Before I get started, I want to say thank you. Thank you for clicking on my articles and trusting in my judgment to help you make informed decisions throughout this season. I hope that you and your families had a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays filled with laughter, love, and thankfulness for what you have in life. I hope in some small way, I was able to help you during this fantasy season, and I look forward to continuing that into the offseason as we crank up our dynasty content.
Sitting here writing my final fantasy weather report of 2019 is a bit bittersweet. It seems like just the other week, it was the start of the season, and we all thought we drafted the winning team. Yet here we are, it’s Week 17 and the final chance to get a win and snatch that championship trophy from your opponent and claim bragging rights for the entire offseason and beyond.
Having your championship game happen on Week 17 is brutal, and honestly, I don’t know how you do it. Sure, we all love getting as much out of the season as possible, but having to worry about teams just sitting players out (See: Lamar Jackson) makes what is a problematic task and cranks up the potential tilt factor to 11. Maybe you are here for that final DFS potential cashout and need to check one less worry off the list. Let me help take some of the burdens off your already overflowing plate and break down the NFL Week 17 fantasy football weather forecast.
Before we dive into the weather forecast for Week 17, I want to remind you that just because the fantasy season is ending, we won’t be stopping. Dynasty content will ramp up even more as we analyze teams’ moves, player’s rankings, and scout the incoming 2020 rookie class.
Potential for Heavy Rain
Cleveland Browns -3 at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday 1:00 PM) – 43 o/u
*Sunday morning update: It looks like the worst of the rain has already moved out of the area. Still expect to see some light rain for the game but not the downpour we thought it might be last night.
This game is one of two that has the highest chance to see the heavy rain of the week. We will see rain, that I am confident in, but how much can change between now and kickoff. I will update this post and give updates on my Twitter (@TommyGarrettPFN) as we get closer.
Rain will be moving the local area late Saturday night and stick around throughout the day. Yes, they will have the field covered, but it can not stop all of it, and what falls during the game is what looks to be the hardest. Currently, forecasts are predicting between .75″ to an inch of rain during the day. Sustained wind speeds will be around 10-13mph, but gusts can reach up to 22mph. The sustained speeds don’t concern me overall, but gusts can play havoc when the ball is in the air if it hits at the right time. I would caution making any massive start/sit decisions in your lineups for fantasy and DFS until we have a better idea Sunday morning. However, have a backup plan ready just in case.
I already liked both Nick Chubb and Joe Mixon heading into this game before even seeing the weather. The Bengals give up the most rushing yards per game (153.9), and the Browns give up the 3rd most (143.0). Add in the likelihood of poor weather conditions, and both running backs should see high usage — both players are top-10 players for me with Chubb as a top-5 in standard scoring.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills -1 (Sunday 1:00 PM) – 36.5 o/u
Here we go with another chance for significant weather. I’ll say the same as I did earlier. Wait until closer to kickoff to make extensive changes. Currently, forecasts show the potential for rainfall between .25 and .50 inches of rain. While this isn’t as high as what could fall in Cincinnati, this is nothing to brush off. Rain will already be falling by kickoff and should stick around for the duration of the game. Wind looks to be a relative non-issue. Currently, they are forecasted to be around 10mph, and gusts shouldn’t reach above 17mph. Luckily for the time of year, temperatures look to be reasonably mild given the location and will be around 49 degrees.
I don’t expect this to be a very high scoring game, and Las Vegas appears to agree with this idea. The 36.5 total is the second-lowest for Week 17. A large part of this is because both teams feature solid defenses. The Jets are second against the run, while the Bills are 4th against the pass. Another reason for the low total is the Bills are already locked into the 5th seed for the AFC playoffs. It does them no good to play players in adverse conditions when they have a playoff game to worry about. With nothing to play for, it wouldn’t surprise me if they pull their starters at the half in hopes of giving them extra rest. Relying on fantasy players in this game is a risky play, and one reason why I don’t particularly appreciate having championship games take place in Week 17.
Chance of Rain during the Game
New Orleans Saints -13 at Carolina Panthers (1:00 PM) – 45 o/u
Rain will come into the area around 9:00 AM and stick around for most of the day. Rain totals will be between a tenth to .25 of an inch. I don’t consider this to be “fade-worthy,” but there is an increased risk of turnovers anytime you add a wet football into the equation.
The Saints need this win if they want a shot at the #1 overall seed for the NFC playoffs. A win combined with a San Francisco 49ers loss would make that happen. Even though they have playoffs locked up, they want to give themselves the best chance, and unless they get a substantial lead, expect them to keep their starters in the game. If that scenario plays out, any fantasy players you have will already have had great games for you. I fully expect to see Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas all as top-5 plays this week, even if the rain decides to fall. I feel much more confident in them than I do players for the Panthers, including Christian McCaffrey.
That isn’t to say he won’t still get his, but with Will Grier starting at QB, I think the Saints will be fine in making McCaffery their focus and letting Grier try to beat them. Offensive Coordinator Michael Turner was quoted saying, “Potentially as the game goes on, we could take a look at some of those other backs.” You can’t sit McCaffrey obviously, but if the game is out of reach, they could choose to pull the plug on the 2019 season a bit early.
Philadelphia Eagles -4 at New York Giants (Sunday 4:25 PM) – 45 o/u
If this game had a 1:00 PM kickoff, I wouldn’t be bringing this up most likely. However, rain appears to be moving into the New York area sometime in the first half. Projected rainfall amounts look to be reasonably low, around a tenth of an inch. Considering the light rain and light winds, I don’t see this having any real impact on the game, but it is still worth mentioning. The 47-degree temperatures won’t play a factor as well.
The Eagles will clinch the NFC East, and the No. 4 seed, with a win or a Dallas Cowboys loss. Given what is at stake, all healthy players will have the green light all game for Week 17.
Pittsburgh Steelers -2 at Baltimore Ravens (Sunday 4:25 PM) – 37o/u
Sunday morning update: Heaviest rain will be in the early part of the game it looks like. Once that moves out of the area, light rain with a chance of scattered showers will be what we look for. Not expecting this to increase the total rainfall but the first half of the game could be sloppy. Ball security could be an issue here.
I expect to see some rain throughout the game, but nothing more than a drizzle is expected. Relatively calm winds around 6mph will accompany it, and I don’t foresee this having a noticeable impact. Total rainfall will be less than a tenth of an inch for the day.
Even though the weather isn’t a concern, it doesn’t mean I want to be starting anyone here this week unless I don’t have any other options. Just because the Ravens are not going to play the majority of their key starters doesn’t make Steelers players a must-start for fantasy.
Yes, they need a win along with help to make it into the playoffs. However, they will be starting Devlin Hodges and are without James Conner (go figure), and the offenses as a whole will struggle to move the ball effectively. Who would have thought the Steelers would be a 2-point favorite against the Ravens? I guess when they elect not to play guys like Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram, it tends to tilt the line a bit.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday 8:20 PM)
There is a slight chance we see a light drizzle happen during the game, but nothing sustained or that would cause any concern. For what should be the most exciting game of Week 17 on paper, the weather won’t have any impact on the outcome.
The main storyline here is the massive problem in the Seahawks’ backfield. Now with Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and C.J. Prosise out for the season, they are forced to start rookie Travis Homer it appears. But let’s be honest, we all just want to see Marshawn Lynch in his return to CenturyLink Field. Whether or not you wish to see him in your Week 17 fantasy lineups is a whole different story. We gave our thoughts and expectations on this earlier in the week here.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs -9 (Sunday 1:00 PM) – 45.5 o/u
Take one last look at the Chargers as this is highly likely the last time we see both Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon sharing the reps. Both players are unrestricted free agents for 2020, and the Chargers will have to choose who they decide to pursue in the offseason. This story will be one of the more intriguing ones as we get closer to the draft and mini camps.
As for the weather, the 47-degree temperatures, mostly cloudy skies, and 10mph winds won’t have an impact on the game. We could see gusts closing in on 20mph, but I don’t see any reason for concern.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots -16 (Sunday 1:00 PM) – 45 o/u
The Patriots control their destiny in Week 17 as a win secures them the 2nd seed in the NFL playoffs. Once they feel that is guaranteed, I expect them to pull their players and provide them with a rest. Any team this week with playoff hopes will be scoreboard watching making a potential theme across the league. The 44-degree temperatures, mostly sunny skies, and light winds will be no concern for the game.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1 (Sunday 1:00 PM) – 48 o/u
If Jameis Winston can limit himself to 2 interceptions, he will become the first NFL quarterback to make the 30/30 club. Currently, he sits on 31 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. I like his odds of making this milestone happen in Week 17. These 81-degree temperatures, mostly cloudy skies, and 8mph winds make for a great Week 17 weather forecast.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos -3.5 (Sunday 4:25 PM) – 41 o/u
And so ends an era. We say goodbye to the Oakland Raiders and hello to the 2020 Las Vegas Raiders. Do you know those times where you keep writing down the wrong date after the new year? Get ready for that to happen all season because it is going to take a long time to drill this into our heads. It will be a chilly send off as 30-degree temperatures will feel much colder due to the 10mph winds and thin air.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams -6 (Sunday 4:25 PM) – 45 o/u
It appears Kyler Murray will be a true game-time decision in Week 17 due to the hamstring injury he suffered in Week 16. Have a backup plan ready, and be on the lookout for any news we get leading up to kickoff regarding his availability. Brett Hundley took most of the reps at quarterback during practice this week, and the Cardinals called up Drew Anderson from the practice squad Friday. All of those signs point to Murray potentially missing this meaningless game. The 60-degree temperatures, sunny skies, and calm winds won’t be a factor.
Indianapolis Colts -4.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday 4:25 PM) – 42 o/u
Wide receiver DJ Chark has been removed from the injury report for the Jaguars leading into their Week 17 matchup. This is a great sign because Leonard Fournette (neck), wide receiver Dede Westbrook (neck, shoulder) and rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew (shoulder) are all listed as questionable for Week 17. Since they are already eliminated from playoff contention, I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them pulled from this game or at least limit their snaps.
For fantasy owners in championship contention, this could cause several headaches. There is a 30% chance of light rain after 1:00 PM, but I wouldn’t stress over it. The 76-degree temperatures, mostly cloudy skies, and 7mph winds shouldn’t factor into any lineup decisions for Week 17.
Green Bay Packers -12 at Detroit Lions (Sunday 1:00 PM) – 43 o/u
Chicago Bears -3 at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday 1:00 PM) – 36 o/u
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys -11 (Sunday 4:25 PM) – 45.5 o/u
Tennessee Titans -5.5 at Houston Texans (Sunday 4:25 PM) – 44 o/u
Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 and @PFNFantasy to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2019 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our Fantasy Football section for more coverage and our weekly rankings for both standard and PPR scoring.
Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.