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Week 12: East Coast Storm for Thanksgiving Weekend

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

We have multiple games that we will be monitoring going into NFL Week 12. The culprit for these weather risks is due to a strong area of low pressure that is forecasted to track across the Midwest and into the Northeast this weekend. Wind and rain will be prevalent over multiple stadium locations that could have game and fantasy impacts. Below are the games we are most concerned about going into Thanksgiving weekend:

  1. Atlanta Falcons @ Washington Commanders ( Elevated) - heavy rain

  2. Chicago Bears @ New York Jets (Elevated) - heavy rain

  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Cleveland Browns (Elevated) - wind and rain

Forecast Summary:

A significant storm system originating over the Gulf of Mexico will push north into the Midwest region for the Sunday slate of games this weekend. A frontal boundary associated with this storm will impact games along the east coast, bringing with it periods of strong wind and rain. Sustained winds of 15-20 mph with stronger wind gust and rain amounts over a quarter of an inch are not out of the question for several locations. Many of these games already have a low O/U, but weather could play a significant part to ensure these games stay lower scoring. We will break down the games below for more specific game and player impacts.

Forecasted rain totals for Sunday afternoon Sustained winds at 1PM Sunday

Game Impacts: Chicago Bears @ New York Jets (1:05 pm ET)

DK Sports Book O/U: 38.5 pts

Rating: Elevated

It will be raining the proverbial “cats and dogs” in New York for the Bears at Jets matchup. Current forecasts are projecting almost a HALF INCH of rain during game time. That means rain could be constant and heavy, especially going into the second half. The only good news is winds do not look to be a major issue during game time. It is important to highlight that in similar heavy rain games, the average score is 10-11 points less than average weather conditions with a significant skew to the left in the distribution (see graphs below).

With an already ultra low O/U of 38.5 points due to the QB situation for both teams, the offenses were going to struggle to score points regardless. If Justin Fields sits, expect David Montgomery to get the lion’s share of offensive opportunities (especially with Khalil Herbert out). However, the Jets rushing defense has only allowed 110 yards per game on average, so how efficient Montgomery is with these carries may be limited. On the other side, James Robinson and Michael Carter will split carries, and with the Chicago rushing defense giving up a 29th ranked 142 yards a game, a big play is not out of the question. We also may see an uptick in short passes to Michael Carter as a safety net.

From a passing perspective, if Fields is out, it is hard to trust Mooney, Claypool or Kmet on the road in these conditions. Mike White looks to get the start in New York, which may actually be an upgrade over the benched Zac Wilson, but he will be hard to trust in the heavy rain. Chicago has also been a tougher defense through the air of late, and as a result, Garrett Wilson will be a tough sell as a starting asset to your fantasy team.

If forecasted rain amounts do come to fruition, expect a slow pace of play, with an overall heavier dependence on the run. Both the Bears and Jets defenses look like solid plays this week as well.

Game Impacts: Atlanta Falcons @ Washington Commanders (1:05 pm ET)

DK Sports Book O/U: 40.5 pts

Rating: Elevated

This game will have similar conditions to the New York game, but with slightly less forecasted rain, and more of the rain occurring during the first half. We are currently forecasting 0.15 to 0.25 inches of rain with sustained winds around 10 mph and gusts near 20 mph. It is also worth noting that FedEx field is grass, so rain can more significantly impact gameplay as opposed to astroturf. During similar weather games, between 6 to 7 less points are scored on average as compared to non-weather games (see below).

The Taylor Heinicke lead Washington Commanders team has been hot of late winning 5 of their last 6 games. Surprisingly, both Atlanta and Washington have been stout against the pass over the last 3 games giving up 158 and 180 yards per game respectively. Weather will not help matters as on average QBs throw for 34 less yards per game in similar weather conditions games (see below). As a result, we have low confidence in the injury plagued Atlanta passing attack. We still think the new hotness of Heinicke will hit on some plays with the talents of McLaurin, Samuel, and Dotson, but upside for these players may be capped due to weather.

It will also be tough sledding for Atlanta from a rushing perspective as Washington ranks as a top 5 rushing defense only giving up 57 yards on the ground per game over their last 3 games. Cordarrelle Patterson may still be utilized as a pass catcher, especially with Pitts out, but we personally have more confidence in the Commanders rushing attack with Brian Robinson and Antonia Gibson. Washington ranks 7th over their last 3 games in rushing yards, averaging 147.3 yards per game. Additionally, in similar weather games, RBs average 9 more yards on the ground compared to non-weather games.

Game Impacts: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Cleveland Browns (1:05 pm ET)

DK Sports Book O/U: 42 pts

Rating: Elevated

The rain amounts over Cleveland have decreased a bit, and are now forecasted to be in the 0.1 inches range with sustained winds 15-20 mph and gusts 25+ mph. We expect rain to be a bigger issue in the first half, and wind to be the bigger concern in the second half. When looking at similar weather games, we found that on average there are around 5 less points scored as compared to non-weather games. However, with an already low 42 pt O/U, will weather help to further suppress scoring?

Tom Brady has been unphased by rain and wind over the course of his career. When digging into his stats, his numbers do not show a statistically significant relationship to these weather conditions. The Cleveland Browns are middle of the pack in terms of their passing defense, giving up 215 yards per game on average, but have a propensity to give up big plays. With a healthier Bucs receiving core, expect Tampa Bay to establish their passing attack regardless of weather. With Cleveland especially struggling against the run, don’t be surprised to see Rachaad White build on his 22 carry for 105 yard performance last week, especially with Leonard Fournette likely sidelined.

Jacoby Brissett has a very small sample size of games played during inclement weather. In those games, we do see a slight decrease in his stats. However, going against a tougher Tampa Bay defense in the rain and wind, we expect Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to be more heavily featured in this game. There is a VERY strong relationship between increased touches and yards in games with similar weather conditions for RBs. This increase is to the tune of almost 33 yards (see below), so expect the Browns to lean on Chubb and potentially use Hunt out of the backfield as a pass catcher.

As far as receiving options, we typically observe 10 less yards receiving by wideouts in similar weather games on average (see below). We still expect Chris Godwin and Mike Evans to get their targets, but weather may limit their opportunities. On the Cleveland side, Amari Cooper is a must start at this point in the season (he currently ranks 8 as a fantasy WR), but TD upside may be limited if the Browns have trouble sustaining drives if the weather deteriorates.

Other Considerations:

Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles: We expect most of the rain to move out of the area by game time on Sunday night, but gusty conditions could persist throughout the game, especially during the first half. This could impact deeper passing options like A.J Brown and Christian Watson, in addition to kickers if longer field goals are attempted. We will update if conditions are forecasted to further deteriorate.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos @ Carolina Panthers: We are forecasting winds 15-20 mph with gusts 30+ mph possible. Windy conditions may limit pass-catcher upside. There may also be a chance of some scattered rain showers, especially over Charlotte, that could temporarily make things wet. We will update if conditions are forecasted to further deteriorate.

Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars: Convection along the front may spark some thunderstorms over the Jacksonville area during the game. Wind may become elevated as well. These conditions are expected to be short lived, and not overly impactful at this time.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Seattle Seahawks: Scattered rain showers with isolated wind gusts are possible around the Seattle region on Sunday. We do not expect these conditions to be impactful at this time.

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