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Finding Value at the Left Wing Position

September 4, 2018   Left Wing Lock Staff   0 Comments


As the beginning of a five-part series on finding value in your fantasy hockey draft, today's article will focus on left wings. 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 left wings 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 left wings are drafted in each round of a standard draft (on average). At the left wing position, there are only eight players taken in the first three rounds combined, followed by a gap in the 4th round (this gap is due to an uptick in goalies coming off the board). Drafting of left wings picks up again in round 5, followed by a huge run in rounds 6-7 (with 42% of players taken during these two rounds listed as eligible left wings). We can use this information to better understand who and when to take when our name is called during the draft.

Finding Value at Left Wing Position
Finding Value at the Left Wing Position

Player Rankings and ADP

At leftwinglock.com, we create annual fantasy hockey draft kits which marry your scoring settings with our projections to generate customized player rankings. This exact type of draft kit was used by our team to crush the fantasy experts at NHL.com and includes sortable spreadsheets filled with projections in 20+ categories for over 600 NHL players. For the purpose of this article, we generated the customized player rankings for NHL players that can be drafted as left wings in the Yahoo fantasy hockey system. We then compare these player rankings to the player's ADP to determine which players are undervalued (it's never wise to draft on rank number alone). That is, we're looking for players who our draft system ranked highly and whom managers are overlooking.

Below, you'll find a table of 13 players who are eligible at left wing and 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.

Finding Value at the Left Wing Position

Ilya Kovalchuk LAK LW,RW 21 78.1
Sebastian Aho CAR C,LW 49 64.0
Mike Hoffman FLA LW,RW 50 99.0
Clayton Keller ARI LW,RW 54 74.8
Matthew Tkachuk CGY LW 58 78.5
Rickard Rakell ANA LW,RW 59 70.7
Logan Couture SJS C,LW 69 80.4
James van Riemsdyk PHI LW 73 84.9
Max Pacioretty MTL LW 77 112.5
Pierre-Luc Dubois CBJ C,LW 84 148.2
Teuvo Teravainen CAR LW,RW 116 140.8
Ondrej Palat TBL LW 122 173.0
Anthony Mantha DET LW,RW 143 168.1

Ilya Kovalchuk - With Kovalchuk, you're looking at a player expected to see top-line minutes and first unit power play usage. He has always been a high-volume shooter, both in his earlier stint in the NHL and his time in the KHL (he averaged more than four shots per game in his most recent two seasons). The risk, which is keeping his ADP well into the 7th round, is that Kovalchuk enters the season at the age of 35 with no recent NHL experience. You should be able to draft Kovalchuk in the middle rounds of your draft and could potentially be landing a player with strong contributions in shots on goal and power play points.

Matthew Tkachuk - If you're looking for solid coverage across all categories in the standard Yahoo scoring system, Tkachuk is your man. The list of players who can produce 50 points, 200 shots, 15 ppp, and 75 hits (Yahoo switched from PIM to Hits this year) runs about 12 deep - and Tkachuk is on that list. He's not going to dominate any singular category, but for a guy who's being ignored until the 7th round, he makes for a well-rounded contributor to your roster. As an added bonus, we're projecting Tkachuk to see a double-digit increase in his +/- value this season.

Rickard Rakell - Much like Matthew Tkachuk, Rakell does it all. He'll see significant power play time in the coming season and has seen his points/60 rise in each of the last three seasons. Expect 100+ hits from Rakell and at least 30 each in goals and assists. Rakell had dual-eligibility at LW and RW this season.

Max Pacioretty - Last Summer, when most of the fantasy hockey community had given up on Claude Giroux (he wasn't being drafted until late in the 6th round), our draft kit predicted that he would have a massive rebound season and our draft kit clients were heavily rewarded for trusting our analysis. One of the cornerstones of our argument was that Giroux's individual point percentage (IPP) was abnormally low in the previous season (learn more about IPP). Max Pacioretty is showing some of the same signs that Giroux showed just one year ago. We're not projecting a 100-point season for Pacioretty obviously, but we see signs of a big rebound in 2018-2019.

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 12 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 the best fantasy hockey draft kits available. We invite you to let us build your customized fantasy hockey draft kit for the 2018-2019 season. Order your kit today!

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An NHL player involved in this analysis. Click player name to visit player profile page.
The current NHL team for this player.
The official position designation for this player in the Yahoo Fantasy Hockey system.
The rank assigned by Left Wing Lock for this player in this specific scoring system only.
The average draft position for this player in the Yahoo Fantasy Hockey system.

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