Michael Fabiano | Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Brandon Marshall, Carson Palmer, Cedric Benson, Chad Ochocinco, Darren McFadden, David Garrard, Donovan McNabb, Fred Jackson, Jay Cutler, Jonathan Stewart, LaDainian Tomlinson, LeGarrette Blount, Mark Sanchez, Matt Forte, Matt Ryan, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Turner, Michael Vick, Mike Wallace, Mike Williams, Peyton Hillis, rashard mendenhall, Roddy White, Ronnie Brown, Ryan Torain, Santana Moss, Santonio Holmes, Shonn Greene, Terrell Owens, Tom Brady
“Oh the weather outside is frightful …”
The NFL season has reached December, so the weather is going to be a factor in different regions of the United States. In Week 14, that will be very evident. Looking at the Accuweather forecast, several games will be played in the elements.
Here’s the weather outlook and how it will affect your fantasy teams (thanks to Accuweather’s Bernie Rayno for the notes):
Bengals at Steelers — Forecast: Mixed snow and rain changing over to snow throughout the game.
If you ask any NFL quarterback, he’ll tell you that throwing the football in the snow isn’t a major issue. That was evident last season, when QB Tom Brady threw for 380 yards and six touchdowns against the Titans in a snow storm. But if rain is involved, it makes it tougher to grip the football. Regardless, I wouldn’t start QB Carson Palmer based on a combination of weather and his matchup against the Steelers. I’d stick with WR Terrell Owens, but I don’t love WR Chad Ochocinco. Ben Roethlisberger is still worth a look, but he’s no lock to put up huge numbers. The weather shouldn’t keep you from starting Mike Wallace, though. The biggest fantasy producer in this contest could be RB Rashard Mendenhall, who should run often against a weak Bengals defense.
Browns at Bills — Forecast: Mixed rain and snow with increasing wind.
Neither quarterback in this contest is a good play for fantasy owners, especially in rainy, snowy and windy conditions. However, I do like RBs Peyton Hillis and Fred Jackson. Hillis is an especially solid play, as the Bills have one of the worst run defenses in the entire league. I would also continue to start WR Stevie Johnson. Based on the weather and what could be a low-scoring game, the Browns defense has some value.
Falcons at Panthers — Forecast: A shower or two during game with wind gusts 30 to 40 mph.
If this forecast comes to fruition, it’s bad news for QB Matt Ryan. The Panthers haven’t allowed a ton of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and Ryan isn’t nearly as good statistically on the road as he is at home. I would still start WR Roddy White, however, and RB Michael Turner remains a must-start in a favorable matchup. I also love the Falcons defense. On the flip side, I wouldn’t start any Panthers outside of RB Jonathan Stewart.
Buccaneers at Redskins — Forecast: Rain for most of the game.
Depending on how hard it rains in this contest, this could be bad news for QBs Josh Freeman and Donovan McNabb. I’d still use WRs Mike Williams and Santana Moss as No. 3 options, though. LeGarrette Blount should see his share of the workload and remains a nice play based on the matchup, but it’s likely a good idea to avoid any Redskins running backs unless Ryan Torain starts. Even then, he’d be a risky flex play at best. Both defenses will have additional value as well, especially the Buccaneers.
Raiders at Jaguars — Forecast: Showers ending around kickoff, with wind gusts 40 mph during the game.
This game is going to be all about the ground attack, so I would start RBs Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden without any hesitation. The matchup is also favorable for QB David Garrard, as the Raiders have allowed an average of close to 16 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. However, he’ll be more of a risk if the rain and wind is excessive and lasts throughout the contest.
Dolphins at Jets — Forecast: Rain and wind throughout the game.
This is the kind of weather forecast that makes quarterbacks and receivers less attractive in fantasy leagues. In fact, I wouldn’t start any of the prominent members of the Dolphins offense, including RB Ronnie Brown and WR Brandon Marshall. While he had a big game earlier in the season against the ‘Fins, it’s hard to trust QB Mark Sanchez if the elements are an issue. I would stick with WR Santonio Holmes, though. Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson are viable flex players in larger leagues, and I love the Jets defense in this one.
Patriots at Bears — Forecast — Very cold, snow showers, winds sustained 20-30 mph with gusts to 40.
To quote the great Burgess Meredith from the movie Grumpy Old Men, it’s going to be “butt cold” at Solider Field this weekend. In fact, wind chills could make it feel like it’s below zero. Regardless, I’d still be starting Brady unless I also have a quarterback like Michael Vick on my roster. Based on the matchups, though, I don’t love any other member of the Patriots offense outside of RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis. Jay Cutler is used to the cold, so I’d still use him if I didn’t have an elite option. I’d also continue to roll with RB Matt Forte.
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