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(Page 13 of 48)
Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Crosby tops deep group of fantasy center rankings

NHL.com's Matt Cubeta ranks top 40 players at C position

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


Every year, every draft, everyone knows it: Center is the deepest position in fantasy hockey. It's not a debate. It has become a fact. Fittingly, this year is no different.

Within NHL.com's consensus top 200 overall rankings, 47 centers made the cut, with 17 in the top 50 and 28 among the top 100 players. Nearly 25 percent of the players in our overall rankings were centers. What's most notable are the 17 centers within the top 50 ranks, proving there is great strength at the position among the top-tier players. Comparatively, only 11 left wings, eight right wings, five defensemen and nine goalies made the top 50.

What does all this mean for you come draft day?

It means that if you miss out on grabbing one of the elite centers early on (first or second round), you'll still be able to draft a No.1-caliber center for your roster in rounds three through five because of this immense amount of depth.

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Fantasy Faceoff -- Center: Crosby vs. Stamkos

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Welcome to NHL.com's "Fantasy Faceoff," where our panel of insiders will dissect individual matchups to help determine which player carries the most fantasy value. Torn between two players on draft day? Look no further than NHL.com for the edge on the most compelling positional toss-ups as your fantasy draft approaches.

We begin at the center position, where NHL.com fantasy expert Matt Cubeta will debate the battle for the No. 1 ranking between the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos.


In this case, not only am I debating the top two fantasy centers, but in my opinion, I'm evaluating the top two overall fantasy players.

While many fantasy owners may be hesitant to draft Sidney Crosby as their No. 1 center because of his injury history, I'm here to tell you that he is 100 percent worth any risk or doubt you may have. Steven Stamkos has become one of the most prolific scorers over the past four years, but Crosby is the best player in the world and should be selected before the Tampa Bay sniper.

There's really no argument when breaking down per-game stats, but the questions regarding Crosby will continue to surround his health. But as long as he's healthy going into the year, he has to be the first player off the board in all fantasy leagues. And as of this moment, Sidney Crosby is completely healthy -- he'll be at Penguins training camp and should be as strong as ever. That's not to say he couldn't end up getting hurt at any point during the 2013-14 season (any player could get hurt at any time), but regardless, he is always worth that risk because of his per-game production.

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Boedker, Silfverberg among Sitkoff's fantasy sleepers

Thursday, 08.29.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

With very few exceptions, the vast majority of top-tier players are established and well-known to the common fantasy owner. While these players are integral components of a championship team, under-the-radar options with high potential -- better known as sleepers -- can pay huge dividends in fantasy leagues as well.

Whether drafted or added off waivers, these players typically are undervalued on draft day but ultimately can become major fantasy commodities by season's end. Sleepers are extremely unpredictable every season, but the bottom line is these players end up outperforming everyone’s expectations, regardless of their age, team or position.

This week, NHL.com fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff take in-depth looks at underrated players who should be on your fantasy team's radar entering drafts. Each expert will provide 10 sleeper picks with corresponding stat projections (in order of preference), along with five additional candidates for fantasy owners to keep an eye on.

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Drouin, Bennett among Jensen's fantasy sleepers

Wednesday, 08.28.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With few exceptions, the majority of top-tier players are established and well-known to the common fantasy owner. Though those players are integral components of a championship team, under-the-radar options with high potential -- better known as sleepers -- can pay huge dividends in fantasy leagues.

Jonathan Drouin
2012-13 REG. SEASON (QMJHL)
Goals: 41 | Assists: 64 | Pts: 105
PIM: 32 | +/-: 48
Whether drafted or added off waivers, these players typically are undervalued on draft day but ultimately can become major fantasy commodities by season's end. Sleepers are extremely unpredictable every season, but the bottom line is these players end up outperforming everyone’s expectations, regardless of their age, team or position.

This week, NHL.com fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff take in-depth looks at underrated players who should be on your fantasy team's radar entering drafts. Each expert will provide 10 sleeper picks with corresponding stat projections (in order of preference), along with five additional candidates for fantasy owners to keep an eye on.

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Booth, Perron among Cubeta's fantasy sleepers

Tuesday, 08.27.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With few exceptions, the majority of top-tier players are established and well-known to the common fantasy owner. Though those players are integral components of a championship team, under-the-radar options with high potential -- better known as sleepers -- can pay huge dividends in fantasy leagues.

Whether drafted or added off waivers, these players typically are undervalued on draft day but ultimately can become major fantasy commodities by season's end. Sleepers are extremely unpredictable every season, but the bottom line is these players end up outperforming everyone’s expectations, regardless of their age, team or position.

This week, NHL.com fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff take in-depth looks at underrated players who should be on your fantasy team's radar entering drafts. Each expert will provide 10 sleeper picks with corresponding stat projections (in order of preference), along with five additional candidates for fantasy owners to keep an eye on.

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Breaking down the top 50 fantasy hockey rankings

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

It seems like it was only yesterday when we were handing out fantasy awards for the 2012-13 NHL season, but now we're just a couple weeks away from the opening of training camps. You know what that means, right? It's time to start preparing for fantasy hockey.

You may or may not have already checked out NHL.com's top-200 overall fantasy hockey rankings, but below is a breakdown of those top 50 players. What was our reason for going with Sidney Crosby over Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin? Why do we believe Erik Karlsson will bounce back from injury to regain the No. 1 fantasy defenseman status? Why are we so high on Taylor Hall? These are just a few of the questions you might have after glancing at our rankings, and now, we provide you with the reasons and explanations.

The overall ranking order is based on NHL.com's composite rankings determined by fantasy experts Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Matt Sitkoff and Chris Foster (average of each expert's selections).

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The ABC's of Fantasy Hockey

A look at league formats, draft formats and draft strategies

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

It's that time of year again. Welcome back, fantasy hockey fans!

Each year we hope that this is "the" year -- the year you take home that fantasy crown and own bragging rights for the offseason. Whether you're looking to bounce back from a devastating loss last season or looking to defend your title, there's nothing better than the start of the new fantasy season.

That year of years starts with the best strategies to build and develop your fantasy league's champion. From draft preparation all the way through in-season trades and the playoffs (for those of you in head-to-head leagues), NHL.com's panel of fantasy hockey experts will be here for you year-round.

It starts now.

Let's first take a look at the fantasy hockey league formats and draft types, and then turn to winning strategies for the 2011-12 fantasy hockey season.

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Top 200 Overall Fantasy Hockey Rankings

Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Matt Sitkoff and Chris Foster rank the top 200 fantasy players

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

Below is a list of NHL.com's top 200 overall fantasy hockey player rankings, as determined by fantasy experts Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Matt Sitkoff and Chris Foster.

Past statistics, potential linemates, injuries and much more are taken into account in producing these rankings, but these projections should be viewed as our experts' opinionated projections of the most valuable players in the League from a fantasy standpoint. Some of our experts value a workhorse goalie over one who will split time with his backup; others prefer a skater who is elite in a few categories to one who is solid in all six.

When it's all said and done, though, these rankings take each expert's stance into account, providing you with a big-picture view of each player's impending fantasy value.

These rankings project value in standard fantasy hockey leagues, which include a 6x4 category scoring system: goals, assists, plus-minus, power-play points, shots on goal, penalty minutes, goalie wins, goals-against-average, save percentage and shutouts.

So, whether you're searching for a goal-scorer, distributor, power-play anchor, PIM producer or a top-tier netminder, our top 200 rankings will give you an edge in your upcoming fantasy hockey draft. For clarification on the top-50 overall rankings, check out Cubeta's in-depth assessment.

HOW WE DEVISED OUR RANKINGS

NHL.com's four fantasy experts first put together a pool of what they believed were the top 300 fantasy players. Once this pool was created, each analyst went their separate ways and individually ranked those 300 players. We have published 200 of them for you to view. Therefore, because composite rankings are determined by averages, numbers higher than 200 appear in some cases when sorting the individual rankings.

Lastly, NHL.com's placement of a given player within the overall top 200 rankings may differ from our sets of positional rankings (to be released starting the week of September 2) because the overall rankings take into account each expert's respective selections. Fantasy insiders submitted their rankings on Wednesday, August 21.

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Fantasy take on the 2013-14 NHL schedule

Saturday, 08.24.2013 / 9:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Studying the NHL schedule is very important to any fantasy hockey owner. Fortunately, NHL.com will provide a weekly look at certain players who are entering a favorable stretch in their schedule. This NHL Fantasy All-Access column will spotlight the players who should be picked up or played for that week.

Knowing the schedule for your draft is more important this season, as the NHL has realigned its divisions and will feature a balanced schedule that ensures that all 30 NHL teams will play in all 30 arenas at least once.

Here are some fun facts about the 2013-14 NHL schedule that will help you on fantasy draft day.

* The New Jersey Devils have a League-high 22 back-to-backs, followed by the Carolina Hurricanes, who have 20.

Devils legend Martin Brodeur was 0-1-2 with a 2.93 goals-against average and .885 save percentage last season in the second game of back-to-backs. Cory Schneider was acquired on Draft Day by the Devils and last season won his only appearance in the second half of a back-to-back, giving up two goals and stopping 26 of 28 shots.

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Young players to target in fantasy drafts

Saturday, 08.17.2013 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Keeper/dynasty leagues all run different and every season they are getting more creative in who and how long you can keep them. If you have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin on your team, and rules allow you to, of course you are going to keep them, as they again will be near the top of fantasy rankings every season. With that in mind, let's examine some players currently in the NHL who will be 22 years old or younger at the start of the season and have at least two seasons of service in the League that you should target that can help you this season and beyond.

Taylor Hall, F, Edmonton Oilers

The first pick of the 2010 NHL Draft had a breakout season in 2012-13, finishing ninth in scoring with 50 points but more importantly played in 45 of the 48 games (he missed two because of a League suspension). That level of durability for the 21-year-old is far better than his two previous seasons, when he missed 17 as a rookie and 21 in 2011-12.

He's been a clutch player for Edmonton with 15 game-winning goals in his career, which is tied for 18th in the last three seasons and tops on his team in that time frame. Another fantasy category he has become a go-to player is power-play points, as he has 25 power-play goals and 46 power-play points in three seasons. With the offensive talent that surrounds him in Edmonton, expect those numbers to continue to rise.

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NHL.COM FANTASY HOCKEY COVERAGE
Elliott vs. Allen | Gibson vs. Andersen
Buy-low veterans with hidden upside
Be aware of goalie trends, strategies
Offseason top 200 fantasy hockey ranks
NHL.com's starting lineup of past decade
30 in 30 fantasy hockey preview index
NYI | CAR | NJD | WSH | CBJ | PHI | NYR
PIT | WPG | NSH | DAL | MIN | CHI | STL

OFFSEASON FANTASY RANKINGS

RANK TEAM PLAYER
1. Sidney crosby
2. Steven Stamkos
3. Corey Perry
4. Evgeni Malkin
5. alex Ovechkin

CUBETA & JENSEN'S COMPLETE RANKINGS