Narrative Street: How significant are home/away splits?

You often hear to favor home players in DFS advice, but is there anything to that? Tyler Loechner investigates.

| 3 months ago
(Jamie Sabau, Getty Images)

(Jamie Sabau, Getty Images)

Narrative Street: How significant are home/away splits?

If you listen to any DFS podcasts or read any DFS articles, you’re likely to hear or read the advice, “Target home players — especially at quarterback and running back when their team is favored!” more than once.

This narrative gained widespread fame in 2016 thanks to Ben Roethlisberger, who was woeful on the road but other-worldly at home. But are home-road splits something that should be given leverage, or did Big Ben’s two-faced 2016 campaign make it seem like a bigger deal than it really is? And what about running backs, wide receivers and tight ends — do they see any significant different in home-away splits, too?

I dug through the data to answer these questions and see how much truth there is to the narrative.

The narrative: When deciding between two players with relatively equal matchups, you should favor the home player over the road player.

I broke down 2016 fantasy efficiency metrics among quarterbacks, running backs, wideouts and tight ends to observe the differences between their home and away production.

The findings

  • Quarterbacks

Overall, quarterbacks scored about 8.9 percent more fantasy points per completion when playing at home compared to their road averages.

Venue Y/C TD/C FP/C
Away 11.1 6.4% 0.66
Home 11.6 7.3% 0.72

Home quarterbacks averaged 11.6 yards per completion, a full half yard ahead of their away average (11.1). Home quarterbacks also saw 7.3 percent of their completions go for touchdowns, compared to a 6.4 percent rate for away quarterbacks.

This all translated into 0.72 fantasy points per completion for home quarterbacks, compared to 0.66 FP/C for away players. In other words, if a quarterback completes 25 passes in a game, they can expect to score 1.5 more fantasy points simply by playing at home instead of on the road. It’s a small but not insignificant difference — especially in DFS.

  • Running backs

Overall, running backs scored 3.3 percent more fantasy points per carry when playing at home. Of all the positions studied, running backs (per attempt) saw the smallest difference between their home and away averages.

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Tyler Loechner is a lead writer at PFF Fantasy. He has played fantasy football since 1999 and has been a part of the PFF Fantasy staff since 2010. Tyler was also previously a fantasy football featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

  • evo34

    The “narrative” is typically that a certain player — e.g., Roethlisberger — has unique home/road splits that are predicitve of future home/road splits. That would make an interesting study.

    • Tyler Loechner

      Hey Evo,

      It’s true that the narrative is typically attached to a single player, like Roethlisberger or Drew Brees. But in those cases, it’s not so much a “mystical” narrative as it is just a flat-out truth provable by simply looking at home-road splits.

      With that said, I do intend to do a follow up article to this, looking at individual players’ home-road splits compared to their position averages. So, hopefully with that follow up, we can get a better sense of who is impacted the most by home-road splits, aside from the obvious guys like Roethlisberger and Brees.

      Thanks for reading!