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Fantasy Hockey Talk: Do You Have a Team That Makes the Grade

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October is right around the corner and you know what that means.  Halloween!  No, actually I’m talking about the NHL Hockey Season.  More importantly Fantasy Hockey Season.  Fantasy Hockey is like Fantasy Football, except its not Football.  No, seriously it is for “die-hard” Hockey Fans.  Fans who enjoy playing their favorite players in the “top tier” Leagues.  And you guessed it, yours truly plays Fantasy Hockey.  So let’s get right to the “meat and potatoes” of it.

Does your Fantasy Hockey Team make the grade?  Listen the most enjoyable part of playing Fantasy Hockey is starting your favorite players but also winning in one of many Top Tier Leagues.  Your Fantasy Team needs to have a subtle balance between Offense and Defense.  But what you really need is some good goaltending.

Goaltending is a skill position where each win contributes points for your Fantasy Team.  It is something you will need in this “Hard Core” type Fantasy Matchup.  The other players in your League will most likely be sporting the best of the best.  So don’t get skittish in drafting a Goalie a little bit early.  I’m thinking Round 3 to Round 4.  Hey, this isn’t some laid back Fantasy Football slouches, these guys are “serious”.  Pick up a high valued Goalie and thank me later!

Overload on Forwards.  It is something that is an easy way to figure out.  Forwards give you Goals and Goal = Points.  Your Fantasy Team should have more than enough Forwards on it.  Check out the high valued Forwards available and put together a roster with them.  What you want are real playmakers.  Like Brad Marchand, Sidney Crosby, and Steven Stamkos.  I know Stamkos is on the list but don’t be afraid to pick up the top valued players in the 1st Round of the Draft.

Pick up a “Mid Ranged” Defense-man a little later in the Draft.  Listen you will want as many Forwards as you can get in the Draft, wait a little bit before pulling the trigger on getting a high valued Defense-man.  Ice Time is an important stat to look for, expect to see lots of Ice Time from your Defense-men.  I’d say start to look for Defense-men in Round 6 to Round 8 of your Draft.  These guys Value Scores are way lower than Forwards.  But remember your Fantasy Team needs to be balanced as you’ll be facing some “Hard Core” Fans.

Power Play Minutes and Scores contribute to your overall Points, pick up Players on PP Lines.  This is one of those Fantasy Stats that only Die Hard Fans will look at.  Look at Defense-men to give you this Stat, they are the ones with the most Ice Time.  If you don’t know how to figure this Stat I’d say look at the Team that they are on.  If they are one of those Power Play happy Teams, ahem Boston, then go pick them up.  I know that I had a chance to pick up Tory Krug, don’t be like me pick up Krug.

If you paid attention to my Drafting you might notice that I didn’t include the Utility Position.  It’s simple, play a Forward it this spot.  If you’ve been drafting accordingly, you should have plenty of them to rotate around as your Utility Player.  Typically the Utility Player is in because of injuries to your other player.  No worries here, if you’re picking Forward heavy, then you should have plenty of players to play.

As I said before Fantasy Hockey is for Die Hard NHL Fans, so do yourself a favor, and if you’re a newbie and follow these Drafting suggestions.  If all goes well, by Round 12 you should have a decent Fantasy Hockey Team that makes the Grade.  Will you make a breakthrough with a Top Tier League?  Maybe.  Just stick with the players that you know and love after Round 14, ahem Bruins, you should be OK!

I’m a self published writer and illustrator. I follow Football, Baseball, Hockey, Basketball, some Golf and some eSports.

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Fantasy Football Talk: Playoffs Week 4 Finish Strong

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Patriots

It’s Week 4 of the Fantasy Football Playoffs.  For some of you the Season has already ended.  I know that my Yahoo Fantasy Sports Team ended last Week.  But for those of you playing in ESPN Fantasy Sports Leagues there is still one Week left to go.  Listen it has been quite the roller coaster this year in the NFL.  What with Injuries to top players and a QB Roulette Wheel.  We have pretty much seen everything in a year.  So for this weeks blog I’m just going to talk about the top players that you need to watch for in the post season.

So yeah, I was working out in the Gym and my Fitbit Alta Tracker went off.  It read in bold letter across the tiny screen “Goal Achieved!”  Now that was a great feeling!  It is the same feeling I get after winning big in Fantasy Football Week to Week.  That long pause before the results flash on my Tablet.  It’s exciting!  And then when you see how well your starters did, you feel like you achieved something, something challenging.  Those tiny bold letters scroll through your head.  Yep, I got game! Hopefully those tiny letters scroll through your head this weekend because it’s the end of the regular season in the NFL and you’ve got to make some picks.  Here are some of mine:

Starting at QB I’ve got Tom Brady all day any day of the Week.  He is just a machine and scoring above 15 Fantasy Points each game.  And when he is hot in a game you are looking at maybe 20 Fantasy Points. I like Matthew Stafford against the Packers but seeing as his team didn’t make the NFL Playoffs I’d pick him as a QB2 option if you don’t have someone else.  Russell Wilson is good this week but let me tell you his Offense is shaky.  The pocket collapses around him all the time and he is always on the run.  Can he continue to make plays?  Maybe, but I’m not sure if he will be the guy this week.  I’d say play him but don’t forget that I warned you!  Drew Brees is my next pick.  Listen he has been very reliable all Season.  He is running a great Offense.  I expect him to score 16 Fantasy Points on Sunday.

At RB I have two words for you, Mark Ingram.  He is on a roll behind a very good Saints Offense.  I expect him to have a good week against Tampa Bay.  Ezekiel Elliott is getting off to a slower start than expected after his Suspension.  But that doesn’t mean he won’t guarantee you some Fantasy Points!  He is at least a good RB2 if you have another top Running Back.  Melvin Gordon will be someone to put on your watch list but he isn’t healthly so he might be a bust for Sunday.  Now my top overachiever is Dion Lewis.  He had quite the game, netting a total of 27.3 Fantasy Points against Buffalo.  He is the Patriots’ go to ‘back and I figure he’ll guarantee you Fantasy Points.  Little Risk, big Reward!

For WR, Julio Jones is a solid pick.  I like Michael Thomas once again.  But Mike Evens has been getting me Fantasy Points.  Even with Tampa Bay’s Record I still like him.  Look for him to net you a solid 10 spot on Points.  Now I like New England and you know that means I love Brandin Cooks.  He is a big play maker and I know the Risk/Reward for him is a little high.  I still see him having a good game against the Jets.  I think as a really good Risk/Reward Player that you might have in your line up is Doug Baldwin.  I see him as a good RB2/Flex option.  I know that Flex positions are better for RBs but hey statistically, he has to score for you!

Picking TEs doesn’t come as easy as saying, Rob Gronkowski.  This is a guy who is just unreal.  I use the term “Freak” in a good way.  As in “he is so Freakishly good!”  Yup starting him.  Click, click, with my mouse!  Now I like Greg Olsen as a pick.  I know he has been having an up and down year but let me tell you, he is a great player.  He is a solid pick up at the TE position.  Other than Gronk, I think he is a good option for any team.  Jimmy Graham is another up and down player this year.  If you trust Russell Willson to get him the ball, then I’d say pick him up.  My overachiever of the week has to be Jack Doyle.  If Jacoby Brisette can get him the ball then I’d say you got what you need out of a TE.

With D/ST I love the Vikings against the Bears.  I think that they will put together another great game.  Last week they won big with a 12 spot on Points.  Expect them to play well against Chicago.  I still like the Jaguars at Defense, I figure that they just had a bad game last week.  I love picking up their Defensive Players for my Fantasy Team and you should look into them!  The Ravens are playing Cincinnati?  Yeah plug them into your Fantasy Line Up.  Click, Drag, Add!  They should net you some Points.  The big overachiever this week is a Risk/Reward bombshell.  The Seattle Seahawks.  Yup I said it!  They are looking tough on D even with all the injuries that they have had.  Last week they had 21 Fantasy Points.  Whoa!  They play Arizona on Sunday.  If you want my take away about them, I’d say that they have a chance.  And that’s all you can ask for from a D/ST!

Kickers I got the same old crew, see previous weeks to learn more about them.  Stephen Gostkowski, Matt Prater, Justin Tucker, Chris Boswell.  My big overachiever this week is Kai Forbath  for the Vikings.  I think he is a guaranteed Points.  I’m predicting a lot of high scoring games this week.  It’s the end of the Season but there are still seeding placements and Playoff spots up for grabs.  Expect good Football!

And so that about wraps things up.  It’s another week of Football but you know that you want to finish strong.  You want the win.  You want those tiny bold text letters scrolling through your head.  It maybe won’t be as good as a hot New Year’s Eve kiss but let me just say it feels like, “You’re the Man Now, Dog!”  As Sean Connery said in Finding Forester.  That’s pretty much a good start to the New Year!  Next Week we start talking “the Real Playoffs” I’m looking forward to them, just like any other Football Fan.  Cheers!  Happy New Year everyone!

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Fantasy Football Talk: Playoffs Week 3

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Patriots

Week 16 of the NFL Regular Season is here.  But everyone playing Fantasy Football are talking about the Playoffs.  The Fantasy Playoffs that is.  It’s Week 3 of them and if you’ve been following your players I bet you noticed that everyone is playing injured.  Also the QB position is volatile.  Yep it’s a real roller coaster!  Nothing is guaranteed.  I was hitting the Gym today and my phone kept going off every few minutes.  Just a couple of reminders that my Starting Line Up needs to be changed.  It’s getting ridiculous this Week and with big Saturday/Sunday games I bet you’re feeling the pressure just like me.

First off, game time decisions matter.  Last week I expected Leonard Fournette to play, he is pretty much the backbone of my Offense.  Sadly he went from questionable to out on a game time decision.  And I didn’t even realize it until it was too late.  He got locked in as my starter and I got zero points for that position.  Ouch!  Yep you’re going to want to follow your team closely.  Don’t let this happen to you!

Secondly, who your players are playing against is huge.  This is one of those year’s that you can’t play the same players and forget it.  With how volatile the NFL is it’s just not doable.  I remember last year I had the same Starting Line Up week to week.  I had Aaron Rodgers and LaGarrette Blunt.  Suffice to say it was easy to leave in the Starters every single week.  This year I’ve been constantly looking for Players who are hot, or have excellent match ups.  It has been challenging for all of us, I know.  But now we are on the home stretch and you’ve got to make your picks!  So I’m going to give you my opinions.

QBs have been challenging to forecast.  This week’s hot QB is Case Keenum.  I have him and he has been reliable.  Last Week he scored me 19.4 Fantasy Points.  Very solid!  I’d say pick him up if you can.  He’ll be playing against a weak Green Bay Defense.  Blake Bortles is also hot right now.  He got 25 Fantasy Points last week.  So if you need someone to fill in the hole of your Offense he is your man.  He will be playing against a weak 49ers’ Defense.  On the high end, I like Russell Wilson even though he didn’t have a great outing last week.  I expect him to bounce back against Dallas.  I like Tom Brady against the Bills I’d start him easy.  His projected Fantasy Points is 19.3.

For RBs, Todd Gurley is having monster games.  He is easily my favorite Running Back right now.  He is coming off a 152 Yard, 3 TD game.  That’s 42 Fantasy Points!  Whoa he is averaging 20 Fantasy Points per game!  Unbelievable!  I also like Melvin Gordon and Kareem HuntKenyan Drake is also a RB that I like.  He is pretty much the Dolphin’s go to.  I think Jerick McKinnon is a good pick up for your team if someone like Fournette is sitting on your bench.  Expect him to net you some solid points in an RB2/Flex Position.  Risk/Reward looks good for him even though he is an RB2 on the Vikings team.

Now for the real Risk/Reward players, WRs.  I like Nelson Agholor as a good slot Receiver.  He is having a real break out Season for the Eagles and is averaging 9 Fantasy Points per game.  If you have a hole in your line up, pick him up.  He should still be available in most Leagues, which is just great and is an even better reason to get him.  Scroll, Click, Add!  Cooper Kupp is still overrated, Agholor’s better.  I also like the high end players of Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins, if he is healthy.  Adam Thielen might bounce back with a good game against the 49ers.  I’m still on the fence about him though.

At TE, there is Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and Greg Olsen.  Also one of my hole fillers is Kyle Rudolph.  He is averaging 7.2 Fantasy Points per game.  He has only been outscored in Fantasy by Gronk.  Now that is saying something!  I don’t like Vernon Davis, Charles Clay, or Austin Hooper.  I think that my pick last week was Stephen Anderson.  Boy was I disappointed!  Yeh he got nill!  TE is just such a difficult position to squeeze out points.  This week I’m going with picking Benjamin Watson for the Baltimore Ravens.  He is coming off a 13.4 Fantasy Point game.  He is my pick for hole filler if you need to start someone.

For D/ST I’m still going with the Jaguars and Ravens.  For this week I like the Vikings as an easy pick up.  They are going against a weak Green Bay Team.  I also like the Patriots against Buffalo.  For K, hey it never changes, Stephen Gostkowski, Justin Tucker, and Matt Prater.  Kickers at this point are still, meh.  If a team is scoring a lot of points, and there have been many high scoring games, then you know the Kicker will be getting points for you.  Easy peezy lemon squeezy!

That about wrap things up.  There is no Thursday Night Football this week, so you can actually plan for the weekend.  The only thing is what am I going to watch now?  Yeah, looks like I’m going to be watching the Bruins play.  The Football week starts on Saturday so grab your TV Guide and plan accordingly.  Nachos, Check, Wings, Check, Beer, Check!  Enjoy the games!

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Fantasy Football Talk: The Playoffs Start Now

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For Fantasy Football Fans, the Playoffs start today.  Yep it’s already here, three Weeks of Brackets!  It’s a time where each win matters the most.  You know you don’t want to be last in your League.  And you would really like to win it all.  Time to make some important decisions.  Who are you starting?  Who’s hot and who’s not?  Who will give you the most out of the risk/reward positions?  Let me give you my opinions on this.

For QBs who will make a big impact in the Playoffs.  I like Jameis Winston if you want a quick pick for the Playoffs.  He had 270 Yards with 2 TDs last week, that’s 18.6 Fantasy Points.  He has a lot of talent and I really like him as a QB1.  Now I also like Jimmy Garoppolo but he is more of a QB2 option.  He is definitely more of a risk/reward player, especially playing for the 49ers.  He is a higher risk for your team and even though he is playing Houston I still am I on the fence with his projected points of 15.6.  Last week I lost to someone by .6 points so you know every point matters.  On the high end I like Tom Brady, Carson Wentz, and Alex Smith.

At RB I love Dion Lewis.  He is a good low ranked pick up for the playoffs.  And I expect the Patriots to run the ball a lot in the next three weeks.  I like Alfred Morris this week as he is playing against the Giants, but he won’t be starting in Week 16 because Ezekiel Elliott will be back off from suspension.  I don’t like Kenyan Drake against the Patriots.  Their Defense just is so good right now.  I expect them to play “shut down” Football.  I learned my lesson with Charles Clay against the Pats last week.  Just don’t expect a lot from New England’s opponents.  I’m kind of leaning on Orleans Darkwa as a RB3/Flex option.  I don’t know, just call it a “gut feeling” or a “sixth sense.”  On the high end I like Mark Ingram, Melvin Gordon, Lesean McCoy, and Lamar MillerLe’Veon Bell is playing against a tough Baltimore Defense this week, we will see if he can still dominate.

Now for the real risk/reward positions, WRs.  I think Cooper Kupp is a little bit overrated but he might be a good pick up for your team.  I stiil like Mohamed Sanu but I also like Nelson Agholor.  Agholor had a monster game last week, and I was pleasantly surprised watching him play.  He had 7 Receptions for 141 Yards with a TD, that’s 20.1 Fantasy Points!  I like it, I like it a lot. Scroll, Click, Add!  On the high end I like Antonio Brown, A. J. Green, Julio Jones,  and Brandin Cooks.  With Rob Gronkowski suspended expect Brady to look elsewhere, Cooks will be getting more looks.  Jones hit a speed bump from the Vikings D last week.  He is still a superstar and I’d still play him this week.  Green is going against a weaker Bears team, I think he might have a good game against them Fantasy Points wise.  Brown is going against a stiff Ravens D but he is an All Pro I’d still start him for the first week of the Playoffs.

For TE I think Stephen Anderson will have a good game against the 49ers.  He had 13.9 Fantasy Points last week.  If you have an open position at TE, or a hole as what we call it, then I’d say pick him up. Most other TE haven’t been scoring particularly well.  I don’t like Austin Hooper or Vernon Davis.  They have burned me in the past.  And made me look silly.  Just look else where.  On the high end I like Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham, and Hunter HenryGreg Olsen is back this week and most likely he is a good pick up if you are missing Gronk.

On D/ST I love Jaguars and the Patriots.  For K Matt Prater, Justin Tucker, Jake Elliot, and Stephen Gostkowski.  Who else?  Well Greg Zuerlein has been red hot so I’d stick with him if you have him.

So that about wraps things up for Week 14, 1st Week of the Fantasy Playoffs.  I think there are a lot of ways to win.  There seems to be several different ways to score points.  Last week I scored over 100+ points and still lost.  So I’d really suggest watching your team closely this week into Sunday.  Anything can happen and one bad week can make it difficult to win consecutive weekly totals.

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