Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Huddle Fantasy Draft 2009


Nation,

Last month I was asked to be one of ten "owners" to participate in The Huddle's first open fantasy draft.

The Huddle Home Page
The Huddle Draft Board
My Evaluation of the Other Owner's Drafts
Expert Draft Grades

First off, I want to say thanks to Ben and The Huddle for inviting me to take part in such a project. I had produced reports/papers for some professional hockey teams on player evaluation based on my masters work, but I had never taken part in a fantasy draft. Ever.

It was as time consuming and addictive as I had feared, but I really enjoyed the selection process, the respectful banter between the owners, and the overall experience.

I am a good enough ultimate player to know I’m not really that good. I’m also good enough at player evaluation and general sport management (Sport is my day job and I love to do it) to know that picking players from all over the world without a lot of stats and video out there can be a little subjective and almost impossible to ensure success/approval. Thus, I set out to follow these steps ·

  • Pick only players I know and have seen/played against ·
  • Pick as many well known American players off the board to counter my fellow owners strong suit
  • Use whatever stats I could get from past world events to fill out my board. (Looking at International Players and seeing who played well versus Canada and the US in the detailed WUGC 2008 stats)
  • Have fun with it!
Here are my picks in order of round and selection:

1. Alex Nord- High pick from Sockeye, needed his D, players with his size, expertise and pedigree are rare. This is why big men go number one in the NBA draft.
2. Jeff Graham- He's good, he's all rounded and highly regarded in the East Coast. He doesn't come to my No Borders tournament but gripes will not help me win this tourney
3. Derek Alexander- Phoenix/Furious/Canada player is a freak athlete who players in Ottawa mistakenly try to emulate. It's impossible. He is a great comeback story and more importantly still a world class elite player as a handler or cutter.
4. Moses Rifkin of Sockeye is a great o line cutter. He's well known so he needs to be snapped up. He will keep the offense rolling to allow big plays and he will fit with later picks.
5. Jeff Cruikshank- I wanted a 6'1 + lefty handler with world and UPA hardware overflowing in his trophy room. I also wanted someone I know can throw it anywhere/anytime and has the respect of the very greatest. I think I nailed it
6. David Wesley is a Swedish player out of Gothenberg (Goteberg) who had a great 2008 worlds. He scored 31 goals and did not disappear when he faced Canada and the US. In fact he was pivotal in scoring. Most importantly, I realize other teams are ignoring great teams and I must pick elsewhere to stay covert. English is not a problem for the Swedes.
7. Marc Roberts- Another Furious star that will come out one last time to do what he does- win. I will use him off the bench and will not hesitate to plug him in.
8. Jim Schoettler- Former Jam star and current Bravo player is dominant end zone presence, massive at 6'5, and proven. I'll surround him with players that can compliment him should age be starting to take their toll.
9. Gloves are off. Other drafters either don't know GOAT or disrespect them. Eric St Amant of Mephisto/GOAT is my first pick and Sam Kennedy of GOAT/Canada WG 2009 is my second. Both are huge, both can play elite O and D, and both are peaking/at their prime.
10. GOAT players galore again. I take young handler studs Jeff Lindquist and Anatoly Vasileyev. These are important pieces of the new blood of GOAT that ensured a Boston Invite 2009 win. Lindquist was a World Games alternate this year and Anatoly won gold at 2008 Worlds. I'm shocked they are around.
11. Best sleeper in my draft is James Donovan, unstoppable o line cutter whose absence at UPAS last fall might have been the one thing that prevented GOAT making the final step. (That and respectfully acknowledging the greatness of the very best opponents). Colin Green is a d line cutter/handler that one of the best strength coaches in Canada (Andy Stewart) called "One of the best athletes I have seen, and the best ultimate athlete"
12. Niklas Tehler- Swedish handler from same club team as David Wesley. I get to use him as an o line handler with his teammate who he succeeded with at 2008 worlds against Canada and USA, and he gets to play off Furious teammates Derek and Cruikshank. Final pick is Adam Silverstein of Furious George. Adam is a world ranked fencer who is a lefty d line handler. He is getting into the elite levels of ultimate at 30, but he has one skill that is invaluable- his fencing acumen makes him remarkably skilled at handblocks.


Overall, My team has height, speed, a blend of youth and age, and can be versatile to any weather condition or style of opponent. They also provide an element of surprise to opponents, while most have a great deal of familiarity playing with several other members of the team.

Thanks once again to Ben and the organizers for asking me to participate, and I look forward to taking part in similar drafts if asked. I also want to thank my talented scouting staffs from GOAT/Furious and other teams who helped verify player’s rankings on this owner’s draft board.

6 comments:

Sport Management Steven said...

As for the first pick in the entire draft it was

http://www.seattlesockeye.org/player_sparlingbeckley.html

He know plays for a coed team in Virgina

http://www.upa.org/scores/scores.cgi?div=71&page=3&team=5337

Taylor said...

I haven't been paying any attention to the huddle lately. How's this draft going to be evaluated or was it just for fun?

T1000 said...

I noticed that in your analysis for "The Huddle," you remarked that it worried you that "so few Canadians were picked." I thought it was an interesting, somewhat provocative comment so I took a closer look. What would the expectation value of Canadian picks be?

As a ratio of national populations one might expect ~10% of draft picks to be Canadian, but that would be naive.

A better indication might be the proportion of Canadian teams in the UPA Championships (since that is where most elite players get their exposure). In Open, that amounts to 1-2 teams (out of 16); 1-2 in Masters(out of 12), 1-2 teams in Women (out of 16), and 0 in Mixed (out of 16). Thus, one might expect Canadians in 9%+/-3% of the draft picks, depending on the division(s) you consider to be of practical interest.

Discounting your own draft, Steve, 6% of the drafted Open players were Canadian. If we include your team, the Canadian contingent jumps to 12% (way to represent). Depending on your enthusiasm for the Canadian game, I think the number of Canadian draft picks falls reasonably into the expected window.

sharpie said...

There must be some mistake... I don't see my name there....

Greg King said...

Sharpie was my first overall pick, but they replaced my team with those Cultimate guys, I'm not sure what happened. I know I would have taken the crown just based on that first round pick.

But seriously, I like the fact that you took a couple of Swedes in the draft Steve. Since being here, I have seen some amazing talent that could definitely compete against the best in the UPA. I know you had to rank international players somehow, and looking at the scoresheets of worlds is as good a plan as any, but I think they just don't have the depth on these squads to play full games, but the top single players would definitely hold their own. I think the best value pick in the draft was the last pick when he picked up Lorenz Stauffer. Arguably the best player in Switzerland (who played with JAM for a season as well). Also as one of the draft graders noticed, a dude who played with Skogs last year, Naz (one of the best defenders I've seen play), would have been a great pick, although he unfortunately messed up his knee at Talampaya, so maybe folks had inside info.

My point being that teams could have mined the international scene a bit more in the later rounds and come away with much better teams.

Eric St-Amant said...

Damn it Steven, you get my name wrong once again... I am no viking so "c" not "k"!!!

Seriously, it is a very funny exercice. In the end, it makes you realize how many good players there are in today's game. Not to mention that at least 50 or 60% of the players picked could have been substituted with equivalent players that were not chosen this time around.