Fantasy Hockey, anyone? August 8, 2011 5:27 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by this post, is anyone interested in MeFi fantasy hockey?

I have the time to put together a league, buuuut I don't have the experience. Mannequito is also interested in helping out, but won't really have reliable access to internets during September.

Any experienced mefites out there want to get something going? I'm willing to put in the legwork but I'd need some coaching.
posted by biochemist to MetaFilter-Related at 5:27 PM (37 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Will there be manticores?
posted by Eideteker at 6:36 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by sweetkid at 7:48 PM on August 8, 2011

Yes, yay! The last time I was in a fantasy hockey league, we used Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey. Seemed pretty straightforward. Their software did all the draft handling.
posted by millions of peaches at 8:00 PM on August 8, 2011

Seems redundant, but yes, I am in!

I'm reading through some of the FAQ on Yahoo right now.
posted by mannequito at 8:21 PM on August 8, 2011

so after looking through, nothing really seems complicated.

I was mainly curious about how the drafting might work. Seems there's 3 options - Live, Autopick, and Offline. Live would require all of us being online at the same time, which could be tricky. But this can be mixed with the Autopick, which makes a selection for a fantasy player based on who the highest rated, still available player is. And Offline would be up to us, to do our drafting on our own means (email, most likely). This seems the best option, though it could be lengthy if people are slacking in their replies.

Beyond that, it's generally pretty automated. Trading and picking up free agents throughout the season is mildly intimidating but I imagine it would be easy to get the hang of on-the-fly, and could be quite fun in no time.

I'd be interested to know how some of the other MeFi fantasy leagues have handled their drafting.
posted by mannequito at 9:49 PM on August 8, 2011

We seem to be a pretty small group, so email sounds like a good option if we don't grow too large.

The live+autopick option was actually pretty amusing to watch in action. One person came in too late to stop the autopicker from spending 20% of their salary on two players. They weren't pleased, to put it mildly. Not sure if that's something we want to risk, though.
posted by millions of peaches at 11:09 PM on August 8, 2011

Just out of curiosity — when I was in a fantasy soccer league, the statistics they valued had only a marginal connection with what you'd want out of an actual team, and tended to reward guys who were the "stars" of the worst teams over the players who were well above their level but played for better teams. I wonder what kind of stats hockey has (obviously goals and assists, but what else? +/-?) that people could use to build fantasy teams. That's at least been the advantage of fantasy baseball, that the individual stats are pretty well predictive.

(Anyways, I don't think I can participate because I'm well known to wildly overestimate the skills of the Red Wings, and wildly underestimate everyone else. Go Wings!)
posted by klangklangston at 7:59 AM on August 9, 2011

I'm in.

i used yahoo and had two problems with it: 1. i didnt like it... (thats a problem right?) and 2. i cant hit yahoo from my daytime physical location, its blocked.
posted by chasles at 8:33 AM on August 9, 2011

Hmm, Yahoo seems like a good option but I hadn't thought about the fact that it might be blocked. I'd also like to know what other methods MeFites have had success with.
posted by biochemist at 8:45 AM on August 9, 2011

klangklangston: I did a Yahoo league two years ago and I believe the person running the league has some latitude in choosing which stats to use but I think they included: goals, assists, shots on goal, hits, penalty minutes, faceoff wins, goalie saves, goalie GAA, goalie save %...probably some other stuff I'm not thinking of.
posted by ghharr at 8:56 AM on August 9, 2011

Never done this before but am definitely interested!
posted by orrnyereg at 9:23 AM on August 9, 2011

I could definitely be down for this. Please keep me posted.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:12 AM on August 9, 2011

I want in!
posted by Hoopo at 11:17 AM on August 9, 2011

Anyways, I don't think I can participate because I'm well known to wildly overestimate the skills of the Red Wings, and wildly underestimate everyone else. Go Wings!

Just wait 'til they move to the East in 2 years or so. You will find you probably haven't underestimated a thing.
posted by Hoopo at 11:20 AM on August 9, 2011

I have played yahoo for a while and run leagues there, I'm in! I can't find a date for when the leagues open, but for now I will go admire my trophies.

In the leagues I have run we used the autopick draft -- primarily because we are all over North America and the logistics of getting everyone together for a live draft were too imposing. The best live drafts are when you are all in a room drinking, but that is way too ambitious. If this is new to you and we go autopick, then I suggest running through their draft simulation a few times with your picks, you'll learn a lot about the game theory behind fantasy draft process.
posted by cgk at 8:33 PM on August 9, 2011

My guess as to what klangklangston meant would be gaining points for team wins? eg. you have a player like John Tavares, who's great and racks up individual points, but his team the Islanders are generally pretty horrible.
Anyways, setting up a custom point system is likely where biochemist would need the most help, as they're a self-professed hockey newbie. cgk, if you've run leagues before maybe you could coach?

I'd definitely like to avoid the Autopick option for drafting. It would take a lot of the fun out of monitoring a team that you created knowing it was automated. I lean towards doing it Offline, through emails. Since we're not a large group, we could start early on this. Say if there's only ten people creating teams, and each team is only sixteen players, that's only 160 total, out of what, more than 1000 in the league? Which means we don't really have to wait until after pre-season, cause I doubt anyone will select the fringe players who may or may not make the team / be traded.

Regular season should start around the 5th of October, so if there's another MeTa post around mid-September and we get a final head count of who's in, we'll have two or three weeks to do drafting through emails.
posted by mannequito at 9:40 PM on August 9, 2011

"My guess as to what klangklangston meant would be gaining points for team wins? eg. you have a player like John Tavares, who's great and racks up individual points, but his team the Islanders are generally pretty horrible."

Yeah, that was part of it. And I think they had some sort of weird metric that gave points based on how many active minutes a player had had in a game, like minutes as part of a play or something, so that a quick goal wasn't necessarily worth as much as two guys dicking around and passing. But it actually made me less interested in soccer to play it, and it looks like yahoo's got a better set of stats now for premier league, anyhow.
posted by klangklangston at 11:32 PM on August 9, 2011

I'd also prefer the e-mail method since the group seems to be rather small, just to avoid anyone having their players auto-picked who didn't actually want that option. Maybe there should be a deadline to submitting drafts to avoid the lagging-behind problem?
posted by biochemist at 2:53 PM on August 10, 2011

I'd also be interested in joining a league, and my personal hobbyhorse is not using penalty minutes as one of the categories, because it turns shitheads like Carcillo and Avery into valuable commodities who will occasionally win a whole category by themselves because they tried to decapitate someone and racked up 50 penalty minutes by themselves.

I don't really have any opinions about drafting, other than that I've seen autodrafts do some hilarious, hilarious things.
posted by Copronymus at 4:11 PM on August 10, 2011

wait, they award points for penalty minutes?

I would vote to either ignore penalties altogether, or make them count negatively.
posted by mannequito at 5:23 PM on August 10, 2011

mannequito: "wait, they award points for penalty minutes?"

Usually, yeah. Last time I complained about it to the commissioner of the league I'm in, he claimed it was so that defensive defencemen still have some value, but a) I don't care about that, because I'm not building a real team here, and b) in practice, Robyn Regehr and Brooks Orpik are still not very valuable but any goon who scores occasionally becomes extremely valuable. I won a league a few years ago by picking up both Carcillo and Avery at the end of the draft and then watching them crank out 400-some PIMs plus 30 goals combined.

All in all, I'm for ignoring penalty minutes as a category. Not only does it seem dumb to reward players who are hurting their team, but it's also a statistic that fluctuates wildly from week to week for a given player compared to shots or even goals.
posted by Copronymus at 10:43 PM on August 10, 2011

I'd be in for this too.
posted by zephyr_words at 5:57 AM on August 11, 2011

Last time I complained about it to the commissioner of the league I'm in, he claimed it was so that defensive defencemen still have some value

I always figured it was for bigger leagues where you tend to run out of talented point-producing players pretty quick. Even in the 12-team Yahoo Points League I've been in the last few years, the final rounds of the draft are slim pickins. Unless you're like my 11 opponents and left Tim Thomas just sitting there like chopped liver because Tukka Rask was supposedly the man in Boston now. I also snagged Carey Price in the 11th round. I fuckin killed it last year, no one was even close from the end of October on.

Speaking of which, it sucks when someone pulls ahead like that and it's not you. Anyone ever tried a Head-to-Head format? I haven't tried it before, but I'm told it keeps things interesting for people that might not have gotten so lucky in the draft.
posted by Hoopo at 2:59 PM on August 11, 2011

Although I've never participated in a fantasy league before, I have occasionally played individual fantasy games on Vancouver's team website. Just a sample here's how they score it:

Even strength goals/assists: 10pts/9pts each
Power-play goals/assists: 8pts/7pt each
Short-handed goals/assists: 12pts/11pts each
2min minor penalties: -1pt each minute
5min major penalties: 1pt each minute
Plus/Minus: Rating multiplied by 2pts
Shots on goal: 1pt each
Hits: 2pts each
Blocked shots: 2pts each
Faceoffs (won minus lost): 1pt
3-star recipient: 10pts

Saves: 1/2pt each, rounded up
Goals against: -1pt each
Penalty minutes: -1pt each minute
Goalie pulled: -5pts
Shutout: 10pts
Win: 10pts
3-star recipient: 10pts

I don't know if that's similar at all to typical fantasy leagues, but its a start.
I'd probably get rid of the 3-star points, cause it can be subjective at times, and would like to see shutouts worth more (15 or 20 pts) but otherwise its a decent point system.
posted by mannequito at 5:02 PM on August 11, 2011

Also, there's really no way to make a true stay-at-home defenceman as valuable as an offensive-defenceman (which is sad, since I think they're more useful to their team overall). But they will get points through +/- , hits and blocked shots.
posted by mannequito at 5:04 PM on August 11, 2011

Hockey is pretty tricky to score. It does not have the same amount of statistical study invested in the stats. That said, since we are leaning toward yahoo. A few thoughts about the basic stats (G, A, +/-, PPP PIM, SOG).
1. Not much you can do WRT things that demonstrably relate to a team winning. +/- does give some value to defense only defense men.
2. Penalty minutes, I am not big on that, but then again teams to need to have enforcers (cultural belief, any references for a statistical basis). It is supposed to identify players with "intensity," though how this plays out is that coaches usually find one defenseman who will rack up minutes for the team.
3. PPP indicate ability exploit opportunities, but teams generally have specialist lines for this so players will either get a lot of these or zero.

Goalies: W, GAA, SV%, SHO
1. Well, Yahoo's stats are pretty basic, so there is not a lot to do here. I hate stats in fantasy that are multicollinear (SHO=100%-0.0GAA=Win). So for something like shutouts that happen pretty much at random, I would drop that and keep the others.

My big opinion is this: play HEAD TO HEAD. I went exclusively to this format a few years ago in all fantasy sports -- otherwise about a quarter of the way though the season about half of the teams know they are out of it and give up. Head to head means people are playing hard for playoff spots up to the end of the season, and there is always a chance to be a spoiler no matter where you are in the standings. In a 12-team league it is the difference between there being 4 players versus 8 players playing hard to the end.

I'll volunteer to commish a yahoo league for to see if MF is ready to expand into another fantasy sport if there is interest.
posted by cgk at 5:30 PM on August 11, 2011

I'd love to be part of this when it get set up.
posted by hobgadling at 6:07 PM on August 11, 2011

Can you explain exactly how Head To Head works?
posted by mannequito at 6:11 PM on August 11, 2011

Head to Head: Let's say that we use the 10 stat categories that Yahoo defaults to and we have 12 teams. During week 1 (M-Su), the stats of Teams A and B are matched against one another. For that week we are competing against one another in those 10 categories. Sunday night, when it is all over, each teams gets a "win" or each category it won, categories can also be ties. So if I had a good week I might be 7-2-1 and you would be 2-7-1.

Then, on Monday morning, our stats are zeroed and I will play team C and you will play team D. The games rotate through the season and in a 12 team league you will have about 3 head to head matches against each opponent. The league standings look like a real standings table with wins losses and ties determining the standings.

The effect is this (exaggerated for effect). Lets say that in a traditional rotisserie game you have a miraculous week and score 200 goals and 250 assists etc etc. You would have such an overall numeric lead that nobody could ever catch up with you even if you did not score for another three months. In a head to head league you might have gone 10-0 during your miracle week, but starting next week you back to zero and if your guys do not score for three months you will plummet in the standings by losing every week.

It also makes if fun because it introduces upsets as well as a lot of head to head smack talk. Hope this helps, official Yahoo description here.
posted by cgk at 7:59 PM on August 11, 2011

Then, on Monday morning, our stats are zeroed and I will play team C and you will play team D

Oh man, I don't envy you. Team C is really good this season.

But yeah; a Head to Head format is like the actual standings in the NHL instead of ranking teams by how many goals they scored over the season or something. Your team plays another person's team every week and you basically win or lose and compile a record, as I understand it.
posted by Hoopo at 11:08 AM on August 12, 2011

cool, works for me

So do we want to aim to start this around mid-Sep? Make an official MeTa post to get a head-count, and start drafting through emails then?
posted by mannequito at 12:32 PM on August 12, 2011

Is it okay to use IRL for this? Pick a random location, and then use the headcount function of IRL to organize. It's kind of like a meetup, except it lasts for several months and someone will actually win.
posted by millions of peaches at 12:46 PM on August 12, 2011

That sounds like a good plan to me. Since this is the first time out for a lot of people and the Yahoo leagues seems to be the lowest common denominator I would suggest 12-team head-to-head leagues done there. You can go larger and form divisions, but that dilutes the talent pool way too much. For a first time out default stats would probably be a safe start, and we can spend the off-season arguing about tweaks for next year. If we have to run more than one league we will need to dream up a way of settling the championship for ultimate bragging rights -- but I may be overestimating the interest.
posted by cgk at 12:21 PM on August 14, 2011

Just to throw it out there, if we're drafting by email it might be a good idea to get started in early or mid September to allow for the inevitable delays in choices. Season's about a month and a half away.
posted by Hoopo at 9:50 AM on August 24, 2011

So should I get this kicked off by posting a thread in IRL?
posted by cgk at 2:43 PM on September 4, 2011

Kick It Off!

...perhaps a new MeTa thread with a link to the IRL for organizing/drafting
posted by mannequito at 8:22 PM on September 5, 2011

Wait, so how does it work in IRL?
posted by Hoopo at 10:17 AM on September 6, 2011

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