James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Keep up with Kipper

Thursday, March 07, 2013


Like I’ve mentioned before, there are definitely advantages to taking a measured approach to fantasy “team-building.” Long story short, you’re less likely to make rash decisions that you end up regretting once a player ends a cold streak or stops enjoying an unsustainable amount of puck luck.

Even if you don’t make a lot of moves, you should do your best to at least monitor the landscape so you have alternate plans in case of injuries or promising leads. Every day isn’t always a reasonable benchmark, yet a few glances a week could really help you identify a steal or two.

Wednesday’s news cycle presents promising advancements for two regular fantasy staples who are far more readily available than they normally are.

KIPPER WINS ONE

At this point in the season, you’re probably not going to get many more chances to nab everyday starting netminders ( … who aren’t employed by the Columbus Blue Jackets). While early season goalie acquisitions have the high-risk high-reward feel of a big baseball swing that either results in a homer or a strikeout, later season searches are more like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Now look, we all know that Miikka Kiprusoff isn’t the impressive goaltending force who once powered the Calgary Flames’ surprising run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2004. Neither Kipper nor the Flames have seen many traces of those golden days since then.*

Still, in many head-to-head leagues, Kipper can help you scrape by in the goalie quantity stats categories, possibly even splitting the difference vs. owners who boast higher “quality” netminders.

QUANTITY EQUALING OUT QUALITY?

Think about it this way. Even if so-so workhorses such as Kipper put up middling numbers most nights, the sheer quantity of reps they receive opens up the chances for wins, random SO’s and saves (if applicable). Many weeks, you give yourself a chance to take a few categories from teams who made bigger investments in net, thus rewarding you for (theoretically) investing in quality forwards and defensemen instead.

(It’s not an ideal scenario, but it’s a decent way to adapt if your goalies are crummy.)

Don’t forget that while good goalies do tend to have the best chance to take those categories, GAA and save percentage can be really flukey on a week-to-week basis. Even guys like Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist have the occasional off nights that can ruin a given week.

When you consider the typical amount of goalie categories in most leagues vs. the small quantity of netminders, it makes total sense to invest in them. Still, they’re an unpredictable lot, making it risky to gamble a high pick on anyone but the elite.

Ultimately, if Kipper was dropped in your league because of his injury problems (he’s owned in about 60 percent of Yahoo leagues right now), he’s well worth consideration now that he’s back. That’s doubly true if you’re already getting manhandled in the goalie categories; quantity guys can really help you level the playing field, even if it might not be pretty.

* - Jarome Iginla has generally been great, though. In fact, if you decided to buy-low on Iginla during yet another cold start, you must feel pretty great. The power forward has two three-game point streaks in the last seven games, scoring six tallies and three helpers in that span.

WELL ISN’T THAT SPEZZA

To some surprise, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray claims that Jason Spezza could return from back surgery in 2-3 weeks. Many, myself included, figured he’d be out so deep into the season that he was basically a write-off.

Now I think you might just want to shuffle a few chairs to make room for the star center if he does come back.

One of my favorite techniques when your team is fairly healthy is to store a potential difference-maker on the IR in hopes that he can help out during a stretch run. Here’s how you can do it.

If you don’t have an IR slot open, I recommend some subterfuge. In the event that you have an easily replaceable depth player lying around, drop that guy, add Spezza, place Spezza on the IR and then add someone else.

(You could even try to acquire that dropped player again, but you’d risk losing him to other fantasy owners via the game’s version of “waivers.”)

While it’s quite possible that Spezza won’t be available until around playoff time for many owners, imagine adding a player of his caliber to put yourself over the top during the postseason. He’s owned in about 62 percent of Yahoo leagues, so store him while you can if you’re feeling bold.

Jump for more from the league.


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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than two years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien



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