NCAA Fantasy Hockey Week 8: Trade Tips

Who doesn’t cut the mustard?

Trade targets

In the past in this trade tips column I’ve focused in general on players who seem to have some upside and should be considered for buying. Not this week! This week it’s time for MEAN WILLIAM to emerge. Because in order to buy a player, you have to sell a player, right? So here are the top 15 trade targets — the players who have scored fewest points per team game played of the players who (a) have been picked by more than one manager and (b) are still worth over $20 (so you have a chance of getting someone decent for them).

  • Haley Mack (Bemidji, $21.4, 3 picks, 0.133 PPG)
  • Presley Norby (Wisconsin, $21.4, 4 picks, 0.358 PPG)
  • Sydney Scobee (Minnesota, G, $31.7, 3 picks, 0.4 PPG)
  • Tatum Skaggs (OSU, $27.3, 3 picks, 0.457 PPG)
  • Taylor Heise (Minnesota, $23, 9 picks, 0.492 PPG)
  • Sarah Potomak (Minnesota, $33.7, 6 picks, 0.525 PPG)
  • Coco Francis (Union, G, $26.1, 2 picks, 0.542 PPG)
  • Stephanie Sucharda (Princeton, $24.5, 2 picks, 0.563 PPG)
  • Emily Clark (Wisconsin, $37.6, 3 picks, 0.567 PPG)
  • Gabbie Hughes (Minnesota-Duluth, $23.8, 2 picks, 0.59 PPG)
  • Madison Field (OSU, $26.3, 2 picks, 0.607 PPG)
  • Kelly Pannek (Minnesota, $38.6, 7 picks, 0.65 PPG)
  • Tereza Vanišsová (Maine, $31.4, 7 picks, 0.75 PPG)
  • Kirsten Welsh (Robert Morris, $33.5, 4 picks, 0.793 PPG)
  • Justine Reyes (SLU, $36.7, 3 picks, 0.817 PPG)/

Some results here are easy to explain, but there are some surprises.

On the easy side: Mack has been injured, Pannek was at Four Nations, and Potomak and Clark were injured and at Four Nations (Potomak and Pannek are underperforming a bit, in addition to their absences, but the absence distorts things).

Coco Francis and Sydney Scobee looked like they had chances of being 1A goalies, but in practice Francis has played 55% of her team’s minutes and Scobee has played only 41%, and it’s hard to score at a significant rate with that few minutes unless you’re Aerin Frankel. (Look out for an excellent Scobee-related pun in tomorrow’s trade summary btw.)

Vanisová is actually scoring at about the rate she did last year, but had a very flattering series against Sacred Heart right at the start of the season that made it look like this year might be a breakout. Sucharda also isn’t far behind her pace from last year, and Princeton’s season is still fairly young and has featured reasonably tough opposition compared to the bottom of the ECAC. Gabbie Hughes, as a freshman, was a gamble however you slice it. Madison Field is also only slightly off last year’s pace.

That leaves the surprising ones.

Norby has played every game and logged plenty of ice time, but is simply scoring at a lower rate than last year. This seems to be happening with a lot of Wisconsin players. Something strange is going on at Wisconsin — they’re third among all D1 schools in goals scored per game, and scoring slightly more goals per game than last year at 3.50 v 3.32, but of the 16 players who played last year only 6 are scoring faster this season than they did last.

Skaggs is a real mystery. Last year she was on a line and almost on a pace with Emma Maltais — she scored 32.6 fantasy points to Maltais’s 38.9, and from the eye test at the NCAA quarterfinals and Frozen Four she seemed almost as lethal. A few games into this season she seems to have been replaced on the Maltais line by Jacyn Reeves, but her scoring looks to have been spotty both before and after that. I haven’t had a chance to watch her play this year but hope she gets back to the player she was last year.

Reyes has caught whatever the rest of St. Lawrence has — from being fifth in goals for per game in 2016-17 when they made the tournament, and 15th last year, this year they’re twenty-third. Even more than Wisconsin, they’re dropping off across the board: every single player who scored more than ten points last year is scoring at a lower rate this year.

Welsh is also in a program, Robert Morris, that has taken a huge step back offensively: last year over the whole season they averaged 3.70 goals per game, good for third in D1, and so far this year they’re more than a goal and a quarter per game back at 2.36. This big step back that Robert Morris has taken as a whole makes it even more impressive that Jaycee Gebhard ($39.9, 19.1 SP, 2 picks) is currently in third place overall in fantasy points scored this season (though 16th in points per game). Imagine how she’d be doing with a team that was firing on all cylinders.

What’s coming up?

Dartmouth, Lindenwood, Mercyhurst and Union are not playing before Nov. 23, except for Lindenwood’s exhibition against the Whitecaps, pray 4 them again.

Some curiosities in the coming week: a rare midweek WCHA matchup between St. Cloud and Bemidji, Merrimack travel to Quinnipiac on Tuesday night, and four games for Penn State (at RPI Friday and Saturday, and hosting RIT Tuesday and Wednesday). Also, BC v BU on Tuesday night at BC — the first Battle of Comm. Ave. of the year. Even when BU’s having a down year these are always great games. I’ll be there.

Because I’m a strong believer in statistics over judgement, at least my judgement, I’m a strong believer in KRACH. This is a ratings system designed for settings where not everyone plays everyone else that takes strength of schedule into account when deciding how to value wins. One cool thing about KRACH is that it lets you estimate the chance that either team has of winning a given matchup. For example, if St. Pants Seminary had a KRACH rating of 120, and Beartown Institute of Doing Learning had a KRACH of 80, then the chance of St. P. winning a game between them is (120 / (120 + 80)) = 0.6, and the chance of BIDL winning that game is (80 / (120 + 80)) = 0.4. In other words, the chance of a team beating an opponent is (that team’s rating) / (sum of the two teams’ ratings). (It doesn’t give a probability of a tie, but that’s a minor blemish).

I probably won’t publish this in full every week, but I thought this week it’d be interesting to see how KRACH evaluates the games that we’ve got. (The raw data is in the Google Sheet). Obviously, the chance of a win is different from the chance of a fantasy-bonanza goal fiesta, but it’s an interesting stat to chew on nevertheless. Here are all the games, with the favorite listed first, giving the favorite’s chance of winning, and sorted by how uneven the odds are.

  • Clarkson @ Yale: 0.967
  • Wisconsin v Bemidji State (x2): 0.959
  • Minnesota @ St. Cloud State: 0.946
  • Minnesota v St. Cloud State: 0.946
  • St. Lawrence @ Yale: 0.888
  • Clarkson @ Brown: 0.858
  • Merrimack @ Quinnipiac: 0.858
  • Syracuse v RIT: 0.831
  • Harvard v Holy Cross: 0.814
  • Penn State v RIT (x2): 0.813
  • Boston College @ Connecticut: 0.807
  • Boston College v Connecticut: 0.807
  • Colgate @ Quinnipiac: 0.799
  • Northeastern @ Maine (x2): 0.797
  • Boston University v Vermont (x2): 0.796
  • Cornell @ Quinnipiac: 0.783
  • Boston College v Boston University: 0.732
  • New Hampshire @ Holy Cross: 0.716
  • St. Lawrence @ Brown: 0.618
  • Bemidji State @ St. Cloud State: 0.61
  • Minnesota Duluth @ Ohio State (x2): 0.609
  • Penn State @ Rensselaer (x2): 0.595
  • Providence v Merrimack: 0.563
  • Providence @ Merrimack: 0.563
  • Princeton v Cornell: 0.535
  • Princeton v Colgate: 0.511
  • Robert Morris v Minnesota State (x2): 0.505/

Some random observations about this:

  • The chance of a split in the OSU-UMD series is put at almost 50%, 47.6% to be precise. Only cowards predict splits so I’m going to put my money on an OSU sweep at home, which has a 15.28% chance of happening. I think OSU are better than they’ve been playing recently.
  • I think Penn State are further above RPI than KRACH does, though my faith in them took a knock over the last few weekends.
  • KRACH thinks that Merrimack will beat Quinnipiac almost 5 times out of 6. This is bonkers given the past history of the clubs. In 2015-16, Quinnipiac’s high point and Merrimack’s first D1 year, Quinnipiac ended the season with a KRACH rating of 784.22 and Merrimack ended with a rating of 16.29, meaning that Quinnipiac would beat Merrimack almost 49 times out of 50. It’s all come together for Merrimack this year (admittedly, against a relatively easy slate of opponents), and Quinnipiac haven’t had the start they wanted.
  • Other than the OSU-UMD series, two games that look particularly hard to predict and that we might learn a lot from are the two Princeton ones and Providence v Merrimack. Cornell have their Canadian national team players back for their Princeton matchup, so that should be a great game. The Providence v Merrimack series puts Samatha Ridgewell for Merrimack, who has the highest save percentage of any goalie who’s played more than six games, against Maureen Murphy for Providence, who has the highest points per game score of any player outside Clarkson. Neither team has the depth of some of the top teams, but when their elite players are on the ice this should also be an excellent series.
  • Northeastern will probably score a lot of goals.
  • Robert Morris, whose scoring has (as noted above) dropped off a cliff, face Minnesota State and Abigail Levy, who has the third highest save percentage of any goalie who’s played more than six games. Robert Morris are the better team on paper, but Minnesota State have a lot of self-belief this year.
  • If all you care about is points and winning, then you should probably be heavily invested in the Clarkson, Minnesota and Wisconsin games, all of which have the prospect of being a blowout. BC have all their Four Nations players back and have something to prove against Connecticut, twice, but I’ve given up on predicting BC blowouts./


Trades to by 11:59 pm Eastern on Thursday November 15th, please!