We figured it was time we throw our hat into the fantasy ring and introduce all of you Waikikians to the Waikiki Hockey Fantasy Hockey Preview.
Our hockey preview is a bit different than many you'd see on the Internet. First, we are NOT going to give you any projections, cheatsheets, depth charts, etc. Second, we're not going to charge you anything.
The WHFHP (we've got to work on the name) reviews the best fantasy hockey sites out there so you don't have to.
You won your pool last year? Good for you! Netted the $100 prize? Way to go! You needed to buy four hockey preview magazines and paid $50 for a website subscription? Wow, sounds like it was the magazines that won your pool!
Being real men here at Waikiki Hockey we have a self-imposed ban on Fantasy Hockey Guides. We don't need some overpaid chump to tell us who and who not to pick ... especially when they are charging us $7.99 for the privilege. Our goal is to pay zero dollars for our fantasy prep work and still win it all.
So if you are looking for the most bang for your fantasy dollar you need to check out the sites below. You also may want to check out our four step plan on how to use the below sites to your biggest advantage.
Relatively new in the Fantasy market, Dobber and his team have really made a big splash. Their draft kit costs $9.95 ($14.95 with the keeper analysis) and it's some pretty damn good analysis. One thing that Dobber has over some of his competitors is that hockey is his bread and butter ... you know that he's a fan and he's pouring his heart into things. Even if you're cheap like us and don't want to pay the $10, Dobber's site is full of free articles and other goodies. One big downside is that Dobber's ego seems to be growing along with his traffic...from his 2008-09 Fantasy Guide Preview: "When The Hockey News or The Score Forecaster need an expert opinion for their hockey pool magazines, they come to Dobber"
FANTASY HOCKEY SITES
$14.99 for their draft kit. $39.99 for the entire hockey season. $59.99 for the entire year. Definitely one of the biggest fantasy sites out there ... but for $60 they better massage our feet during the draft in addition to their first rate fantasy news. Their updates are unbeatable as they have a large team scouring the Internet for any fantasy worthy news. Excellent projections (unlike most the include PPG, SHG, Shots), depth charts for each team and some pretty good in-season feature articles make it almost worth your $40 / season. If you got the bucks to spend this would be a good site to do it at.
Fantasy Hockey Scouts
On one of our many searches across the Internet we came across this little gem. We've been going back every day since for their daily news which is quick and easy to read. Throw in the odd feature article and you've got a nice little fantasy site. We're a little leery on new fantasy sites as they seem to come and go, hopefully these guys will stick around. For your upcoming draft the guys at FHS have come up with a 79-page 'Breakout Bible' ... which will set you back $5. It has to be the most detailed sleeper list on the Internet. The guys are also nice enough to give away their projected stats for free. Free ... it's our favourite word.
They describe themselves as the place to go for new and unique fantasy tools .... which seems bang on after what we've seen. Chart-a-Player looks great (graphically shows the split of PP/SH/EV ice time and goals/assists per month). Compare-a-Player would definitely come in handy when trading. NHL Line Combinations should make it easy to see who is playing with who. And there's much more. The site seems to have a few bugs in it ... #2 scoring line in March was Darche, Halbern & Ouellett? It looks like this is the first year for this site so we're hoping they figure it all out for the upcoming season. It's a very slow site but since everything is free and it's going to be updated in-game we won't complain.
I'm not sure how these guys got the golden website address as they have only been putting out their draft kit for three years. Their kit costs a reasonable $6.99 and includes the typical stuff...sleepers, busts, rankings, cheatsheets etc. We didn't purchase it (maybe if you clicked on a few more ads we could afford it) but it sounds like it would be a pretty decent deal. If anybody has seen it let us know what's it's like.
Fantasy Hockey Grumblings
A few good articles and Rotowire-style player updates are offered for free. But some of their analysis seems a bit out there. Nikolai Khabibulin, Rob Blake, Markus Naslund and Cory Stillman are sleepers ... what? Their projections are pretty off-the-wall as well ... they have some points-based-thing happening that seems to overvalue goalies (currently it's based on last season's stats). Good for the price but analysis is only going to help you out on draft day if it's telling you something worthwhile.
They call themselves "America's #1 Choice for Fantasy Sports News" which, if true, must be due to their price (free!) rather than their content. They essentially copied the Rotowire model but charge nothing for it. Sounds pretty good until you see that their content is much, much weaker than Rotowire's. Still a not bad option for checking the daily headlines for the cost conscience but their draft kit is pretty non-existant at this point.
We haven't signed up for Puck Junkie because from our standpoint they don't provide much value ... that, and we're cheap bastards. For $11.99 you get access to their cheatsheet projector which spouts out fully customized cheatsheets any time during the season. Cheatsheets are nice but there are too many variables to ever get really good projections. According to their own site their projections were within TEN points of actual 51.7% of their time last year ... and they say that's the best on the market! Are you going to pay good money for the Rolls Royce of cheatsheets when it's only right half the time? We're not.
Fantasy Hockey Realm
For a $14.95 membership you get projections, weekly positional rankings, fully customizable cheatsheets and a cool feature showing you which team has the easiest / hardest schedule each week. Still we find it pretty hard to take a fantasy site seriously when their 'Fantasy Force Top 20' has Sidney Crosby at four! Again we didn't purchase the membership but from we can tell there is much better stuff out there. If anybody has purchased a FHR membership let us know how it went.
ESPN & Yahoo & CBS
The big three, in terms of league management, all now offer some form of free league setup. During the season they all provide updates and injury information as well as sortable stats for your team and free agents. All three pretty much fall flat in terms of offering a draft kit. CBS is probably a step ahead of the other two as their analysis is strong but only available to paying teams. Yahoo has teamed up with Rotowire (selling their draft kit as an add on) while ESPN tried to come up with some in-house analysis but ended up being the butt of more than a few jokes.
NON-FANTASY BUT STILL GOOD SITES:
We've been getting a bit of feedback on some sites we missed. Most of the links passed along have been from some pretty good hockey sites ... but they aren't really fantasy hockey sites. We still thought it would be worthwhile to add them here for you, the loyal reader:
Spector's Hockey - The Spector (Lyle Richardson) combs the media looking for any relevant hockey news and rumours. We're happy to let him do it for us.
Hockey Buzz - Eklund (Dwayne Klessel) has made quite a name for himself when he started posting NHL rumours during the NHL lockout. Now his site is one of the biggest hockey sites out there and is really a collection of blogs from Eklund, experts, former players and the fans. He's gotten into a bit of trouble for not citing sources but it's a hotbed of activity and discussion.
Kula's Korner - Similar to Spector Hockey, but probably a little more thorough. They get the important hockey news from all over the net and put it in one place for you. They've just remodelled their site and added a chat room function but got rid of their great forum for some reason.
Crash the Crease - Crash the Crease has a similar set up to Spector Hockey and Kula's Korner ... all the breaking NHL from the internet all summarized in one spot. The have a forum section as well ... and forums are good.
The Fourth Period - all the rumours, trades and breaking news that's fit to print. We find this site the easiest to navigate around as it's much easier to quickly check for news some others.
HF Boards - a massive mesage board and forum site for all things hockey. They have a fantasy section and it's a good place to bounce potential fantasy trades off of other players.
Hockey's Future - the place to go for all your prospect related infomation. Top prospect list is a must read for any poolie. You don't want to be the guy who misses out on the next big thing, do you?
Hockey DB & Hockey Reference - The best sites for your statistical needs...especially historical and junior information.
We would love to know of a site we've missed ... especially any new sites to the market. There obviously isn't too much out there and we need all the help we can get in our upcoming draft.
Now it's about time you checked out our simple four step plan on how to use the above sites to your advantage.