Streaming is a strategy that I have used ever since starting fantasy baseball. All three of us talk about it at length. Heck, I even write a weekly column that’s mostly devoted to giving advice on who to stream for the week. Still, I know that the strategy isn’t flawless.
Wood: 7 innings, five hits, no earned runs, one walk, six strikeouts.
Eovaldi: 5 innings, 10 hits, eight earned runs, one walk, one strikeout.
Wood took the win, Eovaldi was handed a defeat. While I enjoyed watching the Giants pummel the Dodgers on Monday, I was secretly hoping that my advice was not taken. So far, no death threats.
Baseball is a highly unpredictable sport. The best teams will lose 60 games, while the worst will win 60. When we’re dealing with young, unproven names, the unpredictability is even higher. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Wood and Eovaldi flipped over the weekend, with Wood getting lit up and Eovaldi throwing a gem.
So, while streaming is a Dixon endorsed strategy, there are times when it shouldn’t be done.
- You’re in a tight battle with someone for ERA or WHIP. At this point of the season, this is not really a concern (or it shouldn’t be), but when you get into August and September, you get to have a strong sense of how things will shake out. The last thing you want to do is start some unproven rookie in a quest to get a win or some strikeouts. And on that note…
- You’re locked into placement on counted stats. Yes, good streaming can lower your ERA or WHIP, but it’s not a risk worth taking. If you’re going to stream, do so because you need some wins or strikeouts. Not getting them won’t be productive, but it won’t necessarily hurt you in those areas. Conversely, having a pitcher get torched will hurt ERA and WHIP.
- You haven’t racked up innings, or don’t plan on it. In this case, starts like Eovaldi’s will be really bad on your ERA and WHIP. Conversely, if you have a lot of innings or plan on it, that start won’t even be noticed at season’s end. There’s a reason relief pitchers have inflated ERAs in the early months. If they give up one three-run homer, their ERA is bloated beyond belief. Once they get some innings in, it comes down. The same logic applies to your fantasy team.
Basically, you have to know how your team stands. If your pitchers have given you a lot of innings, Eovaldi’s start won’t hurt you. If you are more or less cemented in ERA and WHIP, you’ll be fine. Conversely, if the win and strikeouts Wood produced wont help your position (or give you a strong chance t0), it’s not a sound strategy.