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Finding Value at the LW Position

September 19, 2021   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 12 players taken in the first three rounds combined; this is nearly double the amount of left wings chosen in the first three rounds just two seasons ago. Following the spike of six left wings drafed in Round 3, just one left wing is taken in Round 4 and then the pattern flattens for the remainder of the draft. 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 defeat the fantasy experts at NHL.com and win the first-ever Zero Transaction Fantasy Championship. The draft kit includes sortable spreadsheets filled with projections in 25+ 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 compared these player rankings to the player's ADP (average draft position) 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 15 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

Alex DeBrincat CHI LW,RW 18 34.3
Matthew Tkachuk CGY LW,RW 22 36.5
J.T. Miller VAN C,LW 29 52.1
Filip Forsberg NSH LW 30 127.1
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins EDM C,LW 31 76.8
Kyle Connor WPG LW 33 49.6
Nikolaj Ehlers WPG LW,RW 42 59.8
Evander Kane SJS LW,RW 48 135.5
William Nylander TOR LW,RW 58 102.4
Eeli Tolvanen NSH LW,RW 63 167.9
Mike Hoffman MTL LW,RW 68 164.9
Dominik Kubalik CHI LW,RW 70 146.8
Claude Giroux PHI C,LW 86 156.7
Anthony Mantha WSH LW,RW 96 159.1
Jamie Benn DAL C,LW 99 132.2

Alex DeBrincat - The diminutive Chicago forward enters October coming off a 2020-2021 season in which he scored 56 points in 52 games (and was on pace for 50 goals in an 82-game season). DeBrincat has dual-eligibity at LW and RW and his ADP of 34.3 is the earliest value of his career. DeBrincat's 2020-2021 production was influenced by luck; he scored on 19.1% of his shots at even-strength alone. You should expect a pullback from last season's production. Despite managers targeting him earlier than ever, DeBrincat is still a value pick in this scoring system. If no one rains on your parade, you may be able to grab him at top value with your third round pick.

J.T. Miller - Managers are overreacting to Miller's drop in performance from the 2019-2020 season to the 2020-2021 season. Miller's point pace went from 85 to 71 in a single season and managers are punishing him a full round in average draft position (he's dropped from 39.6 ahead of the 2020-2021 season to 52.1 today). But as we explain in this year's draft kit, Miller's performance was heavily impacted by the loss of Elias Pettersson to a wrist injury. Expect a rebound for Miller in the coming season and you should be able to steal him with your fourth round pick.

Evander Kane - This pick is all about risk. Kane is under investigation by the NHL due to gambling allegations made by his wife. He's also one of just nine players expected to generate at least 60 points, 100 hits, and 200 shots on goal. Kane is a solid player in this format with late fourth round value. His current ADP of 135.5 means that managers are valuing him as a twelfth round pick. If Kane plays in the NHL this season, he may be one of the biggest steals in fantasy drafts.

Claude Giroux - With the expectation that he will play on the top line with Sean Couturier as well as the first power play unit, Giroux is a slam-dunk pick late in drafts this year. His individual points percentage (IPP) came in low last season. His SHSV value (a metric that measures luck) found him in the lowest 25 players in the league. We anticipate a double-digit increase in his +/- value in 2021-2022. His current ADP of 156.7 has him valued as an early fourteenth round pick. Your draft strategy should include stealing Giroux somewhere in Rounds 11-13.

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. You'll find plenty of draft day steals.

For 15 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 2021-2022 season. Order your kit today!

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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