Another season of fantasy football is in the books. To the winners: Congrats, but you have a target on your back now! To the losers, which is 90% of all leagues: do better. And doing better is what our 2021 fantasy football streaming recap is all about.
Every week on our Youtube channel, I put out a video with my top-5 Streams of the Week at QB, TE, and DEF. If you’ve watched those (Thank You!), you already know my process, but I’ll still quickly explain here.
To start, streaming simply means starting a different player at a position every week, typically adding the new player from waivers or free agency. The most common positions this is done are QB, TE, DEF, and K. For my videos, I don’t cover kickers, but our good friend Linda has made a science of it. So follow her for the best possible info.
For me to consider a player as a streamer, they have to be available in around 50% or more Yahoo leagues as of Wednesday morning. I chose Yahoo because I still believe that the vast majority of leagues are run on their site, and that produces the best data. Yahoo is also one of the easiest to navigate. I chose Wednesday morning because I want the players to have cleared waivers already. So save your priority and FAAB for RBs and WRs. We stream for free around here. But, back to the process.
Using Yahoo rostership % and my own projections, I choose five players at each position every week, with my top choice being my Stream of the Week. I consider a Stream a win if they finish in the Top 15 at their position for the week. So you’re choosing guys available in more than half of leagues, and they are finishing in the top half of their position; that’s a win. Below I will recap how I did this year for each position.
Fantasy Football Streaming Recap
For most fantasy managers, quarterback is the easiest position to stream. The good players stand out, and the good matchups are easier to pick. Streaming is almost all about matchups. Plus, there are almost always at least ten starting QBs on waivers; the pool is deep enough to make some easy calls.
For the season, I made 85 picks at each position (17 weeks x 5 players). At quarterback, 36 of 85 picks finished in the weekly Top 15, for a 42% hit rate. Considering that I count DNPs as losses, this is not terrible, but I’d prefer to be over 50%. My Stream of the Week QB hit in 10 of 17 weeks (59%) and finished with 314 fantasy points. In 6-point per touchdown scoring, that would have finished as the QB12. We built a QB1 without using a single draft pick or waiver priority.
But it could have been even better. As I mentioned, I give five picks every week, and sometimes, my Stream of the Week is not the high score of those five picks. A lot of times, actually. Only 6 of 17 weeks did my SOTW finish with the most fantasy points of those five QBs. I pick the right players. I just got the order wrong. That’s where Best of the Bunch comes in.
Best of the Bunch is the cumulative score of my best pick each week, even if I didn’t make then my top choice. It truly shows what could have been, and at QB, that translated to 416 fantasy points and a QB4 finish. That’s a big reason I like to give you five options. If your decision-making is better than mine, there is gold in streaming.
I mentioned earlier that QB was the easiest position to stream. Tight end is by far the hardest. The position, as a whole, is a wasteland for fantasy football. There are many weeks where players don’t even need 10+ fantasy points to crack the Top 12. It is a top-heavy position that is sometimes just ignored in many NFL teams’ passing games. Even some good TEs have more bad weeks than good.
Of my 85 TE picks, 37 can be considered wins, a 43% hit rate, just slightly ahead of QB. Still not 50%, but this position makes it still like an accomplishment. My Stream of the Week TE was a win in just 7 of 17 weeks. That is only a 41% win rate, far worse than QB, and explains the paltry 128 fantasy points I scored at SOTW TE this season, a TE17 finish.
All is not lost, though. My Best of the Bunch TE scored 230 fantasy points. That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It is. That score would have made my TE the third best at the position for the season. While overall, I made some terrible picks, and only twice all year was my SOTW the best of my five choices, there is hope in the Best of the Bunch. Ignore any moron that tries to tell you that streaming TE is a myth. It can be done and done well. You just have to choose the best of my five players better than I did this season.
Defense and Special Teams will always hold a special place in my heart. If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you probably know that I got my start in this industry writing about DEF/ST, and I love this aspect of fantasy football. In a typical league, DEF/ST accounts for 1/10th of your fantasy score, and there are a lot of points to be had if done correctly.
I would advocate that EVERYONE stream defense. It is all about matchups, and the best DEFs in the league are only playable 50% of the time. Switching to a new DEF every week is the best way to maximize points. Overall, 53 of my 85 picks were wins this season, a 62% hit rate. My SOTW DEF finished as the DEF8 with 122 fantasy points, hitting in 11 of 17 weeks (65%). It could have been even better if not for a few letdowns to end the season (I will forever hate the LAC defense for their Week 16)!
My top pick was already good, but you have no idea how much better it could have been…until you read these following few sentences. My Best of the Bunch defense scored an insane 250 fantasy points this year. The current #1 DEF in fantasy, the Dallas Cowboys, scored just 177. If you had chosen the best of my five picks every week, you would have scored five more weekly points than the best DEF in all of fantasy. League winners can be built using the scraps others have left behind on DEF. Putting it bluntly, if you ever waste another draft pick on DEF/ST, you deserve to lose.
Hopefully, you take away from this that streaming is a way to give yourself a competitive edge in fantasy football. I still have work to do, as you can tell from the difference between my SOTW score and Best of the Bunch score, but the right players are out there. I’m actually picking the right players, just not putting them in my top spot. If done correctly, you can build top-5 players at QB, TE, and DEF without wasting a single draft pick. That means you can use your draft capital on better RBs and WRs, thus giving you the best fantasy team possible.
For a final recap, I looked at the fantasy points per game of the QB12, TE12, and DEF12. It basically totaled out to 34 fantasy points per week. At a minimum, my streams need to be above the 12th guys every week. I finished at or above that number in just 8 of 17 weeks, which needs to improve next year.
For the season, 34 points per game would equal 578 fantasy points. I finished the year with 564. Not too shabby. Next season, I will take a hard look at my process of how I choose my SOTW from my pool of five players. I will be striving to be a lot closer to that Best of the Bunch number, and there will be plenty of fantasy champions living the stream if I pull it off!
As a reminder for the 2022 offseason, Club Fantasy will continue to have shows every Wednesday and plenty of dynasty articles and other content as we get closer to the draft. So follow along for the fantasy football info you could possibly want.