…Substitution, mass confusion, clouds inside your head…
You know the rest. I think?
Hello, The Cars? Rock and Roll HOF? C’mon. They were doing Let’s Go before Let’s Go was Let’s Go…So let’s go alright?
This is the third installment in my series looking back at fantasy hockey from Week 21 through the playoffs, my thinking process behind the moves I made, and the hits and misses.
This week I will be focusing on Week 23: My Bye (Bye Love) Week.
Hopefully, you can gain some insight into how these moves impacted my matchup and more importantly, how you can use my experience + analytics to help you be more successful in fantasy hockey.
I think it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not necessarily the specific players that are the key here.
The point is the thinking process. And while I can’t promise you that it’s rational, I can promise that I spend a lot of time obsessing over adds and drops in the hopes that you don’t have to.
As for specific players to consider, again, rely on your own research, ask questions, know your team and league settings, and use the analytics from the experts.
Said it before, I’ll say it again.
Use resources like Apples and Ginos for their expertise with regard to analytics. Nate and his crew are masters at getting into the weeds and digging up the numbers and rationale to help you with your decision making.
Ultimately, no one knows your team better than you do and you’re going to have to make the moves that you think will help you best. However, their information and insights can help stack the odds in your favor. They’ve done the heavy lifting, all you have to do is hold the door open.
The situation for my Week 23 was different from my normal approach because I had a bye. So any adds and drops would not come into play until Week 24.
In any other “normal week,” I focus on trying to add the best players, who play the most, that I can fit into my roster, and that leave the fewest (if any) players on my bench for any given night.
But because Week 23 was a bye week for me, I had to change my plans. And I have to say, this was something I stumbled upon because I was quite literally at a loss.
I spent most of the week setting and resetting my lineups to see where I had holes. And to my surprise, I had no days where I had any players on my bench. This is a good thing, right? I wasn’t so sure. I mean, there was no way that I could have had that much fortuitous foresight was there?
Did I sort of luck into this roster utilization? To be clear, not every roster spot was filled on a daily basis, but I did not have even one day in which I had a player on my bench. This can’t be. I mean, something seemed amiss here. So I spent a great deal of time during Week 23 trying to find out what that what was.
Usually I have the attention-to-detail-span of a soggy corn flake, so this was going to be a challenge.
How could I have stumbled into what looked like a pretty perfect lineup?
I found myself listening to every podcast I could find and just could not get comfortable with this reality. Was there something about the schedule I was overlooking? Maybe there was nothing for me to do?
And then…I heard one of my boys say that on a week like Week 23, that is one in which there were no truly slam dunk schedules and or streaming options, go for quality over quantity. So this is what I tried to do:
Namely, to see if I could substitute any of my current players with higher ranked players who had the same or nearly the same schedules. And that’s what my adds hopefully reflected.
The categories in my league are pretty typical for a 12-team league and include: Goals, Assists, +/-, PPP, SOG, and Hits for Skaters and Wins, Goals Against Average (GAA), Save Percentage (SV%), and Shut Outs (SHO) for goalies.
My overall objective for Week 23 was singular in focus:
–To try to substitiute any current players on my team with higher ranked players who played at least as many games with the same or nearly the same schedules. In other words, …substitution, mass confusion, clouds inside your head…
Kevin Fiala, Los Angeles Kings, LW/RW: I added Fiala after another manager dropped him due to an injury. Toward the end of the week, I noticed that Fiala’s status had changed to “healthy,” so I put in a waiver claim for him and dropped Boone Jenner (insert sad face emoji here). This was just some good puck luck on my part (at least on paper), because it’d been awhile since Fiala had played and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I should add that I’m a big Big Boone fan so I was a bit hesitant to drop Jenner. I was also dealing with the uncomfortable prospect that I have tickets to see the Devils play the Blue Jackets next week and I didn’t want to jinx any potential autograph/picture taking seshes with Boone and or Timo. It’s the hair with a healthy side of category coverage I guess. I could fit Fiala in nicely as he replaced Boone’s spots and with some lineup juggling, I would not lose any games played. C’mon Late Season Fiala and I hope you understand Boone.
Drake Batherson, Ottawa Senators, RW: Much like the Fiala add, I replaced Troy Terry with Batherson with no loss in games played and with full substitution value. I figured that even with Bath’s horrid +/- numbers, it was worth the play as he has been a much higher ranked player than Scary Terry this year especially in a Categories League. Plus, Ottawa as a team has a much higher ceiling than Anaheim, so I gave it a shot. And he bangs too. Lastly, I can’t ever forgive myself for benching The Drake for a game last year in which he went off for like 30+ points and I was hoping for some secret redemption. Now that I think about it, that experience was probably the genesis of my do everything you can to avoid having players on your bench dictum.
Brock Nelson, New York Islanders, C: Shhh, but I’m sort of a closet Islanders fan. I’m an ’80s guy and a fan of orange and blue. Even so, adding Nelson, who had been dropped by another frustrated manager, can sometimes feel like you’re inviting your uncle who just so happens to be an actuary, to a seance. But I know that he can score in bunches even on the somewhat vanilla ice cream-like Islanders. Again, he fit into my lineup and totally replaced the lower ranked Ryan Hartman who ghosted me so big time toward the end of last year that I was eager to exorcize that Wild demon. At least I’m not bitter. Lastly, the Islanders schedule was pretty favorable even for an uninspiring Week 24.
Mike Matheson, Montreal Canadians, D: This was my bread and butter add of the week because it was just a few weeks ago that Nate of Apples and Ginos had been singing his praises as a potentially Top 25 rest of the season defensemen. So I’d been paying special attention to Matheson’s recent numbers and they were compelling to say the least. Knowing also that Montreal’s Week 24 schedule included Monday and Tuesday back to back games, made this add even more attractive. If he bombed, I could stream him out for another player for the rest of the week. Like my other adds, I was able to pick up Matheson who replaced the spots that would be vacated by my drop of Nino Neiderreter. Dropping Nino would also relieve me of my Winnipeg Jets blues. Exhibits A, B and C again: PLD, Ehlers, and the lineup carousel.
I was under the impression that a bye week would be a chance for some well-deserved fantasy hockey R&R. Wrong. Hopefully these adds work out for me during my semi-finals of Week 24. If not, I still have the four adds for Week 24. If needed, they could even replace the substitution, mass confusion, clouds inside your head adds of Week 23.
Thanks for reading and best of luck this week and for the rest of the season.
Mike@Fantasy Hockey Professor