Vengeance Drops and Magic Ratios (Edler, Barker)

Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler did nothing last night, but don't drop him yet

Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler shat the bed last night, but don't drop him yet.

Comes a time in every fantasy owner’s life when psychological satisfaction trumps team success. When the need to kick a player to the curb — to drop him, plain and simple — outweighs any practical concern about whether doing so is the most value-driven approach.

Yahoo!’s Andy Behrens has dubbed this the “vengeance drop.” Anyone who’s ever owned a fantasy team knows this fed-up feeling. And I am just about there with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Cam Barker.

Last night, in Chicago’s 5-3 loss in Nashville, Barker barely dented the boxscore, notching nothing but one shot on goal in 19:05 of ice time.

He was a No. 4 defenseman to begin with, but he had always done just enough to hang around. But this was his fifth scoreless game in his last seven. I’ve had it. And while I’m calling this a “vengeance drop,” since it’s on the heels of last night’s dud and I’m pissed, I have also, let me confess, allowed some rationale to steer my decision-making.

The question is straightforward: how can you tell when a scoreless effort is a simply a bad game, as opposed to a sign that a player has little fantasy value going forward?

What I look for — especially in defensemen — is the ratio of ice time to shots on goal. The smaller, the better. Last night, Barker’s ratio was roughly 19. By contrast, consider the ratio of another No. 4 defenseman, Alexander Edler of the Vancouver Canucks. In Vancouver’s 3-0 loss in Montreal, Edler went scoreless. But as opposed to Barker, Edler launched six shots on goal in 19:48 of ice time: a ratio of roughly three.

Not for nothing, Edler added two penalty minutes to his effort. All of which explains why I’m keeping Edler around, even though he has now gone scoreless in his last three games. You launch six shots in under 20:00 minutes, you’re a defenseman I want on my team. Barker has not yet had six shots in a game this season. He has only reached four or more shots in a game twice.

Edler has done it eight times.

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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