How Much Does Wind Affect Quarterback Scoring on FanDuel?
It's a beautiful Saturday morning on the golf course. You step up to the tee box, relax your mind and body and focus on your shot. You begin to wind up for your perfect 10-mile swing when a teenager drives by beeping their horn. This bleeping beep throws you into a tizzy and your imperfect drive careens sideways before slamming into a nearby hillside.
Many things can throw off the perfect golf swing. On that same note, many things can throw off the perfect pass in an NFL game. Now, I don't expect a teenager to drive onto a football field beeping anytime soon, but like golf, wind can affect a quarterback's production on the field.
Earlier this week, I analyzed how teams score in relation to wind speeds. Unsurprisingly, the scores were lower when the wind speeds were higher, but let's delve into this a bit further to see if this correlated with quarterback scoring on FanDuel.
Against the Wind
There's a scene on the unbelievably funny show Arrested Development where Will Arnett's character Gob Bluth is attempting to throw a letter into the ocean just feet away from the water. Every time he wildly throws the piece of paper, it hangs in the air before drifting back towards him. Like Gob, it turns out the wind also affects quarterbacks, but to a lesser degree.
For this study, the aggregate score for quarterbacks in some games was used. For example, Nick Foles started at quarterback in Week 17 before being pulled for Nate Sudfeld. Their total points scored for that game was taken as the result. The same was done for each game that forced a quarterback to leave due to injury, poor play, etc.
Of the 256 regular season games, 74 were played in either a dome or without wind. In those games, the quarterbacks averaged 16.8 fantasy points per game. The league average for quarterbacks in all games in 2017 was 16.21, so they saw a slight bump in their production.
This average score of 16.5-17.0 points continues in games with wind speeds of 6 miles per hour or lower. We then see a drop-off when speeds reach the 7-9 mph before the decline gets worse upon reaching 13-plus mph winds.
During the season, the wind was 13 mph or higher in 30 games. It's a smaller sample size, but it's hard to fight that lack of scoring.
Sure, these numbers include quarterbacks like Jay Cutler and Joe Flacco, who severely underperformed in 2017, so how did the top quarterbacks do in relation to wind speeds? Are they immune? If we take a look at the top five quarterbacks in regards to fantasy points per game -- Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Alex Smith, and Cam Newton -- here's a look at how these signal callers perform in windy conditions. The trendline on the chart shows the linear projection for increased wind speeds.
The average fantasy points per game from these top five quarterbacks was 21.41. In 11 games where the wind speed was 13-plus mph, the average score dropped to 15.23 fantasy points per game.
One noticeable name missing from that list is Tom Brady. Even the GOAT is affected by mother nature.
Brady averaged 18.99 fantasy points per game in 2017, but in four games where the wind speed was greater than 13 mph, that number settled in at 15.95.
Windy conditions should not necessarily prohibit you from starting a quarterback in a friendly matchup, but the data recommends they are likely to underwhelm. So if you take a chance on a quarterback on a windy afternoon next season, don't be surprised if they end up looking like Gob Bluth.
Matt Blair is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Blair also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username grizzlyblair. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel