Week 2: Coast to Coast Wind and Rain
Periods of rain and wind over San Francisco and Jacksonville could become impactful this week as we have two areas we are monitoring for week 2 of the NFL:
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars
We do not forecast this week to be nearly as eventful as last week. However, rain could play a role again for the 49ers this week as the Seattle Seahawks travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. Although the 49ers seem to be a rain magnet of late, we do NOT expect the conditions in San Francisco to be nearly as treacherous as we saw in Chicago when the Bears took on the 49ers in a washout. With this being said, we will continue to monitor the forecast over the next 24 hours and provide updates as needed. Currently, the game is listed as “Limited,” indicating that this game has the potential to be impactful but is not being forecasted as such at this time. The same messaging can be made for the Colts at Jaguars, where periods of the game could experience precipitation but not over a long enough duration to induce impacts.
Conversely, the rest of the country looks clear of any inclement weather. But we will continue to keep an eye on the forecast in case things deteriorate over any of the above game locations.
A low-pressure system originating over the north Pacific will push south this weekend and sit off the coast of Northern California on Sunday. Most of the rain associated with this system is forecasted to be concentrated in the morning to early afternoon time frame, but some of the rain bands associated with this system could bring short-lived periods of precipitation for the first half of this 4 pm ET game. The rain is forecasted to be light but could provide wet enough conditions to have some minor impacts. More concerning are the winds, with sustained winds of 10-15 mph, but gusts have the potential to reach the 25+ mph threshold, which is where we start to see more defined wind-induced impacts. As of now, you can expect periods of light rain with winds of 10-15 mph and gusts of 20-30 mph. We currently don’t expect significant impacts, but will continue monitoring and provide appropriate updates.
TIAA Bank Field:
A weak area of low pressure over Florida could ignite some convectively-based precipitation across Florida, including the Jacksonville area, for the Colts @ Jaguars game. These areas of precipitation are difficult to forecast due to their convective nature, but moderate periods of rain are not out of the question. Winds will remain light for most of the game, but gusts in the 15-20 mph range are also possible. The more significant concern is isolated downpours, which will be short-lived but could be impactful for portions of the game.
Game Impacts: Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers (4:05 pm ET)
DK Sports Book O/U: 40.5 pts
We want to reiterate that we do NOT expect the same performance from the 49ers as we observed against the Bears based on weather alone. For comparison, we are forecasting ~0.05-0.1 inches of rain to fall in this game. In Chicago, last Sunday, over 2 inches of rain fell over the course of the day. As a result, this game is being labeled as “Limited” due to the lower probability of precipitation and lower amount of precipitation forecasted. However, if the wind risks increase, we may push this game into an “Elevated” designation.
With that being said, below are the stats for the Trey Lance 49ers offense last week in rain:
Take home message here is that Lance led the team in rushing with 13 attempts, but he was highly inefficient in passing, with a sub-50% completion rate and an interception. Additionally, it is clear that he liked to distribute the ball to multiple receivers and didn’t have a “go-to” target.
We expect Lance to do better than 13/28 with a 0/1 line against a Seattle defense that gave up 340 yards to Russell Wilson last week. However, light rain and elevated winds will limit his upside. We typically see about a 10% reduction in fantasy points scored in similar weather conditions (chart below). With Lance still not proven, it is hard for us to 100% trust him even against a weak Seattle secondary.
The frequency density chart above shows the fantasy performance (half-point PPR) for QBs in similar weather conditions (green bars) vs. control games (gray bars). There is a slight skew to the left, indicating an increased probability of lower fantasy points for QBs.
This messaging can also be applied to Gino Smith of the Seahawks, who threw 23/28 for 195 yards and 2 TDs against Denver last week. We do not expect Smith to have an overly productive day as San Francisco still ranked #7 last year in terms of passing yards given up at 213 YPG, and only gave up 121 passing yards to Fields last week. Expect Smith to keep the ball short and have limited opportunities at big plays, especially if rain and winds pick up.
Pass catchers are still an unknown at this point (especially the 49ers) as QBs on both sides of the ball are new starting quarterbacks in their respective systems. We feel Metcalf is the safest play at this point with his seven receptions (albeit for 37 yards) in last week's matchup vs. the Broncos. Deebo Samuel also provides a safe floor, mainly due to his rushing upside.
In similar conditions with light rain and wind, we see an increased workload for RB, as shown on the horizontal bar chart below.
The green bar indicates the range of RB attempts in weather (green bar) vs. the control games range (black bar). There is potential for more carries in these games, so Jeff Wilson of the 49ers and Rashaad Penny of Seattle get a bump up in our book. Kenneth Walker is still an unknown coming off an injury, so we feel better about Penny getting the opportunities in this one.
Rushing yards also get a bump in similar weather games. The 49ers rushed for 176 yards last week, so expect Jeff Wilson and Deebo Samuel to be the beneficiaries of the 49er’s rushing attack. Jeff Wilson is filling in for the injured Elijah Mitchell and is projected for 13.5 carries for 53.5 yards according to the DK sports book (blue vertical lines in the respective graphs); we feel confident on the over for both of these lines for Wilson. Deebo also has a rushing upside, as he saw eight attempts for 52 yards last week.
More opportunities = more fantasy points (see horizontal bar chart below). Fantasy RBs saw almost four more points in similar conditions than in control games.
Upside plays: Jeff Wilson, Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, Rashaad Penny
Concerning plays: Geno Smith, Trey Lance (although safe rushing floor)
Game Impacts: Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1:00 pm ET)
DK Sports Book O/U: 45.5 pts
Bands of precipitation causing episodic/abbreviated periods of moderate to heavy rain are possible in this game, with the Colts traveling to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars. This game is listed as “Limited” due to the forecasted lower probability and short duration of precipitation.
As seen in the above quarterly weather breakdown chart, not all periods of the game are forecasted to be impacted, so that impacts could be short-lived and isolated.
Below is a breakdown of passing yards in games with similar weather conditions. There is a bi-modal split in performance, as seen by the peaks in frequency to the right and left of the mean. We believe this comes down to how much rain and for how long the rain persists during this game. If the rain episodes are light and short-lived, we don’t see significant concerns for Matt Ryan or Trevor Lawrence. However, if rain rates pick up for an extended period, we expect the QBs to fall on the left side of this distribution as they may find it difficult to connect on big plays and sustain drives. Currently, however, QBs and WRs have the green light.
Regardless, Jonathan Taylor is another big upside play this week as he received 35 touches last week for 175 yards. Count on the Colts to lean on Taylor this week, especially if the rain picks up and Michael Pittman of the Colts is ruled out. It also would not be surprising to see Nyheim Hines get more work as a pass-catching back as he received six catches for 50 yards against the Texans last week, and we know in rain games, the RBs have the potential to see more targets. We also expect J. Robinson to get more work as he out-touched T. Etienne last week 11 to 4.
Upside Plays: Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, James Robinson.