Dreaming of Streaming: The Secret Sauce
August 22, 2013 | C.D. Carter
It’s important, I think, to know where your fake football advice is coming from — to know its innards, what makes it worthwhile.
I’ve received quite a few questions over the past week about how I whittle down my weekly defensive streaming options. It’s a legitimate question, and it’s not one with a simple answer. I examine myriad factors before choosing two or three streaming defenses available on at least half of waiver wires.
Sometimes it’s tough to find two great streaming options; other times, it’s difficult not to push a handful of waiver wire defenses with mouth-watering match-ups.
Below are not really the ingredients of a secret sauce for my weekly “Dreaming of Streaming” column. It’s not secret because you could do the same.
I don’t employ some proprietary algorithm designed by the techno-freaks who can analyze your Internet search history to project the color of your underwear on every other Tuesday of the month. It’s not a science. It’s a degenerate art.
Short-term performance: Some of the seemingly best match-ups are nothing but an illusion when you examine their season-long performances, rather than how they’ve played over the past few weeks. The Tennessee Titans, for example, allowed an average of 9.2 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses in the first seven weeks of 2012. They seemed like a fantastic defensive streaming target in Week 8 against the Colts.
A closer look revealed that the 9.2 number was a bit of a mirage, artificially inflated by a Week 1 debacle against the Patriots. Tennessee had allowed a combined eight fantasy points to its previous two opponents, and outside of that Week 1 bloodletting, had played well at home.
There’s a flip side, of course. The Steelers, after allowing just 6.4 fantasy points per game to its first 10 opponents, appeared to be an obvious no-go in the defensive streaming world. An examination of the all-important three week window would’ve shown you that Pittsburgh had allowed 12.6 points per game during that span. Using the Browns’ defense in Cleveland in Week 12 suddenly became a viable play. The Browns delivered with 20 fantasy points, thanks to three picks and five fumble recoveries.
Vegas, baby: You might be blissfully unaware that Vegas wins, and wins a lot. Tricking degenerates like you and me into thinking we can win is good business — the best business, maybe. That’s why I take a close look at over-unders for each NFL game on the weekly schedule. Most games are slated for a very average numbers of points, so it’s when the sharps on the Vegas strip project an avalanche of points or a desert of offensive production that I take note.
I can’t say it enough: We’re not in search of elite fantasy defenses on the waiver wire; rather, we’re scouring the scrap heap for defenses going against moribund offenses, especially when our streamer has a home match-up. Take a peak at Vegas’ point projections and use that degenerate expertise to your advantage.
Nicks, scrapes, and bruises: Injuries, even the mundane variety, can and should play a not-insignificant part in how we select our weekly streamers. This sort of research shouldn’t be limited to fantasy super-studs who are expected to sit out against a mediocre defense we’re targeting on the wire. A nicked-up Pro Bowl running back is swell, sure, but an injury-ravaged offensive line can be just as important. It’s time to pounce when second and third-string guards and tackles that act as human turn styles are expected to play.
It cuts the other way too. A defense with a nice little streaming match-up should remain on the waiver wire when their star linebacker or safety or cornerback is expected to miss time. This certainly shouldn’t be the most important factor in choosing a dreamy streamer, but it should not be ignored.
Streaming defenses means we’re often rolling with options that have been gouged by opposing offenses. Hence, their home on the wire. The last thing we want is to commit to that suspect defense when their backups are slated to start.
Praying to Beelzebub: Those serious about predicting the future with any regularity will submit completely and totally to the Dark Arts, immersing themselves in the…
I’m kidding. But seriously. This can’t hurt.
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