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Another Case For Number One

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Is Sidney Crosby still the number one pick in fantasy leagues?
Mere hours after my posting suggesting that Crosby should be the first overall pick, Josh Rimer’s tweet about Crosby’s unlikeliness to be in the Penguins’ lineup to start the season was making the rounds.

Although the Penguins have not confirmed the report, GM Ray Shero’s statement that Crosby has suffered symptoms throughout the summer provides fantasy owners with enough to know that yes, there will be some injury risk in drafting Crosby this season. In writing the report, I wasn’t naïve enough to think that the concussion would no longer be a concern. But I do know that when there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. If Sid the Kid is cleared to attend training camp with no restrictions, then I may revert to my previous thought. But for now, Crosby’s name has to be put on ice as far as the first overall pick goes. Where he should be drafted in fantasy leagues will depend on the number of games he plays this season. How many games will he play this season, you ask? Your guess is as good as mine.

Is there a case for the Sedins?
There is good reason to include the Sedins in a top-5 fantasy player discussion, as one reader recently tweeted shortly after my article was posted. After all, Daniel Sedin led the NHL in scoring last season (104 points), while Henrik Sedin led the league in scoring the season before that (112 points). Both Sedins have been in the top 5 in points per game over the past two seasons, with the twins trailing only Alex Ovechkin in points per game in 2009-10. I don’t believe that either Sedin is first overall pick material, which I clarified in my response tweet was what I focused on in the article. The twin who I believe is more likely to be a top-5 fantasy option would be Daniel, who scores more goals and plays a position (LW) where scoring is more difficult to find.  Henrik (C) has led the NHL in assists two years running, but remember that assists are more common than goals in fantasy leagues.

Who is the number one pick then?
In my first article, I mentioned four other possibilities beyond Crosby:  Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Corey Perry, and Tim Thomas. Aside from Martin Brodeur in the dead puck era, goalie stats can waver significantly from year to year. So unless your scoring system is heavily weighted toward goaltending, I’ll suggest to remove Thomas from the list. If you are a believer of the recency effect, reigning real-life and fantasy MVP Perry is your man. If you prefer to use averages over the last two or three seasons, then Ovechkin should be back at the first overall position despite his underwhelming (by his standards) 32-goal campaign.

Who you pick depends on your league’s scoring system, and there are many of them out there. If your league counts pure points and nothing else, you could flip a coin and pick either Sedin (although I have a feeling that Stamkos will be an Art Ross Trophy winner at some point in his career, perhaps even this season). If one goal is worth more than one assist in your league scoring system (which is actually the case in head-to-head leagues, given that there are fewer goals than assists), and your league does not count penalty minutes, then you may want to consider Ovechkin. However, the one player that currently stands out to me to be a guy who can contribute in EVERY stat category in standard Yahoo and ESPN leagues is Perry. He was the top player in fantasy hockey at the end of last season, so we’ll allow him to keep that distinction to start this season.
Do you agree or disagree with my pick? Please weigh in with your comments, and follow me on Twitter.

Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, thegoods13, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin, corey+perry, daniel+sedin, fantasy+hockey, henrik+sedin, josh+rimer, martin+brodeur, ray+shero, sidney+crosby, steven+stamkos, tim+thomas

Comments

Doug Miller's avatar

Hmm… it is quite the interesting debate with the current “Crosby situation” which I agree, will have a huge impact on fantasy drafts this year… even if he is cleared for training camp and appears to be just fine. It’s still going to be in the back of any good fantasy GMs mind… that much like with Mark Savard last year… Crosby could be a serious gamble this season.

Again, I would throw out my opinion on who I’d take first overall if given the pick. but I’m still pushing that idea of a “KK Staff Fantasy Hockey League” on whatever site we decide to run it on… which we would probably leave up to you to setup and manage Ian, since you are our resident fantasy guy.

So I’ll keep my thoughts to myself for the time being. wink

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/18/11 at 01:20 PM ET

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I think Ovi based on the fact that Crosby may not even be ready for the start of the season

Posted by Capsrockva from Va on 08/18/11 at 01:41 PM ET

Puck's avatar

I’m in a partial keeper where we keep 3 players. Daniel Sedin is a gimme, so is Crosby regardless of health speculation. Have to decide amongst Kopitar, Zetterberg or Tim Thomas.

Posted by Puck from San Francisco, CA on 08/18/11 at 01:56 PM ET

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Interesting question. If health wasn’t a concern, Crosby’s the easy answer, but it is one. With Stamkos, he falls off the map when not paired with St Louis, so his value depends on what Boucher does. Thomas is old and, despite the Vezina, it’s not out of the question he loses his job to Rask again. Ovechkin looks like he’s been eating too many tacos this summer (it was much the same last summer and we see how that turned out). And the Sedins showed this playoffs that if you push them around a little bit, they stop producing.

Honestly, anything you do is a gamble.

Posted by steviesteve on 08/18/11 at 02:19 PM ET

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Oh, and raise your hand if you think Perry’s season is repeatable, because I sure as heck don’t.

Posted by steviesteve on 08/18/11 at 02:21 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Oh, and raise your hand if you think Perry’s season is repeatable, because I sure as heck don’t.

Give this guy a cigar.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 08/18/11 at 03:12 PM ET

Ian Gooding's avatar

@Doug Miller - I’ll think about what you’ve mentioned. I’d have no problem if you want to setup the league and be commish, since you probably know the folks on here better than I do.

@Puck - Go with Zetterberg if he is LW-eligible. Age is a concern with Thomas. If Z is only C-eligible in your league, I might be tempted to go with Kopitar because he is younger.

Something I forgot to mention in the article: My benchmark for Perry as a first overall pick is 45 goals, 45 assists, double-digit plus/minus, and 100 PIM, which I think he can attain. I understand that Perry probably won’t win the Art Ross Trophy, but Perry’s PIM and goal-weighted production make up for that.

Posted by Ian Gooding on 08/18/11 at 04:02 PM ET

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I will never have any Pit players on my fantasy team.

Posted by Capsrockva from Va on 08/18/11 at 04:22 PM ET

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My league include PIMs and is introducing a new category this year (hits) so Ovi becomes the clear candidate for #1 IMO. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see Perry go first but have troubles believing he can replicate last season’s numbers. Given the amount of shooting Ovechkin does his numbers can only go up.

Either way, given Sid’s situation your top 3 would have to be (in no particular order) Ovechkin-Perry-Stamkos.

Posted by Alex from Vancouver on 08/19/11 at 12:59 AM ET

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Never had a league champion with Ovi on the roster (strange).  Hits and pims you can buy off the wire and stream on a weekly basis (i.e. Clutterbuck, Cooke, and any assortment of goons). Our league is “cleaner” since we eliminated those cats.

Posted by Charlie on 08/24/11 at 12:23 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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