Fantasy Hockey 201: The Next Generation

Is this thing on?  Okay apparently I have been told that it is. Welcome to the first of many Fantasy Hockey 201 columns.  The “Fantasy Hockey For Beginners” column became so successful that there was a need for a spin-off.

Each week there will be a different spin on fantasy numbers but mostly there will be a certain format.  One time it could be a player vs. player debate, another time it could be a waiver wire question, and then it could just be any topic from the mailbag.  We will be introducing a mailbag of sorts where you can send your emails.  Who knows, we may just select your topic to puck around with.

This week will be a simple hello.  Many of you are joining fantasy hockey leagues and checking your pre-draft rankings more than twice I hope.  ESPN, Yahoo, Fanball, CBS Sportsline, and all the usual suspects have their leagues up and running and at a variety of pricing tiers.  Whether you pay to play or play for free, the competition can be so intensely fierce that your head could spin.

It does not even matter what the format of your league is this time of year.  Right now, it is all about the draft.  Everything else is secondary, aside from the trash talking.  Trash talking is truly an art-form and can truly be an asset in most cases.  However, do be careful.  Too much opening of the mouth will put a bulls-eye on you that one may not want during the season.  If done right, trash talking can pave a foundation that ensures success from draft until the end of the year.

So what constitutes good trash talking in a league?  We have many great example in our very own IHFDL.  Many of our fine league members have won many fantasy leagues in their time by properly initiating good nature trash talking.

The best way to toss around the gift of gab is right in your message board.  It does not take much to get another GM’s attention, if at all.  Now that may not be your style.  Perhaps, you are a sender of good tidings via email.  The most important thing is to get your point across.  The point itself does not matter but the presentation surely does.  Sending a message to someone that does not make sense will so adversely effect your team that the very trash talking will come back on you.

Being too quiet is also a sure sign of disaster.  People want to hear from you every so often just to see that you are alive.  How you respond to these inquiries are very essential as well.  Fantasy leagues are not for timid people, especially leagues that are full of veterans that have endured more wars than you can count on two hands.  Add in a money or keeper league into the mix and you have the recipe for battles that will last a lifetime or at least they will feel that way.

In short, the balance is up to you, the GM.  Every person I have talked to in the last 10-15 years does it a different way.  Personally, never let them guess what you are going to do or say.  Keep them guessing and sometimes even scratching their heads.  The minute you become predictable is usually the minute you are dead in the water.  Once an opponent sees weakness, they pounce.

Ironically how you trash talk is a reflection of how one conducts business in their league.  It can tell a lot about one’s tendencies and the works.  Be careful what you wish for.  This year is going to be a different animal as it seems a lot of people are on edge.

So in the coming weeks, Anthony Curatolo and I are going to toss in some player debates, take a look at some fantasy teams (maybe even our own), and answer your questions and more.  The nice thing about fantasy hockey is there’s always something around the corner.

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