Last week, we took a deeper dive into the coming fantasy playoff schedule, pointing out to fantasy players what teams had the best and worst schedules heading down the stretch, with the emphasis being on Weeks 14-17.
As we saw Nov. 10 in the Carolina-Green Bay game, the weather made a significant impact with a thin layer of snow covering the field in the second half of the game. When it gets to late December, the potential for bad weather that – whether it be snow, cold, wind or a combination of all of them – can virtually ground an offense.
It’s the reason why players routinely post eye-popping numbers in the regular season, but the team that runs the ball and plays defense wins in the playoffs.
We took a look at all 32 teams and based our top/bottom rankings on the potential for bad weather, not their opponents. Teams like the Rams with have a gauntlet down the stretch and Miami may have the easiest slate of opponents of any team during the typical fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16), but when you flip the script on how December weather in outdoor stadiums can impact the outcome of games (and fantasy production), the Rams will likely have the best of all worlds, while Miami will have to struggle through the potential for dismal weather..
If you have players that you’re convinced won’t be used or are expendable, you may to look to pick up a player from one of two of the teams with the most favorable schedules and consider having a backup plan for those on the downside of the list.
THE FIVE BEST
Minnesota Vikings (DETROIT, at L.A. Chargers, GREEN BAY, CHICAGO) – It doesn’t get much better than this. Three home games in their unfriendly dome environment and their one road game in Los Angeles. No complaints.
Los Angeles Rams (SEATTLE, at Dallas, at San Francisco, ARIZONA) – Simply in terms of the potential for weather impacting their games, three of them are in California and the other is under the roof at Jerry World. If they’re making it to the playoffs, they will have to cut through those guys to potentially knock one of them out of a spot, but they will very likely be able to execute their game plan.
Carolina Panthers (at Atlanta, SEATTLE, at Indianapolis, at New Orleans) – Again, three road games are never a picnic, but all of them are in domes – a blessing for a warm-weather team that finds it hard to replicate frigid conditions in practice. Christian McCaffrey should be at his need-for-speed best.
Houston Texans (DENVER, at Tennessee, at Tampa Bay, TENNESSEE) – Texas teams don’t like heading north in December or January (and they struggle when they do). Houston drew the good straw on this closing schedule. They got saddled with two road games when most championships are decided, but it is against Tennessee and Tampa Bay – teams who have been capable of being exploited and in venues that don’t see snow.
Los Angeles Chargers (at Jacksonville, MINNESOTA, OAKLAND, at Kansas City) – If Week 17 is when a champion is crowned in your league, this takes a bit of hit, but if you’re in a Weeks 14-16 title scenario, one game in Florida and two in Los Angeles doesn’t get much more likely for seasonable weather.
THE FIVE WORST
Miami Dolphins (at New York Jets, at New York Giants, CINCINNATI, at New England) – If you look at the opponents, you salivate. At the moment, the teams they play in Weeks 14-16 have a combined record of 5-25, but for a team from South Florida, the prospect of heading to MetLife Stadium in back-to-back weeks and closing out in Boston is not conducive to good weather probability. Most fantasy players have rid themselves of Dolphins, but those who haven’t may want to consider it – even with a schedule full of losing teams.
Chicago Bears (DALLAS, at Green Bay, KANSAS CITY, at Minnesota) – If you were to pick the two stadiums known for awful late-season conditions due to cold and wind, Lambeau Field and Soldier Field top the list. The Bears will play all three games in Weeks 14-16 in those venues.
Baltimore Ravens (at Buffalo, New York Jets, at Cleveland, PITTSBURGH) – Buffalo is always a concern and Cleveland can be brutal when the wind is coming off the lake. For a team predicated on running and speed, that could pose a problem.
Buffalo Bills (BALTIMORE, at Pittsburgh, at New England, NEW YORK JETS) – There are no gimmes on this slate, from two games in Buffalo to road games against the Steelers and Patriots. If the Bills are going to make the playoffs, they’re going to have to play January football in December.
Dallas Cowboys (at Chicago, L.A. RAMS, at Philadelphia, WASHINGTON) – Nothing comes easy here and road trips to Chicago and Philadelphia are no picnic for a team from Texas.
Weather is going to impact the NFL in the closing weeks of the season. It always does. While in most cases, if a fantasy owner has leaned on the same players all season, they likely aren’t going to make radical lineup changes, but, if you have roster spots that can be swapped out in the event you need it on game day if one or two of your players are going to be playing in blizzard conditions, it’s an option you may want to explore before your hands are tied in Week 15 or 16.
Here is the Week 12 Fantasy Market Report:
Lamar Jackson – Jackson has been posting crazy good numbers all year, but it seems like he is finding another gear over the second half of the season. He hit a stretch in the middle of the season where his touchdown passes fell markedly (two TD passes in four games), but, in his last two games, he has emerged in the middle of the MVP discussions. He has thrown seven TD passes in his last two games and has five rushing TDs in his last five games. He’s been a fantasy stud all season, but he’s kicked into a second gear in November.
Jarvis Landry – In his first seven games of the season, Landry was catching passes and posting modest yardage totals consistently, but what was frustrating fantasy owners was that he wasn’t hitting the end zone. But, in the last four games, he has been targeted 40 times, catching 24 passes for 256 yards and has scored a touchdown in each of his last three games – a pace over the last month that would translate into 96 catches for 1,024 yards and 12 TDs over the course of a full season.
Josh Allen – Allen still doesn’t get the fantasy respect he deserves despite becoming one of the most consistent scorers in the league. He has accounted for two or more touchdowns in his last six games, including 10 passing TDs and four rushing touchdowns. He likely isn’t the No. 1 QB on many rosters, but he’s been playing like one since the beginning of October.
Randall Cobb – His role in Green Bay was reduced his final couple of seasons with the Packers and it didn’t appear to be changing in Dallas. Between Weeks 2 and 9, Cobb had more than three catches just twice and his high yardage total was 53 with no touchdowns. However, in his last two games, he has caught 10 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Dak Prescott has become a fantasy must-start because he’s finding ways to incorporate more players into the mix and Cobb has become a player owners will find hard to bench.
Jameis Winston – If your league doesn’t penalize you for interceptions (he has 18 on the season and 13 in his last five games, he has been a yardage monster. In his last eight games, he has thrown two or more touchdowns in six games, has one in both of the other two and thrown for more than 300 yards in seven of them. For leagues that deduct points for interceptions, Winston can kill you at times, but, if not, he’s putting up fantasy MVP type numbers on a weekly basis.
Alvin Kamara – While his numbers are still solid in PPR formats, Kamara was the first or second player taken in most drafts or auctions because of his ability to post giant numbers. In 15 games last year, Kamara rushed for 883 yards, caught 81 passes for 7089 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. In eight games this season (he’s missed two), he has rushed for 472 yards and caught 51 passes for 373 yards. Those numbers are similar to his 2018 numbers, but, he has scored just two touchdowns. He’s still putting up decent numbers, but not the numbers fantasy owners invested so heavily in.
Jacoby Brissett – He was one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league coming out of the gate, throwing 14 TD passes in his first six games as the starter. Over the last month, he has missed one game due to injury and, in the other three games, he has just one TD pass and one TD run. He has the ability to make big plays, but the shine is starting to come off of Brissett with fantasy owners that fell in love with him in September.
Joey Slye – Kickers aren’t given much credit for their contributions to fantasy lineups, but you remember them if you win or lose by a couple of points and kicker made the difference. In his first four games of the season, Slye scored 39 points with totals of 9, 12, 8 and 10 points. In his last six games, he has scored just 33 points, including two weeks with three points, two with four and one with six. If you’re wondering why he’s available in so many leagues, those point totals are probably the answer.
Jared Goff – In 2018, Goff took the fantasy world by storm, averaging 293 yards a game and throwing 32 touchdowns. While he is still posting decent passing numbers (averaging 278 yards a game), he has thrown just 11 touchdowns in 10 games (a pace for just 17 or 18 over the course of the season). Those are unacceptable numbers in the pass-happy era we live in now and when you haven’t thrown more than two TDs in any game with that supporting cast, it’s even more maddening.
Tevin Coleman – In the first four games returning from injury in Week 4, Coleman looked like one of the best running backs in the league, rushing for 309 yards and scoring six total touchdowns. But, in the last three games, he rushed 33 times for just 77 yards and hasn’t scored any touchdowns. At a time when fantasy owners have been putting him in starting lineups every week because of what accomplished in October, he has been an unqualified bust since Halloween.