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The Streaming D App: A Primer

Now that we have two weeks of data for every team, we’ve updated the Streaming D App.

The reason we need two weeks is because, let’s imagine a hypothetical scenario where the Cleveland Browns faced Drew BreesTom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers and the Browns defense averaged 6.0 fantasy points in those games. Now let’s pretend that the 6.0 average puts the defense as the 20th best defense on the young season. We might think the Browns defense is nothing to write home about if we just look at that 20th place rank.

However, if the Saints, Patriots, and Packers — thanks in no small part to their great QB play — have caused defenses to average only 1.0 points per game, then suddenly the Browns have scored 5.0 points more against the same teams than the rest of the league.

Without a second week of data, we can’t make that adjustment. So that’s why we’ve launched the app after Week 3, because unfortunately due to the hurricane, the Tampa Bay/Miami game got postponed, so now they’ve played two games.

Here’s a quick post that walks you through how to use the Streaming D app.

Capture

This app has two components:

  • A weeks-of-the-season filter
  • A rank-ordered list of team defenses.

Here’s what to do.

First, set the filter for the number of weeks you want to consider. Looking for the best defense for just Week 4? Set the filter to just Week 4. Looking for the rest of the season, as shown above? Set the filter to match. Personally, I like to look at increments of a few weeks. That way I can find a defense that helps me this week, but also for the next couple weeks, in case I have trouble swapping defenses on the waiver wire.

Second, check the output. It’s sorted from most to least preferable defense, for the range of weeks you selected. In the image above, Jacksonville, Baltimore, and Detroit are considered the top three streaming defenses for Weeks 4 through 17. Each weekly game is also color coded so that you can quickly spot (un)desirable matchups. In the image above, Baltimore has the second-best schedule for the weeks in question, but note the two difficult (red) matchups against Minnesota and Tennessee. Maybe you’ll want to look for a different streaming defense in those two weeks. Conveniently for this example, the Jaguars look to have excellent matchups in those two weeks.

Tips and Tricks

  • I like to filter for Weeks 14 – 16, which are typically the fantasy playoffs. Then I can target a good defense ahead of time.
  • If you have enough bench space for two defenses, use the app to find a pair that has complementary schedules, and roster both. If you can’t spare the roster spot, use the app to look ahead a week or two, and plot your waiver moves in advance.
  • Don’t get hung up on small differences. If two teams are ranked next to each other, there may not be much difference between them. The bigger the gap, the bigger the difference.
  • The app doesn’t know breaking news. If Drew Brees plays the first half of the season, then gets injured, the app doesn’t know that Chase Daniel will be starting next week. The app only knows what’s happened (more on that below). You’ll have to apply your own wisdom to account for recent events. But if Chase Daniel starts two, or three, or four games, the offensive performance of the Saints will reflect that and get incorporated into the app over time.

How the Sausage Gets Made

What is the app actually telling us? The following comes from the app’s creator, Fantasy Douche:

The app is a tool to visualize upcoming strength of schedule for fantasy defenses. Suitable uses for the app include looking for defenses on your waiver wire or even looking at defensive options in daily games.

The calculations that the app is based on involve looking at every game and figuring out how an offensive/defensive unit fared relative to how their opponent scored in all of their other games. To put it another way, each offense and defense is adjusted for the opponent they played. Keep in mind that because a lot of fantasy defense is turnover driven and turnovers are largely random events, predicting fantasy defense scoring can be a crap shoot. But the tool below will at least let you look at teams that have favorable matchups.

In other words, the app is schedule-adjusting both the offensive and defensive performance of each team, and ranking the matchups from best to worst, from the point of view of the team defense.

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