Tips on how to pick your team for Sportsnet’s Fantasy Hockey Playoff Pool


Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby. (Billy Hurst/AP)

The DobberHockey crew is proud to have provided Sportsnet readers with fantasy hockey tips all season long. With Sportsnet offering a FREE playoff hockey pool presented by Ram with $50,000 in cash prizes available, we figured we would offer up a strategy guide to help get a leg up on the competition. Follow along for some tips and tricks to build the best possible roster.

1. Sign up!
Did we mention that it was free to enter? Sign up here.

2. Understanding the Rules
The best path to victory in any fantasy league is to first understand the rules, including roster makeup, scoring and any other minutiae you can take advantage of.

In this contest, you must pick six players (three forwards, two defencemen and one goalie) from each conference for 12 players total. Skaters score one fantasy point per goal or assist, while goalies get two fantasy points for each win, and one fantasy point per shutout. You must select one forward, one defenceman and one goalie to be your Ram Capable players and their points will be doubled.

Players are assigned a “salary” between 1-4 points. You have a total salary cap of 30 to fit your entire roster within, so you cannot merely load up on the best players.

You can build a new roster in advance of Round 2 and Round 3 of the playoffs so you don’t have to worry about how far your players might advance, but rather how many points they’ll get in the round you are selecting for. Alexander Radulov scored seven points in six Round 1 games last year, which would have made him an excellent pick in this contest even though his Canadiens were eliminated by the Rangers.

3. The Salary Cap
With 12 roster spots to fill and only 30 salary points available you have an average of 2.5 salary points to spend on each roster spot. Figuring out where to spend up and where to go cheap is a big part of the strategy in this contest.

A popular strategy will be a “stars and scrubs” approach where people pick high variance options costing only one salary point and then load up on known high salaried options. If taking this approach, it is worth noting that each of the highest-salary players (4 stars) are forwards except for goaltenders Tuukka Rask, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Pekka Rinne:

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There isn’t much room to save money in goal, however. Every team’s starter is priced as at least three salary points.

Another option is to fill out your roster with mid-tier options much like the Vegas Golden Knights did en route to a Pacific Division championship. Ironically, the Golden Knights’ top line is also one of this competition’s most expensive, costing a total of nine salary points.

A good strategy would be to load up on one cheap line and hope it goes bananas for an entire round. Here is a breakdown of the salary cost of each team’s top line:

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It’s worth noting that very few of the cheapest lines above feature all three members on their team’s top power play unit so there may be diminishing returns from the third members of these lines. Examples of this are Melker Karlsson, Zach Hyman, Alex Iafallo and Travis Konecny, but if they were slam-dunk options they wouldn’t be cheap.

4. General Population League Strategies
Since you will be competing against thousands of other participants in this contest there is a ton of merit in picking players who simply aren’t that popular. The goal is still to put together the roster that puts up the most points, but there’s nothing to gain if you and several thousand others all have Sidney Crosby. Every point he earns will simply keep you in lock step with the general population.

The only way to truly get ahead is to take players no one else has and hope they go off. If that happens you, and only you, reap the benefits.

Sportsnet has kindly provided data on the consensus picks of others that you can use as a road map to building your roster. Here are the most owned players in the contest pool so far. Check the site for updates between now and Wednesday evening:

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Article source: https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/tips-pick-team-sportsnets-fantasy-hockey-playoff-pool/

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