In part three of a five-part series on finding value in your fantasy hockey draft, today's article will focus on centers. Part I in this series discussed left wings while Part II discussed right 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.
Before we jump into the details of which centers 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 centers are drafted in each round of a standard draft (on average). Similar to what we saw with both wing positions, 12 centers will come off the board in the first three rounds (this equal grouping of the forward positions in the early rounds is largely due to the increased amount of dual-eligibility this season). Where centers differ from the wings this season is Rounds 7-8 when there is a massive run to the tune of 12 centers taken in this 24-pick interval.
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 centers 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 whom our draft system ranked highly and whom managers are overlooking.
Below, you'll find a table of 15 players who are eligible at center 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 Center Position
Elias Pettersson - Pettersson is a nice rebound candidate in the upcoming season after missing significant time due to a wrist injury in the 2020-2021 campaign. Interestingly, Pettersson earned assists on the power play at a rate of just 0.52 per 60 minutes last season. Compare this with his typical value of 2.75 per 60 minutes and there is a case for strong power play production on your roster from a guy you can probably steal in the fourth round.
Tyler Seguin - Historically, Tyler Seguin has been selected somewhere between picks 10 and 20 (on average) in fantasy drafts. After missing nearly the entire 2020-2021 season as he recovered from hip surgery, managers seem to have forgotten that Seguin is a very strong player in this format. He's currently being selected with an ADP of 80.6 - making him a mid-seventh round pick. If you're in a Yahoo standard league and you don't steal Seguin in Round 6... we might have to fight. Seguin is a top line, top power play unit guy who will generate over three shots per game. Don't let this opportunity slip away.
Brayden Schenn - Brayden Schenn is a solid addition in this format. We're expecting six players to generate at least 60 points and 150 hits this season and Schenn makes this list. He'll see plenty of time on the power play and his only weak spot is the low shot production at ~2 shots per game. He's falling almost to the tenth round in drafts this season, so consider him in your draft plan for Round 9.
Dylan Larkin - Larkin's disappointing 2020-2021 season was due, in part, to his own individual shooting percentage of just 6.7%. The Red Wings, as a team, shot with just 5.0% success with Larkin on the ice at even-strength (league average is closer to 8.5%). These two factors combined to bring Larkin's goal and assist production down to lows that managers are now punishing him for in the upcoming draft. There are 27 players expected to score at least 60 points, take at least 240 shots, and earn at least 15 power play points in the coming season. Nearly all of them are being selected before the end of the sixth round. Larkin is on this list and managers are ignoring him in the first 15 rounds of their drafts. He is a ripe option for a late-round steal in this format.
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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