NFL Weather Report: Week 4
Week 3 featured our first actual weather scare.
My initial report on the Kansas City Chiefs-Baltimore Ravens game indicated a small chance of rain with light winds. There was some mild concern, but it didn’t stand out from the other games with similar conditions. Then came Saturday. Not only did the chance of precipitation increase, but the expected rainfall ballooned to nearly 0.1 inches per hour.
The predicted deluge during the game with one of the highest totals on the weekend sent the NFL community into a frenzy. I provided updates as the day progressed, but luckily, the storm passed prior to the game with light rain producing a mild impact.
All’s well that ends well.
The same couldn’t be said in Seattle. Just ask Chris Carson. The slippery turf was a noted factor during his bad day, which went from bad to worse as he fumbled for the third time this season. Otherwise, it was a quiet Sunday in the NFL for weather. Most of the back-up quarterbacks capitalized on their debuts. Meanwhile, a few key injuries brought players like Wayne Gallman and Darrel Williams to the top of the waiver wire discussion.
Now with Week 4 under way, let’s look to the forecast for any concerns on the upcoming slate.
Below are the games with weather concerns headed into Week 4.
|Game||Temperature||Feels Like||Chance of Precipitation||Wind Speed|
|Chargers at Dolphins||85.0||90.8||8%||18 mph NE|
|Vikings at Bears||72.3||74.0||34%||9 mph SE|
|Jaguars at Broncos||83.0||83.0||0%||20 mph SSW|
Two games with forecasted winds well over the 15 MPH threshold should concern us in Week 4. The game totals (45.0 and 38.0, respectively) set the tone for fantasy implications, but the game environment is enough of a concern to warrant a closer look.
First, let’s look at the Chargers-Dolphins contest.
Miami has popped up in this piece in three of the first four weeks of the 2019 season, primarily for heat or rain. But the string of tropical storms have kept southern Florida on notice. The Dolphins’ stadium sits at a 121.8-degree azimuth, and the winds are projected to blow to the North East, causing a crosswind. For the Chargers, at first glance, Philip Rivers could be in a bad spot.
|(Wind >=15 mph)||Average Output|
|Adjusted Yards per Attempt||6.61|
Nearly 75% of his games in these conditions have hit the over, but it’s been more about the running game than his receivers. But let’s inject some reality into the situation. Nearly half of the games in his sample were when he still had Ladainian Tomlinson. That was more than 10 years ago. He also wasn’t going up against a team already focused on next year rather than their current season.
Rivers' previous drop in efficiency perfectly meshes with Keenan Allen's hyper efficiency. Allen’s 39.03 Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) through three weeks is the highest mark for receivers. Austin Ekeler also ranks third in the same metric for running backs. The game sets up well for Rivers despite the possible poor conditions.
Joe Flacco is who we thought he was. He’s yet to crack 300 yards passing in a game this year and ranks 27th in Passing NEP (6.42). For context, that’s behind guys like Daniel Jones, Gardner Minshew, and Kirk Cousins. To make matters worse, the chance of 20 MPH winds drops his fantasy expectations even further.
|(Wind >=15 mph)||Average Output|
|Adjusted Yards per Attempt||4.64|
On a positive note, Mile High Stadium sits at a 0-degree azimuth (essentially pointing directly North and South). The projected South-by-Southwest winds are less likely to generate a crosswind. But Flacco’s past history in similar games can’t be ignored.
Flacco is already averaging just 11.84 fantasy points per game in 2019. That’s without weather affecting his games. If his output is expected to drop, and Jacksonville has had extra time to prepare after generating nine sacks in Week 3, there’s much to be concerned about for Denver.
The prevailing idea is that short targets to Emmanuel Sanders out of the slot will be the key to success, but Jacksonville is allowing the 10th-worst completion percentage to receivers from this position. However, on the other side of the ball, this may help Gardner Minshew as Denver is just outside the top 12 for the same metric.
The game sits at one of the lowest totals in Week 4. With the sluggish offenses and struggling defenses, weather might just nudge this contest into a slow-paced, low-scoring affair most will want to ignore.
Minnesota Vikings (18.00-point implied total) at Chicago Bears (21.00)
Sunday’s game between the Vikings and Bears sets up to be more about the defenses than any other factor contributing to this game. As of this writing, there is a slight chance of rain, but the rate of precipitation falls into the category of Light Rain (or Drizzle) as mentioned in last week’s report. With at most .02 inches of rain accumulating throughout the game, the teams should experience only minor impacts throughout the game unless the forecast changes.