It’s getting to be that time of the year where weather can have an impact on real life NFL games. As a fantasy football manager it is a concept that you simply cannot overlook. Yes I am going on the record and saying it. Checking the weather reports as a factor going into the process of setting your fantasy football lineup is required! This article will explore the impact of weather on fantasy football output.
It is necessary to realize that there are different categories of weather, all which need their own discussion. This article will focus on rain, snow, extreme cold, and wind. In the context of this article rain is defined as creating conditions where the field and ball are impacted, so a light drizzle would not count. Likewise for snow there has to be a significant accumulation on the ground that will impact the players footing. Extreme cold is defined as temperatures close to zero. Lastly, we will consider windy conditions defined as more than a light breeze, we are talking about those cold Sundays with wind gusts that have an impact on the quarterback’s ability to throw the ball.
Our first instinct would be to consider any bad weather condition to be a negative with regards to fantasy football output, however that is simply not the case. Rain and snow actually seem to have a negative effect on the defense more than the offense. Looking back at the 2008 season week 16 saw bad weather games in Buffalo, Chicago and Cincinnati. Those three games produced five 100 yard rushers. Note that these performances all came from the running back position, however quarterbacks and wide receivers can both excel in windy/snowy conditions. While the quarterback may not be able to grip the ball as well, receivers have a huge advantage on slick surfaces. Defenses are at a disadvantage with poor field conditions as it is harder to cut and maintain coverage.
While snow and rain are actually favorable to the offense, wind is another story. On days when the wind is gusting quarterbacks and wide receivers will be affected in a big way. All one has to do is remember the 2007 season when Tom Brady and Co. were simply rolling over everybody until they met mother nature in week 15. The only thing that could stop the Patriots offense that year was the wind. If you have a quarterback or wide receiver on your team slated to play in extreme wind I would suggest you find an alternative.
Lastly, there is cold weather. Some of the warmer weather teams are certainly bothered by the extreme cold giving teams such as the Green Bay Packers a huge home field advantage towards the end of the season. The cold weather also has an impact on kickers who lose distance on their kicks as the air pressure in the ball is affected. We came across an analysis that researched the effects of extreme cold that showed within a data set from 1998 that the home team won every extreme cold game. That’s right, undefeated at home in the cold! The take away is that teams not used to the extreme cold will see a negative impact to production.
In summary, weather is something to consider when setting your fantasy football lineup in the later months. Snow/Rain seem to favor the offense, particularly the running game. Stay away from defenses slated to play in rain and snow. Wind is another story as it can completely shut down the passing game. Extreme cold will affect kickers and away teams not used to those conditions. So remember, take a quick look at the weather before you set your lineup as it can give you the edge that determines the difference between winning and losing on NFL Sunday.