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Thursday Night Blues?

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by Mike Horn, Staff Writer

Published, 12/6/12

 

I was scanning the site today and I saw this thread on the message boards. It intrigued me to do a study: have Thursday nights been bad for fantasy production?

 

One way to measure this would be to look at every player’s production on Thursdays back to some year like 1978 and compare it to their fantasy numbers in the rest of the season. That would be a good study. It would also be a lot of work. A simpler way would be to perform a similar comparison but for at the team totals in TDs, rushing yards, and passing yards – the basic components of fantasy production.

 

Here’s what those numbers look like for 2006-2011, a total of 55 Thursday games:

 

Per Game Yardage and TD Production in Games 2006-2011

Game Day

PYds

PTD

RYds

RTD

Not Thursday

222.9

1.43

116.5

0.82

Thursday

223.3

1.43

109.8

0.72

P= Passing, R= Rushing

 

So the teams that played on Thursdays over the past six years had very little difference in their offensive production between the games they played on Thursdays compared to the games they played on other days. There was a slight dip in rushing production, about 5% in yards and 10% in touchdowns. I don’t think this is very significant but it might be enough to make a difference in a close start-sit decision.

 

Obviously this doesn’t tell you how well individual players do (although it’s pretty close for quarterbacks, at least their passing numbers). And it’s not a huge sample. I could have gone further back but of course the farther back the seasons, the less they resemble the current offensive environment. Just for comparison, here are this year’s numbers:

 

Per Game Yardage and TD Production in Games 2012

Game Day

PYds

PTD

RYds

RTD

Not Thursday

231.2

1.49

116.8

0.31

Thursday

247.9

1.18

108.1

0.82

 

In 2012, teams have actually thrown for more yards while rushing for a little less. Passing TDs are down quite a bit, but rushing TDs are way up. Teams are averaging almost 23 points a game when they don’t play on Thursday this year, and just under 22 points a game on Thursdays. While a few of the terrible Thursday performances stick in our heads, like the 13-6 San Francisco win over Seattle or the 17-3 St. Louis-Arizona game, there were also the three fantasy fests on Thanksgiving, during which every team except the Jets had over 30 points.

 

While I don’t think this quick look proves a particular player will perform around his average in any particular Thursday game, there’s no reason to sing the blues about Thursday games. In reality, we tend to remember the bad performances more, and the fact that all eyes are on them on national TV probably highlights the warts a little bit.

 

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