In the weekly Fantasy Trends, we leverage the Trends tool to find quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs with notable data points for the upcoming main slate. For more of our weekly football content, visit our NFL homepage.

In the college football world this week, Hawai’i travels to West Point, N.Y., to take on Army. There is a six-hour difference between New York and Hawai’i local time. So, when their game kicks off at 12 p.m. ET, it will feel like 6 a.m. Hawai’ian time for the Rainbow Warriors.

Inspired by that incredible time difference and its potential on-field implications, I investigated NFL DFS trends related to cross-country travel. How should we handicap players who are subject to extreme time-zone differences at kickoff? Does traveling from East to West affect player performance differently than traveling from West to East?


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East Coast to West Coast Travel

East Coast teams traveling to the West Coast might experience jet lag as they fly across three time zones. Do those extra three hours gained in flight improve athletic performance or hamper it for each team?

Trend

  • Home Team is located in Pacific Time Zone.
  • Away Team is located in Eastern Time Zone.

West Coast Teams (Home)

Important Findings

  • West Coast players at home have posted improved Plus/Minus splits against East Coast foes for all five DFS positions.
  • Home quarterbacks have improved the most, boasting a Plus/Minus of +1.74 against East Coast opponents versus a baseline +0.33 Plus/Minus for all home contests. Home quarterbacks’ Consistency has also improved from 48.8% to 62.5%.
  • Home wide receivers have had the second-largest improvement in Plus/Minus, improving from +0.20 in all home games to +0.99 against East Coast teams. This makes sense due to the strong correlation between quarterback performance and wide receiver production.
  • West Coast defenses have typically averaged a dismal -0.17 Plus/Minus at home, which is notably worse than the NFL home team average of +0.32. However, when hosting East Coast teams, home defenses’ Plus/Minus has improved to +0.57.
  • Home running backs have boasted a +0.83 Plus/Minus, which is a modest improvement on their +0.53 baseline in home games.

Players Who Fit Our Trend

San Francisco hosts the Detroit Lions this week, which means Jimmy Garoppolo and the entire 49ers team could benefit from the above splits. Consider rostering the following players against a Lions defense that struggled against the Jets Monday night.

  • Jimmy Garoppolo ($6,000 DraftKings)
  • Alfred Morris ($3,600 DraftKings)
  • Matt Breida ($4,800 DraftKings)
  • Dante Pettis ($4,000 DraftKings)
  • Marquise Goodwin ($4,800 DraftKings)
  • Pierre Garcon ($5,000 DraftKings)
  • Trent Taylor ($3,900 DraftKings)
  • 49ers Defense ($2,800 DraftKings)

East Coast Teams (Away)

Important Findings

  • East Coast tight ends have improved their road Plus/Minus from -0.03 to +0.50. Quarterbacks might progress more quickly through their reads against West Coast defenses, resulting in increased check-downs to tight ends.
  • East Coast defenses have experienced a substantial decline in Plus/Minus, dropping from -0.29 to -0.89. Road defenses have also posted a meager Consistency of only 35.9%.

Players Who Fit Our Trend

The Lions parted ways with Eric Ebron this offseason and signed Luke Willson ($3,000 DraftKings) and Levine Toilolo ($2,500 DraftKings) to replace him. If you’re looking to punt tight end, both Lions TEs have small salaries and are exposed to a +0.53 historical improvement in Plus/Minus.

On the other side of the ball, the Lions D/ST ($2,300 DraftKings) may be in for a difficult matchup against the 49ers. Consider fading the Lions defense (if you weren’t planning on doing it already) in this contest.

West Coast to East Coast Travel

West Coast teams lose three hours flying cross country. For games with a 1 p.m. ET kickoff time, West Coast players will feel like it’s 10 a.m. local time. Once you factor in injury treatments, team walkthroughs and pregame routines, that’s a very early start. So, in these kinds of contests, do West Coast teams come out sluggishly on offense?

Trend

  • Home Team is located in Eastern Time Zone.
  • Away Team is located in Pacific Time Zone.

East Coast Teams (Home)

Important Findings

  • East Coast players have boasted modest improvements at best in Plus/Minus across all positions. There is a meaningful statistical improvement for quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends in particular, but this improvement is small compared to that of West Coast home teams.

Players Who Fit Our Trend

  • Josh Allen ($4,600 DraftKings)
  • Chris Ivory ($4,200 DraftKings)
  • LeSean McCoy ($5,700 DraftKings)
  • Charles Clay ($3,100 DraftKings)

West Coast Teams (Away)

Important Findings

  • Somewhat unexpectedly, road quarterbacks have posted a huge improvement in Plus/Minus when traveling to the East Coast. The baseline Plus/Minus for West Coast road quarterbacks is -0.36, but against East Coast teams, that Plus/Minus has skyrocketed to +1.94. Consistency has also improved from 40.5% to 53.1%. Relatedly, road wide receivers have featured a modest improvement in Plus/Minus from -0.01 to +0.49.
  • West Coast running backs have a baseline Plus/Minus of -1.12, which is alarming. When traveling to the East Coast, that number has dipped to -1.17.
  • Road defenses have experienced a significant decline in production, featuring a Plus/Minus of -1.37 against East Coast opponents. Defense Consistency has also fallen from 43.7% to 35.9%.

Players Who Fit Our Trend

The big takeaways for West Coast road teams are the marked improvement at quarterback and the substantial decline at defense.

The following players are on the positive side of these splits:

  • Philip Rivers ($6,700 DraftKings)
  • Keenan Allen ($7,800 DraftKings)
  • Mike Williams ($3,700 DraftKings)
  • Travis Benjamin ($3,600 DraftKings)
  • Tyrell Williams ($4,400 DraftKings)

The following players/positions are on the negative side of these splits:

  • Austin Ekeler ($4,400 DraftKings)
  • Melvin Gordon ($7,400 DraftKings)
  • Chargers D/ST ($3,600 DraftKings)

News Updates

After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players herein mentioned. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NFL news feed.

Photo Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Pictured Above: Philip Rivers