Fantasy Baseball: Is streaming always bad?

Ryan Vogelsong

Readers, we love you. We love when you read our stuff and especially love when you share your thoughts with us in the comment section. This may sound unusual to you, but we even like it when you disagree with us and voice that fact. As a matter of fact, we sometimes prefer it.

I recently had a reader who didn’t seem to care about a topic I was writing on. He didn’t outwardly slam me or what I said, but didn’t seem to care for the subject matter. The following is the word-for-word quote. You can read the whole article here.

Streaming is always bad. What does Streaming have to do with Baseball. It’s like playing Jacks to see who can pickup the most stars. Try playing real fantasy baseball and join a league that rewards the teams with good staffs and not the unemployed who can pickup the two start pitchers while the rest of the league is working. Streaming is like playing slot machines, you can win but it’s all luck. Join a real league.

First of all, I want to thank this reader for taking the time to comment. I normally wouldn’t address a comment in a new piece, but his response raised some issues that I feel should be addressed for all readers. First, I will defend myself a little bit with this quote.

Join a real league:

I am actually a part of four leagues. I have been lucky in that the jobs I have always had have actually made it beneficial to me to spend some time in fantasy leagues of different kind in all sports.

In two of the leagues, there’s really nothing that deters streaming. You do have to take your chances on ERA and WHIP, but that’s about all. The other two leagues are a different story.

One of those leagues has a weekly transaction limit, while the others has an innings cap and counts walks against as a category. So, when you stream in more pitchers, you’re naturally going to walk more hitters.

Nash and I actually discussed this at length in our Crackerjack Chat show earlier in the season. If you don’t like streaming, have an innings max, transaction limit, or counted stats (walks, hits, losses, total runs allowed) work against you. That is a very handy way to limit streaming.

The point is that I am in two leagues that limit streaming and/or its effectiveness. I enjoy those leagues as much as I do the other ones. I would encourage other readers to join those kind of leagues as well, as they really show off diversity in skills.

 

Try playing real fantasy baseball and join a league that rewards the teams with good staffs and not the unemployed who can pickup the two start pitchers while the rest of the league is working:

There’s a lot to be said about this section, but here’s the main point. Yes, I know that baseball is an everyday sport, so fantasy baseball is as well. But between four leagues, I spend about 10 minutes a week making roster moves, and that’s probably a conservative guess.

The reality is that it’s not a huge time strain at all, even if you’re streaming for pitchers going twice in a week. In reality, that consists of looking at the probable starters for Monday and possibly Tuesday, and deciding who is worth the risk, if anyone is. If you have a job where you can’t do that, you should probably not be playing fantasy sports. As a matter of fact, if you have a job that limits your time that much, it had better either be really enjoyable, pay you a lot, or I would suggest looking elsewhere for employment. Just a personal idea.

What does Streaming have to do with Baseball:

Again, a few points need to be made on this question.

  1. Try as hard as you want, but fantasy baseball and Major League Baseball are not the same thing. If they were the same thing, then every fantasy team would have their fantasy team comprised of nothing but players from the same actual team. When healthy, one of my teams has an outfield of Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp, and Jay Bruce. What does that have to do with baseball? Try finding a team with an outfield like that. And FYI, I am not bragging, I am far from a dominant team in that league. In baseball, you can do things to spark a slumping hitter or pitcher. You can’t do that in fantasy baseball, as you have no say over your players. They’re just not the same game.
  2. Also, real teams don’t win championships because they assemble All-Star teams, even when the Big Market teams win. No, those teams win because they make good under the radar moves, often meaning making an underrated trade for a middle reliever, or fourth outfielder.  That is pretty close to being on par with streaming in fantasy ball.
  3. Lastly, every now and again you’ll stream your way into a strong pitcher. At the beginning of this year, both R.A. Dickey and Ryan Vogelsong were perfect stream candidates. Halfway through the season, they are two of the most solid arms in the league. (Click here to tweet this.)

 

Streaming is like playing slot machines, you can win but it’s all luck:

There is certainly some truth to this point. But that’s fantasy baseball. Actually, that’s fantasy any sport. All you can do is put the players on your team. How they do is completely out of your hands. So, luck has a lot to do with anything you do. If anything, streaming shows a bit of knowledge of the game. The people you’re bringing in aren’t stars, so if you can utilize them well, I would say that you did an excellent job.

 

I am actually very grateful for this comment. Readers are always welcome to disagree with us. I know that we won’t often write a whole piece breaking down the disagreements, but when they raise bigger issues we might.

The “real leagues” he was referring to are actually a lot of fun and I would suggest that any fantasy players out there participate in some, at least once they’ve gotten their feet wet in fantasy baseball.

Personally, I will always defend streaming as a good strategy, although I have no problem when LM’s put rules in place that limit it. If you can master different formats, you are the definition of a strong fantasy player.

I hope you’ve seen a few sides of a common fantasy baseball argument now.

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