NFL Weather Report: Week 13

Are there any weather concerns in this week's NFL games? And with more cold weather games coming in the month of December, how much do low temperatures impact fantasy production?

Thanksgiving week was an extended week with news updates every few hours. Luckily, the weather cooperated to keep the focus on the league. We’re entering the final week of the fantasy regular season, and everyone’s looking for a win to secure their playoff hopes. With every variable to consider, I’ve pulled the forecast data for Week 13 to see if there are any games we need to monitor as we head into the weekend.


Below are the games with weather concerns headed into Week 13:

Game Temperature (Feels Like) Chance of Precipitation Wind
Raiders at Jets 29 1% 16 mph WNW
Bengals at Dolphins 81 27% 6 mph ESE

A General Note on Temperature

We’re into December and the winter weather in the Midwest and along the East Coast will mostly likely be played at or below freezing temperatures. The general narrative is that cold weather slows down games. Teams prefer to run more, fewer plays are executed, and quarterbacks (and their pass catchers) lose value.

I took a look at games that were played at 32 degrees or below over the last three seasons (20 games), and that’s generally not the case.

Statistic Change
Average Passing Rate Differential -2.4%
Average YPA Differential -8.0%

Now, we all remember the freezing cold playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings played at -6 degrees. That’s an extreme example and conditions that would warrant us to consider other options. However, none of the games in the twenty-game sample dropped below 10 degrees.

In addition, they had a minimal impact on the game. Shorter passes were featured in a majority of the games sampled, but the average drop was less than a yard per pass. Neutral passing rates largely maintained which allowed most quarterbacks to sustain their fantasy value.

Overall, the data points us back to the players, their matchups, and how the opposing offenses interact during the game. If it’s just cold weather, our approach is similar to dealing with wind games. Extreme conditions (sub-zero temperatures) are generally where we should consider other options. Otherwise, we can evaluate the game as we normally would.

Games Impacted by Wind

Las Vegas Raiders (28.25-point implied total) at New York Jets (18.75)

Wind speeds in New Jersey cross over the threshold for concern, but the hourly forecast is encouraging.

Time Wind Speed
1:00 PM EST 16 mph WNW
2:00 PM EST 16 mph WNW
3:00 PM EST 15 mph WNW
4:00 PM EST 13 mph WNW

Velocities of this magnitude have yet to exhibit a measurable effect on the passing game. In addition, MetLife Stadium has an estimated height of over 160 feet. The stadium should serve as a natural barrier, reducing the speed down on the field. Plus, the stadium is positioned into the air flow. Its 167-degree azimuth (pointing northwest-southeast) will reduce the chance of a crosswind and keep the wind in front or behind both quarterbacks. Updates will be provided on game day, but there’s minimal risk to this game.

Games Impacted by Rain

Cincinnati Bengals (15.5-point implied total) at Miami Dolphins (27.0)

Let’s start with our regular reference table.

Condition Precipitation (inches per hour)
Light Rain .01 - .1
Moderate .1 - .3
Heavy Rain >= .3

I’m mentioning this game just to be thorough. The forecast for the Dolphins-Bengals contest calls for minor rainfall, but they’re not expecting it until later in the day. Data projects just 0.01 inches per hour of rainfall by 4:00 PM EST. A precipitation rate like this could be described as a light drizzle. Fantasy managers watching the live game likely won’t even see the rain from the camera view of the field. Accumulation will be negligible, negating any of our usual unpredictable concerns in rainy conditions (e.g. slips, fumbles, passes slipping through fingers). It’s worth checking in on Sunday for an update, but we should be able to approach this game without any risk.