First off, allow me to explain what I mean by ‘PIMP’. This is not a chronicle of the frat-party escapades of the Philadelphia Flyers or the goings-on in the back of Pat Kane’s limousine. Rather, this is a bit of a joke at the expense of a friend who is a fantasy hockey addict worthy of A&E’s Intervention. When pressed to justify his high opinion of a player that is a statistical underperformer, the friend in question will invariably attempt to settle the issue by proclaiming that the player in question “is a PIMP”.
Being a PIMP appears to depend solely on a player’s reputation and not his actual fantasy value. A PIMP may be talented, but his past performance, popularity with the fans, flashy play or other intangible qualities results in him acquiring a reputation that far exceeds his performance on the scoresheet.
A PIMP’s high reputation-to-actual quality ratio renders them unjustifiably expensive to trade for in keeper leagues and likely to be drafted far too early in one-year leagues. Better let someone else pick them up and deal with the frustration – it’s hard to win with a team of PIMPs.
The top five PIMPs according to the BCP Vice Squad are:
5) Roberto Luongo - Roberto Luongo is a talented goaltender, possibly even the most talented in the game. However, his fantasy performance doesn’t merit the exalted status he enjoys in most fantasy leagues. In the past three seasons Bobby Lu was never ranked higher than 4th among ‘tenders on the Y! rankings and never led the league in wins, GAA or SV%. Luongo is still a great option in net, but he isn’t so much better than the other options available that it justifies the premium he is likely to command.
4) Jarome Iginla - Everyone but Pat Quinn seems to love Iggy. He scores, he fights, he set up Crosby’s gold medal-winning goal and he seems like a friendly guy. That’s the problem. The sad reality is that Iginla has been a fantasy disappointment lately – Yahoo! projected him at 9th at the beginning of the last two seasons, but he finished ranked only 18th in 2008-09 and 41st in 2009-10. Unless Calgary gets Iggy a decent centre to line up beside, his stats are likely to continue to decline along with the Flames’ fortunes next season, but his reputation seems to be bulletproof.
3) Vincent Lecavalier - Vinny has had a rough couple of seasons – his role as the face of the franchise is being usurped by Steven Stamkos and he has been unable to duplicate his incredible play in 2006-07. Lecavalier tallied just 70 points this past season, and his performance in 2008-09 was horrid – he got only 67 points and missed the top 50 in the Y! rankings. Despite this worrying trend, Lecavalier is still regarded by many as a top fantasy player. He may yet return to form, but given the abundance of skilled centremen in the NHL there isn’t much to justify ranking Vinny among the elite fantasy players in the league.
2) Rick Nash - Nash is a big winger, a big talent and a big name in the NHL. Unfortunately for Nash’s fantasy owners, he doesn’t live up to his supersized reputation. Nash has never scored even 80 points, and his fantasy performance has only declined over time – over the last three seasons Nash’s Y! ranking fell steadily from 17th to 25th to 43rd. None of this is likely to stop many fantasy owners from selecting Nash in the earliest rounds of most fantasy drafts before less flashy players like Mikko Koivu, Derek Roy and Paul Stastny, all of whom posted more points than Nash last season. Opt for substance when drafting – the spectacular end-to-end goals won’t be much consolation when Nash goes on one of his trademark pointless streaks.
1) Dion Phaneuf - Phaneuf does a lot of things fans love in a D-man – he’s got a great shot and he dishes out kidney-rupturing hits. Phaneuf was a Calder nominee in his rookie year, and he had a decent couple of seasons after that. However, the future captain of the Maple Leafs has never lived up to his lofty reputation in the fantasy game since. Phaneuf has still managed to post respectable goal totals, but he was soundly outperformed by a new guard of elite defensemen like Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty. Nonetheless, being the face of the most prominent franchise in the game has its perks (Elisha Cuthbert comes to mind) and an inflated fantasy value is one of them.