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Fantasy Football 2013: Could Andrew Luck Struggle For Second Straight Week?





“You’re playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can’t move… you can’t breathe… because you’re in over your head. Like quicksand.”

This quote from the great Sentinels quarterback Shane Falco of The Replacements perfectly summarizes the type of day that Andrew Luck and the Colts had on Sunday. They got off to a very slow start, and each time they tried to claw back into it, more things continued to go wrong. Luck finished with a serviceable 15.82 fantasy points, but it took 47 attempts and he tossed three interceptions. Now, after struggling heavily on Sunday, Luck has a short turnaround on Thursday night.

Could fantasy owners be staring at another mediocre stat line? The Week 11 matchup in Tennessee isn’t too favorable.

Luck on the road

It’s been known that Luck isn’t quite the same quarterback when away from home. It’s difficult to go against a guy as talented as Luck, whether he is at home or on the road, but the stats show that he isn’t as good of a fantasy option when away from Lucas Oil Stadium. In 2012, Luck had some pretty interesting home/road splits.

 

Rating TD INT Completion % Sacks
Home 83 12 5 54.9 19
Road 70.1 11 13 53.3 22

 

So far in 2013, Luck is once again the better player at home, sporting a rating of 90.3, completing 60.6 percent of his passes, tossing nine touchdowns and four interceptions. One the road, meanwhile, his rating is seven points lower, is completing 56.5 percent of his passes, and has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 5:2. This game, as we mentioned, is on the road, on Thursday night, where quarterbacks tend to struggle quite a bit.

QBs on Thursday Night

I dove into this a bit earlier on the season, but whether or not you believe in the Thursday night aspect, there are some numbers that suggest signal callers don’t always have the best statistical outings during these primetime matchups. Sal Stefanile of XN Sports did some terrific research on Thursday night quarterbacks over the years. According to his piece, between the 2011 and 2012 season, only five signal callers finished inside the top-10 among quarterbacks during Thursday night contests. Just five. I don’t necessarily believe the whole “be afraid of Thursday night guys” is a myth. For whatever reason it is, guys just aren’t fresh or ready to perform at their fullest on the short week.

And if we discount 2013′s Thursday night opener where Peyton Manning made history, the trend continues.

QB

Fantasy Points

Finish

Tom Brady 13.20 QB25
Geno Smith 4.26 QB32
Michael Vick 17.94 QB17
Alex Smith 14.12 QB23
Colin Kaepernick 17.78 QB15
Sam Bradford 9.68 QB26
Philip Rivers 22.44 QB7
Terrelle Pryor 23.94 QB11
Eli Manning 9.56 QB24
Jay Cutler 24.48 QB6
Russell Wilson 26.30 QB8
Carson Palmer 12.82 QB24
Andy Dalton 6.72 QB24
Ryan Tannehill 14.42 QB17
Robert Griffin III 33.64 QB3
Christian Ponder 18.26 QB12

 

Tennessee’s pass defense

On top of everything bad I am saying about Luck’s fantasy prospects for this week, the matchup is less than favorable. The Titans pass defense has been one of the better ones in football this season, currently surrendering just 13.48 fantasy points per game, the third-fewest in football. This unit is also allowing just 211.3 passing yards per game, which is in the top-10 among pass defenses. Tennessee has only allowed one touchdown through the air since the second week of the season, and have allowed just seven passing touchdowns on the season, which is tied for the fewest among all defenses. Cornerback Alterraun Verner is currently rated as Pro Football Focus’ number one corner in pass coverage, allowing just 17 receptions, zero touchdowns and forcing five interceptions while in primary coverage.

This secondary is no slouch, and Luck hasn’t been at his best against the Titans. During his rookie season, Luck threw two scores, three interceptions and was sacked six times in two contests against Tennessee.

Look, Luck is obviously a QB1 option in fantasy land, and it would probably be foolish to bet against him. However, if you have a guy like Nick Foles and maybe even Case Keenum, I think I would play them over Luck, just for this week. Of course, Luck could go completely bonkers on Thursday night, thus, proving me to be an idiot.

We shall see.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.