By Lane Myer
So how’d we do?
For reference, here’s what we said for our pre-season picks back in issue #1. Looks pretty good on the surface, but let’s take a closer look…
TTMI Top 10 Undervalued
* With this group we were mainly looking at mid-round ADP players, meaning those with an ADP of 90 or higher.
1. Patric Hornqvist if it weren’t for injuries would likely have been a top 25 fantasy player this year. At the All-Star break he was ranked #17 overall in standard sized leagues. Even though Hornqvist ended up missing 18 games, he still outperformed his ADP of 96 and finished the season at #66 overall. +1
2. Radim Vrbata had an ADP of 138 and with 31 goals and 63 points (23 on the PP) ended the season at #28 overall. Amazingly, he was taken off the Sedin line for the majority of the final 6 or so weeks otherwise he probably would have been a top 20 fantasy player. Big win here. +1
3. Tyson Barrie in his second full season recorded 12 goals and 41 assists along with 16 PP points on an underachieving Avs squad. What’s most impressive is he was a +5 on that team. His ADP was 132 and he ended up at #128 overall which seems low, but defensemen tend to be undervalued in Yahoo’s rankings. Barrie should have netted you 53 points from a defenseman with an 11th round pick (in a 12 team league) so that can’t be considered anything but a win. +1
4. Troy Brouwer was essentially a TTMI League pick. He’s still marginally overlooked in standard category leagues but in the larger stat TTMI league, he’s a very undervalued player with his variety of hits, face-offs, and PPP. His ADP was 275 and he ended the season at #118 overall. +1
5. Craig Smith as we mentioned pre-season, was incredibly undervalued by his ADP (249) and it continued again this season as he ended the campaign at #89 overall. If you play in heavier offensive stat leagues, he carried even more value with a towering 254 shots on goal and 4 game winners. +1
6. Christian Ehrhoff. Yuck. The thing is he looked like a top 90 or so fantasy player heading into the season – what with the Pens offense and their perennially top 5 PP not to mention his prior ability to QB a PP in Vancouver. Aside from the concussion issues, in 48 games, he only saw 21.5 minutes of PP time. The Penguins often used just one defenseman on each PP unit and often double shifted Letang. At any rate, a big swing and a miss -1
7. Jake Muzzin was another pick for TTMI Fantasy style leagues. A bit of a multi-category filler including hits and blocked shots. Thus he doesn’t quite carry as much value in standard size leagues but even so he still managed to marginally outperform his 195 ADP with a final #191 ranking after banking 40 points (14 PP) despite losing his first line and first PP unit role upon the arrival of Andrej Sekera. A slight +1
8. Derick Brassard as we noted pre-season entered the season with a good chance to spend some of the season with first line minutes until Derek Stepen returned from injury. Turned out he spent time on the first line even after Stepen returned and Brassard well outperformed his 238 ADP with a season ending #68 final ranking. +1
9. Kyle Okposo certainly would have been a top 50 (probably top 35) fantasy player this season if it weren’t for injury. Okposo still managed 51 points in 60 games and entered the season with an ADP of 90. Unfortunately he missed 21 games and finishes at #140 overall. I don’t think I need to tell you who drafted Okposo in the TTMI league and thus jinxed his season. What could have been -1
10. Jaden Schwartz was a trendy pick entering the season despite only being projected for second line minutes. Schwartz also missed 6 games to injury but still managed to well outperform his 151 ADP finishing at #62 overall after tallying 68 points in 75 games. Schwartz is one of those fantasy players whose value in undermined in standard size leagues due to his low PIM total (16). Otherwise he’d have been a top 40 player. +1
– That leaves us 8/10 in undervalued (sleeper) picks. Should have been 9, but Chris Block exists so… While only 3 of these players may have been game changers in your league, it’s still a pretty good showing with only Ehrhoff being a complete waste as a ninth round pick. The middle rounds is where leagues are won and several of these players would have gotten you there.
Yeah but how’d you do in deep leagues?
1. Brock Nelson was a top 50 fantasy player heading into the All-Star break having recorded 32 points (9 on the PP). Then he was bumped off the second line after Grabovski suffered a season ending concussion. Nelson was saddled with a third line checking role because the Isles feel the need to run a fourth line of heat seeking meatheads whose entire mission is to land hits, defense be damned. Thus Nelson’s production fell off of a cliff and he 12 points in the final 36 games and while he still well outperformed his 394 ADP, his season ending #140 overall looks much less desirable than his top 50 pre-break did. +1
2. Anders Lee was deemed undesirable by ADP at 402 entering the season. We knew better, and 25 goals at minimal cost is what you received. Lee was also a +9 and ran into a fellow human 169 times. +1
3. Alex Tanguay/Marty Havlat were grouped together in an AARP manner with the latter being completely useless on the season. Tanguay on the other hand was stellar all things considered. A super quiet 55 points (14 PP) means he well outdistanced his 290 ADP finishing at #155 instead. +1/ -1
4. Beau Bennett: I wonder if Penguin fans think of Bennett as the Kim Johnsson of the Penguins. Does he really exist or is this a possible ghoul situation? Moving on -1
5. Jori Lehtera was a sneaky pick and by and large it paid off. Certainly more so in the first half when he saw more second line minutes in the wake of injuries to multiple members of the Blues’ top six. Lehtera recorded 30 points in the first half along with a strong +16. He was then injured and missed 6 games, moved back onto the third line, and saw his post-break production slow to 14 points over the final 30 games. Still a win and a +1
– A solid 4/6 is what that was.
The All-TTMI Fantasy Team
* This team is comprised of players we leaned on throughout this season with emphasis on players who largely came out of nowhere and were recommended via our season-long Waiver Wire section of our column along with low ownership rates. Each player is linked to the post they first appeared in.
C – Tomas Plekanec
C – Sean Monahan
C – Nick Bjugstad
LW – Nick Foligno
LW – Johnny Gaudreau
LW – Brock Nelson
RW – Mark Stone
RW – Ryan Strome
RW – Mika Zibanejad
D – Johnny Boychuck
D – Dennis Wideman
D – Aaron Ekblad
G – Devan Dubnyk
G – Cam Talbot
G – Andrew Hammond
– At risk of Barry Horowitz-ing ourselves into a dislocated shoulder, if you were on board dating back to the second week, you’re welcome. Week Two’s Waiver Wire was pure gold with mentions including the likes of Filip Forsberg, Nikita Kucherov, Johnny Boychuck, Tomas Plekanec, Brock Nelson and Sami Vatanen. That’s two first line quality performers in Forsberg and Kucherov this season along with two top 4 fantasy defensemen and a top 40 player in Plekanec.
– Of course this is all highly subjective. The main goal of the waiver wire is to fill short-term needs. All of these players were accompanied by fleeting production from others. I’d like a buck for every minute spent tracking first line shuffles by the likes of Anaheim, Philly and the Islanders.
– Devan Dubnyk can rightfully be considered our greatest single player victory in terms of waiver wire producers as he was tracked by our crack Goalie Watch staff* back in Week 7 in mid-November as well as making his first appearance on The Wire in late December long before the trade to Minnesota.
* It should be noted TTMI’s crack Goalie Watch staff, on account of their collective awesomeness, has opted out of their respective contracts and will be pursuing other offers.
*The below info is based on standard 5×4 league categories (Goals, Assists, Plus/Minus, PPP, and PIMs on the positional side, and Wins, GAA, Save% and Shutouts on the goalie side. ADP = average draft position
Top 25 Underachievers: Please Try Harder
* We’re using 50 games played as the cutoff for injured underachieving positional players. If we were better people, and thusly more fair-minded, 60 games would probably be a more beneficial cutoff. Unfortunately for those injured players and your basic decency, we’re owned and operated by this man so there’s no reason to hoodwink you into believing we’re rationale human beings here. Plus, if we used 60 games, we couldn’t include the enigmatic Alex Semin.
– The list retains 14 players from the mid-season list. Speaking of 14, it’s a 14 player who’s who of underperforming goalies and offensive defensemen that largely comprise the final list.
– For 12 team Yahoo leaguers, in retrospect, how ugly did Round 9 (picks 108-119) turn out to be? Among those fantasy deadbeats were
108. James Wisniewski (356)
110. Alex Semin (660)
112. Jonathan Drouin (444)
113. Christian Ehrhoff (548)
115. Tomas Hertl (436)
117. Joffrey Lupul (600)
119. Johan Franzen (554)
Of those players, only Wiz failed to earn negative value in standard leagues. The rest were below what you could describe as replacement level. If you used this area to target more than two mid-round players in an auction draft, we hope you enjoyed that 9th place finish. Apologies to you for recommending Christian Ehrhoff pre-season.
– We buried the lead to make yourself feel better about your dreadful finish. This would only apply to auction leaguers, most likely, because if you loaded up with more than two Round 3 to early Round 4 players, chances are it was a struggle for you this year. These aren’t all players that would have killed your team, necessarily, but chances are you drafted a guy like Ben Bishop to be your number one goalie and he was moderately above average this season aside from the wins department.
20. Ben Bishop (81)
21. Taylor Hall (223)
23. Sergei Bobrovsky (195)
24. Chris Kunitz (131)
27. Patrick Sharp (127)
29. Semyon Varlamov (116)
Top 25 Overachievers: Driven Like the Flame(s)
– Oops. Nearly omitted Andrew Ladd so we had to go to 26…
– Calgary is represented with 4 mid to late season bloomers, though Jiri Hudler also made the mid-season list as well. Monahan, Gaudreau and Wideman essentially replaced Giordano and Brodie who fell off the list due to the former’s season ending injury. Brodie was subsequently moved to the second unit with Wideman and Russell taking top pair minutes.
– Devan Dubnyk had 16 starts and 3 relief appearances in the desert prior to arriving in Land o’Lakes. Thirty eight starts later (1.76 GAA, .936 SV% with the Wild), Dubnyk concludes the regular season as the second best fantasy goaltender behind only Carey Price (though Braden Holtby is right there as well and would have more value in counting stat save leagues).
– In a similar fashion, Cam Talbot matched Henrik Lundqvist in pretty much everything aside from perhaps piercing blue-eyed handsomeness (truth be told, I suffer the same affliction). Talbot carried 12 fewer starts than Lundqvist and thus 9 fewer wins and 240-ish fewer total saves, but Talbot marginally trumped Hank in ratio stats while they each netted 5 shutouts.
Lundqvist – 46 starts, 30 wins, 2.25 GAA, .922 SV%
Talbot – 34 starts, 21 wins, 2.21 GAA, .926 SV%
– Dustin Byfuglien would rightfully be about 6 or so places higher except between his late season injury (and 4 game suspension) he soaked up a dead roster spot for you. Winnipeg never placed Byfuglien on the IR and it became of matter of dropping him or letting him stagnate as deadweight on your roster.
That’s (literally) a wrap for now. We’ll be back for one more post this season which will be an updated Top 50 Under 25 list for keeper/dynasty leaguers heading into the off-season. Until next Monday….