Fantasy Hockey

Fantasy Hockey Friday Analysis and Draft Predictions

Happy Friday Arizona Coyotes fans! On Fridays, we’ll take a look at Coyotes players from a fantasy hockey perspective in Friday Fantasy Hockey (listen to the epic, cheesy music).

Fantasy hockey is one of the least popular fantasy sports, but it is nevertheless the most fun. I’m biased, but if you’re reading this you probably play fantasy hockey and agree with me.

With daily games, it attracts time commitments comparable to fantasy baseball. The casual fantasy sports fan prefers soccer because scoring is incredibly simple, and you set up your roster on Wednesday and check your scores the following Monday night.

Easy enough.

Fantasy hockey has a slightly more complex scoring system and requires a greater time commitment. Having to set your roster every day and multiple scoring categories may turn off some fans. Writing your list can get tricky once you get past the early rounds.

Standard scoring leagues award points (+/-) for goals, assists, points, power play goals, power play assists, power play points, shorthanded points, goals against , saves, wins, losses, shutouts and overtime losses.

There are modified stats/categories leagues which, in addition to the standard scoring system, award points (+/-) for advanced stats such as shots, hits, blocked shots, game wins, penalty minutes, etc. (according to the league commissioner).

While NHL superstars easily fill fantasy rosters, team owners always seem to add a player or two from their favorite NHL team, regardless of ability. There will always be this inherited fantasy sports bias.

I’ve always been a big fan of Patrick Marleau and he’s been on my list since I can remember. Even during the last years of his career. This year will be strange for me.

The Arizona Coyotes feature players who fly under the radar but have fantastic value. Every Friday, I’ll take a look at a Coyotes player from a fantasy perspective and provide analysis and ideas on where you should draft him in your league.

This Fantasy Hockey Friday, we take a look at forward Clayton Keller.

A dormant pick prediction last season, Keller was expected to stay in the 50-point range given the team he plays on. Keller exceeded all expectations last season with a stat line of 28-35-63, in 67 games. In the standard scoring leagues, he scored 175 points during the season, good for the 17th best winger in the NHL. Keller has an average draft position of 196 overall, which means in a 10-man league he was undrafted, in 12-man leagues he was selected in the 16th round, and in 16-man leagues he was selected in the 16th round. 14 players, he went to the 14th round.

He should be a steal in the standard scoring leagues, but owners might balk because he plays for the Coyotes. Depending on how many ‘Yotes fans are in your league, you can safely draft him in the 15th, 12th, or 10th rounds, respectively. I wouldn’t suggest taking it until round 9. At that time you are playing a home run and you might miss a much better fancy player.

Looking at advanced stats, Keller had 5 power-play goals, 11 power-play points, 28 penalty minutes, 177 shots, 17 hits and 31 blocked shots. In a league of altered stats, Keller scored 366 points, good for 124th overall. In my 14-player league, he was undrafted last season and at the end of the season he was in 68% of the Yahoo leagues. You can safely draft him in the 12th round or later in modified stat leagues.

In advanced stat leagues, players like Minnesota’s Marcus Foligno or Seattle’s Adam Larsson score at least 100 points or more than Keller (due to hits and blocked shots). Looking at players like this, Keller shouldn’t be drafted until the 12th round.

In most leagues, Keller is listed at an RW/LW, meaning you can slot him into your roster for RW or LW, as a forward or utility player. There are a few leagues where he is listed as C/RW, which means he can also be in a starting lineup as a center.

Clayton Keller is a stud and is amazing to watch and cheer on. Recruiting him to your fantasy team this year will help you win your league and give you something in addition rejoice when you watch the Coyotes this season. Don’t write it too soon!

Happy howl!