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Does Weather Have an Impact on Fantasy Football?
It’s starting to be that time of year when the weather can impact actual NFL games. As a fantasy football manager, this is a concept you simply cannot ignore. Yes, I go on the record and I say it. Checking weather reports is a necessary factor in the process of defining your fantasy football lineup! This article will explore the impact of weather on fantasy football production.
It is necessary to realize that there are different categories of weather conditions, all of which require 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 pitch and the ball are impacted, so a light drizzle would not count. Similarly for snow, there must be a significant accumulation on the ground that will impact the foot of the players. Extreme cold is defined as temperatures close to freezing. Finally, we’ll consider windy conditions defined as more than a light breeze, we’re talking about those chilly Sundays with gusty winds that impact the quarterback’s ability to throw the ball.
Our first instinct would be to consider bad weather as a negative when it comes to fantasy football production, but that’s just not the case. Rain and snow actually seem to have a negative effect on defense more than attack. Looking back to 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 come from the running back position, but both quarterbacks and wide receivers can excel in windy/snowy conditions. While the quarterback may not be able to grab the ball as well, receivers have a huge advantage on slick surfaces. Defenses are at a disadvantage with poor field conditions as it is more difficult to cut and maintain cover.
If the snow and the rain are indeed favorable to the attack, the wind is another story. On gusty days, quarterbacks and wide receivers will be greatly affected. All you have to do is remember the 2007 season when Tom Brady and Co. were just rolling over everyone until they met mother nature in week 15. The only thing that could stop the he Patriots offense that year was the wind. If you have a quarterback or wide receiver on your team scheduled to play in extreme winds, I suggest you find an alternative.
Finally, there is the cold. Some of the hottest teams are certainly hampered by the extreme cold, which gives teams like the Green Bay Packers a huge home field advantage late in the season. Cold weather also impacts kickers who lose distance on their kicks as the air pressure in the ball is affected. We came across an analysis that looked at the effects of extreme cold which showed in a 1998 data set that the home team won every extreme cold game. That’s right, undefeated at home in the cold! The bottom line is that teams that are not used to extreme cold will see a negative impact on production.
In summary, the weather is something to consider when defining your fantasy football roster in the final months. Snow/rain seem to favor the attack, especially the running game. Stay away from defenses designed to play in the rain and snow. The wind is another story because it can completely stop the passing game. The extreme cold will affect kickers and away teams who are not used to these conditions. So remember, take a look at the weather before setting your roster because it can give you the edge that determines the difference between winning and losing on NFL Sunday.
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