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Thread: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

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    Default The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    The Old Myth in Fantasy Keeper Leagues

    I have been playing in fantasy hockey keeper leagues for many years. Like many of you who are reading this, you could say I am addicted to the game. If there has been one thing that has bothered me about fantasy hockey keeper leagues, more so the past few years, itís the train of thought by most fantasy GMís that once a player hits the golden age of 30 years old, that his fantasy value has to diminish. To me, this is nothing but a myth and in this column, I will explain why.

    I will admit it, when I first started out doing keeper leagues, I had that mentality. It didnít matter if my team was competitive or a work in progress, if a guy on my roster was 30 or older, he had to go. In hindsight, I can see that I was wrong in thinking that way.

    Just going back over the past three NHL seasons, I looked into how many 30+ year old players were in the top 20 scorers for the league. In this past season, there were six skaters over the age of 30 in the top 20 scorers. In 2013/14, there were four skaters over the age of 30 in the top 20 scoring. In 2012/13, the shortened season which only 48 games were played, there were six skaters in the top 20 scoring, and the scoring title was won by Martin St. Louis who was a spry 37 years old at that time. Now of course, depending on your fantasy league setup, points are simply can be a small portion of what you need to make your roster competitive. In my experience, points are what most tend to focus on as their primary target as far as a category though.

    My point is that even though a skater is above the age of 30, that doesnít mean their production goes away. Obviously, at some point in their careers, their value will diminish, thatís to be expected but so many look at that golden age of 30 and simply focus on that.

    There was a study done last year by the UBC Business School that looked into NHL players and when they tend to reach their peak performance level. They broke it down into three sections; forwards, defensemen and goalies. I am not going to cover the entire study but I am going to share some highlights you may find interesting.

    The study showed that in regards to forwards:

    - They tend to develop their skills quicker than they decline.
    - They perform within 90% of their peak between the ages of 24 Ė 32 years of age
    - 25 years old is the most common age

    In regards to defensemen:

    - They improve and decline slower than forwards
    - They perform within 90% of their peak between the ages of 24 - 34 years of age
    - 26 years old is the most common age

    In regards to goalies:

    - Their performance does not vary much by age
    - Between the age of 20 and 37 years old, their save percentage is between 90% and a small portion above 91%
    - 28 years of age is the most common age

    Another interesting thing I found about the study was in regards to the elite players. The study showed that the elite players tended to develop quicker and hold their skillset longer. The forwards tended to have their peak years between 27 Ė 29 years of age but were able to hold that level into their mid to late 30ís. Defensemen didnít hit their scoring peak until the ages of 29 Ė 34.

    The main aspect of this study that stands out to me is NHL players are still well within their peak years past 30 years of age; all players at all positions. Also, just because a player is past his ďpeak yearsĒ doesnít mean he still isnít an asset to a fantasy roster. Those are just, on average, the very best years you will get from them. They can still be a quality, productive player for years past their peak, or prime years. The decline starts at that point but it also tends to be a slow one for most, especially for the elite skaters.

    Of course, in fantasy hockey, there are times when this type of ďselling old guys for young guysĒ mentality may make sense. If your team isnít competitive and you are looking to re-vamp your roster and build for tomorrow then it can make sense to move some of your older, productive assets. The issue you will run into in most leagues is the value on your return for those older assets. Most other GMís in fantasy hockey simply donít go looking to invest in older skaters and arenít willing to pay a realistic price for the numbers they produce. They tend to under-value them and offer ďless-than-primeĒ value simply because of the age factor. Itís hard to change that mentality that once a guy turns 30 years old, he has little-to-no value in fantasy hockey. At least thatís been my experience.

    Winning fantasy hockey is primarily based on numbers. Unfortunately, the number people tend to focus too much on is a players age and not their production. Fantasy GMís need to stop being so narrow-minded towards age. It appears that players are performing at a normal rate well into their 30ís but yet fantasy owners are reluctant to bring in those ďolderĒ players for their fantasy teams. I realize there are times when it may not make sense, but if you are serious about winning at fantasy hockey, owners need to focus less on a players age and more on what they can offer their team when it comes to bragging rights in their league.


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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    + 1 Great piece... Thanks!

    Its annoying how Mikko Koivu has no trade value yet Robbi Fabbri is worth a lot......

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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    Each league drives its own trade values I think. One league I’m in draft picks mean nothing (5/12 first round picks traded), another they are gold (2 picks out of all rounds traded). With the NHL faces being under 30 (stamkos, Ovi, Crosby, Seguin, Benn, Tavares) most leagues are driven by that. I personally love my keepers in the 25-28yrs old range. Anything over that, they usually get bumped for a younger guy. 30yr old with 65pts=24yr old with 60pts to me as a keeper.

    We all like the shiny new toy. Ryan Johansen, 82games – 71pts. Joe Thornton, 78games – 65pts. The PPGs are off by like 3pts over 82games. If someone offered you Johansen for Thornton +, without looking too deep into it, the other GM would laugh at you.

    Also everyone remembers the rough downfalls besides the slow fall from grace. MSL went from scoring leader to 50-60pt guy SO fast. He was moved, but he’s not even scoring on breakaways anymore. That’s worst case scenario, and that’s what people associate with older players. Vanek, Richards, Broduer, Gionta, Gomez, Drury, Briere, Iggy (this yr), Gaborik. These are all guys who stopped producing quickly after they hit the “veteran” stage. Now this is off the top of my head, you can prolly stat me on how Gaborik did well, but this is perceived value. If I don’t think someone has done well off the top of my head, then trade-value is zero for me.

    If someone ranks my 25yr old higher than my 30yr old player, even tho the 30yr old player had a better season, hell ya I’ll play along to up the trade-value.
    12 team, H2H, 6 keeper league (Keepers in Bold)
    G, A, Pts, +/-, PPP, PIM, FW
    W, GAA, S%, Saves
    2C, 2RW, 2LW, 4D, 2G
    C: Stamkos (RW), Backstrom, Petterson, Little
    LW: Couture (C), Parise, Huberdeau
    RW: Marner (C), Tarasenko
    D: Karlsson, Dumba, Hamilton, Chabot, Barrie
    G: Andersen, Dubnyk, Peterson
    IR: Perry (RW)
    IR+: Raanta
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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    Great write up Axeman. Nothing makes me happier than to trade a 2nd or 3rd round prospect draft pick for a solid 30+ player. That 30+ player will be productive for years while that 2nd or 3rd round draft pick takes years to develop. In those years I will just continue to win while the other GM's chase the next great thing. Even when that pick ends up hitting (a big if) and their value skyrockets, it will still take years for them to pass the old man's value in a given year.

    For example Gaudreau vs Big Joe. Even with Gaudreau's amazing year he still finished with a FHG value of 162 in my league where Big Joe finished 89th.

    I am not saying I would trade Gaudreau for Big Joe at this point, just showing that even when that pick does manage to hit (which it rarely does) and you have waited years for that player to develop, the player may not be as good as the 30+ player in any given year.

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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    Good and interesting write up, even if I don't play in keeper leagues.

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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    I completely understand why fantasy managers tend to overvalue young players and undervalue old players. The fact is that EVENTUALLY, the old player will start to decline and once he does, his trade value will plummet. No one wants to be stuck with a diminishing asset that they could potentially have to lose for nothing or sell extremely low.

    On the other hand, an elite prospect will EVENTUALLY breakout. I know not all prospects will, but a prospect like Drouin has a very good chance of becoming an extremely valuable asset. It is a gamble, but by our very nature fantasy hockey managers are gamblers. We would rather take a risk on a young player, even if he doesn't break out, than be stuck with an aging veteran hockey player whose value will certainly decline.

    Now, 30 isn't really the magic number for me. It is more 33. Once a player is over 33, I personally will avoid him. That said, I will almost certainly think twice about going after any player who is older than the player I currently own. I could probably get Malkin right now for Benn, but I am still hesitant to make that deal partly because Malkin in 4 years older than Benn. At 29, Malkin might have 5 or 6 years left of elite production while Benn might have 9 or 10. Considering our league has been running for almost 20 years and elite players like Malkin and Benn aren't likely ever dealt, I want to stick with the younger player most of the time.
    12 team, H2H, salary cap
    Forward: J. Benn, N. Kucherov, F. Forsberg, V. Trocheck, B. Point, K. Connor
    Defense: J. Klingberg, K. Letang, I. Provorov, O. Klefbom
    Goalie: S. Bobrovsky, M. Jones
    Bench: P. Buchnevich, J. Vrana, E. Linholm, C. Djoos, E. Gustafsson, V. Husso
    Prospect: E. Tolvanen, E. Brannstrom, D. Peterson, T. Wong

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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    Good read Axeman!

    I also tend to avoid 'older' players when possible, but I will still add them to my team if it makes sense. Last year I gave up a 1st round in this year's draft for D.Sedin. He ended up being my best player and one of the best LW in the league. If an 'older' player will help me be more competitive and get a chance at winning the league, I'll make that move. Last time I checked, fantasy hockey was about winning.
    Weekly H2H points only (Year 9 - 2015-16)
    12 teams limited keeper (keep 6 + 1 Rookie)
    13 round draft - Unlimited Trades - No Waivers - No IR
    4 Team Playoffs (last 2 reg. season weeks)
    Rookies are 23 years old or younger in the draft year and never reached 60pts (forward), 40pts (defense), 25 wins (goalie)


    Start : C RW LW Utility D D G
    Points : A - G = 1 pt W = 2 pts SO = 1pt

    C - S.Stamkos, J.Thornton, K.Turris, D.Stepan
    LW - O.Palat, B.Saad, A.Burakovsky
    RW - B.Wheeler, T.Toffoli, C.Atkinson
    D - E.Karlsson, S.Gostisbehere, C.Fowler, A.Ekblad, A.Larsson
    G - C.Hellebuyck, D.Dubnyk, A.Niemi, K.Lehtonen

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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    Good write up.

    I think what it comes down to is "actual" vs "perceived" value. The actual value of the player is the points he puts up. An 80 pt player is an 80 pt player regardless of age and in theory should be treated as such. And a 70 pt player is a 70 pt player....This is the "actual value", but once you take into account age ( done often in keeper leagues) the "perceived values" change. A 70 pt 20yr old has an "actual value" of 70 pts, but might be perceived to have the value of a 80pt guy based on potential....whereas a 80pt player who is over 30yr old has an "actual" value of 80 pts, but most perceive his value at 75-70 pts, due to age.

    I'm not arguing that players over 30 are more or less valuable, but it is worth noting the "actual" vs "perceived" value of players and how these principles work in your league. (ie. some leagues value youth more than they should).

    I personally take a hybrid approach... I tend to try and make my keepers "young" so they will have a higher perceived value than they have, but at the draft I will target older players with higher actual value.

    My rationale behind this is that injuries always happen, and always seem to happen at the worst times while you are competing for a championship. I find the actual v perceived value is most important during the season when injuries happen. ex. If I loose a over 30yr old guy to injury and his actual value is 80 pts.... I find it almost impossible to trade him for fair value... (naturally injury will hurt the value of any player) but I find that 80 pt 30yr old looses so much perceived value I can barely get anything for him... and then my season is done......

    But if I loose one of my 20 yr old to injury and his actual value is that of a 60 pt player, due to his age, I find I can still get a player whose actual value is that of at least 60 pts, sometimes a 70 pt player or higher (usually a 30 yr old).

    This is where I find actual vs perceived value to be most critical. Cause an injured 30 yr old, no one wants, but an injured 20 yr old will still have some value to someone due to the magic word "potential" .
    14 team, keep 6 points only (extra point for ppp). no position req.

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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    A++ stuff Axe. Hard to argue with any of it. I think you are absolutely correct in your research and assessment. I'll also venture a guess that a majority of successful poolies are analytical creatures who reflect the thinking in your post. However, "emotional" poolies like myself tend to take more risks when it comes to veterans vs. youth. And I will admit that my emotions have cost me some titles in the past. But I'll tell you my theory on why emotional poolies such as me fall into this said trap...

    1. Owning younger players are more FUN in keeper leagues. In a 1-yr league, even an EP like me will opt for immediate production. But in a keeper, there's a rush of excitement that comes with having a prospect and watching them blossom into a star and reaping the rewards. For example, I acquired Filip Forsberg last summer and it was a blast watching him and Tarasenko turn into stars this season.

    2. Young players have more "trade value" which makes them a coveted commodity in most pools. Admittedly, this can be a very dangerous game though, and it has backfired on me many times in the past.

    Bottom line - your breakdown is absolutely correct and poolies who want to win (and win now) would be very wise to bookmark this thread and give it a read on the eve of their draft. And, EP's like me should also use this as a reminder to balance our emotions when making personnel decisions.

    Great read.
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    Skaters: G=2, A=1, PP/SH= +1, GWG= +2, Shootout G=1, Hat Trick= +1
    DMen/Captain: G=3/A=2
    Goalies: W=3, OTL=1, SO= +2, SV= .10


    Start = 13F, 6D, 2G / Keep 44 (3G)
    Captain: Kucherov
    (F): Malkin, MacKinnon, Matthews, Stamkos, Tarasenko, Eichel, Barkov, Gaudreau, Kopitar, Panarin, Backstrom, Rantanen, DeBrincat, Dadonov, Neal, W.Nylander, Mantha, Jost, Pettersson, Mittelstadt, Zadina, Borgstrom, Wahlstrom, Rasmussen, A. Nylander, Thomas, Tippett
    (*D): Hedman, Dahlin, Ghost, OEL, Barrie, Pietrangelo, Krug, Weber, Rielly, Ekblad, Ristolainen, Sergachev, McAvoy, Q.Hughes, Makar, Jokiharju
    (G): Vasilevskiy, Price, Murray, Samsonov

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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    excellent. ive often thought this. i hear "he's almost thirty" all the time. guys in my league love the 22- 25 year olds. anything else is to old.
    10 team Full Keeper Roto League
    4C-4LW-4RW-6D-2G-5bench-unlimited farm.

    C= crosby,horvat,malkin,kuznetsov
    LW= ovechkin,kreider,benn,lee,marchand
    RW= wheeler,stone,radulov,hertle
    D= doughty,larson,ghostebehere,karlsson,orlov,jones
    G= lundqvist,price,murray

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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    Seems to me like just about everyone in keeper leagues wants to rebuild. I've been taking advantage of that for years since I don't do rebuilds ever. You can call this another example of buying low and selling high.


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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    Ya. I picked up the Sedins prior to the start of last season for a couple of mid tier prospects and a couple of mid round entry draft picks.

    This same team already housed a Marian Hossa, a Jarome Iginla, an Alex Tanguay, one Joe Thornton and a Mark Giordano. They called my team "old balls" at our pre season draft. I smoked them. Lol. Everyone lost interest in the current season by Februaru I was so far ahead.

    Marleau had a down year, I'm gonna start inquiring soon...if someone is willing to give him away for a prospect or pick that will only help me in 3+ years if at all, I'm jumpimg.

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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    Quote Originally Posted by GinFizz View Post
    + 1 Great piece... Thanks!

    Its annoying how Mikko Koivu has no trade value yet Robbi Fabbri is worth a lot......
    Indeed. Rabbi Fabbri IS worth a lot. Wait what? What does he have to do with that fossil?

    lol

    Team:
    2x[B]C - Tavares, Matthews, Malkin, Toews, D. Strome
    2xL - Hall, Landeskog,, Tkachuk, Killorn, Palat,
    2xR - Kucherov, Wheeler (RW/C), Marner (RW),Kapanen,
    4xD - Karlsson, OEL, Josi, Letang, Giordano, Green
    2xG - Andersen, Jones, Rinne, Dell, Sparks
    2x[B]Util - x2
    12 Team Keeper league with Yahoo

    Roster (14 Kept Players): 2C,2LW,2RW,4D,2G,2Util (Can keep a 3rd G with Util)
    SEASON SCORING: 3C,3LW,3RW,5D,1U,2G
    (Weighted Category Points: see below).

    Skaters -
    (Points: G a/o A) 6
    (+/-) 3
    (PIM) 1
    (PPP) 5
    (GWG) 5

    Goaltenders
    Wins 5
    Goals against -9
    Saves 1
    Shutout 10

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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    This couldn't have come along at a more opportune time for me Axe...

    As I officially step AWAY from the edge of the acceptance cliff of the deal involving my Getz/Perry/OEL and Bob for his younger Stamkos, Drouin, Rinne and Maata/Markov.

    phew. I feel ok about it now too.

    Thanks Brotha.
    Team:
    2x[B]C - Tavares, Matthews, Malkin, Toews, D. Strome
    2xL - Hall, Landeskog,, Tkachuk, Killorn, Palat,
    2xR - Kucherov, Wheeler (RW/C), Marner (RW),Kapanen,
    4xD - Karlsson, OEL, Josi, Letang, Giordano, Green
    2xG - Andersen, Jones, Rinne, Dell, Sparks
    2x[B]Util - x2
    12 Team Keeper league with Yahoo

    Roster (14 Kept Players): 2C,2LW,2RW,4D,2G,2Util (Can keep a 3rd G with Util)
    SEASON SCORING: 3C,3LW,3RW,5D,1U,2G
    (Weighted Category Points: see below).

    Skaters -
    (Points: G a/o A) 6
    (+/-) 3
    (PIM) 1
    (PPP) 5
    (GWG) 5

    Goaltenders
    Wins 5
    Goals against -9
    Saves 1
    Shutout 10

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    Default Re: The Old Man Myth in Fantasy Hockey Keeper Leagues

    The theory behind everything you're saying is bang on. At the same time, I think what makes a good keeper league manager is having a "football mentality". Not even fantasy football, but real football.

    The prevailing theory in the NFL is "better a year early than a year late". Teams in the NFL are so much more ruthless for lack of better term than NHL teams in player evaluation. Guys like Brad Richards, MSL, (memory failing me) all went from so valuable you can't trade them to "not getting what you think you should" for them. Then you're stuck. You don't want to lose them for nothing. You can't trade them for what you perceive is low value. You're just stuck holding them.

    Personally, I have no issues with old guys. But I'd most certainly rather trade them a year too early than a year too late.

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