By clicking on this article and reading, I am assuming you made it past your first hurdle and made it to the second round of your fantasy football playoffs. Allow me to congratulate you on making it this far personally. However, we both know the work isn’t over. Odds are this week will be even harder as the cream continues to rise to the top. Now is no time for slacking.
Hopefully, you aren’t now facing a comeback thanks to playing against Lamar Jackson on Thursday Night Football. Even if you are, there is still the rest of the week to play out. Don’t lose hope now. Let me help you get an edge on your opponent by breaking down the Week 15 fantasy football weather forecast.
In Week 14, there were a handful of games that I covered but really only one that gave me any concern. That was the Monday Night Football matchup between the New York Giants vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. The forecast remained accurate as we saw some heavy rain for the majority of the game. The Eagles’ complete lack of a wide receiver group led to players like Zach Ertz and also Boston Scott seeing a heavy workload, even in simple check downs. In PPR scoring, this was fantastic.
I was surprised the most by Eli Manning’s willingness to push the ball down the field and his instant connection to Darius Slayton. Slayton posted his highest yard per target of the season at 19.2 en route to his fourth double-digit fantasy point game in a row. It goes to show that even in adverse conditions, there are useable players, although the predictability of who it will be is reduced.
Looking at this week’s forecast, there isn’t too much I am concerned about weather-wise. One game sticks out, but I don’t think it is fade worthy, but timing will be critical as to what we see happen.
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High Probability of Winter Weather
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs -10 (1:00 PM) – 45.5 o/u
Going over all the games for Week 15, this is the only game that I see being impacted by adverse conditions. The timing in which it hits will need to be monitored as we get closer to kickoff. Starting early in the morning, snow will move in from the west and looks to hit a peak rate between 10:00 AM and kickoff. Once it hits, it will be there for the rest of the game.
Estimated snowfalls are forecasted between 1-3 inches during the game. While the snow will start well before the game, I am not worried about that as ground crews will be working up to warmups to keep as much as they can off the field. If the system tracks north slightly than is currently projected, the chance of ice or a wintery mix increases. There is a higher likelihood that this hits harder than we expect as well and the Kansas City area could see upwards of 5 inches of snow before the day is over. Timing will be critical on what decisions need to be made for this game.
Luckily, the wind won’t be a concern as speeds shouldn’t exceed the single-digits. Expect temperatures in the mid to low 20s with the wind chill. As with rain, being 100% correct on the total accumulation is tough to nail down with full confidence. I will be keeping a close eye on this, and if there is any change in the forecast, I will post those updates on my Twitter (@TommyGarrettPFN).
As for the fantasy and playoff implications, I wouldn’t be fading this game completely given the current forecast. I personally am not moving players down in rankings for me due to the forecast on its own. Players in this game will remain in their usual tiers for me this week, and if I would generally start them, I will take that same mindset into Week 15. If we see a shift in the forecast or what is happening Sunday morning, then owners need to be flexible and ready to change on the fly.
Miami Dolphins at New York Giants -3 (1:00 PM) – 46.5 o/u
East Rutherford has the only real chance of seeing any effects from the wind in Week 15. Currently, sustained winds in the upper teens are expected with occasional gusts approaching 30 mph. Overall, I am not too concerned with this forecast. When they are 20 mph or above is where we start to see them impact deep passes along with kicks. The only reason I am putting this game in this category is due to the occasional gusts we might see. Overall, I don’t see this impacting 98% of plays and would recommend starting your fantasy football players as you typically would.
Are these teams good? Of course not, and their records show it. There are reliable starting options in this game, though. Maybe you got crushed in Week 14 by injuries and need a fill-in player. Someone like RB Patrick Laird could be a useable option in deeper leagues. Laird has double-digit touches in the past two weeks, and if he can fall into the endzone, your return on investment could be extremely high. After seeing what the Giants allowed Boston Scott to do, the chances are better than not that he can make it three in a row.
Bitterly Cold Temperatures
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers -4.5 (1:00 PM) – 40.5 o/u
There is cold, and then there is Lambeau Field level cold as “The Frozen Tundra” will earn its moniker this week in a classic NFC North divisional game. While the thermometer will read around 17 degrees at kickoff, the actual temperature will be well into the single-digits and be there for the duration of the game. Wind will not be a concern as they won’t get over eight mph.
Luckily, both these teams are fairly well acclimated to cold weather and will be much less affected than a West Coast team, for example, would be. Do they want to play in this weather instead of 70-degree temperatures and sunny skies? Of course not, but they do know how to adjust their game plans accordingly a bit easier than other teams. While I don’t expect this to be a very high scoring game, you still want to start your players as you usually would.
New England Patriots -10 at Cincinnati Bengals (1:00 PM) – 41.5 o/u
You don’t need to send a camera crew in advance to know this is about a lopsided of a matchup as there is in the NFL. After losing in back to back weeks for the first time in what seems like forever, look for the Patriots to not take their foot off the gas at all in this game.
One player who I like a lot is James White. Going against the worst rushing defense in the NFL and the last of WR depth, I expect him to flirt with over 100 total yards in this game. The 38-degree temperatures, sunny skies, and four mph winds won’t slow them down in Week 15.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans -3 (1:00 PM) – 51 o/u
Pay attention to this game, not for the weather, but for the status of Derrick Henry. Dealing with a nagging hamstring, Henry did not practice this week but has been getting conditioning work on the treadmill, according to Turron Davenport of ESPN.com. In must-win fantasy playoff games, this is not good news. Both Henry and coach Mike Vrabel have already said he’ll start against the Texans, but stranger things have happened. There is always an increased chance or further aggravation while playing on it, but with the Titans in the playoff hunt, they can’t afford to sit him. The 52-degree temperatures, cloudy skies, and 6mph winds won’t impact this game.
Philadelphia Eagles -6 at Washington Redskins (1:00 PM) – 39 o/u
The storyline for this game will be how both teams work their running backs. The Redskins put Derrius Guice on IR with an MCL sprain this week, meaning we should expect more work from Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson to resume pass-catching responsibilities. As for the Eagles, it looks like Jordan Howard will miss another game due to his shoulder. What remains to be seen is if Week 14’s usage of Boston Scott was just an aberration or will be continued in Week 15.
Scott was a hot pickup off the waiver wire this week, but I urge caution in throwing him into your lineup. Given the Eagles’ lack of depth at wide receiver and willingness to use a committee approach at running back, I expect him to see a share of touches. I just don’t know if the same efficiency can be counted on to happen again. As for the weather, the 50-degree temperatures, mostly sunny skies, and eight mph winds will not be a concern for you and your fantasy players in Week 15.
Seattle Seahawks -6 at Carolina Panthers (1:00 PM) – 49 o/u
While we never want to see a player get injured, especially a torn ACL, if you own Chris Carson, you have to be excited. The removal of Rashaad Penny from the backfield makes Carson the undisputed bell cow and will see his touches increase in this game. Facing the fourth-worst rushing defense in the Panthers, it doesn’t get much better than this. Carson has a genuine possibility to see 25+ touches in this game and lead the league in rushing for Week 15. He comes into this game as my #2 ranked RB in PPR scoring, only behind his opponent Christian McCaffrey. The 56-degree temperatures, sunny skies, and calm winds are of no concern this week in Charlotte, NC.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders -6.5 (4:05 PM) – 46.5 o/u
While listed as questionable, Josh Jacobs plans to play this week even though he has a fractured shoulder. How you go from out one week to playing the next is beyond me, but fantasy owners will be glad to plug him back in their lineups regardless. Unfortunately, this game is in the afternoon window, and if he does end up sitting, your replacement options are limited. DeAndre Washington looks to be the next man up if you need a fallback option, but I wouldn’t expect a lot. The 56-degree temperatures, sunny skies, and 4mph winds won’t have any impact on this game.
Minnesota Vikings -1.5 at Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 PM) – 45.5 o/u
Adam Thielen looks to make his return in Week 15, giving Kirk Cousins his full complement of wide receivers. Thielen’s return is excellent news for Stefon Diggs as the Chargers can’t focus all their coverage to him, leading to more potential openings to break a big play. As for the Chargers, I expect Philip Rivers to have to do the majority of the work since the Vikings have a top-10 rushing defense.
Melvin Gordon looks to have the harder matchup as Austin Ekeler can be used in the passing game more reliably, giving him more upside in PPR formats. It’s unlikely Ekeler will be able to break a lot of big plays this week as he did in Jacksonville, but hopefully, he can still find his way into the endzone. The 63-degree temperatures, sunny skies, and nine mph winds make for a beautiful mid-December day in California.
Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers -10.5 (4:25 PM) – 48.5 o/u
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that running back Raheem Mostert has earned his role as the lead ball-carrier of late and that “he’s given us no choice.” Over the last three games, Mostert has four total touchdowns (three rushing) and was impressive with 146 rushing yards against a tough Baltimore defense in poor conditions. Mostert should be considered an RB2 for Week 15 in a great matchup against the Falcons. The 55-degree temperatures, sunny skies, and calm winds make for perfect conditions for your fantasy players.
Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers -1 (8:20 PM) – 37 o/u
One of the worst situations a fantasy manager can have is a must-win game with a critical player being a game-time decision on a Sunday night. That is precisely what James Conner owners are facing as he seems to be a genuinely last-minute call in a tough matchup against Buffalo’s excellent defense.
If you can manage to avoid the backfield, do it. It is not a good matchup for any Steelers running back, and if Conner does start, the roles of both Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels are significantly reduced. Moving the ball will be especially tricky as both teams feature top-10 passing and rushing defenses. I will note that there is a slight chance at the end of the game to see some light snow start, but as of now, it looks that it will begin around 11:00 PM, so I am not worried about it. The situation is concerning, but the 30-degree temperature, mostly cloudy skies, and five mph winds won’t affect your fantasy players in Week 15.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -5 at Detroit Lions (1:00 PM) – 45.5 o/u
- Cleveland Browns -3 at Arizona Cardinals (4:05 PM) – 49.5 o/u
- Los Angeles Rams -1 at Dallas Cowboys (4:25 PM) – 48.5 o/u
- Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints -9 (8:15 Monday) – 46.5 o/u
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Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.