Friday, October 24, 2014

Streaming Defenses: Week 8

Another guest post for you, this time from Bob, and it's specifically for those of you who are trying to do the streaming defense thing - or perhaps just need a DST for a bye week. I really meant to get this post up yesterday but our youngest is battling a fever so plans got turned upside down. Here's hoping Bob's great streaming defense advice is still timely for you!


Hello Fantasy Fans!! My name is Bob Tierney, and like Mike and Jen, I am a guest writer for our beloved Fantasy Football Librarian. I am a retired Engineer, so I love statistics, and what better arena to duel in statistics than Fantasy Football. For my article this week, I would like to discuss the strategy of Streaming Defenses.

For those of you new to the strategy, here’s how it works. Instead of drafting and locking in a defense, you look to teams that are going to have a bad year offensively and look for the teams that will play those teams and are available in the draft or the waiver wire each week. It sounds a little tedious doesn’t it. And, yes, it takes some time and effort to figure this out. So this strategy is better suited to the intermediate to advanced FF player, not your family fun league. But in leagues where one or two points can make the difference from week to week, it has its advantages. 

Why should you stream defenses?...for several reasons. 

First, you never know at the beginning of a year which defense is going to dominate in the coming year. Sure, you can look at last year’s stats and combine that with defensive player moves, player drafts, and trades. But a defense is a unit that needs to work as a unified unit. So if there are changes, it will take some time for a defense to find its synergy. Some may base projections on the defensive coordinator, either track record or changes. But again, until a unit finds its cohesion, you just never know.

Second, defenses rely, to a great extent, on who they’re playing. No one wants to start a defense against a scoring juggernaut, like Denver, especially if your scoring takes into account points against.  

Third, you can save that 7th thru 12th round pick on a skill position player, rather than spend it on a defense that you have no idea how they will perform. This year, Seattle was consistently taken in the 8th round.  Seattle is now the 30th ranked defense. And here are some players taken in the 8th round that you could have drafted:  Maclin, Jeremy PHI WR, Wilson, Russell SEA QB, Romo, Tony DAL QB, Sproles, Darren PHI RB, Williams, Terrance DAL WR, Wallace, Mike MIA WR, Tate, Golden DET WR. You sure could have used some Maclin, Wilson, Williams, or Tate, instead of the 30th ranked defense.

Fourth, the data shows that Streaming Defenses is remarkably effective. And here’s the evidence. In the beginning of the year, many streamers recognized that there were two teams that were going to struggle offensively. The Jaguars had a tough year last year, and didn’t do much to improve. Along with problems at QB, they didn’t have a sound RB and they didn’t improve their Offensive line significantly. So the Jaguars were a target from the beginning. Another team with QB woes and RB questions was the Raiders. And it didn’t take too long to figure out that McCown was not the answer in Tampa Bay, so they emerged as another team to pick on.

Below is a statistical breakdown of some teams that have offered defenses the opportunity to excel along with the points allowed to the corresponding defenses, based on Fantasy Sharks leagues scoring.
Average>>
16.43

14.83

12.67
JAC

TB

OAK

@PHI
15
CAR
15
@NYJ
10
@WAS
22
STL
7
HOU
12
IND
20
@ATL
32
@NE
9
@SD
14
@PIT
18
MIA
21
PIT
18
@NO
7
BYE

@TEN
14
BAL
10
SD
16
CLE
12
BYE

ARI
8

Notice the average points for defenses against the Jaguars was over 16 points!!! That’s great! Oakland wasn’t nearly as good but still respectable at over 12. And even if you started streaming against TB after week three, you still averaged over 12 points.

Now, let’s look at the top four defenses to date, along with poor Seattle with the average points at the top.
15.50
13.57
12.00
11.57
7.00
Eagles
Lions
Patriots
Colts
Seahawks
15
14
8
2
12
6
8
28
2
2
8
20
9
20
9
24
10
2
14
BYE
22
14
17
16
5
18
22
15
11
11
BYE
7
5
16
3

Notice, not one of those teams averaged over 16 points. And you wouldn’t have taken the Eagles until after the 4th week. Same thing with the Lions, well maybe after the 3rd week. Only the Patriots and the Seahawks were drafted as defenses at all, and look at what the Seahawks got you…

So the data bears it out.  Streaming is a great strategy based on these four assumptions.

Now, what’s the downside?  Yeah, there is some downside.

First, you have to actively watch the trends in teams that allow high defensive points allowed.  And that can change over the course of the year.  So it takes some work.

Second, you may not get the best matched team as the defense for that week, due to the same team being a favorite every-week starter on some other team.  But if you look above, there are always a couple of teams available each week. 

Third, you may not be able to snatch a good matchup each week due to competition.  This is particularly true in competitive leagues where there may be half the league streaming already.  But you can tell this by watching the waiver wire each week, and figure out who’s changing their defenses each week.

So let me take care of the first downside, the research.  Each week I will give you the top defenses to target on the waiver wire for streaming.  Starting this week…

Top of the list this week is the Miami Dolphins.  Why?  Because, if you were paying attention, they are playing the Jaguars.  Not many teams will have the Dolphins for an every week starter.  And Miami hasn’t been too bad for the year either, averaging about 11 points a week.  They also scored 21 points against the other target, the Raiders, in week 4.  This would even be better if Miami played at home, but they played the Raiders on the road too.  But watch out for others trying to get Miami, because of what they did to Chicago last week.  Projected points, 14.

More distant seconds are the following:
Vikings against the Buccaneers.  Not nearly as good as Miami, but there are real problems in Tampa Bay.  And the Vikings are starting to congeal as a defense.  Projected points, 10.

Browns against the Raiders.  Also not as good as Miami, but after an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars last week, they will be motivated to do better offensively.  By the way, they were the pick last week against the Jags, and still put up 12 fantasy points.  Projected points, 10.

Finally, a flyer, the Bills against the New York Jets.  I don’t think they can stop the run, but they will have opportunities against either QB started.  The Bills may not be available since they have been averaging 11 points a game.  But if available, they are another good start this week. The Jets are emerging as another target for streaming defenses.  Projected points, 12.

So there you have it, set your waiver to the following teams in the priority listed here: Dolphins, Bills, Vikings, Browns

And happy streaming!!!



5 comments:

Jen Ryan said...

Greate read Bob! Also love the Cowboys vs Colt McCoy and Texans Vs Matthew McConaughey I mean Zach Mettenberger!

Sean McPhisto said...

Yeah, they certainly are a consideration as you say. But I don't trust that McCoy kid. He just might light it up this week. The Texans don't qualify because they are one of the every week starters that probably won't be available. I would put these defenses off the table at this point as every week starters: Eagles, Lions, Texans, and Cardinals.

Sean McPhisto said...

By the way, I loved both of your articles as well as Mike's. I hope Sara realizes that she has three great writers already, which could morph into something greater than what she might think...

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