"Return of the Jedi." "The Last Crusade." "The Return of the King." All fitting ends to trilogies. And now we'd like to add one more.
Wide receivers and tight ends.
And no ... "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" never happened. You hear me? It never happened.
We've spent so much of this season trying to figure out what's going on with the tight end position. Maybe we weren't looking in the right place. Tight ends are succeeding at home. Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham being high on any production list isn't shocking, but they've done the bulk of their work at home. But if you look just off the list, you'll find Jason Witten (12th) and Julius Thomas (14th).
What's the reason for that? It's a question better posed to the individual play-callers for those teams. Although matchups likely have something to do with it. The four aforementioned tight ends have beaten up on some of the defenses that have most struggled against the position.
But there is a little bit of weirdness when looking at the top fantasy pass-catchers at home. Notably that there's a pretty wide disparity between the top and bottom of the 10 best. Davis' 22-plus points are wonderful, but just 12.30 from Jordy Nelson? That's good for a WR2. But having that be 10th-best comes as something of a surprise.
Then again, it's less of a jolt when you break down play selection across the league. It's been well-documented that teams are throwing more than they're running, but it turns out they're throwing it even more on the road. Only 11 of the NFL's 32 teams have run a higher percentage of pass plays at home versus away.
Suddenly this second list makes a little more sense.
It might not be as top-heavy, but you'll find it populated by a lot more players who are bonafide No. 1 options at their positions.
Once again, the exact reason why some players excel more on the road than at home is better discussed with the men pulling the strings on their respective offenses. But two things stand out -- the teams involved either have pass-heavy offenses or are frequently behind and need to throw in order to stay in the ballgame.
As an aside, that last point highlights the one advantage fantasy pass-catchers have over their counterparts. With all respect to Darrell Royal, when you throw to a fantasy wideout, three things can happen, but only one is truly bad. Sure, there's the risk of an incompletion or an interception. But that doesn't directly impact fantasy owners. Catches for loss are generally so rare as to not deserve mention. The only real concern is a fumble after the catch.
It's generally been at this point that I've highlighted the players who have performed better on the road than at home. But with seemingly so many pass-catchers doing their best work on the road, it begged the question: Which of the top 25 players have averaged more points at home?
Regardless of the position, consistency remains the name of the game. So as usual, no examination of road versus home performances would be complete without noting the players who remains steady whether they're eating home cooking or room service.
So after all that rigmarole, it turns out that Calvin Johnson truly is just as good as we all thought he was. Then again, it's sort of like Luke, Leia and Han destroying the Death Star and bringing order to the universe. Could the trilogy really end any other way?