by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 12-02-2016 18:00
|Matt’s Value Players:|
$5,200 price tag of Fitz is so cheap for a guy going against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. As for Hill, at this price combined with the touches he should get now that Gio Bernard is out makes Hill a tremendous value play. In what will be a colossal shootout for Detroit at New Orleans, there is going to be plenty of looks to go around and Jones will see close to a dozen of them. McDonald has emerged as one of the go-to guys for San Francisco now and averaging just over six targets since week seven puts him in a good spot as a cheap daily play.
|Will’s Value Players:|
or only $5,300 and going against a Miami D that was absolutely torched by Kaep, Flacco is a great play with likely a low percentage in ownership. Starks is the top dog in GB’s ground game but he hasn’t put up Lacy-like numbers just yet. Houston’s defense is good but not great and with flurries in the Sunday forecast, Starks has a chance to see 20+ touches and finally prove to coaches that the Packers no longer need to keep trading for RB’s. Like Shepard who’s a must-start, Cruz is a sneaky play in daily and against Pittsburgh’s weak secondary, he could easily go off with all eyes on OBJ. Green was the Steelers’ big off season acquisition and made his debut last week against Indianapolis. He should play more of a role this week now that he’s back to full health.
Matt’s Pick: OAK -3 vs BUF
Oakland’s offense will be too much for the Bills. McCoy and company will fade later in the second half allowing the Raiders to put this one away. Lock it up!
Will’s Pick: ARI -2.5 vs WAS
On the road, Washington isn’t very impressive defensively on the road and Palmer has averaged two touchdowns a game over the last four weeks. Arizona is finally getting it together, probably too little too late, but all of a sudden they’ve looked like the threatening team we expected to see week one.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 12-02-2016 00:00
Start ‘em: Phillip Rivers, Colin Kaepernick
Tampa has been above average against the run this year and I see them forcing San Diego to thrown a ton in a potential shootout. He has a high floor this Sunday, have no fear.
Kaep looked like his old self last week against a decent Miami defense that allowed him to rack up over 110 yards rushing on top of his 296 through the air. With rain in Chicago’s forecast, Kaep could end up with 10+ carries.
Sit ‘em: Ryan Tannehill, Trevor Siemian
Baltimore is going to force Tannehill to throw the ball rather than letting the Dolphins run on them. I do not see him winning you any match ups this week.
Jacksonville’s D has eight sacks in the last two weeks and Denver’s o-line is looking shaky. With drizzle expected on Sunday, Siemian might not be taking as many deep shots down field as he normally does.
Start ‘em: Matt Forte, Jordan Howard
Simply put, Indianapolis just flat out stinks on defense this season. I can see Forte getting into the endzone this week and adding a few catches as well.
Even though SF held Miami to under 100 yards rushing last week, the Niners D has seen three teams rack up over 240 yards on the ground already this season. With Barkley under center in Chicago, Howard might end up seeing 30+ touches in the rain.
Sit ‘em: Frank Gore, Jonathan Stewart
The Jets have a stout front seven that should eat the Colts’ line alive. I do not anticipate Gore going off in this spot.
Stewart is a tough guy to sit because he dominates all the carries in Carolina but the Panthers will struggle mightily against Seattle’s stout rushing defense in the rain. If J-Stew couldn’t produce against LA’s tough front seven, expect similar disappointing results against the Seahawks.
Start ‘em: Emmanuel Sanders, Sterling Shepard
Sanders has seen double digit targets in three of the last four weeks. Look for plenty of the same here against Jacksonville.
It’s no secret that Pittsburgh’s secondary is mediocre at best and regularly get lit up against strong passing teams like the Giants. Despite the crummy conditions, Shepard will see a ton of targets with safeties keeping tabs on Odell Beckham Jr. all afternoon.
Sit ‘em: Jarvis Landry, Kelvin Benjamin
With one touchdown all season and seeing less targets than last year means Landry’s upside is limited. Find someone else because there’s a good chance you will be disappointed by this play.
Like J-Stew, another tough playmaker to sit from Carolina’s offense but as USA Today’s Steve Gardner mentioned last week that the power of Richard Sherman is one to be feared as he allows a league-low 59.1 passer rating heading into week 12. There are better options in better weather games than Benjamin this week.
Start ‘em: Cameron Brate, CJ Fiedorowicz
Behind Mike Evans, Brate is the top receiving threat in Tampa’s passing attack. With clear skies in San Diego’s forecast, Winston will be airing it out early and often against the Charger’s swiss cheese D.
Houston will be down in this game and will have to pass a ton. Since Week five, CJ has not seen less than six targets. I like him a lot here..
Sit ‘em: Julius Thomas, Jack Doyle
Thomas is banged up and only saw five targets last week at Detroit who’s terrible against defending TE’s. Even if he suits up, he won’t be much of a factor against a solid Denver D.
With Allen back and the Jets pretty fair against the tight end, I see this play as a recipe for disaster. Anyone but Doyle will do.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 12-01-2016 18:00
They were ten picks apart from each other in the 2004 draft and share four Super Bowls between them.
To some, they already have an in to the Hall of Fame at the end of their decorated and memorable careers. But on Sunday when the weather conditions will be anything but favorable in the damp and dreary Steel City, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning will clash in what will be a classic heavyweight bout in the rain between two of the league’s most storied franchises.
According to NFLWeather.com, a drizzle is expected and temperatures will be in the high-30’s at kickoff but come fourth quarter, it will likely dip below freezing (just like we saw when Pittsburgh hosted Dallas two weeks ago). As of Wednesday, the wind didn’t seem to be much of a factor but the open end zone at Heinz Field is notorious for creating a wind tunnel and causing major trouble for either side’s kicking game. The real issue could be freezing rain as the temperature plummets and once that happens, snow could make a second half appearance.
The visiting New York Giants (8-3) have played in plenty of weather impacted games over the last few seasons but the difference between their performances at home and away is night and day. Since 2009 in rain games, the Giants are 5-4 but only 1-3 on the road. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, offensively the team averages almost 29 points per game at home compared to only 17 on the road.
One might speculate this 12 point difference could be because the team wants to run the ball more in an effort to win the time of possession battle while decreasing the possibility of throwing an interception. However, statistics show that on average Manning drops back only 29 times per game at home versus 43 on the road. Could this be from having to play catch up on the road thus having to abandon the run earlier than expected? Not likely, because New York is a traditionally tough rushing team to stop in crummy conditions. Since 2013 in poor weather outings, Big Blue is 3-0 when handing the ball off 35 times or more.
Over the last few seasons Pittsburgh (6-5) has also had plenty of ground game success in the rain. Since 2013 when Le’Veon Bell entered the league, the Steelers are 5-1 in the rain while averaging roughly 115 rushing yards per outing. Of those six, Bell only played in three and has managed 270 yards from 50 carries. He’ll be a major factor in both the running and passing attack but don’t count out his veteran backup returning to full health, DeAngelo Williams. USA Today’s Steve Gardner mentioned in a recent piece that he’s a must-have handcuff in fantasy leagues and given Bell’s history of injuries late in the year, Williams could end up being the guy down the stretch. He’s also been a stud in rain games, racking up 127 yards on 21 carries against New England last season.
But the main man in Pittsburgh’s rain game attack is still Big Ben. Since 2009, the Steelers are 10-4 in the rain and haven’t lost at Heinz Field in a drizzle since 2010. Not to mention, over those 14 games the offense has averaged just under 24 points per game but at home the average leaps to 30 ppg. Against New York’s shaky D, Roethlisberger is going to spread the ball around but it’s still safe to assume Antonio Brown will easily see over 10 targets. Keep an eye on a healthy Ladarius Green, Pittsburgh’s big off-season acquisition who made his debut on Thanksgiving.
Neither of the two teams sits atop their divisions yet this still feels like perennial Super Bowl matchup. Pittsburgh and New York are the only two franchises in NFL history to win the Super Bowl as a six seed. They’re two teams that are impossible to write off and frightening to go up against in the postseason. Here’s to hoping these two link up in Houston in a couple months, under slightly more ideal weather conditions.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-23-2016 21:00
A pivotal battle for the AFC West summit alongside Oakland is on the line when the Kansas City Chiefs visit their heated and hated rivals, the Denver Broncos in what the forecast is calling close to freezing temperatures in the Mile High City.
According to NFLWeather.com, temps will start in the lower 40’s and trickle down close to freezing for Sunday evening’s kickoff. Both the wind and wind chill shouldn’t be much of a problem, topping out around 6-8mph. Precipitation is currently 0% but who knows what could happen come Sunday, we’ve seen some flurries in a handful of games already but right around this time of year is when the Denver home games regularly feature weather issues.
About two weeks ago, we started to see NFL games dip into arctic-like conditions. The cold weather hit the rust belt hard last week, where Pittsburgh at Cleveland and Buffalo at Cincinnati endured below freezing temps and all four offenses struggled tremendously. The most concerning stat was that in both those games a total of three extra points were missed. Despite the thin air from the high altitude in Denver, the kicking game could really be an issue on Sunday.
But both Denver (7-3) and Kansas City (7-3) are plenty familiar with competing in the cold. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Chiefs are 4-2 since 2013 when the temperature dips below 32-degrees with Denver 5-2 over the same span. In 2014, both sides battled in less than ideal winter conditions with the Broncos escaping KC with a 29-16 road win.
This might be Denver’s first cold weather impacted matchup this season and it certainly won’t be the last. Rookie QB Trevor Siemian has already played in a weather-related game this season but the team focused on the running game tallying 32 total carries. Coming off a bye, the well-rested Broncos offense will be looking to do the exact same against a KC D that allows over 120 rushing yards per game. Devontae Booker will be the workhorse and will easily see 20+ touches but that doesn’t mean Denver is going to avoid Siemian taking shots downfield. The Chief’s D just isn’t what it used to be so if they stack the box, Emmanuel Sanders and Demeryius Thomas will have an absolute field day despite the frigid temps.
Kansas City might not have the most intimidating or high octane offenses in the league, but KC does have one of the most consistent QB’s in crummy conditions. Veteran Alex Smith is notorious for protecting the pigskin and making smart decisions, and in his six career games with the Chiefs in freezing temperatures he’s only tossed five INT’s and fumbled once compared to his eight touchdowns. Smith has a completion percentage of 64% in the cold and 167 yards on average per game, not the most herculean numbers but enough to get the win.
The Chiefs backfield has taken a number of hits this season but Spencer Ware has seized his opportunity and has done everything but cool off. Charcandrick West will get a handful of touches if he’s healthy but West didn’t practice Wednesday so his status is looking grim. In his last seven games, Ware has averaged roughly 16 carries and will see substantially more than that on Sunday night. Like West, Jeremy Maclin didn’t practice and if the Chief’s most dynamic offensive threat can’t go, all eyes are on Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to cause problems in Denver’s secondary.
This is a must win game for both sides trying to keep pace with the 8-2 division-leading Raiders. A win simply means the division title is within grasp while a loss indicates plenty of work needs to be done to even be mentioned in the AFC West title discussion. Sunday night we have a bitter rivalry in the bitter cold to look forward to, what more could you ask for? Well, maybe a change of pace from the Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-19-2016 10:00
|Matt’s Value Players:|
Green Bay is so bad against the pass and Cousins is very good at home. If DeSean Jackson misses this game, feel free to pair him up with Pierre Garcon ($3900) to give you ultimate flexibility. A WR turned RB here is a great value. Easing Rawls back into the game is highly probable which gives more touches to CJ Prosise. More of a cash game option here, but either way there is value. Alex Smith hates down field throws which is a fact. That combined with Maclin being out gives Hill an advantage and the opportunity to possibly see more than the 13 targets he saw last week. Get Ty “freak” on your roster. McDonald has seen 18 total targets in the last 3 games. The 49ers will be playing from behind and I see many garbage time points here. A slight gamble but he will be low owned and a great pivot from Martellus Bennett.
|Will’s Value Players:|
Bortles has become the king of garbage time points in fantasy. His team might be atrocious but the young QB still consistently racks up respectable numbers. For the price, he’s a solid play. Pittsburgh allows on average over 100 yards rushing and this week will be no different. The injury bug is plaguing the Steelers and the Crow will benefit tremendously. The Browns won’t get their first win but Crowell is in for a career day. There was a time when it appeared rookie Tyler Boyd would emerge as the number two option behind AJ Green but the veteran LaFell has impressed all season. He’s dirty cheap and he’ll see close to 8-10 targets, making him a phenomenal buy for four G’s. Lastly, the reliable veteran Witten seems to have great chemistry with his rookie QB. Baltimore has a solid defensive unit so Dak will look to his security blanket early and often.
Matt’s Pick: SEA -6.5 vs PHI
Ok so I messed up last week. My bad! But do you think the Hawks are gonna let Philly do anything offensively? I do not. Lock. Of. The. Week.
Will’s Pick: GB +3 @ WAS
After surrendering 47 points on the road to Tennessee last week, there’s no way Green Bay can play any worse this time around. Washington at home this season has yet to hold its opposition to under 20 points and with the Pack getting +3 this week, it’s tough to see them lose by more than that in DC.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-19-2016 09:00
Start ‘em: Andy Dalton, Derek Carr
With the shuffling of the Bills secondary during their bye week combined with the fact that Eifert is healthy, I see Dalton having a nice day here and a good fill in QB if your starter has a bye.
Houston has a top-five defensive unit but the altitude in Mexico City could play a role in negatively affecting the defensive backs like it did in week seven. Having already lost once in Denver’s high altitude venue where a Trevor Siemian-lead offense put up 29 points, Carr could end up having a career day south of the border.
Sit ‘em: Carson Wentz, Jameis Winston
In his last four games, Wentz has managed to cough up six fumbles and toss four picks. The rookie’s stock has been fading fast and with rain in Sunday’s forecast against Seattle’s punishing defense, Wentz is in for a long and disappointing afternoon.
Winston is headed to Arrowhead where the Chiefs D is always tough. Think elsewhere here.
Start ‘em: Isaiah Crowell, Robert Kelly
With near freezing temperatures and 25mph winds, the passing game for both Pittsburgh and Cleveland will struggle mightily along the banks of Lake Erie this week. Now that defensive end Cameron Heyward out for the Steelers, Pittsburgh’s mediocre run defense might end up getting burned in the cold by a winless rival.
Kelly is a great bye week sub and will see the majority of the carries in a potential shootout.
Sit ‘em: Latavius Murray, Doug Martin
Houston has a pretty legit run defense and I can see Murray stalling out in the high altitude in Mexico. Not so sure he can keep his same output like he did against Denver.
Finally activated for a mouthwatering matchup against a KC D that allows over 120 rushing yards per game but Martin is by no means a lock to get 20+ touches. The coaching staff will be monitoring him closely and it’s not like Tampa’s rushing attack has been anything to be feared.
Start ‘em: Doug Baldwin, Robert Woods
The secondary for the Eagles has been quite poor, giving up way too many big plays. The Sea Chickens are passing a lot more these days and look for Baldwin to be the beneficiary.
If Woods can put up the numbers he did against Seattle’s secondary, he shouldn’t have any issues tormenting Cincinnati’s average-at-best DB’s. Weather looks to be a nonfactor this week and if the Bengals keep eight in the box to shadow McCoy or even Taylor, Woods will have a handful of chances for big play opportunities.
Sit ‘em: Jordan Matthews, DeVante Parker
His rookie QB is heading to Seattle where it is not a friendly place to play. I don’t see Matthews being successful at all here.
Even with Jarvis Landry dinged up and perfect passing conditions expected in Los Angeles on Sunday, Parker still can’t be trusted. With Pouncey out, Tannehill could be under pressure from LA’s stellar D-line all afternoon.
Start ‘em: Zach Miller, CJ Fiedorowicz
Jay Cutler’s favorite target is suspended. Enter his 2nd favorite, Zach Miller. The Bears will be down this game and will be required to pass a lot. There is a legitimate chance he sees double digit targets Sunday.
Fiedorowicz has been a pleasant surprise in Houston’s passing game while superstar DeAndre Hopkins has been virtually nonexistent. Oakland’s defense can’t keep a team under 300 yards passing and Monday night in Mexico City will be no different.
Sit ‘em: Cameron Brate, Zach Ertz
KC’s defense is so good against the TE due to the greatness of Eric Berry. FIND SOMEONE ELSE.
Ertz draws Cam Chancellor this week. Who else is on the waiver wire?
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-19-2016 08:00
Four years have passed since the Philadelphia Eagles last competed in a rain game and come Sunday, they’ll have an uphill battle against a stout Seattle Seahawks side that spends half the year in a seemingly endless monsoon.
According to NFLWeather.com, rain is expected to hit the Pacific Northwest all weekend with swirling winds topping out around 10-12 mph and temperatures in the mid-50s. CenturyLink Field is no stranger to rain, having hosted 10 rain games since 2011, but with a FieldTurf playing surface it’s unlikely the field would get slick. The ball on the other hand, well, we’ll find out early if Carson Wentz did any damp-football prep work before this massive NFC showdown.
The rookie quarterback was outstanding early on but has tapered off the last few weeks which most fans and experts alike expected. The Seahawks defense might get to him a little but the elements shouldn’t, having played his college ball at frigid North Dakota State University. Wentz has yet to play in a weather impacted professional game so it’s yet to be seen if the coaching staff trusts him to drop back 30+ times but through week 11 he’s averaged almost 35 passing attempts per game. However, with a total of four interceptions and six fumbles over the last four weeks, a turnover is almost as much a guarantee in this game as the impending rain itself.
To take the pressure off the young franchise QB, the unpredictable running back committee of Ryan Matthews, Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood will be relied upon heavily to eat up clock against a front seven that surrenders less than 100 yards rushing on a weekly basis. Sproles has emerged as the more versatile back and is especially dangerous in the passing game. With a drizzle looming, short passing routes will be Philly’s focus and Sproles has been targeted 26 times in his last three games.
Seattle (6-2-1) on the other hand, has an experienced QB in Russell Wilson who historically has thrived in weather-related games. Armed with an accurate cannon and quick, decisive footwork, the former Wisconsin Badger is a multi-tool weapon at Pete Carroll’s disposal. As unpredictable as the weather in Seattle, Carroll’s game plan for utilizing his QB’s arm is next to impossible to plan for.
According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics Database, in four of the Seahawks’ last nine poor weather outings, Wilson has dropped back 19 times or less. In the other five, he’s averaged over 30 passing attempts. He might be a tough guy to bank on in daily fantasy, but he’s a lock for pulling out a win in crummy climates.
As equally as unpredictable as Wilson’s rain game performances is who will be the top wide-out in Seattle’s passing attack? Doug Baldwin consistently sees plenty of action while Tyler Lockett is still battling back to full health, but Jimmy Graham has risen up as Wilson’s most trusted target. Primary RB entering the season, Thomas Rawls, has returned but will compete with C.J. Prosise has the lead back for week 11. With rain in the forecast and uncertainty in the backfield, Graham is the lone must-start this week.
Philadelphia’s (5-4) been fading fast but a big win on the west coast could turn around this downward spiral. We saw it before when a dismal Rams team stormed into Seattle last year and shocked the ‘Hawks in the rain. If Case Keenum can pull it off, why can’t Wentz?
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-12-2016 12:30
|Matt’s Value Players:|
Cousins has been very good at home and tripling his point per dollar basis in every start. Jordan Reed coming back also helps out his numbers. In a smash mouth game, this is where Blount excels. Seattle has a banged up defense and he’ll receive all the goal line carries. Bumped up to #2 on the depth chart and playing the porous 49’ers team, I see Nelson returning his value here and more. With Gronk possibly being guarded by the returning Cam Chancellor, I see Bennett as a good option that will not be highly owned. Take a chance!
|Will’s Value Players:|
If you have Blake Bortles as your starting fantasy QB, you’ve experienced some unexpected highs and lows. He might not be the best QB to lean on but it’s astonishing how many points he racks up in garbage time. For dirt cheap and with the likelihood of 40+ passing attempts, he’s a solid cheap play this week. Time and time again Matt Jones has missed out on the opportunity to impress as the lead back in Washington. Coach Gruden handed the job over to Kelly so let’s see what he can do this week as the top dog. Stephon Diggs went off last week so all eyes will be on him, leaving the speedy and versatile Patterson looking at single coverage all day. Lastly, McDonald had a tremendous week last week and even though he might not be able to replicate that performance, he may have just earned some respect and trust from Kaep. He’ll see plenty of targets again this week.
Matt’s Pick: ATL +2 @ PHI
Atlanta has a great offense that is firing on all cylinders. They will outscore Philly here and that’s all that matters. Good golly miss molly I am hooking you up here!.
Will’s Pick: TB +1.5 vs CHI
I’m not saying Chicago’s victory last week was a fluke, but there’s no way they can replicate that defensive performance against an offense with tremendous aerial weapons. We could see a career day here for Winston and if that’s the case, Chicago is hopeless on Sunday.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-12-2016 12:00
Start ‘em: Eli Manning, Jameis Winston
Manning has an average low total point at home this year of 16 in fantasy. Cincinnati is exploitable in the secondary where they do not have a person that can cover OBJ 1-on-1. Look for Eli to perform well in this spot.
The former Heisman Trophy winner might not be able to carry a fantasy team on his own, but he’s a formidable backup when your #1 QB is unavailable. With players like Luck, Stafford, and Carr on a bye, Winston is a solid waiver wire grab.
Sit ‘em: Ryan Tannehill, Jay Cutler
A week after recommending Tannehill, I believe to you should stay away this week. If he can’t even perform well at home against the Jets secondary, what do you expect from him in week ten? Quite frankly, he is just not that good.
As mentioned above, there is a trio of top QB’s on a bye this week and while free agents like Winston might be available to pick up, Jay Cutler isn’t. Steer clear of this fading veteran.
Start ‘em: Paul Perkins, DeVontae Booker
Last week, Perkins split carries with Rashad Jennings and was easily more effective. With the coaches talking about getting him more involved, I could easily envision 15 touches at least. He’s a decent flex fill in during the bye week for some solid teams.
Once CJ Anderson went down, few people saw what John Fox saw in Booker. Against a high-octane New Orleans offense in the dome, the Broncos need balance and eating up the clock while Brees is on the sidelines is a recipe for victory against the Saints.
Sit ‘em: Spencer Ware, Christine Michael
Kind of a crazy call but I could totally see Carolina stacking the box and making Alex Smith throw it here. Now that Ware is coming back from a concussion, will they give him the majority of the touches? I might not want to take a chance here.
He’s been a workhorse all season but against New England’s stout front seven with a banged up o-line, Michael will struggle to find seems between the tackles. Not to mention, there’s a good chance they’ll be playing catchup against Tom Terrific.
Start ‘em: Julian Edelman, Alshon Jeffery
Speaking of Brady, Tom is not going to have all the time in the world here. Shorter routes and quicker plays will allow Edelman to be that guy for the Pats. Ten targets here is not out of the question.
Boy, we’ve really been hating on this guy for the last couple of weeks. But against Tampa’s secondary and weather a nonfactor, I’m not saying Cutler will have great day but Jeffery might put up the 100-yard receiving numbers we’ve come to expect.
Sit ‘em: DeAndre Hopkins, John Brown
I know since you drafted him so high he is a must start. Eh, I just can’t expect much here. Jalen Ramsey is only a rookie but has been pretty affective shadowing team’s #1 receiver. Please also let me remind you the Brock-star is just flat out wet sand for his offensive weapons.
This guy is plummeting down the depth chart. Even against the 49er’s atrocious defense, John Brown is a must sit. Honestly, cut him loose for a waiver wire wideout with a higher ceiling.
Start ‘em: Delanie Walker, Zach Miller
In a shootout, every player is in play in the Tennessee offense but especially Walker. He is Mariota’s favorite target and his floor will be very high in this one.
Miller is still seeing plenty of targets week in and week out and Tampa is notorious for surrendering TD’s to TE’s. Play him.
Sit ‘em: Travis Kelce, Kyle Rudolph
Going out on a limb here but I believe this game will be very slow paced and I see limited opportunities for Kelce. Maybe look elsewhere.
Rudolph has become the quintessential touchdown dependent tight end but it’s doubtful he’ll snag one here. Sit the big man.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-11-2016 10:00
Once considered to be the NFL’s greatest rivalry, having clashed in a pair of Super Bowls during the 1970s and again in 1995; the Steelers and the Cowboys are a classic heavyweight bout and for this particular round with a fall chill in the air, both storied franchises are sitting atop their respected divisions. The stage seems very fitting for two organizations that share 11 Super Bowl victories between them.
According to NFLWeather.com, clear skies are currently in the forecast for Sunday’s late afternoon kickoff at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Temperatures will linger in the lower-50s but come fourth quarter, temps could dip into the 40s with a wind chill that could feel close to freezing. With Heinz Field’s open end zone, along the banks of the Ohio River, once the wind picks up the kicking game notoriously turns to absolute rubbish that will likely be the case Sunday evening.
Dallas (7-1) has been red hot all season but once the temperature dips into the 40s or below, the Cowboys are 8-10 since 2010. In fact, the last time Dallas played in Pittsburgh was a frigid December night in 2008 where the Steelers scored 17 unanswered fourth quarter points en route to an improbable comeback. It didn’t help the Cowboys’ cause that Deshea Townsend picked off Tony Romo and returned it to the house for the go-ahead TD with less than two minutes in regulation.
Speaking of Romo, whether it’s the veteran or rookie sensation Dak Prescott under center, Dallas will rely heavily on their bruising rookie running back who leads the entire league in rushing, Ezekiel Elliot. Dallas averages over 185 rushing yards per game and against Pittsburgh’s front seven that surrenders just under 100 rushing yards per game, if the Cowboys can find daylight between the tackles and dominate the time of possession battle then the Steelers are in big trouble. Pittsburgh has also struggled to shut down the tight end and top wide-outs all season so expect Jason Witten and Dez Bryant to see 10+ targets a piece.
Pittsburgh (4-4) doesn’t feel like a .500 team but having only played one full game with all three of their coveted offensive weapons (Big Ben, AB, Bell), the offense just isn’t as intimidating or effective without one of their three playmakers. However, when cold weather is a factor, the offense doesn’t seem to cool down, averaging over 25 points per game since 2012. Much of this can be contributed to their immovable QB.
It’s tough to find a better quarterback for games in crummy playing conditions than Ben Roethlisberger. The veteran QB has a 6’ 5’’ frame and looks seemingly impossible to bring down while he’s shaking off defenders and extending plays. The two-time Super Bowl winner might not be the most graceful scrambler, but he somehow manages to get the win when it matters most. Even in unfavorable passing conditions, he’s led Pittsburgh to an 8-2 record in his last ten weather impacted matchups and 10-4 in freezing conditions since 2009.
According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Big Ben averages roughly 33 passing attempts in weather impacted matchups and over 240 yards per game over the last six seasons. He’s also thrown for 21 touchdowns over that span and astonishingly only four interceptions. He looked atrocious last week but beat writers in Pittsburgh suspected he came back a week too early. A healthier Ben means plenty more offensive production from Antonio Brown and his new favorite red zone target, tight end Jesse James.
Here’s to hoping this is a Super Bowl preview but don’t expect it. A fourth meeting between two respected franchises in the Super Bowl would be both historic and riveting, but it isn’t going to happen. In a game featuring two elite running backs and mediocre [at best] defensive units, the weather might be brisk but the intensity will be electric.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-04-2016 17:00
|Matt’s Value Players:|
San Diego’s secondary is very beatable and I love the rushing upside to Mariota. This will give you flexibility to spend elsewhere. To go with 11 rushing attempts, Riddick also had 11 targets in the passing game. Detroit might have to play catch up here and he is a perfect back for that role. Over the last three weeks, Hurns has seen 29 targets. Garbage time points here are almost certain. Back from injury and in his first game Ebron sees 10 targets. Stafford is going to be forced to throw a ton here and why not use this player and price to move up for a more expensive RB?
|Will’s Value Players:|
He was mediocre at best last week on the road in Chicago but Sam Bradford is very much capable of bouncing back week nine at home against a Detroit secondary that’s surrendered a league-high 19 passing TD’s. For the absolute lowest price a QB can be in daily, and over his last four games averaging 36 per outing, Bradford is the frugal buy that enables you to stack your lineup with superstars at other positions. It was evident during his absence that no one in Oakland’s backfield can quite do the job that Latavius Murray does. Denver has a tough D but Murray will still get plenty of touches and 100% of all the goalline opportunities. Golden Tate over the last few weeks has emerged as the top wideout in Detroit like we all expected. The Lions offense will have trouble on the ground against Minnesota’s front seven so expect another 40+ passing attempt game from Matthew Stafford. With Ben Roethlisberger expected to be under center, James won’t have to pass protect nearly as much as he did last week with Landry Jones under center. Ben’s new favorite redzone target will see plenty of action against Baltimore.
Matt’s Pick: NO -3 @ SF
My spidey senses say take New Orleans -3 in San Fran. The 49ers can’t even seem to stop a cold. If Tampa can storm into Santa Clara a few weeks ago and cover 2, the Saints are more than capable of doing the same. This game could get ugly quick.
Will’s Pick: PIT +2.5 @ BAL
Three of the last four meetings in Baltimore have come down to a field goal and as of late Thursday afternoon, all signs are pointing to Big Ben being under center for this bitter AFC North rivalry. Expect a low scoring game here but with all the offensive firepower in Pittsburgh’s offense, the pressure is on the Baltimore D to contain AB and company.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-04-2016 16:00
Start ‘em: Nick Foles, Dak Prescott
Foles is a high risk option if you have a QB on bye this week, but he’s not afraid to throw it deep and KC is still favored by 9. I like him here.
What a story Prescott has been all season, marching Dallas to an impressive 6-1 record. Against Cleveland’s atrocious D with zero weather concerns, Prescott will give us at least one more solid performance before the return of Tony Romo. Side note, might be a tame atmosphere if Cleveland fans still haven’t gotten over the heartbreak from Wednesday’s Game Seven.
Sit ‘em: Derek Carr, Russell Wilson
Carr was unstoppable last week against Tampa Bay, torching the Bucs for four TD’s and over 500 passing yards. But this week against Denver’s top shelf D and with rain a possibility in the East Bay, don’t expect to see last week’s numbers in this heavyweight bout between bitter division rivals.
Ok, hear me out… Yes, he is at home against the Saints, but keep this in mind... The Saints are more prone to allowing rushing TD’s in the red zone as opposed to giving it up thru the air. Temper expectations here.
Start ‘em: Jonathan Stewart, Derrick Henry
Four TD’s in the last two games?! Ya, that’s right! Protecting Cam is clearly what’s happening here. Carolina will be moving the ball Sunday and I like Stewart’s high floor.
With DeMarco Murray nursing a hamstring injury, Henry could see a massive increase in his workload. If by some chance Murray doesn’t suit up, this week at sunny San Diego could be the former Heisman Trophy winner’s breakout game.
Sit ‘em: Todd Gurley, Frank Gore
I believe Carolina will use all of its resources to shut down Gurley. They will force Case Keenum to beat them.
On the road against a Green Bay D that on average allows less than 75 rushing yards per game, Gore will be touchdown dependent for week nine. He’ll still see over 15 touches but don’t expect a 90+ yard afternoon from the veteran back despite the favorable weather conditions.
Start ‘em: Terrelle Pryor, Donte Moncrief
If you haven’t figured it out by now, Pryor is a must start when he’s healthy. He’s hogging all the targets, he’s getting the occasional carry and he’s even lining up under center. He’s the lone weapon in Cleveland’s offense and everything is being routed through him. Nothing will change on Sunday with clear skies expected in Cleveland.
TY is a little banged up and this game is going to be a shootout. There are plenty of opportunities here to score and seeing double digit targets is a great possibility.
Sit ‘em: Allen Robinson, Doug Baldwin
Robinson has not returned to last year’s form and now heads into Arrowhead on Sunday. KC’s defense will stifle Bortles and I see this one being a long day for Jacksonville.
At home against a Buffalo secondary that allows over 240 passing yards per game, Baldwin isn’t a terrible play but he’s not going to be the difference-maker in your fantasy lineup. There’s plenty of wideouts with high-ceilings this week and Baldwin just isn’t one of them with rain a possibility in Seattle Monday night.
Start ‘em: Hunter Henry, Gary Barnidge
After two down games, I like Henry here at home against Tennessee with zero weather concerns. I believe this game will be a high scoring affair and if Henry gets his expected targets, he will do very well for you this week.
As defenses hone in on doubling up on Pryor, Barnidge can really thrive in the redzone with the secondary’s focus mostly on the Cleveland playmaker. A healthy Pryor only means attention is off Barnidge and the likelihood for more targets only increases.
Sit ‘em: Julius Thomas, Coby Fleener
Back to praising the KC defense here where the Chiefs are one of the best against the tight end. Look elsewhere.
Aside from only a pair of solid performances this season, the new Saints TE has been more of a disappointment than anything else. New Orleans shouldn’t have any issues moving the ball against SF but averaging only four targets a game over the last four games, Fleener just isn’t as integral a part of the NO offense as we all had hoped for.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-03-2016 18:00
The Oakland Raiders are primed to host their most pivotal home game in roughly a decade. Knowing how inconsistent the Bay Area weather can be, the visiting Denver Broncos could be in for a chilly and/or damp evening but most importantly, the AFC West summit is on the line Sunday night.
According to NFLWeather.com, temperatures will dip into the high-50s for the evening kickoff at the Oakland Coliseum with minimal wind expected. There’s currently about a 20% chance of precipitation, as of Tuesday ,but Bay Area weather can be unpredictable and sporadic so despite party cloudy being the current forecast, there’s a decent chance the east bay could see some drizzle. It feels like every season the Raiders host an absolute mud bowl on their battered bluegrass playing surface and hopefully Sunday night’s heavyweight divisional bout will provide us fans with another.
After hiding in mediocrity for so many years, who in their right mind would have thought that Oakland would be sitting at 6-2 right now?!?! The Raiders are fifth in the league in total offense with over 400 yards per game and average over 285 passing yards. However, having already played in and lost one weather impacted game, 26-10, at home to Kansas City in the rain; it was glaringly apparent the offense was struggling to battle both the elements and the Chiefs’ mediocre defense.
Another concern is the Raiders are 3-5 in rain games since 2009, according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics. Of those games, quarterback Derek Carr has been under center in three and posts a career rain game record of 1-2. But, miserable weather and a little drizzle doesn’t seem to deter Carr from dropping back on average in weather-related games over 36 times. He also still manages to average at least one TD per game. Even with his decent passing stats, Carr will still be handing the ball off plenty to a now healthy Latavius Murray, but expect Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper to get still their targets regardless of playing conditions.
Denver (6-2) has also played in a rain game already this season, thumbing the Buccaneers 27-7 after an excruciatingly long weather delay. During that nonconference road win, despite racking up 32 total carries, the team only rushed for 89 total yards. It was clear the offensive game plan was to take the pressure off first year starter Trevor Siemian but the former Northwestern QB still managed to thrive in the crummy conditions prior to exiting the game with a shoulder injury. Backup Paxton Lynch came in and picked up where Siemian left off, leading the Denver offense downfield with ease en route to Denver’s fourth win of the season. The two QBs combined for 19 completions from 31 attempts while finding the endzone twice and accumulating 218 total passing yards. Not bad for a pair of inexperienced quarterbacks.
With CJ Anderson done for the year, the Broncos rushing attack will now relay on Devontae Booker to carry the load. Booker, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and has scored in each of his last two games, is an ideal bruising back for goal line and short yardage situations yet he’s still surprisingly shifty and elusive. In only two games, Booker has earned defense’s respect and if Oakland starts putting eight or nine defenders in the box, Siemian will have a field day finding Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders tormenting a secondary that surrenders over 285 passing yards per game.
When Denver hosts Oakland on New Year’s Day, it’s probably safe to assume weather will be a factor in that week 17 battle. But week nine in the East Bay might feature far from flawless conditions. If that’s the case, points might be hard to come by but big, tenacious hits certainly won’t be in this heated and bitter division rivalry.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-28-2016 10:30
|Matt’s Value Players:|
Tampa has a pretty decent run defense. This will be a high scoring affair where both team will be throwing a ton. I see Carr going low owned here in big tourneys so take a chance on a QB with zero weather conditions. As for Freeman, is $6,500 really a value play at this price? Absolutely! He is guaranteed all the touches since Tevin Coleman will be out. He’ll have at least 25 touches including a few catches and with all that being said in a possible shootout? This is value. Same goes for Cole Beasley who’s lowest point total is 10 this year. With Dez back, I think this will open more room up for Beasley and I predict his ownership drops this week making him a sneaky play. C.J. Fiedorowicz, say that five times. A big target Osweiler has been relying on heavily this season. His targets are getting more and more consistent and also note Detroit is awful in shutting down the tight end. This price will allow you to construct a lineup with more high priced players.
|Will’s Value Players:|
At home against a Detroit defense that this season has on averaged surrendered over 270 passing yards per game, the Houston offense should have no issues extending drives if they continue to spread the ball as much as they do. Osweiler has been a wildcard all season but $5,400 is a modest price for a QB that could potentially put up top-10 fantasy numbers. The Cleveland backfield has been unpredictable all season but it’s apparent that The Crow is the more reliable rusher and is regularly expected to get more carries. A $3,700 price tag is a steal for a starting RB. Last week was a tough game for Jordy Nelson fans as Devonta Adams, Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery stole the show. Adams is far from a one-hit wonder and will be targeted heavily on Sunday. Atlanta once again has one of the NFC’s most high octane offenses. While secondary’s keep constant tabs on Julio Jones, Tamme has thrived in the redzone. In this high scoring matchup, he’s a TD or bust play and for under $3,000, that’s a gamble worth taking.
Matt’s Pick: PHI +4.5 @ DAL
In the last six games at Dallas, the Eagles are 5-1. This will be a close game, as a lot of divisional matchups are and this game will come down to a field goal. You are all welcome again for another lock of the week.
Will’s Pick: NE -6 @ BUF
With rain in the forecast, historically Tom Terrific is lights out in crummy conditions. If Shady McCoy can’t go, the Buffalo offense is hopeless on Sunday. The Pats should easily pick up a second straight road win and bring the Bills back to .500.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-28-2016 10:00
Start ‘em: Sam Bradford, Trevor Siemian
With so many teams on bye this week, you might find yourself with the need to stream a few players. Bradford is in a good spot here in week eight against a poor Chicago secondary. With just an average run game, I can see Bradford filling in nice here with a healthy Stefon Diggs back.
After three straight modest starts, Siemian has the opportunity to improve and impress this week at home against San Diego’s defense that’s surrendered 30 points or more in three of the last four games. A cheap play in daily fantasy and with weather a nonfactor this week, Siemian will have plenty of drop backs and should spread out the ball nicely to his numerous offensive weapons.
Sit ‘em: Carson Palmer, Phillip Rivers
Anyone who struggled to sit through Arizona’s dismal draw against Seattle last week isn’t debating if Palmer should start. They’re thinking who they can find on the waiver wire so they can rid themselves of the inconsistent train wreck that Palmer has sadly become. Against a well-rested Carolina D coming off a bye week, an already questionable Palmer will be under pressure all afternoon.
Denver’s defense will be ready for this one. In this divisional matchup at home, I can see Denver forcing a few turnovers and getting to Rivers.
Start ‘em: LeGarratte Blount, Matt Asiata
Could this be the NFL’s best goal line and shortage back that no one is talking about? He’s getting plenty of touches and if rain hits Buffalo on Sunday, those touches will only increase.
With a huge bye week combined with some other running back injuries around the league, Asiata will be a good fill in. Now, he might not accrue a mass amount of yards but he will be the guy to punch it in near the goal line. Also add the fact McKinnon might not play ups his opportunities for scores.
Sit ‘em: Melvin Gordon, Matt Jones
We’ve returned to our faith in Denver’s defense again. If you have a different option at RB, think hard on this one. Gordon might not be a lock for starter points here on the road.
Jones has been handed countless chances to take the reins as the top back in Washington but he just keeps finding a way to blow it. With two fumbles last week and Chris Thompson impressing more and more, Jones’ touches, and opportunities, could be decreasing.
Start ‘em: Michael Crabtree, Emmanuel Sanders
The guy is averaging almost 9 targets per game. Playing against a terrible TB secondary, Oakland will be throwing a ton here. Crab all day.
It’s tough to think of a #2 receiver on any other team in the league that’s more lethal than Emmanuel Sanders. For a little guy, he fearlessly goes across the middle and can burn corners on a deep route. San Diego’s pass defense gives up over 275 passing yards per game and Sunday in sunny Mile High Stadium will be no different. Averaging over 10 targets per game, Sanders might see even more than that.
Sit ‘em: Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson
Going against a stout Minnesota D here plus add the fact that he might be on the trading block? Ugh, I cannot imagine he puts up great numbers here. Pass.
He’s only been targeted 10 times or more once this season and he’s racked up only one 100-yard receiving game. DeSean Jackson is no longer the most dangerous weapon in Washington’s attack. Averaging only 32.5 receiving yards over the last four games, Jackson isn’t even worth FLEX consideration against Cincinnati.
Start ‘em: Zach Miller, Zach Rudolph
By now, Miller is no longer the best kept secret at the TE spot in 2016. He’s been Chicago’s only reliable receiving option and Monday night with Jay Cutler returning under center, Miller will be his go-to red zone security blanket. Unless the Windy City gets a little too windy in the evening, passing conditions will be prime for this bitter NFC North bout against Minnesota.
Don’t need to repeat myself here for Rudolph against Chicago. Bears’ defense is weak sauce. Start him.
Sit ‘em: Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry
Just because Hunter Henry shouldn’t be started in fantasy lineups doesn’t guarantee Antonio Gates should either. Gates saw plenty of targets last week but the dinged-up veteran dropped all the vital ones. He’s losing a step, he’s losing his chemistry with Phillip Rivers and he’s losing his starting role to Henry. The once great Gates shouldn’t even be rostered at this point.
Man, I am jumping all over Sand Diego here but with Henry being a little banged up and Rivers really relying on Gates last week, maybe stream another tight end on this one.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-26-2016 16:00
Fall is officially in full force in scenic, upstate New York but locals in Buffalo won’t be braving the rain on Sunday to see the leaves change. Bills fans will be raining down insults on Tom Brady when the heated-rival Patriots storm into town for a damp, divisional clash.
According to NFLWeather.com, rain is possible throughout the entire afternoon in Buffalo with a light wind of 10-12 mph as well. Temperatures inside Ralph Wilson Stadium will be in the mid-50s for this bitter AFC East rivalry. We’ve seen a number of muddy playing fields already this season but traction won’t be an issue on the Bills’ Astroturf surface.
In 2013, New England beat up Buffalo in a rain game, 34-20, at home in late December. The Pats focused heavily on the rushing attack, racking up well over 40 carries between five different players and totaling roughly 200 total rushing yards. But that hasn’t always been New England’s game plan for big games in crummy conditions.
It’s easy to assume Tom Brady carries the Patriots’ offense. In rain games, that’s not always the case. For example, Brady averaged 39 passing attempts per game last season. Over his last six rain games, he’s only dropped back 30+ times twice. But that doesn’t slow down the offense, averaging 33 points per game over that span. Expect Brady to spread the ball around the field, honing in on Gronkowski in the red zone. Well, that’s if the NFL’s top bruising short yardage back, LaGarrette Blount, doesn’t hog all the goal line action.
The Patriots (6-1) in rain games are almost unbeatable. Well, they actually have been for over four years, dating back to a 24-23 loss in 2012 to Seattle in a drizzle. Since then, they’ve been a flawless 5-0. According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Pats are 8-2 in rain games since 2009 and 6-0 at home during that stretch.
Buffalo (4-3) has been a thorn in New England’s side over the last few meetings, splitting the series 2-2 dating back to December 2014. But when it comes to battling the elements, the Bills have been extremely weak, posting a 3-6 record in rain games since 2010. To make matters worse, the Bills haven’t even won a game in the rain since 2013.
Not having LeSean McCoy at full health last week in Miami was a massive blow to the offense. Shady is expected to be back against the Pats but without the shifty RB, Buffalo will struggle mightily against a New England defense that, on average this season, has surrendered just over 15 points per game. Averaging only 18.5 points per rain game since ’10, it’s up to McCoy and Tyrod Taylor to make some big plays on the fly in order to pull off the unfathomable season sweep of New England.
With Tom Terrific back under center, it’s tough to find a more dominant and Super Bowl-worthy team in the league right now than New England. But the only team to down the Pats, thus far, this year has been Buffalo. An AFC East upset could just as easily be in the forecast as storm clouds on Sunday.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-22-2016 08:30
|Will’s Value Players:|
After his phenomenal performance last week against Cleveland where he threw three TD’s, it’s astonishing Mariota’s price tag dropped $100 from last week. Expect similar numbers this week at home against Indy for the second-year starter. Rodgers was a revelation last week, tormenting the Carolina defense with 30 touches for over 100 yards and five receptions. Against the 49ers who surrender on average almost 175 rushing yards per game, Rodgers could put up Le’Veon Bell-like numbers. The Raiders can’t stop an aerial attacking team for the life of them which will mean big things for Jacksonville’s Allen Hurns. Across the state in Tampa Bay, Brate has been a machine since taking over the starting tight end roll. After only seeing three targets a week ago, he’ll bounce back against San Francisco’s Swiss cheese defense.
|Matt’s Value Players:|
|RB||Duke Johnson Jr.||$3,900|
At this price and expected output, plugging in Winston here gives you flexibility for roster construction. The likelihood the Browns falling behind to the Bengals is very good and a receiving back like Johnson has the higher ceiling when playing from behind. There’s a chance Pryor might miss this game which could result in more looks for Johnson. Hogging all the passes for the Rams this season, Britt has emerged as their #1 option. Anytime you can get a starter like that for this price, take it. With Dwayne Allen listed as doubtful for this week, look for Doyle to be a major part of the Colts offense. This will be a high scoring game and at this price, he’s a steal.
Will’s Pick: BAL +1 @ NYJ
The Jets’ offense is a sinking ship, and now that Geno Smith is in control, scoring double digits might be too tall an order let alone beating a solid Baltimore side. The Ravens won’t even need the point in this one.
Matt’s Pick: TB -2 @ SF
Tampa has the potent offense and San Francisco has the poor defense. It’s that simple. Buccaneers should run away with this one (pun intended for Chip). Take this one to the bank.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-22-2016 08:00
Start ‘em: Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston
Over the last four consecutive weeks, the dreadful Browns D has allowed opposing QB’s to toss for at least three touchdowns a game. With clear skies in Sunday’s forecast, expect Dalton to eviscerate the in-state rival Browns’ atrocious secondary.
Playing against the 49ers means Winston’s fantasy floor is very high this week. A fast paced game means more offensive plays and creates more opportunities to score points. A great streaming option if your QB is on a bye this week.
Sit ‘em: Carson Wentz, Alex Smith
Last week against Washington, Wentz was sacked five times and completed only half of his passes. If Philly’s offensive line doesn’t get it together against Minnesota’s stout D that only surrenders 12 points per game this season, another poor performance by the Wentz is in the cards. Winds could kick up to 15-20 mph which could also create some problems for the rookie.
Ok, hear me out… Yes, he is at home against the Saints, but keep this in mind... The Saints are more prone to allowing rushing TD’s in the red zone as opposed to giving it up thru the air. Temper expectations here.
Start ‘em: Jacquizz Rodgers, Spencer Ware
After seeing what Shady McCoy did the 49ers did last week, I can see Rodgers racking up good numbers here. Head Coach Dirk Koetter will always ride the running back no matter who it is. Until Doug Martin returns from injury, keep Rodgers starting in your lineup.
Even with Jamaal Charles back, Ware out touched the veteran RB last week 26 to 11 and is still very much an important factor of Andy Reid’s offense. Heading into week seven’s bout against a New Orleans defense that allows 117 rushing yards per game, Ware is a must-start and with wind expected to be a factor, Reid will prefer the traditional ground and pound attack.
Sit ‘em: Jay Ajayi, Lamar Miller
Expect Ajayi to come back down to earth this week at home to Buffalo. That, along with the fact Arian Foster is a week healthier, I can’t expect a large point total here this week. Wind and rain could end up being a factor here as well.
With only one rushing touchdown under his belt, it’s safe to say the expectations set for Miller in Houston this season were exceedingly too high. He’ll have his occasional 100-yard performances but against Denver’s lights out defense, there’s a minimal chance he’ll hit triple digits on Monday night.
Start ‘em: Brandon Marshall, Allen Robinson
Geno Smith, Fitzmagic, PeeWee Herman, or Carlton Banks.. It could be anyone under center but regardless of which clown is taking snaps, Marshall will get his looks and targets regardless. Expect a Brandon Marshall kinda game here.
Robinson, who was taken in most fantasy drafts in the third round, is a sleeping giant just waiting to put up big numbers against a sorry defensive unit. A visit from Oakland’s awful secondary that gives up over 312 passing yards per game might just do the trick. With clear skies in the forecast, Blake Bortles has perfect passing conditions to reignite his chemistry with his top wide out.
Sit ‘em: DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Floyd
At this point in the season, Hopkins has been touchdown dependent. It gets worse this week when they arrive in Denver for a matchup nightmare. Hopkins was probably your first round pick, but sad to say he might not perform this week.
Aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona receivers can’t be trusted. Against Seattle’s stellar defense and with Carson Palmer dinged up from last week, Floyd’s two targets from last week could be an indication he’s being phased-out of the Cardinal’s offensive game plans.
Start ‘em: Gary Barnidge, Hunter Henry
Finally, Barnidge is once again a key factor in Cleveland’s [limited] passing attack. Over the last four weeks, Barnidge’s targets-per-game has leaped to 6.5 after averaging just over three a game following the first two weeks. With the Browns expected to be trailing the Bengals and forced to play catch-up, Cleveland will be compelled to abandon the run.
Henry’s production has been unbelievably consistent over the last month or so. Atlanta has two rookie LB’s and one rookie strong safety starting. Expect a lot of points put up in this game and Henry will be a part of it.
Sit ‘em: Dennis Pitta, Zach Ertz
The Jets can be beat through the air but with Flacco not 100% and this most likely being a low scoring game, the ceiling is low here for Pitta.
Since returning from injury, fantasy and Philly fans alike have been waiting for Ertz to live up to his hype. Well, both parties are still playing the waiting game and not much is expected to chance against Minnesota’s tenacious defense. Wind could be a factor on Sunday and if the Viking’s D-line causes the same problems Washington’s did last week (five sacks), Philly may need Ertz to help out in pass protection.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-19-2016 20:00
Hurricane Matthew absolutely pummeled the east coast and corners of Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas are still picking up the pieces. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the late-summer Caribbean storms are done causing problems on NFL Sunday’s just yet, specifically for the AFC East this week when the Miami Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills.
According to NFLWeather.com, a 20-mph breeze is expected to be swirling inside Hard Rock Stadium for Sunday’s game with temperatures lingering in the upper-70s. As of Tuesday, there was a small percentage chance of precipitation, however, the most recent tropical storm east of the Bahamas is projected to become a cyclone in the next few days and could easily force a rainstorm northwest towards Miami and the southeastern coast.
The Dolphins (2-4) are coming off a dismantling of a well-rounded Pittsburgh Steelers team and appear to be turning a corner after a lousy start. If they can keep momentum going into week seven’s bout with Buffalo, Miami is right back in AFC contention instead of a dismal 2-5 start. But history doesn’t bode well for the ‘Phins who post a 2-5 record in rain games since 2009 and haven’t won a rain game at home since 2011. Ironically, that was a 35-8 drumming of the Bills.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, 0-4 in his last handful of rain game starts, only averages 194 passing yards per game but his most concerning weather-related stat is he’s sacked on average 3.75 times per game. Against a Buffalo D that’s already tallied 20 sacks this season (2nd best in the NFL), quick drop backs and shorter routes are crucial to aerial success. So far this season it’s felt like a one-man show in terms of receiving threats as star wideout Jarvis Landry has averaged roughly 10 targets a game. Fellow WR DeVante Parker and tight end Jordan Cameron desperately need to have more of an offensive impact and assert themselves more in this offense. What better time to do so than a pivotal divisional game in the rain?
But the ‘Phins may not need to relay on Tannehill’s arm following Jay Ajayi’s sensational performance on the ground last weekend against Pittsburgh where he amassed over 200 yards on 25 touches and found the end zone twice. Arian Foster was slated to return but Ajayi may have earned himself the starting role for at least one more game while Foster continues to rehab.
Like Miami, the Bills (4-2) haven’t had much success recently in the rain either. Buffalo hasn’t won a rain game since 2013, where they convincingly crushed Miami, 19-0, and according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, post a 3-6 record in the rain since ’10. The man they need to step up and reverse this trend is their coveted workhorse, LeSean McCoy, who’s rushed for over 100 yards in three of his last four games. McCoy has reestablished himself as an elite back in the NFL and if rain and wind affect the passing game, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Shady gets 30+ touches.
The Bills have a passing attacked currently ranked 31st in the league and should anticipate Miami stacking the box and forcing Tyrod Taylor to beat them with his inconsistent arm. Ideally, Buffalo would prefer to ground and pound (especially against a defense that surrenders 147 rushing yards per game) but with heavy wind in the forecast they’ll need Taylor to make a few plays on his own. Whether that be with his legs or being more accurate with the ball, missing Sammy Watkins is no longer a legit excuse for lack of production. Now is the time for Robert Woods to prove he’s capable of carrying the starting role.
The x-factor in this AFC East matchup could ultimately be the kicking game, where both Dan Carpenter (BUF) and Andrew Franks (MIA) have been far from flawless. Carpenter is 4-of-6 from 40+ yards this season while Franks is only 3-of-5 from between 20-29 yards and 0-for-1 from 50+. With brutal wind and rain a possibility, points could be at a premium in Miami on Sunday.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-15-2016 07:15
|Will’s Value Players:|
For a $6,000 price tag, Wentz is a frugal buy with the potential to put up top-tier fantasy numbers against a weak Washington defense. Starting Wentz over, say, Russell Wilson, saves almost $1,000 that can be used on an upgraded FLEX play. Lacy hasn’t been practicing all week and if he’s out for Sunday’s game, Starks will be the workhorse and a starting RB for under $3,500 is a steal. It’s next to impossible to find a team’s number one WR for under $4,000, aside from LA’s Tavon Austin who also earns special teams points too. Tamme has been a hit or miss TE this season but for the price and with rain in the forecast, Ryan might be utilizing his safety blanket more than usual.
|Matt’s Value Players:|
Sitting at $6,100, this is a great price for a QB who is at home against the Browns D. They have been shredded by the pass all season long and I expect nothing less this week. At this price, it will be easier to fit a high price player into your lineup. For Gio, there is a good chance the Pats go up in this one and with the lingering chest injury Jeremy Hill has, more touches could be headed Bernard’s way. Roberts Woods is now the top receiver and he just so happens to be playing in a high-paced game this week. Value here is too great not the consider him. Since week 3, Zach Miller hasn’t scored less than 12 points in fantasy per game. Since then, he’s seeing almost seven targets on average per game. With a high floor, this price is great.
Will’s Pick: NO +3 vs CAR
The New Orleans offense has returned as one of the NFC’s elite scoring units by having scored under 32 points only once this season and averaging over 300 passing yards per game. Against a diminishing defensive unit in Carolina that surrenders 27 points a game and let Matt Ryan have a field day against them in the Georgia Dome two weeks ago, there’s a chance Drew Brees can put up heroic numbers at home and down a potentially Cam-less Carolina team.
Matt’s Pick: GB -4 vs DAL
Green Bay will force the Cowboys to throw early and often. I do not see Dez playing in this problematic weather-free game which means the Pack should be able to pull away early in the second half. Dak comes back down to Earth here.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-15-2016 07:00
Start ‘em: Blake Bortles, Brian Hoyer
Without a running game, Jacksonville is going to need to throw a ton. Turns out Chicago’s secondary is very poor and will likely give up the big play. With the possibility of drizzle looming, I still have no problem rolling out this QB. On the other side of the field and having opened his Chicago career averaging 300+ passing yards and two touchdowns per game, it’s doubtful a little drizzle will slow down red-hot Hoyer. Against a Jaguars D that surrenders on average two passing touchdowns per game. If the rain picks up, Hoyer might not put up big passing yards but at least you can bank on a touchdown or two.
Sit ‘em: Andy Dalton, Dak Prescott
New England’s defense has been pretty good against the QB this year in fantasy and I expect this to remain the same against an inconsistent Cincy side. The Bengals have one receiving threat, and the Pats will game plan around AJ Green. No real weather concerns hereto affect the passing game. Having to go against the league’s top defense against the run, Dallas might be forced to ask the rookie QB to do too much on the road in Green Bay. Expect Prescott to force the ball on a number of occasions but hopefully he can limit the turnovers. At least he won’t be battling the harsh Wisconsin elements with clear skies expected at Lambeau.
Start ‘em: LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard
The Bills RB has had a great start to the season and this week he draws the 49ers. Why would Shady ever want to play the game of his life here, oh I don’t know…. Oh yeah! He is playing Chip Kelly who shipped him to Buffalo a few years back. Hmmmm….. Fantasy owners had high hopes for Jeremy Langford in the Chicago backfield but who would have expected Jordan Howard to fill the void so well once Langford went down with an injury. In his two starts thus far, Howard has accumulated almost 300 total yards and is a weapon between the tackles as well as catching passes in the flats. With rain a possibility, he could see even touches than expected.
Sit ‘em: Arian Foster, Carlos Hyde
Just because he’s available, doesn’t make him “startable”. Foster is likely to make his return this week at home to Pittsburgh but his workload is questionable. If Miami falls behind big, the Dolphins may have to abandon the run altogether. Rain is currently in Sunday’s forecast so if playing conditions get ugly, Miami won’t risk Foster reinjuring himself. A west Coast team flying east for an early game rarely turns out positively. I believe Buffalo will go up big which will force San Francisco to throw heavily in an attempt to keep up, resulting in less touches for Hyde.
Start ‘em: Robert Woods, Quincy Enunwa
With Watkins out, Woods is the #1 option for Buffalo. Whether you believe he has the talent or not to be a #1, it does not take away the fact that his targets are increased. Woods is a great bye week fill-in option for your fantasy team this week. Now that Eric Decker is done for the year, Enunwa is a must-own in all leagues and is expected to take over the number two role behind Brandon Marshall, who’s also harboring a few nagging injuries. Enunwa currently averages almost 10 targets per game and that was with Decker. Just wait to see how involved he is now in the Jets offensive weekly game plan.
Sit ‘em: Alshon Jeffery, Golden Tate>
He is not simply receiving the targets that a franchise receiver should. His numbers are down and I expect this to continue, especially if Hoyer is the QB. Chicago’s Royal, Miller, and Meredith have all seen an increase in passes coming their way, so maybe think about your options on this play. He is simply not returning the value based upon where you drafted him. Just because he’s not worthy of starting doesn’t mean he’s ready to be given up on. His individual production has been atrocious thus far but the big-play potential is still there. After all, he’s the guy the Lions were hoping would step up as the number one receiver following Megatron’s departure and he’s still on a pass-heavy Detroit offense. He’ll be as much a nonfactor as the weather inside the Ford Field dome on Sunday.
Start ‘em: Jesse James, Jason WittenHaving scored touchdowns in three of the last four games, Jesse James is no longer the best kept secret in the Pittsburgh offense. He had a career day last week, hauling in six of eight targets for 43 yards and a score and has clearly earned Big Ben’s trust in the redzone. The last time the Steelers played in the rain, James scored. Expect a similar performance in the Florida rain here. Green Bay’s stout run defense will force the Cowboys to drop back heavily. Who is a rookie’s best friend? A sure-handed tight end.
Sit ‘em: Dwayne Allen, Vance McDonald
Last week was his first touchdown since week one and he’s averaging less than five targets per game. He was thought to be a top ten TE in fantasy this season but that’s just not going to happen for Dwanye Allen with less-known newcomers like Cameron Brate and Jesse James being much more productive fantasy plays this season. Even perfect playing conditions in Houston won’t help Allen this week. Besides the Pats, the Bills have been excellent against the tight end in fantasy. San Francisco is rolling out their second QB this week and starting McDonald would be a gamble. There’s a minor chance for rain being a factor here as well.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-14-2016 16:00
With fall comes foliage for most of the country. But in the Pacific Northwest, the seemingly endless rainy season is about to begin and just in time for a pivotal NFC showdown and potential playoff bout when the soaring Atlanta Falcons visit the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
According to NFLWeather.com, rain is likely to hit Seattle hard on Thursday and isn’t expected to let up until the middle of next week. Temperatures will be in the mid-50’s come kickoff but a chilly 14-15 mph wind could play a factor for both teams’ passing and kicking games. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, former defensive coordinator for Seattle, is well aware of how the elements will impact his new indoor side.
As you would expect, the Seahawks (3-1) have played in the most weather impacted matchups in the league since 2009 and post an impressive 9-2 record at home. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Seattle offense averages over 30 points per game in the rain while the notoriously stingy defense only surrenders 15 per game. Seems next to impossible to storm into Seattle and pull out a win in crummy conditions, but the Rams did just that last season, something that hasn’t been done to the ‘Hawks at home since 2011.
Coming off a bye week, Russell Wilson and company have had plenty of time to prep for Atlanta’s high-octane aerial attacked. But Wilson himself needs to be the smarter of the two elite QB’s and avoid turnovers at all costs. In 12 career weather impacted matchups, Wilson has tossed ten picks and coughed up four fumbles. That won’t fly during Sunday’s downpour so the running game will need to be established early against a Falcons D that allows roughly 100 rushing yards per game. Christine Michael will carry the workload but Alex Collins and newly-acquired CJ Spiller may chip in with a handful of carries.
The Falcons (4-1), a dome team, haven’t fared very well in the rain with a 2-3 record since ‘09. But quarterback Matt Ryan has put up impressive numbers in rain games on the road. In five career weather impacted matchups, Ryan has a 68% completion percentage, has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 10:2 and averages almost 240 passing yards per game. For an indoor QB, the former Boston College gunslinger has been a bright spot for Atlanta on ugly days.
But if the offense expects to rely solely on Ryan and the unstoppable Julio Jones against Seattle’s immovable front seven, they’re destined for a loss. Despite the Seahawks’ defense allowing only 80 rushing yards per game and swirling wind in Sunday’s forecast, Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman will need to grind out tough yards against the Legion of Boom. If Atlanta can get Seattle to respect the running game, the play action might create a few big play opportunities for Mohamed Sanu or tight end Jacob Tamme, pending the wind will allow it.
With the high-scoring offense that they do, it wouldn’t be a huge shocker if Atlanta pulled out the win but it would still be an upset nonetheless. Last week, not many fans thought the Falcons could fly into Denver and pull out the win that they did. Maybe Atlanta can rain on another home team’s parade for the second consecutive week.
by The NFLW Team | 10-10-2016 08:00
|Matt’s DK Team:||Will’s DK Team:|
|QB||Phillip Rivers||$6,900||QB||Derek Carr||$6,800|
|RB||Devonta Freeman||$5,000||RB||Melvin Gordon||$7,000|
|RB||CJ Anderson||$6,900||RB||Jordan Howard||$5,200|
|WR||Dontrelle Inman||$4,100||WR||Antonio Brown||$9,800|
|WR||TY Hilton||$7,400||WR||Julian Edelman||$6,700|
|WR||Odell Beckham Jr.||$8,500||WR||Tavon Austin||$3,700|
|TE||Zach Ertz||$3,500||TE||Clive Walford||$2,700|
|Flex||Eddie Royal||$4,200||Flex||Eddie Lacy||$5,900|
|DEF||Minnesota Vikings||$3,400||DEF;||Chicago Bears||$2,200|
Will’s Pick: CHI +4.5 @ IND
Indianapolis is the first team in NFL history to not receive a bye after playing an overseas game in London. Having lost in brutal fashion by blowing a late fourth quarter lead to the division rival Jaguars and having to endure the long flight home, it’s going to be tough for the defense to get fired up for this one. Even if the Bears don’t win, they’ll keep it close.
Matt’s Pick: TEN +3.5 @ MIA
This games looks to be a sloppy one with awful weather conditions expected this weekend. If Cleveland hadn’t made an incompetent move with their kickers, Miami would have lost at home to the Mistake by the Lake. Both these teams are flat out bad and Miami won’t run away with this one.
by The NFLW Team | 10-09-2016 22:00
Start ‘em: Derek Carr, Eli Manning
In four career games against the division-rival Chargers, Carr has found the endzone eight times while tossing only two picks. With beautiful weather and clear skies expected in Sunday’s Bay Area forecast, it’ll be ideal
passing conditions for the Oakland QB who averages over 38 passing attempts a game this season.
Green Bay has the best defense in the NFL against the run yet the Packers are also 31st in the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. I expect Eli will throw often which will lead to a high floor for his projected fantasy outcome. The weather doesn’t seem to be a factor in this one, so here comes the points!
Sit ‘em: Ryan Tannehill, Tyrod Taylor
This game could be an absolute weather disaster. Conditions could be tough to throw in and Tennessee has only allowed an average of one TD a game thus far. With weather concerns and Tannehill’s inconsistencies,
expect a subpar output.
With Sammy Watkins down for the season, Taylor doesn’t have many explosive weapons in the Buffalo attack. It certainly doesn’t help his situation this week when the Bills travel to Los Angeles to play a Rams team that has already shut down Carson Palmer and Russell Wilson. LA will have perfect weather but Taylor will have far from a perfect afternoon.
Start ‘em: Terrance West, Devonta Freeman
Rain is expected to hit the Chesapeake this weekend so the long ball might be out of the question for the Ravens offense. That being the case, Baltimore will expect Terrance West to carry a heavy workload both
between the tackles and being Flacco’s primary check down option out of the backfield. Now that Justin Forsett has been released, it’s all West until Kenneth Dixon gets healthy.
With Tevin Coleman a question mark, the Falcons will need to rely heavily on Freeman who will get the lion’s share of carries and targets for Atlanta. If Coleman sits, expect no less than 25 touches. With weather a potential factor in most other cities, looks to be a beautiful day in Denver for Sunday’s kickoff.
Sit ‘em: Charles Sims, LaGarrette Blount
After minimal offensive production the last few weeks despite the absence of Doug Martin, its clear Sims has failed to impress as the lead back in Tampa Bay. Against Carolina this season, the most rushing yards a single
rusher was able to rack up was 65 by CJ Anderson. If Hurricane Matthew hits the east coast in time to disrupt this NFC South clash, Sims will be stuck in the mud for most of the afternoon against a stout Carolina front seven.
With Tom Brady back, the Pats will look to pass more with James White by his side in the backfield. You can’t rely on Blount to get 20 touches here because you can bank on NE likely going out of the way to ensure Tom gets his TD. It looks like decent weather on Sunday’s horizon at the Mistake by the Lake.
Start ‘em: Odell Beckham Jr., Julian Edelman
Forget all the drama OBJ is going through, CB Sam Shields is not going to suit up in this one. Against a poor secondary, expect Eli to air it out early and often. This is a great game for the star wideout to get back
Tom Brady has returned and all Julian Edelman fantasy owners can rejoice. Despite a dismal start to the 2016 fantasy campaign, Edelman is primed to be the top target with Gronk still not quite back to full health. Despite averaging less than five receptions a game, Edelman’s production is about to skyrocket. With wind expected to be a factor off Lake Erie, Brady likely will prefer the short, crossing routes opposed to the deep ball.
Sit ‘em: Demeryius Thomas, Tajae Sharpe
In the Mile High City on Sunday, Thomas will be drawing Desmond Trufant, the best CB in the league nobody is talking about. With the Falcons decimated at the LB position, I see Denver running the ball more than usual.
Sharpe became a popular target on waiver wires after his promising start to the season, but on an offense that’s struggling to produce points, it’s tough to stand out and be a worthy fantasy option. It doesn’t help his case that QB Marcus Mariota has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 0:3 since week two. With Hurricane Matthew expected to disrupt the Titan’s game in Miami, the passing game might end up being nonexistent altogether.
Start ‘em: Cameron Brate, Martellus Bennett
Since taking over the starting tight end roll, Brate has been a must start in the Tampa attack. In two games he’s been targeted 18 times and hauled in 10 catches for 113 yards and two scores… all of this against a pair
of solid defenses in Denver and Los Angeles, where monsoon-like weather conditions were a major factor. Against a Carolina D that’s surrendered touchdowns to tight ends in three consecutive games, Brate has the potential to
have a field day here regardless of the rainy conditions.
With the opening spread sitting at 10.5, there is a realistic chance the Pats go up big and never look back. If that’s the case, look for New England to rest Gronk and stick it to the NFL by running up the score. Bennett is a great option and will be productive in this game with Gronk watching from the sidelines.
Sit ‘em: Charles Clay, Jacob Tamme
There’s a ton of big name tight ends on byes this week (Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham, Coby Fleener, Julius Thomas) so fantasy owners are hitting the waiver wire hard. One option who is available in seemingly all leagues
(for good reason) and should be avoided despite his decent performance a week ago is Charles Clay. He saw seven targets last week which might make him a bit more appealing for a desperate owner, especially with weather not
being a factor in LA, but don’t be fooled, this is a move you’ll absolutely regret.
Tamme has not had back-to-back productive games yet this season and against Denver’s exceptional defense, I see him limited, at best. His former team knows him well and the Broncos will game plan around that.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-05-2016 18:00
The intrastate clash between Maryland rivals will be a soggy one on Sunday as heavy wind and rain are forecasted to roll through the greater Chesapeake region as the Washington Redskins take the I-95 northbound to battle the Baltimore Ravens.
According to NFLWeather.com, a gusting wind maxing out around 20 mph is expected to be in full-swirl on Sunday inside M&T Bank Stadium. It doesn’t help the situation that Hurricane Matthew is projected to be climbing up the eastern seaboard towards the end of the week and with rain as well as 90%+ humidity already in the Saturday forecast. Chances are Sunday showers could hit for the 1pm kickoff. The crummy conditions will be a nightmare for the kicking game, especially on the slick Bermuda Grass surface that was already battered during last weekend’s narrow loss to Oakland.
Haters love to knock on Joe Flacco, but, the former Super Bowl winner always seems to find a way to pull out a win despite never looking overwhelmingly impressive. Flacco’s numbers speak for themselves. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Flacco is 7-1 in rain games since 2009 and anchors an offense that averages over 27 points per matchup. Over that eight-game span, he’s averaged 236 passing yards per game and 30 passing attempts while finding the endzone 11 times and only turning the ball over twice. Averaging almost 42.5 passing attempts per game this season, it’s safe to say Flacco will air it out, rain or shine.
Historically, the Baltimore (3-1) QB’s top target in poor weather matchups has been his tight end, Dennis Pitta. In the Ravens most recent rain games, Pitta has averaged seven receptions for roughly 85 yards and at least one touchdown. He’ll be the top redzone target while the undersized yet overwhelmingly speedy Mike Wallace, Steve Smith Sr. and Kamar Aiken will be the seam and deep route options (Smith has both the most receptions and targets this season), pending the wind will allow it. The only thing more difficult than predicting who will be Baltimore’s weekly top receiver is picking the more imposing running back. Terrance West has passed Justin Forsett as the lead rusher but Forsett continues to be the more targeted back in passing situations. If a downpour hits the harbor, expect Joe Flacco to look more for swing passes to his backs as well as short, crossing routes for his receivers. Don’t be stunned if Baltimore runs up the score on a defense that is tied for the league-worst in first downs allowed and gives up over 413 passing yards per game.
The Washington (2-2) offense isn’t quite the conundrum the Ravens’ is. Matt Jones, who was penciled in as lead back in the Redskins attack to start that season, has been proving himself more and more each and every week by seeing an increasing workload (week 1: 7, week 2: 13, week 3: 17, week 4: 22). Last week was a career-day for Jones against Cleveland as he torched the Browns D for 117 yards and a touchdown. The more rain in the forecast, the more carries we should expect from Jones as Jay Gruden will look to take the pressure off his inconsistent quarterback, Kirk Cousins. He’ll also do so by having his QB look for quick dump passes to versatile tight end, Jordan Reed.
Cousins is 0-2 in career rain games but the Redskins haven’t won a game in the rain since 2008 (0-6 since then). Against a defense that historically only surrenders 11 points per game in the rain since ’09, the Redskins need a monsoon of Baltimore turnovers if they have any shot of pulling this one out.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 09-29-2016 18:00
Recognized as North America’s hotbed for lightning storms, Tampa Bay has already experienced one weather delay at home this season and it looks apparent that yet another late-summer storm will be in full force when the undefeated Denver Broncos march into town this weekend.
According to NFLWeather.com, a light rain is possible throughout the entirety of Sunday’s late afternoon showdown with winds swirling around 11mph. Humidity is expected to rise from 60% to close to 70% by the end of the game, indicating the likelihood of yet another Florida thunderstorm interrupting this outing just like last week and soaking into the already battered grass surface inside Raymond James Stadium. Most east coast NFL games kickoff around 1pm, however, both this and last week’s home games for the Bucs have been pushed to 4pm in hopes of avoiding the daily end-of-summer showers. That certainly didn’t happen last week against Los Angeles and it’s looking more and more likely the same will occur for Sunday’s week four nonconference matchup.
The delay lasted well over an hour and ultimately delayed the inevitable for Tampa as the Bucs squandered their final possession after forcing the Rams to punt once both sides returned to the field. But a loss in the rain is really nothing new for Tampa. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, since 2011 the Buccaneers are a dismal 1-6 in weather-related games, on average surrender 27 points per game and held the opposition to 10 points or less only once. With such a swiss cheese D, the offense will desperately need to keep the defense rested by dominating the time of possession battle and establishing a ground game lead by Charles Sims who will continue to fill in for the injured Doug Martin.
Former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston may only have one career rain game under his belt, but the young gun is no stranger to a slippery football in a Florida storm having played his college ball at Florida State. During the downpour last week, Winston even hit his career high in passing yards with 364 prior to the delay and 405 total yards on the afternoon. But his glaring kryptonite is his how often he turns the ball over; having already tossed six picks this season and lost a pair of fumbles. Despite having weapons like Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson tormenting the opposing secondary, if the young QB keeps giving the ball away as frequently as he does, Tampa (1-2) will continue to lose as frequently as they do.
Denver (3-0) has played impressively well over it’s last six or so weather-related matchups but dating back to 2009, they post a mediocre 8-9 record. But it’s tough to see them not cruise through this one en route to 4-0, given Tampa’s D has allowed an NFL-high 101 points (almost 34 ppg) and the Bronco’s offense has scored the fourth-most in the league this season (84 points, 28 ppg). On average in weather impacted games, the Denver offense averages 24 total points.
Trevor Siemian, who’s been a pleasant shock to the 2016 season thus far, has found surprising early success in both the win column as well as with his top targets Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Both wideouts are off to a pro bowl-like campaign as well as bruising running back CJ Anderson whose experiencing quite the resurgence. If Denver gets rolling on the ground and in the air on Sunday, Tampa will be stuck in the mud all afternoon.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 09-21-2016 21:00
The weather is day by day in Charlotte for Sunday when the undefeated Minnesota Vikings when the defending NFC North champions battle both the southern storms and the reigning NFC titleholders, Carolina Panthers, in a crucial conference showdown. According to NFLWeather.com, clear skies are currently in the forecast for Sunday’s game but that could easily change as Charlotte is expected to get pummeled with rain all week and who’s to say that the drizzle won’t linger around for another day with Tropical Storm Karl heading towards the southeastern coast.
It doesn’t help either side that the Panthers are now notorious for having a less than favorable field following last season’s playoff run where both the visiting Seahawks and Cardinals had to change cleats midgame for better traction. The grass surface inside Bank of America Stadium will likely be covered by a tarp during the midweek rainfall but once it’s removed for the game, we could see a surface similar to that of Pittsburgh’s battered field from a week ago. Wind won’t be much of an issue though and temperatures should be in the low-80’s.
When it comes to rain games, Cam Newton is the real deal, having scored at least once in each of his six career outings while posting an impressive 5-1 record. But the former Heisman Trophy winner is prone to turning the ball over, also averaging at least one fumble or pick per weather-impacted game. He, alongside his running back committee of Fozzy Whittaker, Mike Tolbert and Cameron Artis-Payne, will need to keep a solid grip on a slippery pigskin as they fill in for injured veteran Jonathan Stewart who may miss time with a hamstring injury.
Carolina (1-1) is an extremely tough team to beat in crummy conditions, especially at home where they’re 5-0 over the last five seasons. Defensively, it’s hard to find a better team in weather impacted matchups than the Panthers who have surrendered 20 or more points only once since 2011, according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics. Despite the departure of Josh Norman, the Panthers D is seventh-best in the NFL, allowing just over 300 total yards per game and will need a lights out performance to avoid a 1-2 start.
The Vikings (2-0) have a pretty stout defensive unit as well, holding the opposition to less than 290 ypg is currently fifth-best in the league. But, all eyes are on an offense that will be without their most coveted weapon, Adrian Peterson. Jerick Mckinnon is expected to get the bulk of the carries in AP’s absence with Matt Asiato sprinkled in as well. Both backs will not only have the opportunity to capitalize on a rare opportunity to start and carry the workload, but they’ll also need to take the pressure off a quarterback making only his second start for his new team while having to endure the elements.
Sam Bradford, who shined in his domed debut last weekend against Green Bay, has minimal professional experience in rain games. His last was back in 2012 where Bradford went 22-of-30 for 205 yards with both a touchdown and a pick in a crushing loss to New England. Expect tight end Kyle Rudolph to be Bradford’s security blanket in the red zone and go-to option but if Minnesota’s talented young wide-outs Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell fail to create some havoc in the secondary, the Vikings will continue to struggle in poor weather games where they currently post a 4-8 rain record since 2011. Vikings fans will continue to reminisce about Bud Grant, Fran Tarkenton, Ahmad Rashad, the Purple People Eaters and the good ole’ days before the dome.
by The NFLW Team | 09-18-2016 08:00
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 09-14-2016 10:00
NFLWeather Impact Report: Steelers and Bengals Try to Beat The Rain…..Again
When Pittsburgh stormed into Cincinnati last January, they escaped with a narrow 18-16 AFC wildcard playoff victory in a torrential downpour. The only thing more unpredictable than the miraculous fourth quarter comeback was the weather. Hopefully, this game will be equally as exciting as the last outing. It looks promising that the elements will make another damp and dreary appearance.
According to NFLWeather.com, rain is expected for the entirety of this mouthwatering rematch between bitter AFC North rivals. Temperatures will be in the high-70s with humidity hovering around 80%. The wind shouldn’t be much of a factor, topping out around 7mph, but Heinz Field’s open end zone has always been a problem for kickers, rain or shine. And, a muddy grass surface could be the difference factor in the special teams department for both sides.
In Pittsburgh’s rainy playoff win, neither team was particularly impressive as each quarterback threw a pick and both sides combined for seven fumbles (four recovered by opposing team). Despite both teams missing key players (Andy Dalton for Cincy was sidelined and the Steelers were forced to start a third string RB with Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams done for the season), all the heavy hitters will be back for this one, with the exception of Bell serving his suspension.
Since 2012, the Steelers (1-0) have posted an impressive 9-2 record in weather impacted matchups. Regardless of conditions, one player we can bank on that won’t be phased by the rain is Ben Roethlisberger. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, only once in 11 rain games has Big Ben not thrown a touchdown pass and in his last six weather-related matchups, he’s averaged 33 passing attempts and over 240 yards. A little drizzle doesn’t deter Roethlisberger from finding his top target as Antonio Brown has averaged over 10 targets a game in the rain.
Even though Cincinnati (1-0) has played in fewer weather-related games than Pittsburgh, posting a 3-3 record since 2011, don’t let Dalton’s lack of experience in crummy conditions fool you. His last two starts in the rain resulted in wins over tough Denver (2014) and New England (2013) teams while star wideout AJ Green was a complete non-factor against the Broncos. In those pivotal wins, Dalton completed 37-of-53 attempts for 358 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. The stats might not be anything to gloat about but a 2-0 record against both of those juggernauts certainly is. Expect Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard to alleviate some of the pressure off Dalton in the rain-soaked rivalry with Hill likely to see significantly more carries than his speedy counterpart.
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