Streaming Defenses: What it is, and Why it matters

If you’ve read any of my articles on draft strategy, you know I advocate for taking a defense and kicker in the last two rounds. The reason I lump kickers and defenses into the same category is that they have similar value. But, what makes up a players value? Basically three things: Points they produce, scarcity of position, and how many roles they can fill for your team: basic supply and demand. (More on that later). But what if the defense you draft, suffers some injuries, has a tough matchup week one, or just plain looks like crap during the preseason? No problem. As a matter of fact there will be multiple games where even the top defenses are absolutely unplayable. Opponents such as The Packers, The Steelers, and The Broncos are tough no matter who you are. But does this mean you need to draft a back up defense? Uh NO! Due to the reasons I will outline later, this is just silly. So what do I recommend instead? Streaming Defenses. This is simply picking up a favored defense on a weekly basis. Easy as that. Defenses that play teams such as The Rams, The Jaguars, or The Buccaneers are going to perform better quite frankly because these are pretty sub par offensive teams. Now, these are the best and the worst from last season, so things may change, but it’s a really good place to start.

Why Streaming Defenses is the best strategy.

Okay let’s go back to those three things I mentioned before, points, scarcity, and role fulfillment. These are things are how we decide how valuable a position is. We’ll get into points and scarcity later, but let’s talk about role fulfillment. A defense can only play in one roster spot for your team. You don’t have to play multiple defenses. A defense can’t fill a flex spot on your roster. One spot, that’s it. Now let’s look at points and scarcity. These are last season’s top performing defenses.

1. Bills

2. Eagles

3. Seahawks

4. Texans

5. Lions

6. Panthers

7. Ravens

8. Packers

9. Rams

10. 49ers

Between these top guys, there was a four point difference in game average between numero uno The Bills, and the tenth best guys the 49ers. Not too much of a spread. But the kicker is that after that there isn’t much of a fall off. The team that was 12th from the bottom. (20th overall) There was only a 1.5 point difference. And even the worst of the worst, The Raiders, had at least one game where they scored in the double digits. (against the 49ers, who last season were the 25th ranked offensive team) This tells us that as far points go, defenses don’t have a lot of value. (Not much point discrepancy) It also tells us that there is a lot of available teams to fill your roster needs. Every single team was playable at least once during regular season, and the top twenty were all within about 5 points of each other. This is why you don’t want to draft a defense early, and why it doesn’t make sense to carry more than one on your roster. They don’t have a lot of positional value. Instead stock up on receiver, or running back depth. Speaking of….

For reference lets check out running backs. You hear a lot about running backs right? They seem pretty important? Well these are last season’s top performers:

1.Demarco Murray

2. Le’Veon Bell

3. Marshawn Lynch

4. Matt Forte

5. Arian Foster

6. Eddie Lacy

7. Jamaal Charles

8. Justin Forsett

9. Lamar Miller

10. Jeremy Hill

Now between these guys there is almost a nine point discrepancy in points per game. (*ahem* double the point spread between defenses) And the discrepancy between the 10th RB Hill, and the 35th ranked RB LeGarrett Blount? 5 points. More than the spread between the top ranked kickers. The worst ranked RB literally had a negative PPG average, -.1. It wasn’t until the 154th ranked RB that a running back had a positive PPG average. It was a whopping .1. But what about role fulfillment? While defenses can only fill one role on standard rosters, running backs can fill three. You are required to start at least two running backs, and they can also fill your flex position. So while standard 10 team leagues only require 10 defenses, they can need up to 30 running backs. So their point production is more relevant, and their role fulfillment is three times as useful. How about scarcity? The number of running backs available affects the scarcity. You have a 1 in 250 chance of drafting the top running back (based on rankings for 2014). You have a 1 in 32 chance of drafting the top defense. Simple. Drop that extra defense and get more depth at running back, or wide receiver. That’s an order.

So what did we learn?

1.To stream a defense means to pick up a defense based on weekly matchups

2. DON’T carry more than one defense on your fantasy team. (seriously)

Good luck!



SKYLLZONE: A new option in Daily Fantasy Sites

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of Draftkings and Fanduel. They are the two leading Daily Fantasy Sites. The idea behind a “DFS” is that you can enjoy the thrill of fantasy sports, with no weekly obligation. You don’t have to worry about trades, setting a roster, the waiver wire, or finding 10 random people to join your league. It’s easy to join, and can offer some pretty impressive payouts. Both sites offer “free roll” and “pay to play options”, so money is not necessarily required. Though, to get any sort of payout for a free roll tournament, you’ll have to beat out quite a few of your fellow fantasy players. League sized vary from head-to-head match ups, to tournaments with over 5,000 entries, which offers a lot of options, but can also be overwhelming. Each of these sites are salary based, meaning you start with a set amount of money, and then have to “buy” players for your team. Player’s “salaries” are based on rankings, and weekly match ups and change from week to week. This salary based drafting may confuse some who are use to the more common snake draft format when building fantasy teams. Also, finding an edge can be tricky as you’ll have to weigh price vs. production for each player.

Skyllzone offers a different experience. Instead of drafting against real people, you are actually drafting against machines. (computer generated teams) Each team has it’s own unique algorithm based on rankings and draft position that influences its draft choices. So even if you participate in multiple drafts, you can get a different result each time. A perk of drafting against a computer as opposed to a person is the increased odds of winning. Draftkings and Fanduel have become saturated with DFS professionals. Players that are far and away above the skill level of the average drafter. As a result of both sites gaining popularity, they also attract a lot of fantasy writers, statisticians, and analyst. For me I like I like to give myself the best possible chance of success, and I feel like going up against these type of players, limits my odds. The site is extremely user friendly. There are no bells and whistles, no searching for the league that you want, just a simple lobby where you can draft using “Skyll Points” for cash, or free entry leagues where you can earn Skyll Points. Skyll Point/Cash Leagues offer a $10 pay out to league winners, and a cut of a $600 pot, for players who finish in the top spots globally. The thing I like about Skyllzone is that you only have to beat nine competitors to earn a pretty decent cash prize, and the entry is free. For the 2015 season there is a membership fee between $4 and $8, but through Skyllzone’s free leagues you have the ability to win Skyll Points which you can then use to enter paid leagues. Another user friendly aspect of the site, is that league drafting is based on the standard snake format. You don’t have to worry about budgets or salaries and instead can just pick your favorite players as they’re available. The draft style in my opinion makes it easier to draft quality players and to find value for your team. An added benefit is the roster size at Skyllzone. Unlike other Daily Fantasy Sites, Skyllzone allows you to draft two bench spots on your roster. This allows you to take a chance on players who are questionable to play, and gives you some insurance against injuries.

Some drawbacks to the site are the limited fantasy options available, and limited drafting. Currently football is the only fantasy sport offered, though it’s likely with time the site will expand. As far as weekly drafting goes you’re limited to five free points leagues, and ten skyll point leagues a week. So you don’t have quite the flexibility that some of the other sites offer. Furthermore there are no big payouts. The $600 global pot is a new feature for the site, so I’m not sure how that pay out system works, but for winning your league you’re currently topped out at $10.

As far as I’m concerned I prefer Skyllzone to other sites. I highly prefer the snake draft format to the salary format, and for me, I’m not looking for big payouts. I’m more of a low risk, moderate reward type of girl. It’s less pressure, less hassle, and more fun. Another great way to approach skyllzone drafts is to analyze roster moves and waiver wire options. You basically get a chance to redraft every week. By reanalyzing players, it can show you strengths and weaknesses on your year long teams, as well as players that you could possible target for weekly pick ups. The computers aren’t stupid, so if a later round pick keeps getting drafted, it could mean that player has potential for the upcoming week. Always, look for an edge.

Daily Fantasy Sites are a great way to get your fantasy fix with out the full season commitment. Skyllzone stands out from other leagues by offering a more comfortable draft style, and a more user friendly format. It’s great for those just dipping their toes into DFS drafting, and for those looking for another league option. Overall I highly recommend you give it a try!

If you would like to use my referral code use:

Happy Drafting FF Fans!

Don’t Wait! Get Your Fantasy Football Guide Book!

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2015 Wide Receiver Rankings

This year, there are a lot of options at wide receiver. It’s probably the deepest position for 2015 besides perhaps quarterback. But this doesn’t mean you should wait too long to draft your first receiver, it just means there will still be value to be had after the sixth round. For your typical roster you’ll end up with about 4-8 receivers depending on your league’s scoring. Player’s marked with a $$ are players that should outperform their draft day values.

Two guys I’m targeting as deep sleepers are Eddie Royal, and Andrew Hawkins. Eddie Royal was already on my radar long before the Kelvin White injury. But when you couple that with the fact that Alshon Jeffery is dealing with an injury, it paints a rosy picture for Royal’s outlook. Royal is a seasoned veteran coming off his two most productive fantasy football seasons, and with White out he should lack for targets. I really like Cutler this season as well, so everything is trending up for his production.

I’m not going to lie, I was pretty down on Johnny Manziel, but he’s looked pretty sharp in the preseason. As a result, Cleveland receivers have seen a boost in my rankings. I’m not sure who’s going to be the top receiver in Cleveland at the end of the season, but if I don’t end up with Bowe, I’m not going to be upset landing Andrew Hawkins in the later rounds. Hawkins has the talent, and showed flashes of this last season, ending 2014 with more first downs than any other receiver or back on for The Browns. Hawkins is a gut call for me, but my gut says he’ll have a big season.

1. Demaryius Thomas DEN 21. Brandon Marshall NYJ 41. Percy Harvin BUF
2. Antonio Brown PIT 22. DeSean Jackson WAS 42. Devin Funchess CHI
3. Dez Bryant DAL 23. Amari Cooper OAK 43. Kendall Wright TEN
4. Alshon Jeffery CHI 24. Andre Johnson IND 44. DeVante Parker MIA
5. Randall Cobb GB 25. Mike Wallace MIN 45. Brandon Lafell NE
6. Julio Jones ATL 26. Jeremy Maclin KC 46. Charles Johnson MIN
7. Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 27. Nelson Agholor PHI $$ 47. Brian Quick STL $$
8. T.Y Hilton IND 28. Allen Robinson JAC 48. Dwayne Bowe CLE $$
9. Calvin Johnson DET 29. Eric Decker NYJ 49. Kenny Stills MIA
10.  Mike Evans TB 30. Marques Colston NO $$ 50. Donte Moncrief IND
11. A.J. Green CIN 31. Jarvis Landry MIA 51. . Doug Baldwin SEA
12. DeAndre Hopkins HOU 32. Victor Cruz NYG $$ 52.  Malcom Floyd SD
13. Emmanuel Sanders DEN 33. Roddy White ATL 53. Terrance Williams DAL
14. Julian Edelman NE 34. Martavis Bryant PIT 54. Dorial Green-Beckham TEN
15. Sammy Watkins BUF 35. Davante Adams GB $$ 55. Cody Latimer DEN
16. Brandin Cooks NO 36. Torrey Smith SF $$ 56. Marqise Lee JAC
17. Golden Tate DET 37. Steve Smith BAL 57. Cole Beasley DAL
18. Keenan Allen SD 38. Breshad Perriman BAL 58. Tyler Lockett SEA
19. Vincent Jackson TB $$ 39. Anquan Boldin SF 59.Marvin Jones CIN $$
20. Jordan Matthews PHI 40.  Larry Fitzgerald ARI 60. John Brown ARI

*Rankings are based on standard scoring.

Based on your league size, and how enthusiastic your fellow drafters are this may not be enough receiver depth. Below are a few more later round guys, that can still produce for your team.

Cecil Shorts HOU

Andrew Hawkins CLE

Danny Amendola NE

Eddie Royal CHI

Riley Cooper PHI

Pierre Garcon WAS

Rueben Randle NYG

Michael Crabtree OAK

Greg Jennings MIA

Allen Hurns JAC

Markus Wheaton PIT

Jarius Wright MIN

Mohamed Sanu CIN

2015 Quarterback Rankings

When drafting quarterbacks in fantasy football, you want to go early or go last. This years quarterback depth is ridiculous. Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck are easily the two standouts. Rodgers simply gets the job done every year, and Luck is a young strong armed QB surrounded by talent. But even if you choose to wait on drafting a quarterback, there is still a lot of talent left on the line. Players marked by $$$ are some players that I predict will outperform their average draft position.

Two players I am targeting in later rounds are Tony Romo and Jay Cutler. Dez Bryant has been outspoken all season. To me he seems hungry. There has never been a wide receiver score 16+ touchdowns in back to back seasons. I think that Dez has a shot at breaking that record this season. Not to mention, the loss of their bell cow running back leads me to believe they’ll be airing the ball out more this season. Jay Cutler should benefit from new offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Gase is coming from Denver where he worked with Peyton Manning during some of his most productive seasons. The loss of Kevin White shouldn’t impact Cutler too greatly. He still has Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett as targets. These are two of my top guys that should give you quite the bang for your buck.

1. Aaron Rodgers GB 14. Matthew Stafford
2. Andrew Luck IND 15. Sam Bradford PHI
3. Ben Roethlisberger PIT $$$ 16. Teddy Bridgewater MIN $$$
4. Peyton Manning DEN 17. Jay Cutler CHI $$$
5. Russell Wilson SEA 18. Carson Palmer ARI
6. Drew Brees NO 19. Joe Flacco BAL $$$
7. Ryan Tannehill MIA 20. Jameis Winston TB
8. Matt Ryan ATL 21. Alex Smith KC
9. Cam Newton CAR 22. Marcus Mariota TEN
10. Tony Romo DAL $$$ 23. Nick Foles STL $$$
11. Philip Rivers SD 24. Andy Dalton CIN
12. Tom Brady NE 25. Robert Griffin III WAS
13. Colin Kaepernick SF

*Rankings are based on standard scoring.

2015 Tight End Rankings

There isn’t nearly as much point disparity between tight ends as say running backs and wide receivers. This directly influences their value. If you have a shot at a stud running back for example, you’ll want to pull the trigger on that player as opposed to the best tight end available. The only exception this season is Rob Gronkowski. Gronk annihilated his competition last season, averaging 11.5 points a game. Even though he’ll likely be missing his starting quarterback (Tom Brady) for the start of the season, he’s still head and shoulders above the rest. For your draft you’ll want to end up with one to three tight ends. You’ll only draft three if you can use a tight end in your flex position on your roster. Players marked with $$$ are players that are likely to outperform their draft value.

1. Rob Gronkowski NE 14. Kyle Rudolph MIN $$$
2. Greg Olsen CAR 15. Larry Donnell NYG
3. Jimmy Graham SEA 16. Josh HIll NO
4. Martellus Bennett $$$ 17. Charles Clay BUF
5. Travis Kelce KC 18. Heath Miller PIT $$$
6. Dwayne Allen IND 19. Jordan Reed WAS
7. Julius Thomas JAC 20. Austin Seferian-Jenkins TB
8. Jason Witten DAL 21. Maxx Williams BAL $$$
9. Jordan Cameron MIA $$$ 22. Jace Amaro NYJ
10. Owen Daniels DEN $$$ 23. Eric Ebron DET
11. Zach Ertz PHI $$$ 24. Vernon Davis SF
12. Delanie Walker TEN 25. Tyler Eifert CIN
13. Antonio Gates SD

*These rankings are based on standard scoring.

More rankings to come! After all are published I will link all of my rankings to a downloadable document for easy printing and draft day use. Good luck!