Game Splits: Texans and Chiefs Traveled Different Paths Without Impact Receivers
Image Credit: Tom Walko/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Will Fuller.

The Houston Texans upset the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 6. This Sunday they look to do the same in the divisional round of the playoffs. Shawn Siegele uses the Team Splits app to explore two crucial players who could make the difference.

This week we’re using two of our most popular tools to dive into fun stats for playoff teams. Yesterday we used the Game Splits app to investigate the difference Ryan Tannehill has made in Tennessee. Today we use the Team Splits app to break down a key element of the matchup between Kansas City and Houston.

DeAndre Hopkins Is the Star, But Will Fuller Is the Catalyst

Fantasy owners are familiar with the difference Fuller has made to the Texans offense in 2019, but the size of the splits is still surprising.1

Without Fuller on the field, the Texans offense becomes one-dimensional. When that dimension is running the ball with Carlos Hyde, you’re going to get nightmarish splits.

Houston is a 13-win team with Fuller. Without him their points per drive collapse by almost a half a point. Deshaun Watson’s touchdown rate falls by almost half, and he loses nearly 1.5 yards per attempt.

Fuller notoriously failed to haul in three potential TDs the first time these teams met. If they want to pull the upset, they’ll need that contribution against a red-hot Chiefs squad. The oft-injured wideout has been limited in practice but is expected to take the field on Sunday.

Tyreek Hill Is a Superstar, But The Chiefs Thrived Without Him

By contrast to the Texans’ struggles, Kansas City excelled when their star receiver was forced out with injury. They scored more points per drive and had a slightly better winning percentage without him.

Kansas City passers averaged 1.1 more yards per attempt without Hill, and Andy Reid dialed up the passing volume in those games.

Part of the explanation for this bizarre result is found in quarterback play. Hill’s absence overlapped with a hot stretch from Patrick Mahomes. His return corresponded with a three-game stretch featuring Matt Moore.

In part due to Hill’s brilliance, the Chiefs offense scored almost as prolifically with the backup.

Hill generated 21.6 fantasy points over expectation (reFPOE) during Moore’s three starts, including a 6-140-1 line in Week 9 against the Vikings. That 31-24 victory saved the season for Kansas City as Mahomes returned the following week. The Chiefs lost only once more – a 35-32 defeat at the hands of a rising Titans squad – and made a successful push for the playoff bye.

As you get ready to enjoy the playoff games this weekend, make sure to check out the Game Splits app for the Chiefs, Texans, and others. While you’re there, you may get pulled in by a few of our other offerings.2

Image Credit: Tom Walko/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Will Fuller.
  1. You can use the Team Splits app to look at games where Fuller misses or plays limited reps, or you can use the split where he misses entirely. The numbers are similar in both circumstances.  (back)
  2. For those interested in dynasty, prospects, and best ball, we also have a wide variety of tools in these areas.  (back)

Shawn Siegele

Author of the original Zero RB article and 2013 NFFC Primetime Grand Champion. 11-time main event league winner. 2015, 2017, 2018 titles in MFL10 of Death.
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