Weather has long been a point of contention for fantasy writers,
with some arguing that the effects of poor weather are overblown,
while others contend that weather has a significant effect on player
performance and should be heavily considered when setting DFS and
season-long fantasy lineups.
I find myself somewhat in the middle of the two sides, with the
belief that certain types of weather, like torrential downpours
on natural fields like Miami, or severe windy conditions in outdoor
stadiums for kickers can affect the outcome of games.
But I do think that some fantasy owners take weather a bit too
far, leading to missed opportunities for big games.
As a rule, I love to invest in talented running backs playing
in the snow on artificial turf - even high priced ones, as slippery
conditions tend to hurt defenses in their reaction to a play.
This does not hold true with running backs in downpours on natural
grass, as slick balls and muddy fields leads to poor footing and
Skill position players like wide receivers can also benefit from
footing advantages over the defense in snowy conditions, assuming
the quarterback throwing the ball to them is comfortable throwing
in bad weather and will not just rely on check down throws.
My advice to owners looking for insight on starting kickers in
bad weather is to play on a DFS platform that does not require
kickers, as predicting kickers in a crapshoot and kickers should
be outlawed from all forms of fantasy.
If you insist on playing with field goal kickers, common sense
would tell you that focusing on those playing indoors would be
a smart move. But you can also use adverse weather conditions
to your favor, with kickers playing on teams that struggle to
move the ball in the red zone because of in climate weather.
The following picks are players that I am targeting on DraftKings
this week, with a few weather related thoughts thrown in for good
Weather won't be a concern for Matt Ryan
at home against the porous San Francisco defense.
H2H/Cash - Matt Ryan vs. San Francisco ($7,300
An MVP candidate in the midst of his best season as a pro, Matt
Ryan is one of the safest plays for cash game players this week
with the Falcons playing host to the San Francisco 49ers.
With nearly every other top tier quarterback facing tough matchups
like Brady on the road against Denver and Brees on the road against
the Cardinals, or weather issues like Rodgers and Big Ben playing
in windy and cold conditions, Ryan seems like no-brainer pick
for owners looking for a safe floor and high ceiling.
The one concern here is not the 32nd ranked 49er defense, as
Ryan will have little trouble torching San Fran in the air. A
negative game script filled with rushing touchdowns by Freeman
and Coleman, mixed with defensive touchdowns from the Atlanta
D/ST, is the only recipe I can see for a bad game from Ryan.
I mentioned in my opening that I love to target running backs
playing in snowy conditions on artificial turf, because the offensive
player in that situation as a leg up on a defense that is forced
to react to a play on a slippery field.
We saw this last week with Le’Veon Bell setting the Steelers
all-time rushing record for a game last week against Buffalo,
with 236 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries.
Tyrod Taylor’s rushing ability is something that sets him
apart from other quarterbacks and is the main reason why he has
The favorable weather conditions in Buffalo mixed with the fact
that Cleveland has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing
running backs on the year makes Tygod an interesting GPP play
A native of Hawaii who played his college ball at Oregon, Mariota
has never played in the level of cold weather expected at Arrowhead
Is it possible for Mariota to have a good game? Certainly, but
I am not willing fork out $6,500 on him when there are less expensive
options out there that are far more attractive.
Of course there is the Arrowhead narrative on how the Chiefs
are a tough team to play and home with the crowd noise, which
certainly is something to consider. But I am erring on the side
of “I want to see it first” when it comes to Mariota
playing in subzero temperatures.
H2H/Cash - LeSean McCoy vs. Cleveland ($7,300
McCoy has been one of the most consistent running backs over
the past three weeks, averaging 28 points per game as both a threat
on the ground and in the passing game.
He has totaled at least 100 total yards in all three games, including
just under 200 combined yards against Oakland Week 13.
The weather report of wind and possible snow in Orchard Park
increases his value as the Bills will likely rely heavily on the
ground game. Add in the fact that the hapless Browns defense is
30th against the run, and you have the makings of a possible monster
A knee injury will likely keep Matt Forte from playing against
the Dolphins on Saturday night, opening the door for Powell to
start against a Miami defense that has allowed the 11th most fantasy
points to opposing defenses over the past five weeks.
Don’t be surprised if Powell does not score a touchdown,
as the Dolphins have allowed only five rushing TDs on the season.
This is more of a speculation of value based on volume, as Powell
as the lead back should receive between 20 and 30 touches, and
should be able to have success in the passing game.
Ingram is a risky play this week bases on the fact that the Cardinals
have allowed only one player to rush for more than 100 yards this
season. It also doesn’t help that he has been limited this
week with toe and knee injuries.
In addition to limiting running backs on the ground, only one
running back has scored a receiving touchdown this year against
Arizona, and no running back has been able to log more than 49
receiving yards in a game.
Ingram is a touchdown dependent player against the Cardinals,
and not worth the risk when there are far more appealing plays
Nelson has scored a touchdown in all but three games this season,
including six of his last seven games dating back to Week 8.
The weather is a concern here, as the forecast calls for fairly
high winds and frigid subzero temperatures. The one way a wide
receiver overcomes weather like this is having a strong armed
quarterback that is used to playing in cold weather. A quarterback
like Aaron Rodgers.
Some players might shy away from this matchup, but I like Nelson’s
chance of hitting pay dirt once again.
Hill continues to be curiously undervalued on DraftKings despite
the fact he has scored double digit fantasy points in all but
one game since Week 7.
The Titans have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points on the
season to wide receivers and the most over the past five weeks.
Far lesser talented players like Deonte Thompson and Marquess
Wilson were able to put up great numbers at home against the Titans,
leaving little doubt in my mind that Hill will be able to do the
Back from a four-game suspension for using performance enhancing
drugs (or performance limiting drugs, depending on how you look
at it,) Jeffery returns to action this week against the Packers
He is a trendy pick on some ranking boards this week, as some
analysts anticipate him tearing it up with the hope of securing
a lucrative free agent contract this off season.
It may happen, but I am betting against it because I do not trust
Matt Barkley any further than I can throw him - and I am out of
shape and Barkley is a big man.
H2H/Cash - Tyler Eifert vs. Pittsburgh ($5,600
With four touchdowns in his last three games, including a two-touchdown
performance last week against Cleveland, Eifert has been exactly
the type of consistent performer cash game players like to target.
If A.J. Green comes back, defenses will not be able to focus
their resources on Eifert, opening the door for the former Golden
Domer to continue his touchdown streak. If Green does not play,
I still believe Eifert is a solid play based on the play action
game when the Steelers sell out to stop Jeremy Hill.
The Steelers rank in the middle of the pack against tight ends
this season, with Charles Clay, Gary Barnidge, Travis Kelce and
Gronk all finding the end zone. Look for Eifert to add his name
to this list on Sunday, with at least one score and 50 yards receiving.
Michael Floyd is gone, John Brown is still limited with sickle-cell
related issues, and Carson Palmer continues to look his way (another
7 targets against Miami last week.)
The monsoon in Miami limited the overall effectiveness of the
offense last week, but I look for Palmer and the passing game
to get back into form in the climate controlled comforts of University
of Phoenix Stadium.
Dollar for dollar, there are few players that will receive quality
targets in a matchup as advantageous as Arizona vs. New Orleans.
A favorite play of mine early in the season and someone who has
helped me win some money on DraftKings, Walker is not going to
be on any of my tickets this week with the Titans taking on the
Chiefs at Arrowhead.
With weather concerns aside, I’m not sure I would be willing
to play Walker against Kansas City even in September, as the Chiefs
are incredibly tough against tight ends.
Safety Eric Berry and the Kansas City linebacking corps have
allowed only two touchdowns this season to tight ends, with no
opposing tight end topping the 50-yard mark.
My advice is to fade Walker and spend your money on someone who
is far more likely to get multiple targets in a better offense
at a discounted price, like Jermaine Gresham.
Defensive Play of the Week
Baltimore vs. Philly ($3,100 on DraftKings)
Baltimore has six double digit fantasy games on the season, with
their latest coming two weeks ago against the Dolphins at home.
After researching these games, I found that they either came at
home or on the road against an offense that ranks near the top
in giveaways (Jacksonville and Cleveland).
Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has been a disaster on the road
lately, with five interceptions and a fumble in his two recent
road games against Seattle and Cincinnati.
Add those two factors together, and you have perfect storm for
turnovers and possible defensive scores this Sunday in Baltimore.