Does the weather have an impact on fantasy football?


It’s becoming that time of year when the weather can have an impact on real-life NFL games. As a fantasy football manager, it’s a concept you just can’t get past. Yes, I will go on record and say so. Checking weather reports is required as a factor in the process of setting up 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 climate, all of 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 the ball are affected, so a light drizzle would not count. Similarly, for snow there has to be a significant accumulation on the ground that will affect jogging players. Extreme cold is defined as temperatures close to freezing. Lastly, we’ll consider wind conditions defined as more than a light breeze, we’re talking about those chilly Sundays with gusts of wind that impact a quarterback’s ability to throw the ball.

Our first instinct would be to consider any adverse weather condition a negative with regards to fantasy football production, however, that is simply not the case. Rain and snow actually seem to have a negative effect on defense more than offense. Looking back at the 2008 season, Week 16 saw games in bad weather at Buffalo, Chicago and Cincinnati. Those three games produced five 100-yard rushers. Keep in mind that all of these performances came from the running back position, however, quarterbacks and wide receivers can excel in windy or snowy conditions. While the quarterback may not be able to grip the ball as well, receivers have a huge advantage on slippery surfaces. Defenses are at a disadvantage in poor field conditions as it is more difficult to cut through and maintain coverage.

While snow and rain are really favorable for offense, wind is another story. On days when the wind blows, quarterbacks and wide receivers will be hit hard. All one has to do is think back to the 2007 season when Tom Brady and company were just running over everyone until they met mother nature in week 15. The only thing that could stop the Patriots offense that year was wind. If you have a quarterback or wide receiver on your team scheduled to play in extreme wind, I suggest you look for an alternative.

Finally, there is the cold weather. Some of the warmer-weather teams are certainly bummed out by the extreme cold, giving teams like the Green Bay Packers a huge home-field advantage toward the end of the season. Cold weather also has an impact on kickers who lose distance on their kicks as the air pressure on the ball is affected. We came across an analysis that investigated the effects of extreme cold that showed within a 1998 data set that the home team won every game in extreme cold. 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 short, the weather is something to consider when setting up your fantasy football lineup in recent months. Snow/rain seems to favor the offense, particularly the running game. Stay away from defenses scheduled to play in the rain and snow. The wind is another story, as it can completely shut down the passing game. The extreme cold will affect kickers and visiting teams that aren’t used to those conditions. So remember, take a quick look at the weather before setting up your lineup, as it can give you the edge that makes the difference between winning and losing on NFL Sunday.

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