November has been a quiet month, with minimal impacts thus far. That trend will mostly continue, however we are monitoring a system that is tracking through the upper midwest into the bordering Great Lakes states on Sunday. This means that both the Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers games could experience some inclement weather including snow/rain, cooler temperatures, and wind.
We are also expecting gusty/windy conditions in Denver due to downsloping as the Philadelphia Eagles travel to take on the Denver Broncos for a 4:25 pm ET kickoff.
A clipper system originating over the northern Great Plains will track across the Great Lake states on Sunday. Typically these systems are dry, and are unable to produce considerable precipitation, but they also bring with them cooler air masses and wind.
The Green Bay region is forecasted to receive a few inches of snow Saturday into Sunday afternoon. As a result, we are expecting most of the precipitation to move through by game time at 4 pm ET. However, winds are expected to pick up as the system moves out of the area reaching 12-17 mph with gusts 20+ mph and temperatures dropping into the low 30s. Some lingering lake effect snow showers are not out of the question, but accumulation is not anticipated.
Pittsburgh is forecasted to have rain move into the area for the second half of the Lions at Steelers game. Temperatures will be stable in the upper 30’s with light winds out of the south-southwest at 5-10 mph. Most of the rain will be light, but there could be periods of heavier rainfall, especially in the later part of the second half. Accumulation is forecasted in the 0.05 to 0.1 range.
Out west, over the Rockies, there will be 3-4 hour period in which winds will pick up out of the west creating downsloping conditions lee of the Rockies. This will cause winds to pick up over Denver during this 3-4 hour time interval which intersects with the 4:25 pm ET start time for this Eagles @ Broncos matchup.
Detroit Lions @ Pittsburg Steelers
We typically see a drop off in fantasy points in rainy games (10-15% reduction) for QBs, but Jared Goff historically has been more significantly impacted than other QBs in cold/rainy weather. His 76 QBR, 230 YPG, 2 TDs, and 3 INTs in 3 rain games is concerning. Similar performance numbers are documented for cold-weather games (<40 degrees).
Ben Roethlisberger is out this week, so Mason Rudolph will get the start, and will be in charge of moving this offense against the Lions this week. Mason does not have a great track record in his 9 starts with the Steelers, posting a 80.7 QBR, with 204 YPG passing with 12 TDs and 9 INTs in these 9 games played. Rain won’t help the back-up QB in this one, so expect him to keep the ball short and look to trusted receivers in Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth with Najee Harris getting a bulk of the work in an attempt to move this offense down the field.
Below are numbers for QBs in similar weather conditions. Statistically speaking, QBs have a higher probability of scoring less fantasy points in these games with a 3-5 point reduction possible. Jared Goff and Mason Rudolph should be no exception to this statistic.
With a depleted receiving core on both sides, a backup QB, Goff struggling of late, and weather looking to be a factor in the second half, we are forecasting an increased workload for Najee Harris and D'Andre Swift. Both are solid RB 1 on their respective teams. Steelers are #16 in yards given up to RBs (110 YPG) while the Lions come in at #29 (135 YPG). This means both defenses are susceptible to the run, especially the Lions. We expect both RBs to be smash plays this week. Harris is almost guaranteed 20+ touches this week and has higher TD upside than Swift, but Swift makes up for it with his passing volume to the tune of 5-10 targets a game.
There is not a plethora of receiving options to choose from, especially now that Big Ben is out. Typically we see QB’s having trouble hitting their downfield targets in rain, but there aren’t many viable downfield threats available (or QB’s capable of making the deep throws).We expect the QB’s to stay with their trusted targets Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth of Pittsburgh and T.J. Hockenson of Detroit.
In summary, expect an uptick in the rushing attack on both sides and the QBs to keep things short, using their trusted receivers/TEs. With an O/U that has now dropped to 41.5 we don’t expect a ton of points to be scored, so red zone looks will be at a premium.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Cold and wind are more of the concern for the Seahawks at the Packers game. We don’t expect significant impacts on either side of the ball as both Wilson and Rodgers are elite QB’s that perform regardless of weather and are capable of moving their offenses.
With that being said, Russell Wilson is on our radar (pun intended) as he is returning from a hand injury, and it would not be surprising to see him struggle in windy and cold conditions. We are limiting expectations for Wilson in his first game back, away, in a game some wind and cold.
Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos
It is worth mentioning that winds are forecasted to be gusty in Denver for the first half of the game, but look to calm for the second half. Expect 20-25 mph gusts for the first two quarters before subsiding to 8-13 mph sustained for the second half.
No significant impacts are expected - but you may want to limit expectations for kickers in Mile High today.