Fairways and Greens

Fairways and Greens

And just like that it’s Week 22.


Are you kidding me. It was like a half an hour ago that I was whining about how I’m never drafting Evan Bouchard again as my first defensemen and now I’m racing to the waiver wire to see if it’s possible to pick him up.


I did. (Hey Nate. Can you please work up some Zero “D numbers for us. Please?! I’m begging ya).

And now I’m finishing up dinner with an eye on my phone in my lap, sneaking a peek, just out of eye sight of my wife and remembering…I need to race upstairs and revise this piece, again, to add something about the playoffs because they’re about to start in most leagues and I don’t want to be talking about anything else with anybody right now because…Oh wait…did I remember to set my lineup…..deep breaths. Are we breathing? O.k, good.

Such is the life of the fantasy hockey community this time of year right?

I guess it’s what makes this journey worth it. I mean, we’ve all dedicated so much time and energy into our respective teams up to this point. Now is not the time to mail it in.

With that in mind, I want to remind readers that I’m planning on dedicating NEXT week’s piece strictly to the playoffs. I realize that many of you have playoff schedules that begin in Week 22 (this week), but many others don’t begin until Week 23.

With that in mind, here goes a little psychological diversion. Hopefully I’m not just talking to myself here.

Two Things:

1. Story Time

2. A Little Strategery

This should be about a seven minute trip so stay with me please.

The Links

O.k, so as a caddy, it’s pretty important to keep your player focused on what we like to call in the biz, hitting fairways and greens. It’s the idea of trying to hit the ball on to the fairway off the tee and on to the green with your approach shot. Both are challenging tasks to accomplish but are the foundations for overall success during a round of golf. I’m going to take it a step further and suggest parallels with success in fantasy hockey.

As in golf, your fantasy hockey team needs to hit fairways and greens too. That’s why you need players like the Tyler Toffolis, or the Jared McCanns of the world, or just about anyone else on the Seattle Kraken. At least this year. These are players who won’t necessarily crater your overall stats/points if they have an off night, but are decent at keeping the ball in play. They won’t take you to the top floor, but they won’t leave you stranded in the lobby either. These are your fairways and greens players and you can find them by either relying on the experts on this site and then culling them off the waiver wire or, even better, they already populate your respective rosters. 

And while hitting fairways and greens is critical to keeping you in your match, you also need to go flagstick hunting too sometimes. The key, and this is the challenging part in golf and more importantly fantasy hockey, is knowing when to do so and having the player(s) who can pull off the shots. Like so many things, those are the difference makers…(Ugh! Does every hole have to be an uphill 200+ yard par 3 that plays into the wind?! Aren’t there any straight putts?!)

These players are the Connor McDavids and the David Pastrnaks on your rosters. These players have incredibly high ceilings but if they aren’t firing on all cylinders or they happen to get injured (don’t EVER say that again Professor. Like ever.), you end up in a greenside bunker or even worse, out of bounds.

They are must rostered players and regardless of your league format, everyone has at least one of them. But it can seem like you’re constantly having to keep your fingers crossed that they don’t get injured or that they have to have multiple point nights because they are such main components to your team. Without them, it’s hard to compete. With them, you’re always just the next hole away from winning your match.

The Backstretch

No, it’s not time for aerobics or stretching routines, although those things can help keep you limber and are highly recommended especially for someone like me who will be traipsing fairways and greens hopefully sooner than later. Rather, I’m looking ahead toward the final stretch of the fantasy hockey season and I hope you are too. 

Last year, a lot of my attention was focused on winning my weekly matchups as it should be. But that focus, at times, took me away from the big picture and I hope these quick hitters will help you navigate your playoff run. 

Now that the dust has somewhat settled and the NHL trade deadline has passed, what the heck?

1. First, we gotta make sure our lineups are set. With all the recent team juggling, it’s easy to forget that there’s a real good chance that your fantasy team rosters have been juggled too. 

So as a start, go check and set your lineups.

2. I know that you’ve dedicated a lot of time to the fantasy hockey season and your respective teams. Honestly though, it’s been a little tough for me lately trying to stay focused, so I’m looking for something to hang on here folks. 

As a starting point, I recently listened to the March 4, 2023 episode of Fantasy NHL Today podcast hosted by Blake Creamer with Nate Groot Nibbelink of Apples and Ginos. They dedicate the entire podcast to the fantasy implications of the recently passed NHL trade deadline. It’s well worth your time.

3. We all know by now that Colorado has the best overall schedule during the fantasy playoff season in terms of games played and most off-night games. Keep this in mind as you plan your rosters. More importantly, keep this playoff spreadsheet bedside. It’s my new go-to blankie.

4. This is the time of year where games maximization is most critical. Subscribe to and listen to podcasts like Apples and Ginos, Five Hole Fantasy Hockey, NHL Fantasy Today, and or Keeping Karlsson. The content found there can be difference makers because they all focus on streaming options for upcoming weeks, hot and cold players, and overall fantasy hockey strategy. 

And lastly:

Three Sheets to the Wind

–I’ve avoided players from:

1. Calgary this year because their streamer level players seem to be more reliable than their “stars,”

2. St. Louis because I just can’t keep up with the constant line juggling and injuries, and

3. Winnipeg because they can’t seem to be able to figure out their lines either. It’s unreal.

There’s this idea of team context with respect to players and performance and I try to keep that in mind even if I don’t quite understand the concept. For me though, I judge team context on a much more, ahem, analytical level, i.e, are those teams driving me nuts on a I-can’t-figure- them-out basis. If that’s the case, I’m generally avoiding players on those teams. No offense, but the Jets, Flames, and Blues have been pretty much three sheets to the wind this season.

Thanks for reading and best of luck this week and for the rest of the season. 
Mike@Fantasy Hockey Profess

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