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Fantasy Hockey: What is Fantasy Hockey?

Once you are finished reading this guide, check out Kevin Lavallée’s guide for Fantasy Hockey: Drafting 101!

For the uninitiated, a Fantasy League is a Meta-sports game that involves a group of individuals acting as General Managers (GMs) for their own made up teams using real world players and using their real world stats. Most of these leagues are based on money to keep it competitive, but there are free pools too. This game can be applied to any team sport, but given that the focus of this website is on hockey, I will be enlightening you about the main types of Fantasy Pools for hockey.

 

WHY?

Last season I was in three different hockey pools, all with different people. You can ask my girlfriend, I am obsessed with the concept. The reason I enjoy it so much is because first and foremost, I love the sport. As you may read in my bio description at the end of this article or in the “About” section (shameless plug), hockey is an integral part of my life. I have always been an avid hockey fan but as soon as I joined a hockey pool, it added a whole new layer of depth and understanding to the game. Something about being a General Manager for the team of my dreams really hit a sweet spot in my obsessive personality. I went from barely recognizing most non-Leaf players’ names, to knowing what team those players play for, where they are from, if they are injured, and how high of a calibre player that they are. It made me so much more attached to the whole sport because every game mattered, every period mattered, and every player mattered.

 

DRAFTING

To start, you need to pick a team. This can be done with or without a draft depending on how the league is set up. A draft is the process of GMs selecting players that they want for their team. As soon as a player is taken, they cannot be chosen again. The order that drafting is done is by going from first to last and then from last to first, such that last place gets to choose twice. This same thing happens to first place when it comes back, and it reverses again until everyone’s teams are filled. This is called serpentine draft style. For example, for the first three rounds of a 10 team draft, the draft order would be:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

The other format for picking players for your team is non-draft. This format allows a player to be on as many teams as possible. However, the player can’t be on the same team twice.

Each pool can vary with the kind of players you may choose depending how the organizer of the pool has the rules set up. Some pools allow the GMs to pick whatever players they want. Other pools say you are required to have a set amount of forwards, defence, goalies, rookies, superstars, and any other categories that the organizer may think of.

WHICH TYPE TO CHOOSE?

Below I have written brief explanations to assist you in choosing which league is best for you. Click the title of the League to jump down the page to the explanation, or you can just scroll down.

Express Leagues

Express Leagues are point based fantasy pools where you pick a team that contributes as much as possible to one point total.  For example: goals will give you a point, assists will give you a point, and your goalie winning a game will give you a point. These leagues are only a day to a week in length. Choose if you want something that is a minimal commitment, requires minimal knowledge of the sport, and is beginner level.

Recommended League Website: FanDuel

Note: I have never used FanDuel, but from my research it seems like it is the most used.

Points Based

Points Based leagues are points based fantasy pools where you pick a team that contributes to as much as possible to one point total. For example: goals will give you a point, assists will give you a point, and your goalie winning a game will give you a point. These leagues can last for a whole regular season, just the playoff season, or both. Choose if you want something that is a medium commitment, requires minimal knowledge of the sport, and is beginner level.

Recommended League Website: Yahoo Fantasy Hockey

Daily Fantasy Hockey

Daily Fantasy Hockey leagues have you picking a team to get you the most points when you face off against another team. You fight for player statistical categories that give you points if you win them. Choose if you want something that is a minimal commitment, requires in depth knowledge of the sport, and is advanced level.

Recommended League Website: DraftKings

Note: I have never used DraftKings, but from my research it seems like it is the most used.

Head-to-Head

Head-to-Head leagues (commonly referred to as H2H) have your team facing off in a 1 versus 1 match up each week, fighting over player statistical categories. Your team gets a point by winning a statistical category. Choose if you want something that is a major commitment, requires in depth knowledge of the sport, and is advanced level.

Recommended League Website: Yahoo Fantasy Hockey

Rotisserie

Rotisserie leagues have you facing off against a whole league over player statistical categories like goals and assists. The higher you place in a statistical category compared to other teams, the more points your team gets. These leagues tend to be for the whole regular season. Choose if you want something that is a major commitment, requires depth knowledge of the sport, and is advanced level.

Recommended League Website: Yahoo Fantasy Hockey

Warning: If you are thinking about choosing a Head-to-Head or Rotisserie league, there is a lot of time commitment associated with these leagues. GMs for these leagues need to set line ups each day, trade players, and pick up players from the free agency to have a successful team. Not for the faint of heart. However if you love depth, you will love this league type.

 

TYPES OF FANTASY POOLS

There are five types of Fantasy Leagues and Hockey Pools: Express Leagues, Daily Fantasy Hockey, Points Based, Head-to-Head, and Rotisserie.

Express Leagues

This type of pool is similar to Points Based pools. In Express Leagues, GMs pick a number of players for their team that they think will get them the most points. The way that players obtain points is by scoring goals, assists, goalie wins, shutouts, and any other categories that the organizer may think of. These points all add together to give the total points that the GM has achieved which is then compared against the other GMs’ total points to see who is the winner at the end of the Fantasy League or Hockey Pool season. This is similar to a Points Based pool, but are much shorter and limited to a day or a week in length.

Back to brief explanations.

Points Based

This is the first type of hockey pool that I ever used. I got my start with this type of pool at the ripe for the molding age of ten in my family run playoff pool, “The Cook Cup”. In this pool type, GMs pick a number of players for their team that they think will get them the most points. The way that players obtain points is by scoring goals, assists, goalie wins, shutouts, and any other categories that the organizer may think of. These points all add together to give the total points that the GM has achieved which is then compared against the other GMs’ total points to see who the winner is at the end of the Fantasy League or Hockey Pool season.

Back to brief explanations.

Daily Fantasy Hockey

Daily Fantasy Hockey takes the depth of Head-to-Head and Rotisserie hockey leagues by making the fantasy league only a day long. In Daily Fantasy Hockey leagues, GMs pick a number of players for their team that they think will get them the most points. The way that players obtain points is by scoring goals, assists, goalie wins, shutouts, and any other categories that the organizer may think of. This can be done in either Rotisserie (all GMs face each other and get points based on where their team ranks for each statistical category) or Head-to-Head (GMs face off 1 v 1 and for each category, each GM gets a point if they win a statistical category). Whoever gets the most points compared to other GMs, wins the fantasy league.

Back to brief explanations.

Head-to-head

Head-to-Head is what I have been playing the most of recently. Head-to-head leagues have GMs picking players for their teams that they think will obtain them the most points. The way that players obtain points is by scoring goals, assists, goalie wins, shutouts, and any other categories that the organizer may think of. How this differs from a Point Based system by having all of the GMs in the league pair up and face off against each other in a 1 vs 1 matchup. Within this matchup, players compete over player statistical categories. For each category, whichever GM has the most of that statistical category gets 1 point. All of these points are added up for each GM, and whoever has the most of these points compared to the other GMs’ points, wins.

2010-10-26_fh_scoring
Sample Head-to-Head scoring in a 1 vs 1 match up. The bold in each row indicates what statistical category they are winning. The score on the right indicates the score that will be measured against the rest of the GMs.

Warning: If you are thinking about choosing a Head-to-Head, there is a lot of time commitment associated with these leagues. GMs for these leagues need to set line ups each day, trade players, and pick up players from the free agency to have a successful team. Not for the faint of heart. However if you love depth, you will love this league type.

Back to brief explanations.

Rotisserie

Rotisserie is somewhat of a hybrid of Points Based and Head-to-Head leagues. Rotisserie leagues have GMs picking players for their teams that they think will obtain them the most points. The way that players obtain points is by scoring goals, assists, goalie wins, shutouts, and any other categories that the organizer may think of. This is similar to Head-to-head in every aspect except for the fact that GMs don’t compete against each other in 1 vs 1 matchups, but rather it’s a free for all between the GMs fighting over the player statistical categories. GMs are awarded points each week depending where they rank in each category.

rotisserie_chicken_feather
I couldn’t find a picture of rotisserie scoring, so here, SALIVATE. (Taste of BBQ – tasteofbbq.com)

Warning: If you are thinking about choosing a Rotisserie league, there is a lot of time commitment associated with this league. GMs for these leagues need to set line ups each day, trade players, and pick up players from the free agency to have a successful team. Not for the faint of heart. However if you love depth, you will love this league type.

Back to brief explanations.

 

Once you are finished reading this guide, check out Kevin Lavallée’s guide for Fantasy Hockey: Drafting 101!
(Cover Photo – Wikipedia – Bri Weldon via Wikimedia Commons)

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