Fantasy Football Weather Report: Week 1

Sep 10, 2021
Fantasy Football Weather Report: Week 1

It’s the start of the fantasy season and we have so many variables to consider. Opportunity shares, passing rates, and efficiency metrics take precedence as we evaluate each matchup. Even defensive coverage trends become a weekly consideration. But not the weather. At least, not until it’s too late to react.

We’ve seen different conditions have different effects. The Raiders/Browns game in Week 8 was an extreme case. It happened again in Week 10. However, they’re obviously not the norm. Rain, snow, and wind will play their part in various games this season. Pre-game videos (sometimes hours before the game) or snapshots of field conditions won’t always give us the full story. The community’s general response is to overreact. You might even see tired narratives thrown out on social media to move you off of a player. But, usually, it is just an overreaction.

Process and Expectations

I’ve been studying weather effects since 2018. My original three-part series laid out a baseline in setting expectations and thresholds for each condition.

Since then, I’ve generated a database of games and their conditions with their on-field results. Also, to add context to game conditions, I’ve looked at other variables like stadium height, rate of precipitation, and field type. They’re not always a factor but are usually a piece of the puzzle. And I’ll be walking through how to approach the puzzle each week.

This will be a somewhat informal blog I’ll put out each week. I’ll do the first pass before the weekend with my initial thoughts, then continue to update over the weekend and into Sunday morning prior to kickoff. I’ll provide historical trends and clips from games featuring similar conditions to anchor my thoughts. It’s just Week 1 so we shouldn't have much to worry about early in the season. But it’s always good to get back into the swing of things.

Games to Monitor

Games to Monitor in Week 1
Game Temperature (Feels Like) Chance of Precipitation Wind
Broncos at Giants 83 13% 15 mph SW
Steelers at Bills 83 5% 14 mph SW

Games Impacted by Wind

BLUF (bottom line up front): I’m not even remotely worried about the weather this weekend. We’re barely touching the threshold of concern for wind in both games. Also, the chance for rain is minimal and, if it does fall, would be described as a “light drizzle” or “mist”. As of Friday, I wouldn’t make any adjustments in any game due to the weather.

Denver Broncos (23.75-point implied total) at New York Giants (20.75)

At 15 mph, the forecasted wind speed is at least worth noting just in case it ticks up over the next couple of days. Mostly so I can reinforce why it doesn’t matter. Metlife Stadium, estimated to have a height of 227 feet, is the third tallest stadium in the league and is completely enclosed. Other than walkways for fans, there are no major paths for airflow other than going up and over the stadium itself. Also, the Broncos and Giants were in the Bottom 10 for neutral pace last season. Unless we’re expecting significant shifts in play-calling, this game will go off as planned schematically.

Pittsburgh Steelers (20.75) at Buffalo Bills (27.25)

Like the DEN/NYG game, I’m adding this one to be thorough and not to cause an alarm. However, it should be noted that, unlike the Giants, the Bills don’t have the same natural barrier to shield themselves should the wind speed worsen. Highmark Stadium is the shortest stadium at 110-feet tall. It’s made conditions like 23-mph winds look much worse down on the field. In this case, a bump in wind speed would be a cause for concern but the conditions would have to take a major turn for us to get there.

9/12 Update: Windspeed remains the same for the game, but the chance for rain has increased to 58%. Additionally, the precipitation rate also borders on being significant to affect production. Maximum rainfall is expected to be 0.05 inches per hour midway through the game. For context, the early second half of the Week 8 Panthers-Falcons game featured rainfall at a similar rate. Rain was visible from both field cameras raising our concern. But it didn't affect the game. Carolina's passing rate actually increased to 81.3% as they were trailing while Atlanta's dropped to 46.2%. It's not expected to affect the game for now but Bears watching ahead of kickoff.

11:00 am Update: All clear! Winds are still holding at 14-15 mph, but the chance of rain has dipped to 37%. Storms are projected to roll in towards the backend of the game and won't pick up until well after the game is over. Unless anything changes, we can proceed as normal.

About Author