My new weekly streaming post: The Deep Stream

Hi FootClan – I’m going to try something new this year and write a weekly streaming based on a model I have worked on over the last few years. I’ll post for a few weeks, and if folks like it and find it useful I’ll keep doing through the season. An introduction to the model and how I use it is below. Please share any feedback or thoughts.

 

The Deep Stream: Your Weekly Guide to Streaming Dominance

Introduction

Streaming in fantasy football is an essential tool in every good player’s toolbox, but it is not the secret weapon it once was. With all the information readily available in this billion-dollar industry, even middling players who invest little-or-no time on strategy will fearlessly jump into the streaming abyss these days for quarterbacks, defenses and even tight ends. You might say the practice has become mainSTREAM (nailed it!). With today’s ever-tightening waiver wires, finding value means looking past the current week to do multi-week planning for your streaming plays.

That’s where The Deep Stream comes in. Each week during the fantasy season, starting after Week 3, I will be publishing six weeks of matchup projections and analysis for the streaming positions in a visual, easy-to-navigate format. By having matchups laid out in this way, you can easily see teams and players that are poised for a breakout or downturn or have matchups you want to target for future weeks. To give you an idea of how it works, these were The Deep Stream projections for DSTs headed into Week 6 last season:

Deep Stream DST Scoring Projection Model* – 2018, Week 6

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*The projections are a math-only projection using upcoming opponents’ schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (FPA) and performance vs. prior opponents’ schedule-adjusted FPA.

The Deep Stream in Action

Let’s look at an example from my League of Record last season to see the model at work. Going into Week 6, I had the Cincinnati DST and needed an upgrade. I wanted to target a DST I could acquire for free or cheaply, preferably use for more than one week, and that ideally had a chance to become an every-week starter. I was not willing roster two DSTs, so whichever team I picked up would have to start that week. In many cases it can be worth rostering a second QB or even a TE for future matchups, but it is usually not worth it for a DST except in special situations like preparing for the playoffs.

The Fantasy Footballers’ recommended waiver adds that week were Green Bay, Dallas, Seattle and Miami. Seattle and Green Bay weren’t available in my league. Miami looked promising starting in Week 7, but I was worried that their offense was going to continue to make things hard on their defense, so I was fading them. Despite the model projecting them to be the DST20 that week, I was willing to start Dallas against the Jacksonville Blake Bortles as The Ballers recommended, but Dallas had a tough matchup in Week 7 followed by a bye.

Scanning the remaining projections, Indy had an A+ matchup with Buffalo coming in Week 7, but Week 6 was not so hot.

Given the options available, I decided to take my chances that I could withstand victory in Week 6 with a mediocre DST matchup so I could then get the Week 7 match with Buffalo. I put in a $0 bid for Indy and another for Washington as my backup. I was awarded and started Indy, which ended up as the DST6 over the next two weeks combined.

I know that’s quite a bit of detail on a two-week streaming decision for a lowly defense, but the process is similar for tight ends and quarterbacks where more points are at stake, and I wanted to give an illustration of how the model can be used to gain an edge even where there are not a lot of great options available. I have been using this approach to streaming in my leagues for four years, and my streamers consistently provide me a positional advantage, usually with very limited draft capital investment.

A few additional observations from the Week 6 projections:

·        With the benefit of hindsight, Washing’s DST would have been the best pickup. They ended up the DST5 Weeks 6-11.

·        The Jets were the DTS3 through Week 5, and the model projected the same for them for the next six weeks, but they suffered a few key injuries and nose-dived to the DST28 Weeks 6-11. A good reminder that the projections are a just a calculation and fantasy comes with a lot of variance.

·        In addition to finding good matchups, The Deep Stream model can help you see where a scoring drop-off could be coming. The Week 6 model projected that five teams currently in the top-11 would finish outside the DST12 over the next six weeks. All five finished as the DST20 or worse on a points-per-game basis Weeks 6-11.

Highly Competitive Leagues

The Deep Stream approach can be especially helpful in leagues with 14 or more teams and/or a high level of competition. Here’s an example: Last year I was lucky enough to make it into The Fantasy Footballers Listener League. As you likely know, this is a 14-team league comprised of Andy, Mike, Jason and 11 hyper-dedicated podcast listeners, so it is both deep and competitive. As with most leagues last year, the tight end waiver wire was a dark and barren hellscape of sadness, compounded by the fact that two of the 14 owners were regularly rostering two TEs. Despite that, I was not only able to stream the position, but my tight ends ended the season as the combined TE6, and I used very little FAAB acquiring them. I was even able to get value back by bundling two of my tight ends into package trades after they had put up a couple of good weeks. In each case, The Deep Stream model showed that a downturn in scoring was likely coming, and I had a replacement strategy mapped out, so I was confident executing the trades.

Read more about what it’s like to be in the Listener League here and here

In addition to helping with weekly adds and drops, The Deep Stream model is great for identifying potentially high-value trade targets. In another example from the 2018 Listener League, I acquired the Chicago DST as part of a trade prior to Week 5. As you may remember, by Week 4 Chicago was the clear No. 1 DST, so they weren’t flying under anyone’s radar. However, The Deep Stream model showed that their future matchups were extremely favorable, and they were projected to outscore the No. 2 DST by 43% over the next five weeks. It was very unlikely that Chicago would perform at such a ridiculous level, but this was a strong indication that they were likely to continue as a top-scoring option. Because of that, I made the unusual move of trading for a DST as part of a package deal because 1) I had confidence Chicago would continue to be a strong play, 2) The Listener League only has a five-player bench, so having a locked-in DST provided a tactical advantage, and 3) I was trading with a member of the #FootClan, so I knew he was likely willing to stream and would probably not overvalue a defense (even the number one defense). As Jay Griz well-knows, the Chi-town DST went on to be the runaway No. 1 for the remainder of the season, outscoring the No. 2 Texan’s by 20% Weeks 5-16, making them well-worth the acquisition.

Summary

Today, the basic strategies and information needed to stream are readily available, allowing even the most casual players from Accounting to do a passable job of it. In this egalitarian fantasy landscape, The Deep Stream helps you build a multi-week streaming strategy so you can:

·        Identify breakouts and streaming targets before your competition, allowing you to save FAAB / waiver priority

·        Get away from streamers that have performed well but are poised for a downturn

·        Identify undervalued trade targets

·        Bring home #FootClanTitles

Please let me know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter. See you in the stream!

1 Like

Awesome post, thank you… where will you post deep streamers? Looking forward to it after week 3

1 Like

Will post right here (until the guys decide to put on their web page :smile:)