How to Play Fantasy Hockey

Want to learn how to play fantasy hockey? Fantasy sports are a fun and easy way to engage in a dynamic hobby that can also be extremely profitable. Below is a basic introduction to the game, including how to play and which rules and leagues are best for getting started.

Building Your Fantasy Hockey Team
Fantasy hockey is a sport where players build a team and compete with others. The statistics used to play are generated by real hockey leagues, players, and teams. Most of these come from the NHL (National Hockey League) and have 8-12 teams in general per hockey pool. To choose players, start by drafting them online or in person. Your team structure will be made up of 12, 15, or 20 skaters. A common team format is 2 centers, 2 left wings, 2 right wings, 4 defensemen, 2 goalies, and 6 bench players.

Fantasy Hockey Scoring
There are two standard scoring formats for NHL fantasy hockey leagues. These include rotisserie, or “roto,” and head-to-head. For rotisserie scoring, teams get ranked from first to last based on statistical rankings. Players will be given points based on the order in each category. For head-to-head scoring, a player selects a certain number of categories, and team totals are added up as the game progresses. Each player’s win, loss, or tie is based on matchup results such as 6-2-1 in a ten category league. If you win, your league will get the chance to set up divisions. These scoring types hold true for both free standard and prize-eligible fantasy hockey games.

To get started playing fantasy hockey, first determine if you’ll be playing rotisserie, points-based, or head-to-head. Make sure to do your research on the type of league you’ll want to enter. Single-year leagues are simple enough, allowing you to draft a team and move your roster around through the season. Dynasty leagues, on the other hand, will keep teams the same from one year after another. Roster changes will only be made as players are added or dropped or traded. Dynasty leagues require a lot of research, attention, and careful planning.

Drafting Fantasy Hockey Players
Consider your draft types carefully. Straight drafts can be done online or in person, with a straight draft consisting of players being selected one after another. The order can be regular or serpentine, where straight draft order is used for odd-numbered rounds. Auction drafts, on the other hand, don’t follow the same draft order. Players are instead given up for bid by a specific team owner and each contestant bids on that player until a base price is determined. Budget issues are something to think about with auction drafts since each team only has so much money to spend before filling up their roster.

How to Win at Fantasy Hockey
So how do you win this complicated, interesting game? Be sure your players are not injured before signing them. While some injured players may be worthwhile, players will definitely post better numbers in full health. Also keep in mind the 28 rule, which says that players who have turned 27 have generally reached their level as point producers. There are some exceptions to this rule but generally, once a player reaches 27, they have ended up where they’re going to be for the rest of their career in terms of scoring points.

Two other things you’ll need to remember to win at fantasy hockey are to beware breakthrough seasons and not going overboard with optimism. With breakthrough seasons, many fantasy owners will hope that exceptional players will suddenly have their “breakout” moment and suddenly come through with a really great season. Don’t count on these breakthrough seasons, though — they’re pretty rare. As far as optimism goes, you’ll need to be realistic in how the game players out. Eric Staal was an exception, jumping from 31 to 101 points in just one season. But he was a rarity. For many players, especially those recovering from injuries, just going from 10 to 15 points added on in a season is a huge improvement.

Once you’ve mastered the rules, you can start playing fantasy hockey right away on ESPN, Yahoo Sports, or any of the major fantasy sports sites. Start with a low entry fee league so you don’t risk too much early on and be sure to do your research. With just a few bucks and a Paypal account, you can get started in one of the most fun and popular fantasy sports games around… Fantasy Hockey!