Fantasy Hockey: Average Draft Position Discrepancies Between Yahoo and ESPN

Henrik Zetterberg

Fantasy Hockey is easily the sport where there is the least amount of information available to the public. In any fantasy league snake draft, it’s easy to get lost in the rankings shuffle. It’s the ninth round, people are looking for defensemen, and they just stare at the highest-ranked players left and choose one. It’s an easy pitfall to tumble in to.

The thing is, having league mates draft parts of their team is good for the prepared fantasy owner. Despite nitpicking some players among the rankings, the people at Yahoo and ESPN do a fairly good job with most of the players. The Average Draft Positions, though, sometimes get out of whack compared to where they should be going. Here are some players with big ADP discrepancies across the two major fantasy platforms.

Henrik Zetterberg (DET – C/LW)

ESPN ADP: 13.8; Yahoo ADP 54.6

It’s pretty amazing how big this gap is for a player ranked so highly.

Over Zetterberg’s last four seasons, he’s managed 245 points in 253 games, which means it wouldn’t be a bad idea to expect 70 points from him in a full season. The key there is full season. Zetterberg missed 37 games last year with a back problem. It appears he’s healthy to start the year, and he will be getting Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen as line mates to start.

I do like Zetterberg’s ADP on Yahoo a lot. If fantasy owners can get him in the fifth round, that’s a draft position where a bust won’t hurt like a second round pick on ESPN.

James Neal (NSH – LW/RW)

ESPN ADP: 70.5; Yahoo ADP 37.3

Kind of like Zetterberg, Neal is separated by close to three rounds between the two sites, and that kind of disparity in the first six rounds of a 12-team draft is absolutely massive.

I get it. Neal is not playing alongside Evgeni Malkin anymore, and he’s not on that vaunted Pittsburgh power play. Nashville did get better in the offseason though, and the Predators were a top-12 team on the power play last year.

Even with a 30-percent across-the-board regression for Neal going from Pittsburgh to Nashville, Neal would have an 82-game pace of 26 goals, 27 assists, 21 power play points, 218 shots on goal, and 50 penalty minutes. That’s still a very solid season for a late sixth round pick in roto leagues. That makes him a pretty good value on ESPN.

Rick Nash (NYR – LW/RW)

ESPN ADP: 93.3; Yahoo ADP 52.6

Last year was a bit of a down year for Nash. Not only was it the first time since 2007-2008 that he didn’t score at least 30 goals in an 82-game season, but it was also the first 82-game campaign where he didn’t play at least 75 games since 2005-2006. Nash had typically been a lock for the top 30-40 picks in most leagues, but it’s obvious public opinion on him has plummeted.

It appears as though Nash is past his concussion issues from last year, and has looked like the Nash of old in the preseason (for whatever that’s worth). He does have 47 goals in 109 games from the Rangers, or a 35 goal pace every 82 games. In fact, over the last two seasons, Nash’s goals/game rate (0.43) compares very well to Phil Kessel (0.44), and Patrick Marleau (0.38). He’s also taking nearly four shots per game. That’s a massive total.

Believing that Nash is healthy is paramount into buying a comeback. If he can play 75 games, I have no doubt he gets to 275+ shots and 30+ goals again. He’s an absolute steal on ESPN.

Brian Campbell (FLA – D)

ESPN ADP: 186.9; Yahoo ADP: 118.8

There are only 13 defensemen with at least 110 points over the last three NHL campaigns, one of those being Florida’s Brian Campbell.

I understand the issue with Campbell. Over his three years with Florida, Campbell has put up a minus-37 rating, one of nine players in the NHL to be minus-35 or worse. The thing is, Florida was 27th in 5-on-5 save percentage over that stretch at 0.9146. Over those three years, new-old Florida Panthers Roberto Luongo put up a 0.9271 save percentage, ahead of names like Carey Price, Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi, and Jonathan Quick.

The young Panthers should be better this year, and plus/minus ratings across the board should be better for Florida. Campbell, thus, could be around an even rating with 40+ points. That’s tremendous value in ESPN leagues.

Jaroslav Halak (NYI – G)

ESPN ADP: 78.1; Yahoo ADP: 94.7

Kind of like Florida, it has been quite some time since the New York Islanders have had reliable goaltending. In fact, they were dead last in the NHL from 2011-2014 in 5-on-5 save percentage. Halak, conversely, had a save percentage of 0.9276 in those three years. That ranked ahead of names like Varlamov, Luongo, and Price.

The Islanders, as a team, were 19th in FenwickFor percentage at ScoreClose. That was without John Tavares after the Olympic break, too. The forward depth has been revamped with the additions of Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin. That should help the Islanders improve to at least a mid-level possession team.

I don’t expect Halak to be a top-10 goalie or anything, but he’s going as the 21st goalie in Yahoo, and behind other starters that are almost certain to have worse seasons like Mike Smith in Arizona and Steve Mason in Philadelphia. Drafting Halak in the eighth or ninth round as a second goalie in Yahoo leagues seems to be a pretty good profit play.

*Thanks to ESPN, Yahoo, Hockey Analysis, and Hockey Reference for their resources.

author avatar
Michael Clifford
Michael Clifford was born and raised in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and is a graduate of the Unviersity of New Brunswick. He writes about fantasy hockey and baseball for XNSports and He can be reached on Twitter @SlimCliffy for any fantasy hockey questions. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');