In most fantasy hockey leagues, American Thanksgiving signals the 1/3 point of the fantasy hockey season. Fantasy teams have come to show their true light. The next two months tend to be the most important in fantasy leagues, in regards to fantasy hockey playoff qualification. If your team remains irrelevant after the holiday season you will most likely be fighting for your life to get into your fantasy playoffs. Whether your team is sustaining its dominance, is a work in progress, starting to show a weakness, or just trying to stay relevant, here are some thoughts to think about in the coming holiday season.
The holiday season tends to make for some “quick” weeks. Just when it seems your team is starting to get rolling, the week is over. In short weeks, a good start is essential as player appearances will often be less than normal resulting in less of a chance to catch your opponents. These short weeks consist of days with either no or a minimal amount of games. American Thanksgiving week had 2 days with only 1 game, and the week of Christmas has no games on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day(Canadian Holiday for those not in Canada). This makes the few games that your players do play in extremely important. These weeks also tend to lend themselves to upsets. Fantasy is normally about consistent production, in short weeks this doesn’t stand true. One crazy game in the NHL can be the nail in the coffin for any fantasy hockey team in these short weeks. Fantasy hockey can be looked at as the story of the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race during the full season. Fast and streaky wins during the “short” weeks of fantasy hockey don’t. It often pays off during these short weeks to go with your gut and take risks with your lineups for the week.
The opposite can be said of “long” fantasy hockey weeks as compared to the “short” weeks described above. The long weeks in most fantasy hockey leagues coincide with the beginning of the NHL season and the All-Star break. The long weeks in fantasy hockey leagues tend to be over the span of 2 calendar weeks (the Olympic break during Olympic years often results in a 4 calendar week long fantasy week. Unlike “short” weeks which favor inconsistent streaky performances, “long” fantasy hockey weeks favor consistency and stability. During these weeks it’s better to just go with your consistent producers rather than risky potentially streaky lineups.
Moving Up the Ranks:
With a third of the fantasy season over, the future might seem bleak if you have found yourself at the bottom of your league. The good news is you still have time, the bad news is your running out of time. The next 4-8 weeks are extremely important to fantasy hockey GMs everywhere. In the NHL they say if you aren’t in a playoff position by American Thanksgiving, you only have a 23% chance of making it to the playoffs. In fantasy hockey I would say this is pushed back to somewhere between New Years and the All-Star break. There are so many points available on a weekly basis in fantasy hockey that one good week could boost you a lot. However, if you find yourself out of a playoff spot by the NHL All-Star break, this could signal a larger problem with your team than just bad luck. So over the next 2 months if things don’t seem to start going your way, it might be time to make some deals, cut your losses, or just try something new and risky. You never want to be left wondering “what if I had done this…”.
Most leagues have the option to designate rivalry weeks. These weeks don’t award anything special to the victor in regards to fantasy superiority but they can be fun outside of the fantasy results. They can be a perfect time for bets or some good old bragging rights. They can also give fantasy hockey teams something to look forward to that is a little different than the normal weekly fantasy routine. In my fantasy league we have rivalry weeks during holiday weeks and always matchup division rivals or original teams from the beginning of our league. It is always fun to make the holiday’s just a little sweeter with a fantasy hockey win over some of your best friends. I look at it as our version of a Thanksgiving Showdown or Winter Classic.
Hopefully the holiday season brings lots of success to your fantasy hockey endeavors. If you need any further or specific advise, feel free to ask in the comments below!
Cover Photo by: NHL.com