Learn How to Play Fantasy Hockey

Tutorial - Fantasy Hockey Tutorials

By Chris Perrin

Fantasy hockey gives you the chance to play hockey GM. You build a team, decide who is going to start, make trades, comb the waiver wire for new players, and drop the skaters who just are not performing for you.

Sound interesting? Do you want to know how to play fantasy hockey?

You might feel a bit overwhelmed if you don’t know how to play fantasy hockey, but this fantasy hockey tutorial offers some things you can keep in mind when you get started. Once you have mastered the fundamentals of how to play fantasy hockey or if you are just looking for tips on how to crush your opponents, check out our fantasy hockey advice and strategy sections.

How to Join a Fantasy Hockey League Tutorial

The first thing you need to do is sign up. There are several places you can play fantasy hockey online, but the two most popular are CBSSports.com and Yahoo! Sports.com. Both require that you sign up for an account, but that account is free and then you can follow the instructions on either website to sign up for as many leagues as you want.

When you sign up for a fantasy hockey league, you will be asked two questions: what type of league and how your original team will be chosen.

Types of Fantasy Hockey Leagues

How to Play Fantasy Hockey TutorialThere are two major types of leagues: head-to-head and “points” (a.k.a. Rotisserie) leagues. Both types of leagues are based on the idea that the players on your team earn you points when they do things in real life games. So if you have Sydney Crosby, every time he scores a goal or gets an assist, your fantasy team earns points. If you have Martin Brodeur, every time he stops a shot, your team gains fantasy points.

The type of league, then, determines how those points are tabulated. In a head-to-head league, your team is in competition with just one other team at a time. As both teams earn fantasy points in various categories (goals, saves, etc.), whoever reaches a set total first or after a certain amount of time, gets a win.

For instance, if your team reaches 50 goals before your opponent, you get a win. If your opponent gets to 50 goals first, you get a loss. As the season progresses, your team should compete with every other team in the league. Teams with the best records may then go on to a playoff to see who is the winner.

The other type of league uses the points system where you are always in competition with everyone else in the league. The idea is to get the highest number of points at the end of the season. Wins and losses are not tracked.

One type of league is not better than the other. Just different.

How To Choose Your Initial Fantasy Hockey Team - Fantasy Hockey Tutorial

In addition to choosing the type of league, you must also select how your team is going to be built. Again, there are two options: Autopick and Live Draft.

In an Autopick league, the computer selects which players go to which teams. It does this by establishing a draft order (who picks first, second, third, etc.) and then selects one player for each team in the first round. At the top of the second round, the draft order reverses so the player who chose last in the first round picks first in the second round. This process is repeated for a number of rounds until every team has a certain number of players.

You are not totally powerless in an Autopick league as most services will let you rank players. The computer will try to honor your rankings when choosing your players.

A Live Draft system uses the same draft order as an Autopick system, but the team owners select players for themselves. This is often more exciting and can lead to some interesting teams, but at the same time, there is more to be concerned about and more room to make mistakes.

It is your choice to do Autopick or Live Draft.

How to Pick Your Fantasy Hockey Line Up Tutorial

After you have your fantasy hockey team, it’s time to start doing day-to-day management of the team. It is here where you will win or lose your league.

The first thing you have to do is choose who you are going to start. Only starters earn points for your team, the others are “on the bench.” You will have to check your league rules to see how many players you can start each week and how many games they can play each week.

Hockey players can play in three or four games per week, but according to league rules, they may not be able to contribute fantasy points to your team for all of them. This keeps you from drafting good players, starting only them, and never giving your opponents a chance to win. Therefore, the most important thing you will do as a fantasy GM is determine which days you want to start each player so that you start them when they can contribute the highest amount of points.

Fantasy Hockey Player Transactions

The other part of day-to-day management you will have to be aware of are player transactions. There are two types of transactions: trades and free agency. Each online service will have detailed instructions on how to perform each type.

Trades allow owners to swap players. This requires an agreement between both teams’ owners and should only be done when you feel you are getting a good deal.

Also, any players not drafted go into free agency, which means you can add them to your team. Normally, this requires that you drop a player from your team to make room, which can be a good thing or it can require you to make some tough decisions. Free agents are first come, first served so if you have an eye on a player, you should pick him up before someone else does.

Most fantasy hockey GMs put all of their effort into drafting a good team, but really it’s in choosing who to start and mastering free agency that will lead you to a fantasy team win. Good luck this season!

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