Fantasy: Beware the home/road splits

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) passes in the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

A few years ago, I think it might have been 2009, I had Drew Brees in one of my leagues and he was facing the Miami Dolphins.

Now, Brees is considered one of the premier plug-and-play options at quarterback for fantasy. Basically, if you drafted Brees, you play him every week and sleep easy.

Well, I lost that week because Brees threw three interceptions in a 46-34 Saints win. He did have 298 yards passing and a touchdown, but it was nowhere near the usual seismic numbers he provided a week earlier against the New York Giants, when he led me to victory with 369 yards passing and four touchdowns.

Why the huge discrepancy?

Was the Dolphins defense all-world? Quite the opposite, in fact.

The Dolphins finished 2009 allowing the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Why couldn't Brees take advantage after shredding the N.Y. Giants a week earlier?

Answer: because one game was at home and the other on the road.

In 2009, Brees passed for 2,482 yards and 20 touchdowns with four interceptions in the Superdome compared to 1,906 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the road.

In 2015, the disparity was staggering. At home Brees passed for 2,853 yards and 23 TDs with five INTs. On the road he had 2,017 yards, nine TDs and six INTs. Taking that into account, fantasy owners had the No. 1 QB for eight of 15 weeks, but the seven on the road were anything but.

This trend has continued big time in 2016. In three games, Brees has 799 yards passing and seven TDs at home while passing for 263 and one TD in his one road appearance.

Fantasy owners need to be mindful of home/road splits when thinking about production from players. This is not to tell you to not play Brees. Of course Brees is in your lineup, but you need to temper expectations when he is not in the friendly confines of the Superdome.

Quarterbacks usually are the most affected by home/road splits. Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger is another name you wouldn't consider as a sit ever, but when he's on the road, he simply does not put up the same amount of yardage or touchdowns.

In 2015, according to ProFootballReference.com, Big Ben threw 16 TD passes with seven INTs at Heinz Field while on the road was a completely different story with five TD passes and nine interceptions.

Thus far in 2016 the story remains the same. In his one home game, Big Ben delivered 259 yards and three TDs with two INTs. It takes the combined production of his two road starts to get three TDs. Last week on the road at Philadelphia, Big Ben passed for 257 yards, no TDs and an interception.

The opposite is also true too. Some quarterbacks perform really well on the road, with Tom Brady at the top of the list. Mr. Wonderful returns to action in Week 4, so if he's on your waiver wire I highly suggest you go pick him up, but I doubt he will be there.

There are stats that can support anything, I will grant you, but there could be something more to this home/road split deal and it could be beneficial for fantasy owners who like to stream quarterbacks or just want to be confident in the one they are starting.

It is a small sample size, but looking at the first three games the quarterbacks thus far who have largest home/away splits are: Brees (of course), Carson Palmer (575, 5 TDs home/287, 0 TDs, 4 INTs away) and Andrew Luck (716 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT home/197 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT away).

So taking all of this into consideration, daily fantasy players should be keying on Palmer, Brees and Luck when at home and looking elsewhere if not. For seasonal players, do not take any of the three quarterbacks listed above out of your lineups but just be prepared to temper expectations.

As for quarterbacks who seem to excel whether at home or on the road, the name at the top of the list in 2016 is Detroit's Matthew Stafford. In his one home start, he delivered a solid 260 yards passing, one TD and one INT while his two road starts combined, Stafford has passed for 725 yards and six TDs.

Last year Stafford had 15 TDs and seven INTs on the road.

Stafford is on the road again in Week 4.

Brees is also on the road in Week 4.

Plan accordingly.

 

Who to Add?

Running Backs: With the injuries to the Chicago Bears' Jeremy Langford and N.Y. Giants' Shane Vereen, the top two backs to add this week are Jordan Howard and Orleans Darkwa. Howard steps into the starting role pretty much immediately for Chicago while Darkwa is set to get the majority of carries for the Giants. A couple more names to keep in mind are Seattle's Christine Michael (who should not be on waiver wires, but if he is, grab him), Philadelphia's Wendell Smallwood (the Eagles are on a bye this week, so be aware) and Detroit's Dwayne Washington, who rushed for 38 yards and a TD last week against Green Bay. With Ameer Abdullah on the IR, Washington should be a good bet for carries going forward, but be mindful that Theo Riddick is in that backfield too.

Wide Receivers: Every once in a while a receiver or running back comes along, who can provide points for owners in many different ways. For those of you in leagues that award kick return/punt return yardage, you know what I mean. But for most of us, we plug in the one guy in a position and that is it. Terrell Pryor of the Cleveland Browns is someone who could win you a week or two because he is a receiver, who is also being asked to play quarterback and be a factor in the running game. Last week at Miami, Pryor passed for 35 yards, rushed for 21 yards and a TD and caught eight passes for 144 yards. I will take that every week. Michael Thomas of New Orleans was slowed by injury, so his start was slow, but without Willie Snead in the lineup on Monday, Thomas led the Saints with seven catches for 71 yards and a TD. Adam Humphries also is one to think about. The Tampa Bay receiver was targeted 12 times and caught nine passes for 100 yards last week. Through three games, Humphries has been targeted 25 times for 18 receptions for 201 yards.

Quarterbacks: Denver may be a run-first team, but Trevor Siemian showed last week he is more than capable of airing it out when asked to. Against a pretty good Bengals defense, Siemian passed for 312 yards and four TDs. With receivers like Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, Siemian will always have an opportunity for games like this going forward.

Tight Ends: This has been by far the toughest position to gauge, but we had a Jimmy Graham sighting last week. Graham was probably dropped in many leagues following a sub-par Week 1 and Week 2, but last week delivered the kind of numbers we used to see from him in New Orleans: six catches for 100 yards and a TD. Zach Miller could be out there on a waiver wire or two and he seems to have a good rapport with new Bears QB Brian Hoyer as evidenced by his eight catches for 78 yards and two TDs on Sunday.

 

Who has Week 4 matchups to exploit?

Quarterbacks: The San Diego Chargers defense continues to give it up to quarterbacks and Drew Brees gets his crack at that secondary this week. Yes, it's on the road, but maybe this is one week Brees takes advantage of a struggling secondary and produces in a road game. The Falcons may have won on Monday Night Football, but they still gave up 376 yards and three TDs. Cam Newton hasn't delivered the kind of fantasy numbers you'd expect, but he will get healthy this week against the Falcons. Brian Hoyer goes against a Detroit Lions pass defense that has allowed 10 TDs in three games.

Running Backs: Melvin Gordon should enjoy a banner day at home against a New Orleans Saints defense that was shredded last week by Tevin Coleman and Donta Freeman. Isaiah Crowell goes against a Washington defense tied with New Orleans as the worst in the league.

Wide Receivers: Denver's Emmanuel Sanders/Demaryius Thomas go against a Tampa Bay defense that has allowed the most TDs (seven) to receivers this season while Desean Jackson can exploit a Browns defense that has given up 578 yards and six TDs through three weeks to receivers.

Tight Ends: The story remains to play whoever goes up against the Detroit Lions or Atlanta Falcons. Both have allowed over 200 yards and four TDs through three games. That means start Zach Miller against the Lions and Greg Olsen against the Falcons.

 

How did my teams do?

It was a great week as I went 3-0 in my leagues despite going against Brees in one matchup and Matt Ryan in the other two. It helped that I had Tevin Coleman (three TDs) in all three leagues. So that leaves me 2-1 in CBSSports.com, 2-1 in Yahoo and 3-0 in ESPN. I get Le'Veon Bell back in both the CBSSports and ESPN leagues, so looking forward to it.

Good luck in Week 4.

 

Chris Parry is a staff writer for the Tyler Morning Telegraph and ETFinalScore.com, and an avid fantasy football player for nearly two decades. His weekly fantasy takeaway appears on Wednesdays. Feel free to email with any questions or comments to cparry@tylerpaper.com or you can tweet to @CParryETFS.

 
 

Recent Stories You Might Have Missed