default fantasy game scoring system. That may bring in PIMs or +/- or SOG into the equation.
That been said, the following is my list of rankings, based solely on projected POINTS. for the 2008/2009 season.These are somewhat conservative, in that, I like to predict what players will score at the minimum, and many of these guys will overachieve based on these predictions, but I'll go on record as saying that fewer than 5 of these players at each position will come up short of these numbers, barring injuries:
1) Alexander Ovechkin, 111 points (58G, 53A)
2) Sidney Crosby, 110 points (35G,75A)
3) Joe Thornton, 101 points (26G, 75A)
4) Evgeni Malkin, 100 points (45G, 55A)
5) Jarome Iginla, 100 points (50G, 50A)
6) Pavel Datsyuk, 95 points (30G, 65A)
7) Vincent Lecavalier, 94 points (37G, 57A)
8) Ryan Getzlaf, 92 points (30G, 62A)
9) Eric Staal, 91 points (45G, 46A)
10) Jason Spezza, 90 points (25G, 65A)
11) Mike Richards, 89 points (34G, 55A)
12) Mike Ribeiro, 89 points (29G, 60A)
13) Daniel Alfredsson, 88 points (40G, 48A)
14) Henrik Zetterberg, 87 points (43G, 44A)
15) Anze Kopitar, 87 points (34G, 53A)
16) Derek Roy, 86 points (33G, 53A)
17) Dany Heatley, 85 points (45G, 40A)
18) Olli Jokinen, 85 points (35G, 50A)
19) Marian Gaborik, 84 points (44G, 40A)
20) Nicklas Backstrom, 84 points (19G, 65A)
21) Patrick Kane, 83 points (23G, 60A)
22) Martin St. Louis, 82 points (32G, 50A)
23) Marc Savard, 81 points (21G, 60A)
24) Rick Nash, 80 points (40G, 40A)
25) Paul Stastny, 80 points (30G, 50A)
26) Ilya Kovalchuk, 80 points (45G, 35A)
27) Jason Pominville, 80 points (25G, 55A)
28) Ales Hemsky, 79 points (22G, 57A)
29) Marian Hossa, 78 points (36G, 42A)
30) Shane Doan, 78 points (30G, 48A)
31) Alexei Kovalev, 77 points (29G, 48A)
32) Zach Parise, 76 points (36G, 40A)
33) Daniel Sedin, 76 points (32G, 44A)
34) Scott Gomez, 75 points (20G, 55A)
35) Shawn Horcoff, 75 points (30G, 45A)
36) Brendan Morrow, 74 points (30G, 44A)
37) J.P. Dumont, 74 points (35G, 39A)
38) Henrik Sedin, 73 points (15G, 58A)
39) Jason Arnott, 73 points (28G, 45A)
40) Daniel Briere, 73 points (31G, 42A)
41) Brad Richards, 72 points (22G, 50A)
42) Thomas Vanek, 71 points (41G, 30A)
43) Alexander Semin, 70 points (36G, 34A)
44) Daymond Langkow, 70 points (25G, 45A)
45) Thomas Plekanec, 70 points (25G, 45A)
46) Nathan Horton, 70 points (30G, 40A)
47) Alexander Frolov, 70 points (25G, 45A)
48) Jeff Carter, 70 points (35G, 35A)
49) Jonathon Toews, 69 points, (35G, 34A)
50) Dustin Brown, 68 points (38G, 30A)
I have more projections but you have to cut it off at some point.
Some of these names are in the position they are at based on the research I have done on current line combinations. From all accounts, the Ottawa big 3 will not be playing together to start the season. My guess is that it will be Alfredsson that will move to the 2nd line, leaving Spezza to still set up the Heater, but all 3 take a hit in points production.
Same goes for Zetterberg, who will be centering the 2nd line in Detroit. Datsyuk has enough skill to set up anyone, and lucky for him, anyone is Marian Hossa. Hossa could easily score 50 goals this year, or just as easily 30.
I have Vinny down for 94 since he has a bad shoulder; 94 points being a conservative number is a silly but true statement. I'd say the top 6 forwards in Tampa are all worth owning, since they all have an immense amount of talent, but I'd be surprised if any of them except Lecavalier and St. Louis eclipse 75 points.
My sleepers to get 90 points easy are Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar. The full potential of their talents have yet to be unleashed, and this year, watch out. There is a deep well of offensive firepower surrounding Richards in Philly, and he is simply a gamer. Kopitar is looking for a new contract and I've seen him play so many times that you'll just have to trust me, he is that good.
1) Nicklas Lidstrom, 65 points (10G, 55A)
2) Mike Green, 60 points (20G, 40A)
3) Brian Campbell, 59 points (11G, 48A)
4) Dan Boyle, 58 points (18G, 40A)
5) Dion Phaneuf, 56 points (18G, 38A)
6) Brian Rafalski, 55 points (11G, 44A)
7) Andrei Markov, 53 points (14G, 39A)
8) Zdeno Chara, 51 points (17G, 34A)
9) Tomas Kaberle, 50 points (13G, 37A)
10) Chris Pronger, 49 points (14G, 35A)
11) Lubomir Visnovsky, 47 points (13G, 34A)
12) Bryan McCabe, 46 points (14G, 32A)
13) Brent Burns, 45 points (15G, 30A)
14) Braydon Coburn, 45 points (13G, 32A)
15) Tomas Kaberle, 44 points (11G, 33A)
16) Joe Corvo, 43 points (13G, 30A)
17) Scott Neidermayer, 43 points (10G, 32A)
18) Michael Rozsival, 42 points (10G, 32A)
19) Tobias Enstrom, 41 points (11G, 30A)
20) Ed Jovanovski, 40 points (8G, 32A)
21) Duncan Keith, 40 points (12G, 28A)
22) Sheldon Souray, 39 points (14G, 25A)
23) Jay Bouwmeester, 38 points (13G, 25A)
24) Sergei Zubov, 37 points (8G, 29A)
25) Kris Letang, 36 points (8G, 28A)
This is way harder to predict than forwards for a number of reasons. Offensive schemes change from year to year, sometimes incorporating D-men more and sometimes less. Power plays change. Fore-checking styles change. All of these affect point production of D-men.
The best thing to do for defensemen is find the ones that get the most power play time on the best power play. Some blue-liners, however, can just plain rip it or are great set up guys. Lidstrom is a combination of all 3, and he won't be dethroned as the top point producing D-man until he retires, and even then I'm not too sure.
Mike Green is very talented, and is surrounded by tons of talent, and his coach loves him. Campbell and Boyle join very potent offenses and will be the go-to guys on their respective blue lines. Kris Letang is filling in for the injured Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney on the explosive Pittsburgh power play. He'll get assists as long as he's on the correct side of the blue line.
My sleepers at this position are Brent Burns and Braydon Coburn. I can't decide who will have a better year, but do yourself a favor on draft day and put them on your squad, you can get them fairly late.
Please weigh in with your opinions, I'd love to discuss these rankings. 2 days and counting!