It feels like it has been a decade since I last jumped into this series. Honestly, every week of 2020 has felt like an entire year. Yet here we are. Mere days away from the first Sunday of the 2020 NFL season, and I could not be more excited. Let’s kick off this season by knocking the dust off my weekly series and cover the NFL weather forecast for Week 1 and see if any trap falls await your fantasy team.
Note: All times are Eastern Standard time, and forecasts will be updated if any changes happen from the time of writing this up to kickoff. All betting lines are from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Chance of high winds
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills -6.5 (1:00 PM) – 39.5 o/u
We start our look around in the league in the city that continuously brings some of the highest winds each week. Beginning in the early hours of Sunday morning and sticking around through the game, we will see sustained winds between 12-16mph with gusts up to 20 mph. When winds reach or exceed 15 mph, I start to pay attention to their potential impact on a game.
We can see passes sail and kicks of 35+ yards get pushed offline at this range, causing players to compensate. There is also an 80% chance of rain leading up to kickoff but tapers off to 30% at 1:00 PM. I don’t see any reason to worry about precipitation having any impact.
Before even looking at the weather, scoring was likely to come at a premium in this matchup. New York vs. Buffalo has the lowest game total of the Week 1 slate. Both teams have solid defenses and conservative approaches to the offense. One team focuses on winning by rushing the ball, and the other has Adam Gase as their head coach.
Jamison Crowder is an underrated PPR player that has WR3 fantasy value in Week 1. Le’Veon Bell is the only other Jet I can make a case for starting, and that is only because of the volume he will see in this matchup.
As for Buffalo, Josh Allen is a low-end fantasy QB1 with a solid floor due to his rushing upside. Stefon Diggs remains a point of discussion as his value relies on Allen’s accuracy improving. In 2019, 31 quarterbacks attempted 25 or more passes beyond 20 or more yards. Allen ranked 29th on that list, ahead of only Kyle Allen and Dwayne Haskins. If there was ever a week to silence the critics and doubters, it is in this Week 1 matchup.
Chance of Showers
Indianapolis Colts -8.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars (1:00 PM) – 45 o/u
We see a typical Florida forecast in Week 1. Temperatures around 86 degrees, partly cloudy skies, 10mph winds, and a chance of afternoon showers. Anyone who has ever been to the Sunshine State knows this is a rinse and repeat forecast for nearly every day. I don’t see the weather having any impact on this game.
Outside of DJ Chark, I am staying away from any Jaguars fantasy players this week. There is too much uncertainty for me to feel comfortable relying on them until we see how this backfield will shake out.
Speaking of backfields, the touch split between Marlon Mack and rookie Jonathan Taylor will be fascinating. All the hype, deservingly so, is on Taylor’s side. All it will take is one explosive run for him to take a stranglehold on this backfield, and there is no better team to do that against than a poor Jaguars defense.
Slight chance of rain
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens -7.5 (1:00 PM) – 47.5 o/u
The storylines in this matchup are much more interesting than the weather forecast. Temperatures for their 1:00 PM kickoff will hover around 80 degrees with mostly cloudy skies and light winds around 7 mph. There is a 20% chance of rain, but I don’t believe we will see any rainfall during the game.
As for on the field, all eyes are on if reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson can repeat his QB1 performance we saw last year. As for the Cleveland Browns, we will see several questions answered. What will this team look like under new head coach Kevin Stefanski?
We could see more two tight end sets, which would help utilize their new passing threat, Austin Hooper. A philosophy like what we saw in Minnesota would make sense as they lack a legitimate pass-catcher other than Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Kareem Hunt also offers stable value in PPR leagues based on where you drafted him and is a low-end RB2 in Week 1.
Air Quality Issues
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers -6.5 (4:25 PM) – 48 o/u
Hopefully, this is something I don’t have to write about again. Wildfires have decimated the West Coast and caused countless issues. While the fires pose no threat to the area, the NFL and both teams are closely monitoring their impact on the air quality. San Francisco running back Tevin Coleman, who has Sickle Cell Anemia, sat out practice on Friday as his condition poses a higher risk to his health.
During his press conference, head coach Kyle Shanahan said it would be up to Coleman if he plays on Sunday. If Coleman chooses to sit, Raheem Mostert becomes a must-start in Week 1. TE George Kittle is my other must-start player this week as he faces a Cardinals’ defense that gave up a touchdown to opposing tight ends in 13 of their 16 games in 2019.
As for the typical weather forecast, this game shouldn’t see any impact. Temperatures will be around 63 degrees at kickoff with winds around 10 to 12 mph.
Worry-Free Weather Forecasts
Philadelphia Eagles -5.5 at Washington Football Team (1:00 PM) – 42.5 o/u
Washington comes to this season in the middle of a complete culture change, but that doesn’t mean we will see them any better on the football field, at least not in Week 1. Outside of Terry McLaurin, no one else is a safe option to slide into your lineups. Yes, Antonio Gibson brings some intrigue, but use a wait and see approach before trusting him. Scoring opportunities will be few and far between all season long, which limits his ceiling.
The 83-degree temperatures, mostly cloudy skies, and five mph winds won’t impact this matchup.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots -7 (1:00 PM) – 41.5 o/u
Miami made several upgrades in the offseason, and also breakout WR Preston Williams returns to the field after his rookie season ended abruptly due to a torn ACL. While they face a Patriots’ defense who saw eight players opt-out, it is still hard to start anyone other than TE Mike Gesicki. While Jakeem Grant will likely play the “X” this year, Gesicki has the size and athleticism that can be used in the slot that both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa can use to their advantage.
As for New England, I am avoiding them if possible. Cam Newton missed nearly an entire year, and we don’t know what this offense will look like with him under center. He does have high-QB2 upside, but the quarterback position is deep, and you can find a safer option this week. Also, stay away from this backfield. Bill Belichick will rotate players in and out frequently, limiting their upside as they lack a bell-cow rusher.
High temperatures will be around 73 degrees with partly cloudy skies and light winds.
Las Vegas Raiders -2.5 at Carolina Panthers (1:00 PM) – 47.5 o/u
I believe we will see the Week 1 fantasy running back in this game, and no, that doesn’t mean it will automatically be Christian McCaffrey. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is in a prime situation to blow up this week. Carolina had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last year.
Per Football Outsiders, they were 23rd vs. the pass & 32nd (NFL worst) against the run. They gave up the fourth-most rushing yards per game (144 yards on average). Jacobs averaged 4.8 yards per rush and is behind one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. I expect him to be a smash play this week and will be in nearly all of my DFS lineups.
The weather won’t slow down these running backs as temperatures will be around 83 degrees with mostly cloudy skies and 5 mph winds.
Los Angeles Chargers -2.5 at Cincinnati Bengals (4:05 PM) – 42 o/u
We have a battle of teams with new quarterbacks in different parts of their careers. Tyrod Taylor takes over the reins after longtime QB Philip Rivers left in free agency, and the much sought-after Joe Burrow makes his first career start after going number one overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. While Burrow has received all the praise in the offseason, I would not trust him unless in a 2QB fantasy league in this Week 1 matchup. The lack of a typical offseason and preseason games worries me.
The 86-degree temperatures, mostly cloudy skies, and three mph winds will not impact this matchup.
Dallas Cowboys -2.5 at Los Angeles Rams (Sunday 8:20 PM) – 51.5 o/u
It would not surprise me if is this is the highest-scoring game of the week. Dallas gave Dak Prescott another weapon during the draft in top WR CeeDee Lamb. I don’t believe there is a deep enough defense to provide this receiver corps the coverage they individually deserve. Oh, don’t forget they have to worry about Ezekiel Elliott as well. On the Rams side of the ball, I want to see how much they implement 12 personnel in this game. They saw success with this formation last year, which led to Tyler Higbee’s incredible five-game stretch where he had over 100 receiving yards in four straight games.
The 69-degree temperatures, mostly cloudy skies, with light and variable winds has as good of a chance of slowing down these offenses as each defensive coordinator.
Pittsburgh Steelers -6 at New York Giants (Monday 7:15 PM) – 46 o/u
After missing all but one and a half games in 2019, how will Ben Roethlisberger look in his first game back? Certainly, the offense can’t look as poor as it did last year in his absence. Every player on the Steelers offense could end up being a fantastic fantasy value given their ADP with a healthy Big Ben if he is remotely close to his 2018 form.
The weather forecast won’t pose an issue with 70-degree temperatures, clear skies, and 10 mph winds.
Tennessee Titans -2.5 at Denver Broncos (Monday 10:20 PM) – 41 o/u
Unfortunately for the Denver Broncos, their start to the season is off to a bad one. Future Hall of Famer Von Miller will likely miss the season after suffering an ankle injury that required surgery in one of their final practices. Also, WR Courtland Sutton is week-to-week after spraining his AC joint and will miss their opening game. Drew Lock will have to rely on rookie WR Jerry Jeudy, TE Noah Fant, and the combined rushing attack of Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay until Sutton returns.
The 74-degree temperatures, clear skies, and six mph winds make for a beautiful Monday Mile High night.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings -2.5 (Sunday 1:00 PM) – 45 o/u
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions -2.5 (Sunday 1:00 PM) – 43 o/u
Seattle Seahawks -2.5 at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday 1:00 PM) – 49 o/u
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints -3.5 (Sunday 4:25 PM) – 48 o/u
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