No doubt thousands of fans are tweaking their cheat sheets at this very moment, most likely while they're supposed to be working. But while a spreadsheet full of stats and projections may be nice, it won't help you take home the winner's prize money unless you back it up with a top-notch draft night strategy.
If your fantasy league is drafting this week, here are some tips to keep in mind to help you come away with your best roster ever:
- When forecasting year-end point totals, don't forget to factor in that every player in the league is expected to miss at least 20 games this season due to suspensions from Brendan Shanahan.
- Just because a player has never had more than 25 points in a season is no reason not to draft him just as highly as players who regularly score twice that, according to Kyle Turris's agent.
- Make sure you understand your league's structure and are clear on terminology. A head-to-head league is a lot of fun and is run by fans who enjoy direct competition with fellow owners. An elbow-to-head league is less fun and is run by Matt Cooke.
- When it's time to collect everyone's $20 for the prize pool, ask Terry Pegula if he'd be willing to kick in an extra $10 million up front for no reason. He usually agrees to that.
- Sure, Sidney Crosby may have a serious head injury, but if he's on your roster just go ahead and put him back in the lineup anyways. It might land you a job on the Penguins' medical staff.
- Remember, your draft is one of the most important days of the year in terms of building a successful team. So tell those troops in Afghanistan sorry, they're just going to have a pick a time that's more convenient for you.
- For extra NHL authenticity, remind everyone in the first round of your draft to waste everyone's time with long-winded congratulations to last year's champion and their thanks to whoever is hosting this year's event.
- Just for fun, take Paul Bissonnette in the last round then send him a message about it on Twitter. He'll probably find that every bit as hilarious as he did the first 500 times it happened.
- As much fun as a fantasy league can be, never lose sight of the fact that the players you're drafting are more than just names in a row on a spreadsheet. They're also characters from your favourite hockey video game.
- To help you be on top of your game consider bringing a healthy mid-draft snack like some fresh fruit, unless you're in London, Ont. in which case some loser fan will probably provide some for you.
- A "sleeper" is a player capable of putting up big numbers, but who remains unknown to most fans. To find one, try building a time machine and traveling back to before we had the Internet.
- Anaheim Ducks star Corey Perry had 50 goals, 48 assists, 109 PIM and a +9 rating last year, but don't expect him to duplicate those stats this season; he'll probably end up with more or less in at least one of those categories.
- No matter how many hilarious one-liners those Canucks fans in your league make during the draft, it's still considered poor form to turn to them and say "Wow, you guys are a riot".
- Jarome Iginla should be at the center of any decent draft strategy. Actually, that's not true - I just wanted to be the first hockey writer to ever use "Jarome Iginla" and "decent" and "center" in the same sentence.