Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fantasy Hockey Defensemen - Sleepers & Busts

The regular season is now just a few days away and if you haven't drafted yet, then you will be in the coming days. In this edition, I will run through the sleepers & busts for defensemen. If you missed any of my earlier articles and want some last minute drafting tips, please feel free to check them out...


In fantasy hockey, the defenseman position is one of the hardest positions to draft for. The majority of your fantasy leagues out there are offense based, where you get points for goals, assists, etc. So in fantasy hockey, you need a defensemen, that plays like a 'forward.' That means shut down defensemen like Derek Morris or Rob Scuderi, who are good defensemen and will stop the opposing team from scoring, will not provide you with much fantasy value. However, someone like Mike Green or Zdeno Chara would be someone that will put up some offensive numbers, and would be a better fantasy option at defense.

Sleepers

Keith Ballard (FLA): Keith Ballard, with the departure of Jay Bouwmeester, should now get more opportunities to produce on the Panther's blueline. Ballard has consistently improved the past couple years and looks to improve his numbers yet again this year by making the most of the increased opportunities.
Dustin Byfuglien (CHI): Dustin Byfuglien is one of those rare gems on a fantasy roster that is labeled as both a forward and defenseman. Last year, I was able to utilize him on my defense while he was playing RW and was able to get some decent value from him, without having him take up a forward position. If he is again labeled as such, he might be a nice pickup for someone trying to maximize their forward options.
Braydon Coburn (PHI): Braydon Coburn had a slight dip in production last year due to injury, but looks to be ready to go and perform in this contract year. Coburn should see some time on the PP this year and gives you some PIM as well.
Erik Johnson (STL): Erik Johnson had a very good rookie season 2 years ago, but missed all of last season after an off-ice injury. Johnson will get a lot of PP time and also possess a lot of offensive talent. Because he missed last year, he should fly under the radar and would be a good fit on any blueline.
Thomas Kaberle (TOR): Thomas Kaberle had a poor showing last year and was sidelined for some time due to injury. With the new additions to the Leaf's blueline, Kaberle should be able to revive his offensive output this year and provide owners with near 60pt seasons like we are used to seeing from him.
Kris Letang (PIT): Kris Letang's offensive output has steadily increased the past 2 years. With the departure of Ryan Whitney, Letang saw more PP time and has capitalized on the opportunity. Letang has a great shot and does not hesitate to use it when given the opportunity.
Paul Martin (NJ): Paul Martin is on a NJ team that is not always known for its offensive prowess, but for the past 2 years he has consistently scored 30 pts with more than 1/2 on the power play. Martin is also a great +/- person to have.
Ryan Whitney (ANA): With the departure of Chris Pronger, Ryan Whitey will take over his spot on the blueline and on the powerplay. Before his sub-par performance last year, Whitney was an offensive force on the blueline for the Penguins. Whitney should rebound this year and once again provide good numbers for fantasy owners.

Busts

Alexander Edler (VAN): Edler was a stable PP option on the blueline last year, but with the additions of Christian Ehrhoff and Mathieu Schneider to the team, it may cut into his PP time and therefore his value will certainly diminish.
Ed Jovanovski (PHO): Once a good early round choice on the blueline, Jovanovski is now more of a +/- risk and last year had a 15 point drop. Jovanovski can still give you a nice PP option, but should not be considered until very late in the draft.
Scott Niedermayer (ANA): Scott Nidermayer is on the last leg of his career. He can still provide some fantasy value, however not as an early round choice. Over the past 3 years, his production has slipped and should again take a slight drop.
Dion Phaneuf (CGY): Dion Phaneuf had the worst showing of his career last year and with the addition of Jay Bouwmeester, Phaneuf's chances to retain 60 points like he did 2 years ago look very slim. Phaneuf is still a good choice on the blue line but not an early round draft choice any more.
Wade Redden (NYR): Wade Redden had one of the worst offensive productions of his career in his first year with the Rangers last year. He can no longer be considered a strong fantasy option, as he once was with the Senators.
Michal Rozival (NYR): Michal Rozival's point production has steadily declined over the past few years and finished with a -7 rating last year. You can pick him up late in your draft as a fill in, but don't expect too much.
Kimmo Timonen (PHI): The arrival of Chris Pronger will definitely reduce Timonen's ice time and therefore opportunities for offensive production. Timonen is a good guy to have on reserve but not as a regular starter if better options are out there.

Hopefully these tips will help draft a solid blueline for your fantasy team. Next time I'll run through the sleepers & busts for goalies.

Until next time: I'll keep you posted... Between the Pipes





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2 comments:

Bestcelebrity said...

Thanks for the great article.

Manson Seto said...

Hope all the tips help you out on draft day!