Fantasy Hockey Rankings Tiers (2021)
With the NHL and NHLPA recently agreeing on terms for the regular season and playoffs, not much time remains for us to prepare for the upcoming fantasy hockey season.
If you are not caught up, I have another article that will help you learn what is set to happen this year. Make sure you continue to keep up-to-date on players who may have a last-minute injury or illness.
Today we dive into some tier rankings for your impending draft. Many key elements must be taken into account for rankings this year, more so than in years past. Injuries have become a big part of the season already, as we have seen from Nikita Kucherov and Jonathan Toews. Another change that must not be overlooked is the new divisions.
Like any other fantasy sport, matchups play a key role in who to start, sit, or draft. For example, Player A is considered a Tier 2 elite player versus player B, a low-end Tier 1 player. Player A goes up against the top-ranked defense and goalie in a given division for eight games, while player B goes against the bottom-ranked defense and goalie in a division.
Many people would argue that player B could be ranked higher and may have more upside, as it should be. Now, I tell you Player B is in the West while Player A is in the Central. Using last year’s information and some information we already have this year, Player B would be the overwhelming choice. Here’s why. While most teams in the West finished at the bottom of the league last year, the Central is a stronger division that includes both teams from last year’s Stanley Cup Final.
Finally, look at a team’s offseason additions and subtractions. Players like Patrick Kane may struggle this year since trades and injuries have severely weakened the Blackhawks heading into the season. Meanwhile, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will flourish on a team with minimal changes to an already stout roster.
Now how about some rankings?
When reading fantasy hockey tiers, it is important to remember that this is not fantasy football. The tiers are stacked with many more players with minimal separation because those groupings can have the most similar stats at the end of the year.
However, in fantasy hockey, a player in a specific tier can often easily slide into a tier above or below. Yet it’s unlikely for players to jump multiple tiers. In a shortened season, it will be even rarer.
These are my rankings to start the year. Happy drafting, and as always, have fun hockey friends.
Mat Vilcek is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Mat, check out his archive and follow him @Mat1Thockey.