We’re less than a week away from the NDubble getting underway, so users are getting ready to set up their fantasy lineups for the first week of play. I’m here to give you the rundown on how to best maximize your starting roster on She Plays’ NWHL fantasy games.
Goals are Key
Want a quick way to guarantee yourself some points? Target the elite goal scorers in the league first and often. Co-MVPs Allie Thunstrom (MIN) and Jillian Dempsey (BOS) are the obvious ones, finishing 1st and 3rd in goal scoring last year respectively. Dempsey had two teammates in the Top 6 as well in McKenna Brand and Mary Parker, who were 2nd and 6th respectively. Madison Packer, Kendall Cornine, and Kate Leary (MET) were the Riveters’ go-to triggers. Buffalo’s Taylor Accursi led the team in goal scoring by a wide margin, but will be unavailable for the Beauts due to her job as a provincial police officer in Ontario. Emma Vlasic led the Whale with 9 tallies last year, but that was only 14th best in the league. Boston had FIVE players finish ahead of her, and a 6th was tied for that spot.
Who could break out? Stay tuned later this week for a preview of some potential steals!
Don’t get Distracted by Shorties
Despite shorthanded points receiving a decent boost in the scoring column, it’s immensely rare for anyone to tally a shorthanded marker. The Whitecaps had a trio of players with two shorthanded points last season, and nobody else had more than a single shorthanded point. This is not the area to focus on to try to grab the upper hand—take any shorthanded production as a bonus, not as part of your fantasy scoring strategy.
Careful of the Agitators
An agitator is someone who excels at getting under the skin of their opponent, drawing them into taking penalties. Unfortunately, some of the league’s best agitators have a tendency to also be the ones taking the penalties. Remember, a minor penalty is 2 minutes, meaning every minor penalty taken is worth a half-point deduction in your fantasy points, and because there’s no points awarded for drawing those penalties, an agitator is going to be a risky gamble.
Buffalo’s Iveta Klimášová led the league in penalties taken last season with 20, while Boston’s Kaleigh Fratkin was right behind her with 19. Klimášová draws significantly more penalties than Fratkin, but Fratkin is likely to put up more points on a stacked Boston team. Others to watch out for? The aforementioned Madison Packer is one of the league’s deadliest agitators, being a Top 5 scorer whilst drawing the most penalties in the league last year with 18. Unfortunately, she took 17 herself, making it a bit of a tradeoff. Similarly, Connecticut’s Shannon Doyle took 18 and drew 17, but blocks more shots per hour than anyone else in the league—and it isn’t particularly close. It’s a juggling act for sure!
Pay close attention to who’s shooting the puck the most often. There were five players last year with more than 100 shots on the season: Boston’s Jillian Dempsey and McKenna Brand, Minnesota’s Allie Thunstrom and Nicole Schammel (note that Schammel did not re-sign in the league this year), and the Riveters’ Kendall Cornine. Why is this important? Well, more shots typically will equate to a higher goal total, but it also will help you know who to use as your goaltender—and who to avoid. Goalies who see a lot of shots are more likely to gain you a higher advantage—every five saves are worth a single point—so even if they end up on the losing end of the scoresheet, it’s a smart way to handicap your team.
I encourage you to use Mike Murphy’s HerHockeyCounts.com for any further numerical research. Hopefully, these insights will help you dominate your fantasy season during the NDubble, and keep an eye out later this week for a preview of some under the radar picks to REALLY move the needle!
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