Finding Value at the Goalie Position: 2017-2018

September 22, 2017

Introduction

In part five of a five-part series on finding value in your fantasy hockey draft, today's article will focus on goalies. Specifically, we're interested in using the Yahoo average draft position (ADP) to not only determine the best players to target in your fantasy hockey draft, but also when to target them. The assumptions made in this article include the following: (1) you're in a Yahoo standard league, (2) your league has 12 managers, and (3) your league is not a keeper league.

Manager Behavior

Before we jump into the details of which goalies are undervalued, it's important to get a handle on how managers are behaving in their fantasy hockey drafts so far. In the image below, you'll see exactly how many goalies are drafted in each round of a standard draft (on average). We've already reviewed the draft patterns for left wings, right wings, centers, and defensemen but goalies are their own beasts. Carey Price is being grabbed in the 1st round this year. But the real goalie run starts in the 2nd round and carries on through to the end of the 3rd round. You'll see nine additional goalies come off the board before the 4th round comes calling. If you want a perceived Top-10 goalie in your league, you'll need to spend one of your first three draft picks to get him. But, let's see if we can find some value picks in net so that you can grab elite skaters first.

Player Rankings and ADP

At leftwinglock.com, we create annual fantasy hockey draft kits in which we marry your scoring settings with our projections to generate customized player rankings. For the purpose of this article, we generated the customized player rankings for NHL players that can be drafted as goalies in the Yahoo fantasy hockey system. We then compare these player rankings to the player's ADP to determine which players are undervalued. That is, we're looking for players that our draft system has ranked highly and whom managers are overlooking.

Below, you'll find a table of goalies who are being undervalued by managers in fantasy drafts (there are many more listed in our draft kit). Detailed comments for some of these players can be found below the table.

PLAYERTEAMYPOSLWL G RANKADP
Tuukka RaskBOSG745.3
Devan DubnykMING246
Jonathan QuickLAKG455.8
Andrei VasilevskiyTBLG862.9
Cory SchneiderNJDG1496.3
Scott DarlingCARG11120.6
Steve MasonWPGG20167.2
  • Devan Dubnyk - When a goalie posts monthly save percentages of 0.952, 0.942, and 0.934, there is only one direction for that number to go for the rest of the season (no matter how good you think that goalie is). That direction is down. And that's exactly what happened to Devan Dubnyk in the 2016-2017 season. With an ADP of 46, managers are leaving Dubnyk on the board until late in the fourth round this season. This behavior is almost certainly influenced by their memory of the second half of the 2016-2017 season (Dubnyk posted a 0.908 SV% after the New Year). You should be able to cash in other managers' tendencies to remember more recent data and ignore the bigger picture. This is a good time to point out another fantasy hockey lesson: if you own a goalie (in non-keeper leagues) who is posting outrageously and unsustainably good numbers through December in a given season, it would be wise for you to trade him before his inevitable fall back to Earth.
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy - Managers are treating the Vasilevskiy sitaution in Tampa Bay conservatively this season. On average, he's surviving until early in the sixth round in fantasy hockey drafts. There are typically 12 goalies off the board by this point in the draft. Given that we have Vasilevskiy ranked as the 8th overall goalie, there is an opportunity for value here with this pick. He seems like the perfect type of goalie to grab in the 4th or 5th round this season.
  • Scott Darling - Of all the goalies on this list, the one for which we have the least amount of data is Scott Darling. His ADP suggests that many managers consider him a career backup goalie who has moved to a non-playoff team. These managers are probably wrong on both accounts. To date, Darling has faced 2,080 shots in the NHL and has earned a 0.923 save percentage. While we prefer to have at least 3,500 shots of data before making strong predictions on goalies, Darling is trending in the right direction. The odds of him being a below-average goalie (on a career basis) in the NHL are slim. He's now on a team with a quietly solid defense that allowed just 28 shots against per game last season (5th best in the NHL). If you let a manager take Darling late in the 10th round, you have failed in this year's draft.
  • Steve Mason - Prior to last season, Steve Mason posted three straight seasons of 0.917 and higher on some Philadelphia teams with weak overall defenses. Even with last year thrown into the mix, only six goalies in the NHL have a better even-strength save percentage than Steve Mason over the most recent three seasons. An ADP of 167.2 means that Mason is begin ingored until the end of the 14th round, despite being the starting goalie on a team that was ranked seventh last season in total goals scored. If you miss out on Darling in your draft (and we hope you don't), surely a 12th round pick can be used to gamble on a guy who has bested all but six of the goalies in the NHL over the past three seasons.

Customized Player Rankings

If you're looking for a chance to draft players with great projections that are being ignored by the other fantasy hockey websites, then consider downloading one of our fantasy hockey draft kits this season. You won't be disappointed. While this article focused on the Yahoo standard scoring system, our customized draft kits can handle just about any scoring system you throw our way.

For 10 years, you've trusted Left Wing Lock as a reliable source to bring you accurate starting goalie information, line combinations, and player news alerts. That same passion and dedication fuels us as we create what we believe are the best fantasy hockey draft kits available. We invite you to let us build your customized fantasy hockey draft kit for the 2016-2017 season. Order your kit today!

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