Fantasy hockey is one of the ‘oldest’ fantasy sports out there. It was first launched in 1995 and has grown into a big market over the years. It’s fun, fast and dynamic, just as watching a game of hockey in-real-life. Below we’ll talk about what it takes to become a good fantasy hockey player.

Choosing the league

The first thing to decide when you want to play fantasy hockey is the type of league to join. Do you want to join a league for the entire season or do you prefer fast-paced daily fantasy hockey? Each has its own characteristics.

Daily, weekly, seasonal

What league is best for you, depends mostly on the amount of time you want to dedicate to it. Managing a roster is time-consuming, especially if you do daily leagues. Taking part in those leagues means you have to modify and re-assess it daily. Weekly leagues, therefore, are a bit less intensive. However, you’re ‘stuck’ with your roster for the week. That means if one of your players get hurt, there is nothing you can do about it. Seasonal leagues aren’t so common anymore in fantasy hockey, but basically, you draft a set of players for which you predict how they perform throughout the season.

fantasy hockey
NHL players: draft your fantasy team

Contests

There is a large variety of different hockey contests to choose from. The first basic question should be: what do I want to spend on an entry fee? If you have a budget in mind, you can select the best fit accordingly. When you’re on a fantasy site, simply click on the ‘hockey’ section and you will get an overview of contests. They will tell you beforehand what the guaranteed prize is (if there’s any), how much the entry fee is and the maximum number of participants.

Types of drafts

The draft is of huge importance and fantasy sites organize them in different ways. There is the linear draft and the so-called snake draft. The snake draft is more ‘fair’, in the sense that it rotates which participants get to pick first. However, there is also something to say for the more consistent linear draft. In each round, your position is the same.

Auction

Then there is also the auction type of draft. That works as follows. You get a budget which you use to purchase players. This requires preparation because it’s likely that you can’t buy ALL your favorites within the budget. Prior to the draft, it’s smart to make a mock draft and have a list of preferred players ready.

fantasy hockey strategy
Developing a fantasy hockey strategy

Fantasy baseball scoring

Like in most other fantasy sports, the point system can differ per contest. However, the most important categories always stay the same. For example, you will always see goals, assists, save percentage and shutouts for example. Do keep in mind that fantasy sites can have a different awarding system. A goal can give 2 points on site, 3.5 on another, you should compare this beforehand.

Roto or points

Also important to understand is the difference between a Roto or Point system. In Roto, your totals are collected by category. In points, what simply matters is the total number of points you’ve gathered. The type of players that are best to pick sometimes depends on the system. For example, simply focusing on top-scorers won’t cut it in a Roto system. That’s because it calculates your performance in different categories.

Strategy tips

Preparing for fantasy hockey takes time, but it’s essential if you want to win. The first tip when it comes to strategy is basic but important. Never underestimate the importance of doing your research.  When you know the players, their strengths, weaknesses, past performance, you can make good decisions in the draft. The NHL site, DraftKings, and FanDuel provide valuable information about players. They organize players performance in different categories for you to have a quick overview.

Mock Drafts

An important part of preparation is making mock-drafts. Everyone has their own way of doing that. Some prefer the old school pen and paper, others love the mock drafts fantasy sites offer. Just try out a couple of different ways to find out what works for you. The value of making mock drafts lies in refining your own strategy, seeing what other participants do and learn about trends.

Have a plan

You need to have an overall sense of strategy in the way you pick players. For example, if you play in the Roto system, your purpose should be to find the perfect combination of players to score maximum points in  ALL categories. For each category, have in mind at least 3 players that you think would be the star performers.

Goaltender

Goaltenders play a very important role in fantasy hockey. The number of wins and saves can provide for a lot of points in the league, therefore this should be your top priority. Pick someone who plays often and has solid stats. Basically, your fantasy hockey team stands or falls depending on the quality of the goaltender, so do your research and pick wisely.

Injuries

Everyone who has seen a hockey game in real life knows how injury-prone the game is. Therefore in fantasy hockey, anticipating injuries is an important part of the strategy. It’s dangerous and therefore it’s likely that players in your line-up will get injured. When you draft players, pay attention to their past. How many times were they injured? For how long were they out of the running?