Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fantasy Baseball Strategy: Someone is streaming on me

I do not like it when someone streams on me. It doesn't make me feel good. In order to stop the streamer from streaming on me, I am aggressively fighting to neuter the streamer through a little trick I call anti-streaming. Here's how:

First, some context:

In my Yahoo! league, the owner who is playing me this week dropped the three worst players on his roster on Sunday night (our weekly games start on Monday) and picked up the three best free agent starting pitchers who were scheduled to pitch on Monday. (In my Yahoo! league, you can't pick a player up and play him the same day; you can only play him starting the following day.) All three pitched well, and I suddenly found myself down in Quality Starts and Ks.

Now, the strategy (sort of):

To counteract the streamer, I dropped the three worst players on my roster on Monday morning (I woke up earlier than the streaming owner) and picked up the two best free agent starting pitchers who were scheduled to pitch on Tuesday, as well as a starting pitcher who was scheduled to pitch on Wednesday. The following morning (Tuesday morning), I again woke up before the streaming owner and dropped all three pitchers and picked up two pitchers that were scheduled to pitch on Wednesday, as well as one starting pitcher who was scheduled to pitch on Thursday.

You see, picking up one pitcher who is scheduled to start in two days allowed me to hold him for one night and drop him, thus relegating him to the waiver wire for three days and preventing the streamer from being able to start him against me. (In Yahoo! leagues, if you pick someone up and drop him right away he goes straight to being a free agent. If, however, you hold him overnight, the default settings put that player on waivers for three days.) The idea is to thin out the free agent pool a bit, as forcing the streamer to start increasingly marginal players will help you win ERA and WHIP when one of his SPs inevitably implodes (much like Bronson Arroyo and Mike Hampton did in the first inning of their starts today).

As for the other two pitchers I picked up that pitched the following day, sometimes I started them and sometimes I didn't. The idea was to protect my ratios, while simultaneously hanging with the streamer in the K and QS categories. For example, today I started Ubaldo Jimenez. The reason I could do this safely was because I had such a huge lead in the ratios. So you have to play it by feel.

To review:

  • My league settings require me to wake up earlier than my opponenent to pick up the best three starting pitchers off the wire each day for a week.

  • Streaming is insanely stupid and I am insanely tired because I've been waking up early to get players off the wire for the last four mornings.

  • Just know that you don't HAVE to start the semi-crappy pitchers you pick up when trying to counteract a streamer. Only start a streaming SP when your ratios are safe and you need the Ks and QS (or Wins).

  • And if the SPs on the wire are particularly bad for a given day, move on to the next day and snag those SPs. You are trying to keep up with the streamer when it comes to quantity, but you want to try to do whatever you can to also maintain some quality to your pitching.

  • I realize not every owner can just drop three players. As it happens I had a number of injuries (Josh Hamilton, Brandon Morrow, Hong-Chih Kuo) that gave me some sudden roster flexibility.

    To conclude:

    Thankfully, there is only one owner in my twelve-team league that is streaming. Otherwise I'd be tired all the time. Okay, I gotta sleep. I have my alarm set for two hours from now. Good night.

    Related Reading:

  • Yahoo!'s Behrens talks about streaming a day in advance. All you need is two empty roster spots and the MLB probable pitchers for two days in advance.
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