Updated (shortened): Please Help! Looking for FootClan feedback!

8/22: Tightened up quite a bit, so it is much shorter now.

Hi everyone! Hoping I can impose and get some objective feedback from the #FootClan. I have had decent results with my streaming the last few years, and decided this year I would share my approach with the Footballers community to see if you all found it useful and as an opportunity for me hone my own writing and analysis skills. I have written the piece below to introduce the approach and would GREATLY appreciate if you all could read and share your feedback. I’ll use your feedback to help me decide if this is something I write-up and share weekly during the season. Thanks in advance for your time and help!

The Deep Stream: Your Weekly Guide to Streaming Dominance

Introduction

This article is an introduction to The Deep Stream, a weekly resource to help you navigate even the roughest streaming waters.

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, take a turn for the worse, or have individual matchups you want to target or keep an eye on 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 strictly a calculation, not a prediction or ranking. More details can be found at the end of the article.

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 the playoffs.

The Baller’s 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, and 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 quit 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.

·        The Deep Stream model can help you see where a scoring drop-off could be coming. The Week 6 model correctly projected five teams that were in the top-11 through Week 5 that would not be DST1s 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 where Andy, Mike and Jason each run a team and they invite 11 hyper-dedicated podcast listeners to join, so it is both deep and very 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, 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.

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 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.

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

·        Save FAAB / waiver priority by identifying acquisition targets before they become popular pickups

·        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!

*Scoring projections are calculated using the player/team’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points scored to date and their opponent’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed. The projections are a way to quantify the relative favorability of each matchup. The projections are just a calculation, not a prediction, and should not be applied in a vacuum. To take an obvious example, if the model shows that a QB is poised to lead the league in scoring for the next six weeks, but you know from watching last week’s game that he is struggling with an injured shoulder, you should adjust your expectations accordingly.

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Couple thoughts/ideas (all constructive!):

  • Overall I enjoyed the read. I know that streaming defenses can be quite difficult. An edge here is useful.

  • Edit like you haven’t read it before. There are a few connecting words missing here and there.

The Deep Stream: Your Weekly Guide to Streaming Dominance

Introduction

This article is an introduction to The Deep Stream, a weekly resource to help you navigate even the roughest streaming waters.

  • Be concise. You mention it’s a introduction twice. The title twice. Weekly… twice.

  • Can you explain how the model is generated? What is the source of the data? I think this should be front and center and not just an appendix at the end.

Thanks @fun4willis! I appreciate the thoughtful feedback. All good comments and I will incorporate them. For your info since you asked, the projection formula is: opponent’s average schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed +/- how much the team being projected has scored on average compared to their prior opponents’ schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but maybe can be reworded to be more clear. I’ll definitely look at it.

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