Friday, February 12, 2010

(Image of your trophy) *asterisk*

Unethical. Distasteful. Legal cheating. These are words and phrases commonly associated with the practice of streaming.

Streaming is the act of adding and dropping players to gain an edge in production. Gamers stream to exceed the games played total or to make up for games lost due to injury, benchings, etc.

Contrary to popular belief, yes, streaming is an art. Amateurs add the best available options; those who have studied streaming go beyond that.

Myself, in football, I will consider: match-up, defensive injuries, individual match-up, climate, historical success or failure, current trends (within four weeks), their floors versus their ceilings, my opposition's players' floors versus their ceilings and every sortable defensive stat. This is for one-week rentals.

In baseball, I will consider: runs generated (team), current trends, total stolen bases (shows how aggressive the team is), match-up team-wise, individual match-up including historical success against the night's hurler and how they bat against righties/lefties, pre-all star splits versus post-all star splits, splits by month, the stadium's dimensions, the ball park, proven science (LaRoche only hits after the break), pedigree (though this rarely comes into play), minor league stats (sportsnet is the site I use) and in a few cases, contract incentives. For pitchers, I also look up the opposing team's strikeout totals which generally indicates a team's level of discipline. All this for, yes, a one-to-three-game rental. I'm not a sabermetrics guy. This works for me.

In basketball, I consider: recent trends, minutes per night and sometimes match-up. I don't look too much into basketball because when they're hot and playing, you snag them.

In hockey, I will consider: recent trends and the opposition's starting goaltender (for snipers); and for enforcers, PIM trends, the team they're facing, the team they're facing's enforcers and their likeliness to drop the gloves, the team they're facing's enforcer's recent PIM trends and sortable team PIM stats.

One week ago, I was pulling 81.5 points in the Roto Arcade Blog League. I was hidden and obscured in the middle of the pack in moves made. Then I started streaming.

Predictably, I climbed from sixth to fourth in the standings and made a 17-point jump to 98.5 points. I have been streaming one C, one RW and one D and the results have been plentiful:

Feb 12, 10 - Lombardi (2 PIM), Orr (an overwhelming 32 PIM, characteristically Orr), O'Byrne (2 PIM)

Feb 11, 10 - Bryan Allen (2 PIM)

Feb 10, 10 - Boll (2 PIM)

Feb 09, 10 - Mayers (5 PIM)

Feb 07, 10 - Sturm (2 goals), O'Byrne (5 PIM)

Feb 06, 10 - Sturm (1 assist), Orr (7 PIM)

Feb 05, 10 - Bryan Allen (5 PIM)

Seven days, a 17-point jump.

Would remaining stagnent have yielded these results? Would putting principle ahead of realistic and attainable improvement allow for such improvement?

If a player's not out there that night, they can't help your team statistically. The production you're getting out of three waiver wire pick-ups from the nights of February 11-13, for example, will, in 98% of cases, exceed that of the one winger you start routinely.

Frankly, and I have always felt this way, if you don't stream to prevent a loss, you deserve to lose. Additionally, if a person streams and overtakes a non-streamer, he or she should be praised not lambasted and criticized mercilessly. If anything, non-streamer should be the one condemned for their failure of making moves to stay competitive. The streamer's trying to win.

You have to play the settings. Everyone starts with the same settings; you're playing within them. Play them to your advantage. Make up those game. You're 70+ PIM short? Brian Rafalski will not turn into a rogue badass mofo who KOs 6-foot-3 guys overnight. If you're not streaming, you're leaving points on the table.

Streaming is a choice. It goes beyond ethical or non-ethical, beyond roto etiquette; what it comes down to is how badly you want to win. If you can put aside the conventional fantasy mind-set that is commonly regarded and accepted as the general principles of the game, you have a more favorable chance of being successful than your static competition.

At the end of the season, you can finish with 359 transactions made and your opponent might have 11; tell me now, who had the stronger drive and the burning passion to win?

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