The season is nearly upon us and most fantasy leagues are getting underway (that is, if yahoo can ever feels like cooperating), so lets take a look at how the Sabres stack up from a fantasy perspective.
*Disclaimer: In no way do I claim to be a "fantasy expert" so I take no responsibility for your likely 11th place finish.
Note: Rankings refer to their positional ranking and may vary from league to league based upon the scoring settings. As some of these lists seem rather questionable, don't put too much faith in them.
#30 / Goalie / Buffalo Sabres
Yahoo Ranking: 1st (6th overall)
ESPN Ranking: 1st (9th overall)
TSN Rankings: 2nd
The reigning Vezina Trophy winner is likely the safest and most consistent choice available at goaltender. In most formats, picking up a quality goaltender is vital due to the large number of stat categories they pick up. As we all know, Miller carries a heavy workload and despite the extra Olympic Games, has proved that he has built up the endurance to handle 65+ games a year. Last year, he finished in the top 5 in wins, goals against average, and save percentage and is expected to continue this level of production. In the past, Miller has not been slightly devalued due to the lack of shutout, though this should no not be a major concern. As a personal preference, I tend to never draft any of the top Sabres due to the probability of mental breakdown after injury. If you are brave enough, however, Miller would be a quality late first round pick.
#26 / Left Wing / Buffalo Sabres
Yahoo Ranking: 10th (69th overall)
ESPN Ranking: 21st (91st overall)
TSN Rankings: 12th
After Miller, you probably won't be seeing another Sabre go for a while, unless there is one of those fanatics that only draft players from their favorite team 5 rounds too early (Not that I don't mind having a couple of them around). Vanek is constantly overshadow by his 40 goal season and large contract, but he may be under the radar this year (I'm looking at you ESPN). 30 goals and 60 points are certainly a possibility at a LW position that is historically lacking. In a league where power play goals are a category, Vanek should gain significant value. It was only 2 years ago when Vanek lead the league with 20 power play goals, beating out some guy named Alexander Ovechkin. Vanek is a player with a strong upside, so expect him to rebound after a disappointing showing in '09-10.
#57 / Defense / Buffalo Sabres
Yahoo Ranking: 14th (83th overall)
ESPN Ranking: 18th (93rd overall)
TSN Rankings: 8th
Myers has a special place in every Sabres fan's heart. Don't let this cloud your better judgment, however. While Myers will continue to put up good offensive numbers, I think it is unreasonable to expect him to surpass his Calder-winning rookie season. If Myers is available I'm not saying you shouldn't take him, but I'm not sure he is worth a reach over proven players like Pronger, Weber, or Lidstrom, as TSN projects.
#19 / Center / Buffalo Sabres
Yahoo Ranking: 34th (122nd overall)
ESPN Ranking: 26th (63rd overall)
TSN Rankings: 36th
#9 / Center / Buffalo Sabres
Yahoo Ranking: 26th (85th overall)
ESPN Ranking: 32nd (92nd overall)
TSN Rankings: 18th
Don't let Darcy know, but I'm afraid the Sabres probably don't have two top 20 centers. Quality fantasy centers are a dime a dozen, but you can use that fact to your advantage. If you focus on filling other needs first, you can pick up a player like Roy or Connolly later on and still get comparable returns. The rankings look rather conflicted on where exactly these two players should go, which is probably partly due to Connolly's injury concern. If you don't want to constantly be worrying about a gust of wind breaking Timmy's back, Roy is most likely the safer pick, although Connolly will probably finish the year with a higher point total if he remains healthy. Either way, I think these players are great value in respect to the position they usually go.
#29 / RW / Buffalo Sabres
Yahoo Ranking: 37th (168th overall)
ESPN Ranking: 21st (73rd overall)
TSN Rankings: 14th
Pominville is a player the always finds a way onto my roster. For a player that has scored 20+ goals and 60+ points for the last four years, Yahoo always seems to undervalue his production. For instance, the player ranked ahead of him? Wayne Simmonds. Ya, I think I'll take my chances on Pominville. I'm not sure I would want him as my top right winger, but you might be able to get a deal on him considering he is projected to go in round 14 of a 12-man league.
Best of the Rest:
These players probably will go undrafted in small leagues, but still have value in deeper ones.
Tyler Ennis: If Ennis to continues his offensive success from last year, he is ready for a breakout season. We still haven't seen if he can continue producing for an entire 80 game season, but he definitely has potential as a sleeper. His dual C/LW eligibility is also always a bonus.
Drew Stafford: Stafford isn't exactly that popular in the Sabres Universe, but he is in a contract year and is expected to put up better numbers. I'll believe it when I see it.
Jochen Hetch: Hetch is a player that is only drafted in 8% of yahoo leagues. If you missed out grabbing a set of left wingers earlier on and need a 20 goal depth player, then Hetch will likely be availible.
Steve Montador/Craig Rivet: These dmen are two of the few Sabres that can provide a constant flow of penalty minutes. They can also add in an offensive spark every once and a while, although there will likely be many better alternatives. Consider taking them in a late, late round.
So what do you guys think? Anyone I leave out or give an unfair evaluation to? Lets hear your thoughts.