by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 01-20-2017 11:00
Both of these storied franchises have met in similar potential Super Bowl-bound circumstances before, twice since 2002, but never have the Patriots hosted the Steelers in a clash for the AFC title in Foxboro and in the previous two bouts, never was weather much of a factor. Well, it looks like the scenery and conditions have changed. Pittsburgh will head to New England for the AFC Conference Championship game on a chilly Sunday evening inside Gillette Stadium.
According to NFLWeather.com, game time temperatures will only top out in the mid-to-low 40’s and most of the time it will feel 5-10 degrees colder than what the thermometer reads. Even though precipitation isn’t expected around kickoff at 6:40 pm EST, there’s a small chance once the temps drop in the second half that rain or flurries could fall from the overcast skies. As of Thursday, the forecast called for winds to max out around 10-12 mph, but who knows if winter conditions will worsen in Foxboro before Sunday.
But a frigid winter front shouldn’t faze either team, having both played in sub-freezing temps just a week ago during victories in the AFC Divisional round. In fact, four of Pittsburgh’s last five games dipped below 32 degrees while the other two were still below 40. The Steelers ended up winning all six games but experience in arctic conditions alone won’t nearly be enough to get an early edge on Tom Brady heading into Sunday’s showdown in New England where the Pats seemingly never lose, especially when the season is on the line.
It’s no secret that the Patriots are almost unbeatable at home in the month of January, but the team hasn’t exactly been flawless as most would expect. The Pats are 10-3 at home in Jan. since 2010 but surprisingly less than half of those contests featured freezing temperatures. When the temp does dip below freezing, according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, New England is 13-2 at home and 18-4 overall since 2009.
Much of that success can be credited to the team’s unshakeable leader under center, three-time Super Bowl winning MVP Tom Brady. Tom Terrific doesn’t seem to let the elements ever get to him who is 9-1 in his last 10 games impacted by weather and has anchored an offense that’s averaged over 35 points per game. Even when weather concerns are in the forecast, Brady still averages 36 passing attempts per game and little will change against Pittsburgh given this matchup between two high powered offenses could turn into an explosive shootout.
Julian Edelman, who’s seen double-digit targets in seven of the last eight games, will be Brady’s go-to option followed by a pair of questionable wide outs in Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell. If one of the two can’t go, newly acquired veteran and former Arizona Cardinal Michael Floyd could have a decent afternoon. Tight End Martellus Bennett, who was limited in practice on Thursday with Hogan and Mitchell, has filled in nicely for Gronk this season and will see plenty of action close to the red zone along with short yardage passing situations, especially if precipitation ends up falling or winds heavily pick up.
New England has plenty of solid receiving options but the one weapon they won’t have Sunday is a superstar wide-out like the Steelers have in Antonio Brown. A.B. saw double-digit targets in 11-of-16 games this season and when weather is a factor, he seems to get involved even more. In early December during a trip to snowy Buffalo, Brown saw 11 passes come his way and during the 2016 playoffs alone, he’s been targeted 20 times. If New England can’t disrupt AB’s chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger, the Pats could easily get upset this weekend.
Speaking of Roethlisberger, it’s a legitimate argument that there might not be a better quarterback in the league to have under center in crummy conditions, especially in the postseason. The large-framed scrambler has lead Pittsburgh to a 12-2 record in weather impacted games since 2012 and most impressively, only turned the ball over six times. If he can avoid the turnovers like he did a week ago in Kansas City’s frozen tundra, Big Ben and company could keep this one close.
But that will also depend on how much of a factor Le’Veon Bell will be against a New England defense that allowed less than 90 rushing yards per game during the regular season. Pittsburgh had to endure freezing temperatures in each of the last two weeks and prevailed, much in part thanks to Bell’s unstoppable play. Over the last two games, Bell has amassed 237 yards from 59 touches and two scores. That doesn’t even include his contribution to the passing game which featured four catches from seven targets. Six times this season Bell was targeted seven times or more so expect him to be heavily involved in both the rushing and passing game, as per weekly tradition.
His counterpart across the field and former teammate when he was a Steeler, LaGarrette Blount, will be out to haunt his old club. Blount is an ideal bruising back for harsh playing conditions and he should see a slightly heavier workload than Dion Lewis since Pittsburgh has had more trouble against the more pounding RB’s in the league this season. Blount only saw eight carries last week, the first time he saw single-digit touches in a game this season so expect that number to potentially double.
Like the Pats, Pittsburgh has had plenty of January success over the last few years and lucky for Steeler Nation that the Black and Gold have an even better road record than at Heinz Field. Since 2009, Pittsburgh is 6-2 on the road in January. and 10-3 overall and when temps are below freezing, the Steelers are an astonishing 7-1 on the road and 14-4 overall. As the snow falls, apparently so does the Steel Curtain given the defense on the road in freezing conditions has surrendered a mere 17.8 points per game over the last seven seasons.
Envisioning the Black and Gold beating Brady in Foxboro this weekend seems next to impossible. After all, it’s been over five years since Pittsburgh last beat the Pats and a win in New England is one of the few feats Big Ben has yet to conquer in his Super Bowl-winning NFL career. After two AFC Championship losses at home within a three-year span, even though it was roughly 15 years ago, the Steelers are still itching for revenge. Let’s not forget that revenge is a dish best served cold and it’ll be colder than a witch’s tit in Foxboro on Sunday.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 01-13-2017 15:00
The Chiefs and Steelers have both endured seemingly every type of weather distraction this season. So, it seems only fitting that the Sunday forecast in Kansas City is calling for arctic conditions featuring freezing temperatures and mixed precipitation for this black and blue AFC Divisional Playoff bout.
According to NFLWeather.com, two-to-four inches of snow is predicted in the Sunday forecast with temperatures teetering around freezing. But, if the temperatures go up as the game goes on, the snow could potentially turn to a freezing rain. Even though pregame temps will be around 30-32 °, the minimal seven mph wind chill will make it feel closer to mid-to-low 20’s. The grass surface inside Arrowhead Stadium has already taken a beating this season, and if the snow eventually turns to rain, the pace of the game could come to a muddy and grinding halt.
Kansas City (12-4) hasn’t played in a snow game this season but the Chiefs are 2-1 in the rain and 1-1 in freezing conditions. Weather wasn’t a factor when they were pummeled at Pittsburgh in week four, 43-14, so KC will be aiming to use that to their advantage, having already hosted three weather-related games since early December so factoring Mother Nature into the game plan shouldn’t be much of an issue. Especially coming off of a bye, where head coach Andy Reid is 19-2 following a bye over the course of his career.
But in order for sweet redemption over the Steelers, the offense will need to do what it couldn’t against them earlier, and that’s move the ball and reduce the three-and-outs which were allowing Pittsburgh entirely too many opportunities on offense.
Quarterback Alex Smith, who completed 30-of-50 attempts for 287 yards with a pair of TD’s and a turnover against Pittsburgh, has an impressive 65% completion percentage in weather impacted games this year and will need a turnover free game in order to advance to the AFC Championship. This year on average when weather is a factor, Smith still drops back over 32 times per game and racks up close to 240 passing yards with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 1:1. Not necessarily intimidating statistics, but it’s evident he still gets the green light to pass often even in unfavorable conditions so Travis Kelce, Jeremy Maclin and Tyreek Hill will see plenty of targets against an inconsistent secondary.
Smith has been fortunate to have a formidable backfield behind him, even in the absence of Jamaal Charles all year. Spencer Ware has stepped up and served as the top back and even though he’s only averaged under 18 carries a game in weather games this season, he’ll see a heavy workload against a Steelers’ D that’s surrendered 405 rushing yards over the last three games. Despite his limited carries in crummy conditions, Ware still has managed to average 80 yards on the ground per game.
One player that certainly won’t have to worry about his offensive involvement is the focal point of Pittsburgh’s entire offense, running back Le’Veon Bell. In his short career, spanning only five weather-related games, Bell has tallied a remarkable 673 yards (134 ypg) and five touchdowns. His talent was best showcased in the wintery Buffalo snow back in week 14 when Bell barreled thru the Bills defense for 236 yards on 38 carries and a trio of TD’s. He’s the ideal back for rain or snow and if KC doesn’t keep him contained, the Steelers are headed to their first AFC Championship game in six years and ninth in 23.
According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, since 2009 Pittsburgh (12-5) is 15-5 when precipitation is a factor and much of that can likely be credited to the stoic and scrambling play of Ben Roethlisberger. Despite poor conditions, Big Ben still averages over 30 passing attempts and almost 245 passing yards per game. But his most impressive rain game stat is a remarkable TD-to-INT ratio of 28:9.
It’s no secret who Ben’s top target will be, as Antonio Brown went off last week against Miami for 124 yards and two scores en route to a 30-12 Wildcard drumming of the Dolphins. Against KC weeks ago, AB only had four receptions but he turned half of those grabs into scores. Brown and Bell will be the one-two punch but speedy slot receiver Eli Rogers and, if Ladarius Green can’t go, tight end Jesse James could see another opportunity to find the end zone for the second time against KC this season.
It’s only fitting that both black and blue style defenses will clash in Ice Bowl-like conditions, and whichever defensive unit can create the most turnovers will likely be headed to the AFC Championship in New England (barring a miracle). With possibly two NFL Divisional Playoff games in the cozy confines of indoors (No word yet on the Dallas Dome), the best of all four games could end up being the sloppy slugfest in KC.
Both sides are two of the AFC’s best in bad weather outings, posting a combined 24-10 record in weather impacted games since 2009. Neither team seems to let the natural elements get to them but we’ll see if a little playoff pressure mixed with freezing rain will change that.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 01-05-2017 17:00
Visiting teams traveling to the Pacific Northwest understand rain is almost a given once November rolls around but freezing temperatures and snow flurries aren’t always on the radar. That will change during the opening NFC Wildcard game on Saturday when the sixth-seed Detroit Lions head to the third-seed and NFC West Champions, Seattle Seahawks.
According to NFLWeather.com, mixed precipitation and frigid temps are expected in and around the Pungent Sound for Saturday’s late kickoff. An early drizzle could potentially turn to snow during the fourth quarter but wind shouldn’t be much of a factor, swirling under five mph at the max. Temperatures for game time will start in the mid-to-high 30’s but by the third, CenturyLink Field will feel closer to 30 degrees.
Seattle (10-5-1) is no stranger to playoff games in unfavorable conditions. The ‘Hawks had no trouble with the Saints in the rain at home in 2014, downing Drew Brees and company 23-15. Even arctic conditions on the road couldn’t stop them as they beat the Vikings, 10-9, in the third coldest playoff game in NFL history last season. But they’re not unstoppable, a week after beating Minnesota the defending NFC champions were downed by Carolina on a slippery, soggy and re-sodded field in the NFC playoffs less than a year ago.
What’s intimidating about the Seahawks is their record in the rain, especially at home. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Seattle is 8-2 over the last ten rain games and average close to 30 points per game. But when freezing temperatures are the factor and precipitation is nonexistent, the ‘Hawks are only 1-4 in their last five matchups and the offensive production is cut in half to roughly 15 points per game.
Similar results are seen with Seattle’s usually stout defense. In the rain, the D only surrenders 15 points per game while in strictly frigid conditions the average leaps to almost 31. In order to pull off the upset, Detroit better hope for a chilly and dry afternoon if they have any intention of downing a team that’s been to two of the last three Super Bowls.
Quarterback Russell Wilson has produced a rock solid record in the rain, despite completing only 55% of his passes and having a 13:10 touchdown to interception ratio over his professional career. But a win is a win is a win. In chilling conditions, Wilson’s completion percentage remains roughly the same at 56% but his ratio flip-flops to three interceptions for every two TD’s. With weather a factor, his security blanket will be tight end Jimmy Graham who surprisingly has only averaged four targets a game over the last four weeks while Doug Baldwin, his clear cut top target, saw a staggering 19 looks two weeks ago.
Wilson will desperately need the running game to establish itself against a Detroit D that’s allowed 110 yards or more on the ground over each of the last three weeks. However, Seattle hasn’t had an individual 100-yard rushing performance since Thomas Rawls did just that back in week 13. Rawls hasn’t been much of a threat, averaging a measly 35 yards per game since week 14 and if that trend continues, rookie Alex Collins will likely steal some touches.
Detroit (9-7) is far from impressive in the snow or rain, posting a winless 0-4 record over the last few seasons. As for playing in the cold however, conventional thinking would be that a dome team like the Lions would instantly struggle in the near-freezing temps but competing in the NFC North means playing in plenty outdoor games in the Midwest in December. When precipitation is in the forecast, the Lions offence averages only 17.5 points per game but in chilling temps the offense puts up four points a game more and posts a 1-6 record since 2010.
Matthew Stafford needs to be the Lions’ saving grace under center. Having dropped back 40 times or more in almost half of the regular season games this season, regardless of what the conditions will be, he’ll be airing it out plenty. In his most recent frigid game on the road, Stafford completed 28-of-39 attempts for 298 yards and three scores en route to a 24-20 win.
It’s felt like Stafford’s top targets have fluctuated every week. Tight end Eric Ebron has seen 25 targets over the last three weeks but hasn’t found the endzone since week one. Off season acquisition Marvin Jones Jr. appeared to be the number one option for a few weeks but has taken a back seat to Golden Tate who prior week six, Tate averaged only six targets a game. Since then, the speedy wide-out has asserted himself as the number one and has seen almost 10 targets a game.
But despite the passing game’s success all season, if the running game can’t get rolling, Detroit is in trouble. With Theo Riddick on injured reserve, Zach Zenner has leapfrogged Dwayne Washington as the top back. Zenner over the last two weeks has tallied a total of 136 yards on 32 touches and three scores. If the rain and snow picks up, Zenner and Washington will feature more than if the conditions solely called for cold.
Seattle may be the heavy favorite but don’t sleep on Detroit’s ability to unleash a powerful aerial assault. Earl Thomas, who is out with an injury, believes the Lions have no chance of winning in the cold. The last time I remember a Seahawk making a bold prediction in a frigid playoff game, Matt Hasselback did just that and promptly threw a pick six to end his season against another NFC North team. Let’s see if Thomas just jinxed the 12th Man.
by The NFLW Team | 01-01-2017 08:00
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 12-23-2016 10:00
Mother Nature has exposed her ugly side over the last few weeks around the NFL and little is expected to change on Sunday in Kansas City where the Chiefs and Broncos will not only battle for postseason survival, but the harsh elements featuring swirling winds and a piercing rain.
According to NFLWeather.com, both a heavy breeze and torrential rain will be relentless inside Arrowhead Stadium. Gusts of wind will top out around 20 mph and the downpour will soak into that battered grass surface that was already pretty worn down during last week’s home loss to the Titans. Temperatures will be manageable in the mid-to-low 50s but it’s the wind that could be the real factor on Sunday.
Both AFC West rivals have been impacted by weather on a number of occasions this season and both have been reasonably successful. The same goes for how well they’ve done historically, especially in the rain.
Kansas City (10-4) is already 2-1 in rain games this season and 8-4 since 2010. But according to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, KC is a flawless 3-0 at home when rain hits Arrowhead. The Chiefs were stunned at home last week against Tennessee in freezing conditions but aside from that unexpected loss, they’re extremely difficult to beat at home especially when weather plays a key role. Having already beaten the Broncos in Denver earlier this year, it’s tough to see KC not locking up a playoff spot for the second week in a row.
But, that will all depend on how effective the KC offense is against Denver’s stout D which currently leads the league in passing yards allowed with less than 185 surrendered per game. Veteran Alex Smith has been very consistent during his time in KC and the same goes for competing in crummy conditions. On average over his last five rain games where four of which were victories, Smith dropped back 32 times while completing 22 attempts for 227 yards and a score. He’s also only turned the ball over three times during that stretch.
Credit on the offensive side of the ball also needs to go to KC’s running back committee who since 2015 are 4-0 in rain games when they see 20+ touches. Spencer Ware has been the most effective recently but Jamaal Charles and Charcandrick West have also been utilized and found success when healthy. Over his last five rain games, Ware has tallied 442 rushing yards from 79 touches (an impressive 5.5 ypc) and two touchdowns.
Denver (8-6) is in deep do-or-die territory and a postseason berth is starting to look pretty grim. Having lost three of their last four games, the Broncos were once a game back from the summit of the AFC West division but things have gone south fast for Trevor Siemian and the struggling offense. You know things aren’t going well when your own defensive captain points the finger at the offenses’ glaring woes during postgame locker room interviews. Siemian’s offense has averaged a measly 12 points per game over the last three outings, but the ground game isn’t exactly doing their part towards taking the pressure off the young QB.
A few weeks ago, USA Today’s Steve Gardner mentioned how newly-acquired Justin Forsett might steal some carries from Devontae Booker since he’s already familiar with Gary Kubiak’s offense. Well, that was certainly the case last week when Forsett out touched Booker by four carries so we may be seeing yet another changing of the guard in Denver’s backfield. Neither RB is a solid start in fantasy this week, especially since most leagues have championships during week 16. Sadly, the same could arguably be said for Denver’s top two wide-outs, Emmanuel Sanders and Demeryius Thomas. However, Sanders has had terrific recent success against KC, scoring four times in the last four matchups.
A loss for Denver will likely put an end to their topsy-turvy season while KC can still bounce back if they end up dropping a second straight game at home. But given KC’s recent rain game success and Denver is a sinking ship, it appears that on Sunday it will literally rain on and put an end to the Bronco’s postseason parade.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 12-17-2016 11:05
|Matt’s Value Players:|
Rivers is playing a questionable Oakland defense that will give up points. At home against a divisional rival, I expect Rivers to play well here. Indianapolis can’t stop the run and Asiata has four TD’s in the last five games. If he can get into the endzone with 15 touches, he will out produce his price. Lee is the best WR this year for the Jags. For that price, it gives you the opportunity to pay up for top talent. Brown is minimum price and saw six targets last week. Green Bay is not that good against the pass making Brown such an intriguing option that could go very low owned.
|Will’s Value Players:|
A little rain won’t get to Flacco on Sunday against Philly’s weak secondary. For a sub-$6,000 price tag, Flacco could be a tremendous value play. Denver has a solid defense but it’s clear the Patriots will use Blount to grind down any opponent. That’ll be the game plan on the road this week as New England will stick to a ground and pound to limit the potential for turnovers. Sticking with the NE offense, Mitchell may be the new surprise receiving threat. Having been on the field last week for 54-of-68 plays, it’s clear he’s a new weapon in the Pats’ already lethal aerial arsenal. Lastly, Taylor targeted Clay heavily last week in the snow against Pittsburgh. Conditions are the same but the opposing defense is now substantially worse making him a great cheap buy.
Matt’s Pick: CIN +3.5 vs PIT
Did you follow both our calls last week? I sure hope so. Now, with Big Ben struggling on the road and this being a divisional game, the likelihood of a blowout is very slim. These games usually end with a field goal and I expect nothing less in this one. Mark me down for another win.
Will’s Pick: TEN +5.5 @ KC
Tennessee just seems to win when it matters most. Even though a victory in Arrowhead is a tough feat, the Titans can keep it close this week. Kansas City’s unimpressive offense won’t run away with this one.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 12-17-2016 11:00
Start ‘em: Alex Smith, Tyrod Taylor
With the Tennessee defense playing pretty well against the run, I can see Smith doing pretty well here. Kelce has virtually been unstoppable and with Tyreek Hill’s big play ability, I see the KC QB playing above average Sunday with clear skies expected.
Snow and/or fog will hit Buffalo on Sunday but Taylor showed last week against Pittsburgh he can handle the winter elements. Against Cleveland’s awful defense, he’ll have an absolute field day.
Sit ‘em: Marcus Mariota, Matthew Stafford
Arrowhead is a tough place to play. The Chiefs did a fantastic job shutting down Carr and with 1st place on the line for the AFC West, plan on seeing more of the same. Mariota has been pretty good this season but I also believe the matchup between the Titans receivers and Chiefs defensive backs favor KC.
Stafford claims his finger is fine but if the Giants’ D gets to him early and often, the entire Detroit offense will struggle. It also doesn’t help his stock this week that rain is in the Sunday forecast.
Start ‘em: Rashard Jennings, Kenneth Farrow
Players have come and gone in the New York backfield this season but Jennings continues to assert himself as the top dog. Rain will be relentless on Sunday so expect Jennings to see an increase in touches.
With Melvin Gordon doubtful, as USA Today’s Steve Gardner mentioned in his fantasy injury report this week, Farrow is slated to see most of the touches for the Chargers. Against an Oakland D, the floor is pretty high here. He also caught balls out of the backfield so I love his chances for a score in this one.
Sit ‘em: Jay Ajayi, all Philly RB’s
I have been wrong every time I’ve mentioned to sit him. But this time, the Jets should been loading up the box since Miami is rolling out their backup QB, forcing Miami to throw the ball. This is one of the plays that will make or break your playoff dreams.
Despite rain expected in Baltimore which will likely result in more carries for Eagle’s running backs, none of them are worth playing. Ryan Matthews still isn’t 100%, Darren Sproles is going through concussion protocol and Kenjon Barner hasn’t done anything to prove himself. Move along.
Start ‘em: Sammy Watkins, Robby Anderson
Forget the snow and his questionable tag; Taylor will be eyeing Watkins all afternoon.
Robby Anderson has seen 23 targets in the last 2 weeks. It’s quite clear he and Petty have a connection. Anderson has really come on as of late for the Jets and why wouldn’t he be able to do it again against a Miami secondary that is very exploitable?
Sit ‘em: Jordan Matthews, Terrelle Pryor
Philly’s offense can’t seem to figure it out and rain won’t help. The Ravens are back home and playing much better against the pass. I do not like Matthews’ chances to score which makes him a liability for your championship run.
He’s been the lone bright spot for the Browns all season but Pryor isn’t a wise play again the Bills. Snow will be a factor on Sunday and the Cleveland offense has struggled mightily to get him involved the last few weeks.
Start ‘em: Antonio Gates, Martellus Bennett
With Gates approaching Tony Gonzalez’s touchdown record, what better way to do it against one of your rivals? Oakland can’t guard the tight end so look for SD to get him this record on Sunday.
Bennett is back and we saw last week that New England can rack up the passing stats, even if they hold off to do so until the second half. Bennett will be targeted heavily against Denver’s solid D.
Sit ‘em: Zach Ertz, Eric Ebron
See a trend here? I do not like Philly’s passing game for so many reasons. Wentz will be running for his life and he will not have the time to throw to anybody. Sit this man!
If Stafford is healthy, Ebron is a great play. But if the Detroit game plan is to protect a banged up Stafford, Ebron could be used for pass protection more than usual.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 12-16-2016 12:00
Both teams are 9-4 and few people are talking about either side making a deep run in the NFC playoffs, but don’t sleep on the New York Giants or NFC North leading Detroit Lions who clash in the rainy Big Apple on Sunday in what could be a damp and dreary post season preview.
According to NFLWeather.com, rain is in the forecast but temperatures appear to hover in the mid-to-low 40s so snow is unlikely. As of Wednesday, it didn’t look like wind would be much of a factor; topping out around 10mph, but the real issue could be the slick field turf inside MetLife Stadium if the drizzle turns to downpour.
A few weeks ago, we mentioned how weak the Giants are on the road in rain games, but they’re a completely different side at home where they average about 29 points per game. Eli Manning deserves a ton of credit for that, earning his best weather-related numbers in East Rutherford. In his last five home rain games, Manning averages 238 yards and two touchdowns while completing 19 of 29 attempts while posting a 4-1 record. Against Detroit’s secondary that allows over 250 passing yards per game, Manning will have no issues spreading the ball around to superstar Odell Beckham Jr. and his other emerging young wide-out, Sterling Shepard.
Perhaps the most impressive weather stat of all has nothing to do with Manning, rather, the New York football Giants have not lost at home in the rain since 2009. Much of this is because of how well the team often times dominates the time of possession game while giving the opposition a heavy dose of the run in the rain. Rashad Jennings is a running back built for any era with his large frame yet quick, shifty feet. Lucky for him, he’s on an offense that regardless of which back is taking snaps, the entire backfield seems to always find success. Since 2012, only once in six games did an individual RB not accumulate 100 yards or more.
As for Detroit’s run game, the visitors might be without top running back, Theo Riddick, who missed last week’s game against Chicago. USA Today’s Steve Gardner believes Riddick questionable tag could mean that Dwayne Washington could be the lead back for the Lions.
The Lions, who play their home games in dome, are miserable in weather impacted road matchups. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, in Detroit’s four most recent games that features precipitation, the team is 0-4 and surrendered 34 points or more in three of those.
Offensively, with the exception of an absolute drumming they suffered to Baltimore in 2009, the team still manages to put up decent numbers in the rain or snow, averaging roughly 22 points per game. But with a banged up Matthew Stafford and Riddick heading into week 15, the offense doesn’t seem quite as dynamic as it’s previously been all season. If Stafford does play in the rain and tape up his injured finger, his numbers historically fall well short of impressive. Over his last two rain games, Stafford is 29-of-71 for 513 yards, two scores and a pick.
Both teams can afford a loss but that’s the last thing on Detroit’s and New York’s minds. A win for the Giants inches them a game closer to leapfrogging Dallas in the NFC East. A loss means a division title is likely out of reach. A win for the Lions and it’ll feel like one hand is already on the division crown. A loss and bitter rivals Minnesota and Green Bay are back in the division title discussion. Neither team can afford a mistake, but with terrible weather looming, that’s easier said than done.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 12-10-2016 22:05
Start ‘em: Carson Palmer, Jameis Winston
Facing a poor secondary could be the right play for the Arizona QB. He hasn’t won you too many games this year but if Flacco can succeed against the Dolphins, so can Palmer.
Winston has been a stud all season and at home against New Orleans’ awful secondary; the former Heisman winner will thrive. With zero weather concerns expected, Winston might get close to 40 attempts in ideal passing conditions.
Sit ‘em: Trevor Siemian, Tyrod Taylor
Even though he has the weapons, Siemian hasn’t really put it together this year consistently. Having to rely on the defense to win games, his point expectations this week makes me want to keep him benched.
Pittsburgh doesn’t exactly have the best secondary but snow is expected to hit Buffalo all weekend. The Bills will lean on a heavy dose of McCoy over Taylor this week.
Start ‘em: Jonathan Stewart, Matt Forte
We didn’t like him against Seattle’s solid defense last week but against San Diego’s inconsistent defensive unit, J-Stew is back on track for a big afternoon with zero weather concerns.
A young QB is getting back under center for the Jets and who better to rely on than your “do it all” running back? A big plus here, he faces one of the worst defenses in the league in San Francisco.
Sit ‘em: Mark Ingram, James Starks
Tampa has a great run defense and I don’t see Ingram winning you a playoff game here. Rather, I see New Orleans throwing a ton in this one having to play from behind.
The Seahawks thwarted Jonathan Stewart a week ago and the same will go for Starks. Even though GB is expected to run a decent amount because of snow and bitter cold in the forecast, Christine Michael could steal a handful of carries against his old team.
Start ‘em: Julian Edelman, Tyler Lockett
Now that he is healthy, Seattle can put Lockett to good use against a Green Bay secondary that lacks the ability to stop the pass. He also has special teams upside that can put you over the top.
Sit ‘em: Brandon Cooks, Allen Robinson
Cooks has struggled to consistently to be involved in this offense and is no longer the #1 receiver. He is better on the turf and has been posting boom or bust numbers this year.
Blake Bortles has turned into the king of garbage time points but aside from that, the passing game in Jacksonville has been virtually nonexistent. Despite the perfect weather conditions, Xavier Rhodes will be covering Robinson all afternoon which hasn’t bode well for other top receiving targets this season.
Start ‘em: Ladarius Green, Jason Witten
Green was targeted 11 times last week and appears to be Big Ben’s new favorite redzone weapon. Seeing that same number of targets this week might be a stretch, but moving forward, he’s a must own a potential must start every week. Not to mention, with snow in the forecast, Big Ben might be looking for shorter routes to his sure-handed tight end.
Last week was the first game that Witten didn’t record a single catch. I believe they will make it up to him in a big rivalry game.
Sit ‘em: Dwayne Allen, Will Tye
Having gone off last week, Allen will be heavily owned in daily fantasy. Three TD’s in a game is hard to replicate, especially since he only saw four targets all day. Don’t fall for the trap!
Unless Tye falls into the endzone, his expectations are pretty low. Do you want to risk your playoff hopes on this play?
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 12-10-2016 22:00
|Matt’s Value Players:|
Cousins’ yardage prediction this year is the best in his career and the Eagles are getting worse on offense. This gives Washington more time and possession on offense, resulting in more opportunities for Cousins to rack up some points. As for Miller, Indianapolis is poor at best against the run and if he gets between 18-22 touches, he has the chance to smash value. Gabriel could also see a ton of action now that Sanu is out and Jones is not 100 percent, according to USA Today’s Steve Gardner. Expect more looks for the speedy receiver against LA. Lastly, at home against the Bears in a game where Stafford could throw more than 40 times, Ebron will eat Chicago up if given the opportunity.
|Will’s Value Players:|
Manning tossed a trio of TD’s against the Cowboys already this season, and that was down in Dallas. Having found the endzone multiple times in five straight games, there’s a good chance he’ll make it six this week. Snow is expected to hit Cleveland on Sunday and with uncertainty at the QB position, the Crow could get a ton of touches against the Browns’ in-state rival. As a slot receiver, Cobb won’t see much of Richard Sherman this week and with Earl Thomas banged up, there’s a good chance he’ll be Rodgers’ top target in frigid Green Bay. Kendricks might not be a glamorous play, but he’ll be low-owned and dirt cheap meaning having the LA tight end in your lineup will allow you to stack the rest of your roster with expensive superstars.
Matt’s Pick: NYG +3 vs DAL
At home in a divisional game that New York already beat in Dallas? Ya, I like the G Men to keep up with Dallas and possibly win outright.
Will’s Pick: CAR -1.5 vs SD
San Diego is a total wildcard this season. One week they’re downing playoff bound teams and the next week they’re losing at home to a sub-.500 team. With Carolina needing to prove itself after last week’s embarrassment in Seattle, Cam and company will come out guns blazing this week.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 12-10-2016 12:00
A handful of NFL games this weekend will likely see some snow but in a do-or-die clash between two AFC playoff hopefuls in Tennessee, neither the Broncos nor the Titans can afford a loss in what’s expected to be a riveting rain-soaked showdown.
According to NFLWeather.com, the forecast has been wobbling back and forth between overcast skies and a light rain but precipitation is expected to hit Nashville sometime during Sunday afternoon. Wind shouldn’t be much of a factor, topping out around eight mph, and same goes for the local temperature which should hover around the low-to-mid 40s. But if rain hits the 419 Tifway Bermuda grass inside Nissan Stadium early in the day, we could be in for a sloppy must-win matchup.
If the season ended today, Denver (8-4) would wind up as the sixth seed heading into Baltimore while Tennessee (6-6) would miss out on the postseason based on tiebreakers within the division. In order to make the playoffs, the Titans need to win out and have Indianapolis lose once. If the Broncos win their final four games, they’re a lock for at least a wildcard spot but a loss on Sunday results in a remote chance for the AFC West crown and invites seven AFC competitors into contention for the sixth seed (pending Sunday’s results).
That being said, we’re in must win territory for both teams and Mother Nature won’t be making it any easier for either side.
Denver is historically a strong side in weather impacted matchups but the rain seems to cause problems. A few weeks ago heading into a weather-related game with freezing temperatures on the radar, NFLWeather.com stats showed the Broncos were 5-2 in recent cold weather matchups but in the rain over the last few seasons, the team is just 2-3 and has allowed 30 points or more in three of those five games. Denver’s D has been pretty stout this season so the real concern could be on the other side of the ball with a QB under center still recovering from an injury.
However, USA Today’s Steve Gardner made a promising point for Bronco’s fans in his article this week regarding the health of quarterback Trevor Siemian, who missed last week’s game in Jacksonville. “He’s shed his walking boot which is good news for the receivers after Paxton Lynch threw for just 104 yards last week,” Gardner wrote. Even with rain present, Emmanuel Sanders and Demeryius Thomas are poised for big afternoons against an inexperienced secondary that recently cut veteran cornerback Perrish Cox and has to scramble to find a youngster capable of stepping up and slowing down one of the NFL’s most dynamic receiving duos. But a banged up Siemian could also result in Devontae Booker seeing close to 30 touches after having carried the ball 24 times in two of his last three games.
Unlike the Bronco’s offense, the Titans are healthy and seem to be on the up and up. However, according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Titans have been victorious only once in their last five rain games and on average surrender close to 30 points per game. It certainly hasn’t helped that the offense has been as stagnant as the rain puddles that will collect on the field on Sunday, averaging a mere 18 points per game.
But that was the old Titans, not the division title chasing Titans of today anchored by a Heisman winning QB that hasn’t turned the ball over in three straight games. November’s Player of the Month, Marcus Mariota, has thrown multiple TD’s in eight straight games but will that trend continue in a downpour? Mariota played in one rain a year ago and finished the afternoon with three TD’s but two INT’s and a 46% completion percentage just won’t cut it when you’re competing for a division title. Unlike last year, Mariota has weapons in his arsenal with bruising running back DeMarco Murray in the backfield that not only still grinds out the tough yards but has also been a threat in the passing attack. Tight end Delanie Walker is still the go-to target and will be just that once again in Sunday’s crummy conditions.
Not many people thought Tennessee would be in playoff contention at this point, but here we are. It’s the biggest game of the Titan’s season thus far and it’ll also be the dampest. If they can avoid the weather disrupting their mojo and avoid Von Miller getting to Mariota, Tennessee could earn some major respect this week as they inch closer to the summit of the AFC South.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 12-02-2016 18:00
|Matt’s Value Players:|
$5,200 price tag of Fitz is so cheap for a guy going against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. As for Hill, at this price combined with the touches he should get now that Gio Bernard is out makes Hill a tremendous value play. In what will be a colossal shootout for Detroit at New Orleans, there is going to be plenty of looks to go around and Jones will see close to a dozen of them. McDonald has emerged as one of the go-to guys for San Francisco now and averaging just over six targets since week seven puts him in a good spot as a cheap daily play.
|Will’s Value Players:|
or only $5,300 and going against a Miami D that was absolutely torched by Kaep, Flacco is a great play with likely a low percentage in ownership. Starks is the top dog in GB’s ground game but he hasn’t put up Lacy-like numbers just yet. Houston’s defense is good but not great and with flurries in the Sunday forecast, Starks has a chance to see 20+ touches and finally prove to coaches that the Packers no longer need to keep trading for RB’s. Like Shepard who’s a must-start, Cruz is a sneaky play in daily and against Pittsburgh’s weak secondary, he could easily go off with all eyes on OBJ. Green was the Steelers’ big off season acquisition and made his debut last week against Indianapolis. He should play more of a role this week now that he’s back to full health.
Matt’s Pick: OAK -3 vs BUF
Oakland’s offense will be too much for the Bills. McCoy and company will fade later in the second half allowing the Raiders to put this one away. Lock it up!
Will’s Pick: ARI -2.5 vs WAS
On the road, Washington isn’t very impressive defensively on the road and Palmer has averaged two touchdowns a game over the last four weeks. Arizona is finally getting it together, probably too little too late, but all of a sudden they’ve looked like the threatening team we expected to see week one.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 12-02-2016 00:00
Start ‘em: Phillip Rivers, Colin Kaepernick
Tampa has been above average against the run this year and I see them forcing San Diego to thrown a ton in a potential shootout. He has a high floor this Sunday, have no fear.
Kaep looked like his old self last week against a decent Miami defense that allowed him to rack up over 110 yards rushing on top of his 296 through the air. With rain in Chicago’s forecast, Kaep could end up with 10+ carries.
Sit ‘em: Ryan Tannehill, Trevor Siemian
Baltimore is going to force Tannehill to throw the ball rather than letting the Dolphins run on them. I do not see him winning you any match ups this week.
Jacksonville’s D has eight sacks in the last two weeks and Denver’s o-line is looking shaky. With drizzle expected on Sunday, Siemian might not be taking as many deep shots down field as he normally does.
Start ‘em: Matt Forte, Jordan Howard
Simply put, Indianapolis just flat out stinks on defense this season. I can see Forte getting into the endzone this week and adding a few catches as well.
Even though SF held Miami to under 100 yards rushing last week, the Niners D has seen three teams rack up over 240 yards on the ground already this season. With Barkley under center in Chicago, Howard might end up seeing 30+ touches in the rain.
Sit ‘em: Frank Gore, Jonathan Stewart
The Jets have a stout front seven that should eat the Colts’ line alive. I do not anticipate Gore going off in this spot.
Stewart is a tough guy to sit because he dominates all the carries in Carolina but the Panthers will struggle mightily against Seattle’s stout rushing defense in the rain. If J-Stew couldn’t produce against LA’s tough front seven, expect similar disappointing results against the Seahawks.
Start ‘em: Emmanuel Sanders, Sterling Shepard
Sanders has seen double digit targets in three of the last four weeks. Look for plenty of the same here against Jacksonville.
It’s no secret that Pittsburgh’s secondary is mediocre at best and regularly get lit up against strong passing teams like the Giants. Despite the crummy conditions, Shepard will see a ton of targets with safeties keeping tabs on Odell Beckham Jr. all afternoon.
Sit ‘em: Jarvis Landry, Kelvin Benjamin
With one touchdown all season and seeing less targets than last year means Landry’s upside is limited. Find someone else because there’s a good chance you will be disappointed by this play.
Like J-Stew, another tough playmaker to sit from Carolina’s offense but as USA Today’s Steve Gardner mentioned last week that the power of Richard Sherman is one to be feared as he allows a league-low 59.1 passer rating heading into week 12. There are better options in better weather games than Benjamin this week.
Start ‘em: Cameron Brate, CJ Fiedorowicz
Behind Mike Evans, Brate is the top receiving threat in Tampa’s passing attack. With clear skies in San Diego’s forecast, Winston will be airing it out early and often against the Charger’s swiss cheese D.
Houston will be down in this game and will have to pass a ton. Since Week five, CJ has not seen less than six targets. I like him a lot here..
Sit ‘em: Julius Thomas, Jack Doyle
Thomas is banged up and only saw five targets last week at Detroit who’s terrible against defending TE’s. Even if he suits up, he won’t be much of a factor against a solid Denver D.
With Allen back and the Jets pretty fair against the tight end, I see this play as a recipe for disaster. Anyone but Doyle will do.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 12-01-2016 18:00
They were ten picks apart from each other in the 2004 draft and share four Super Bowls between them.
To some, they already have an in to the Hall of Fame at the end of their decorated and memorable careers. But on Sunday when the weather conditions will be anything but favorable in the damp and dreary Steel City, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning will clash in what will be a classic heavyweight bout in the rain between two of the league’s most storied franchises.
According to NFLWeather.com, a drizzle is expected and temperatures will be in the high-30’s at kickoff but come fourth quarter, it will likely dip below freezing (just like we saw when Pittsburgh hosted Dallas two weeks ago). As of Wednesday, the wind didn’t seem to be much of a factor but the open end zone at Heinz Field is notorious for creating a wind tunnel and causing major trouble for either side’s kicking game. The real issue could be freezing rain as the temperature plummets and once that happens, snow could make a second half appearance.
The visiting New York Giants (8-3) have played in plenty of weather impacted games over the last few seasons but the difference between their performances at home and away is night and day. Since 2009 in rain games, the Giants are 5-4 but only 1-3 on the road. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, offensively the team averages almost 29 points per game at home compared to only 17 on the road.
One might speculate this 12 point difference could be because the team wants to run the ball more in an effort to win the time of possession battle while decreasing the possibility of throwing an interception. However, statistics show that on average Manning drops back only 29 times per game at home versus 43 on the road. Could this be from having to play catch up on the road thus having to abandon the run earlier than expected? Not likely, because New York is a traditionally tough rushing team to stop in crummy conditions. Since 2013 in poor weather outings, Big Blue is 3-0 when handing the ball off 35 times or more.
Over the last few seasons Pittsburgh (6-5) has also had plenty of ground game success in the rain. Since 2013 when Le’Veon Bell entered the league, the Steelers are 5-1 in the rain while averaging roughly 115 rushing yards per outing. Of those six, Bell only played in three and has managed 270 yards from 50 carries. He’ll be a major factor in both the running and passing attack but don’t count out his veteran backup returning to full health, DeAngelo Williams. USA Today’s Steve Gardner mentioned in a recent piece that he’s a must-have handcuff in fantasy leagues and given Bell’s history of injuries late in the year, Williams could end up being the guy down the stretch. He’s also been a stud in rain games, racking up 127 yards on 21 carries against New England last season.
But the main man in Pittsburgh’s rain game attack is still Big Ben. Since 2009, the Steelers are 10-4 in the rain and haven’t lost at Heinz Field in a drizzle since 2010. Not to mention, over those 14 games the offense has averaged just under 24 points per game but at home the average leaps to 30 ppg. Against New York’s shaky D, Roethlisberger is going to spread the ball around but it’s still safe to assume Antonio Brown will easily see over 10 targets. Keep an eye on a healthy Ladarius Green, Pittsburgh’s big off-season acquisition who made his debut on Thanksgiving.
Neither of the two teams sits atop their divisions yet this still feels like perennial Super Bowl matchup. Pittsburgh and New York are the only two franchises in NFL history to win the Super Bowl as a six seed. They’re two teams that are impossible to write off and frightening to go up against in the postseason. Here’s to hoping these two link up in Houston in a couple months, under slightly more ideal weather conditions.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-23-2016 21:00
A pivotal battle for the AFC West summit alongside Oakland is on the line when the Kansas City Chiefs visit their heated and hated rivals, the Denver Broncos in what the forecast is calling close to freezing temperatures in the Mile High City.
According to NFLWeather.com, temps will start in the lower 40’s and trickle down close to freezing for Sunday evening’s kickoff. Both the wind and wind chill shouldn’t be much of a problem, topping out around 6-8mph. Precipitation is currently 0% but who knows what could happen come Sunday, we’ve seen some flurries in a handful of games already but right around this time of year is when the Denver home games regularly feature weather issues.
About two weeks ago, we started to see NFL games dip into arctic-like conditions. The cold weather hit the rust belt hard last week, where Pittsburgh at Cleveland and Buffalo at Cincinnati endured below freezing temps and all four offenses struggled tremendously. The most concerning stat was that in both those games a total of three extra points were missed. Despite the thin air from the high altitude in Denver, the kicking game could really be an issue on Sunday.
But both Denver (7-3) and Kansas City (7-3) are plenty familiar with competing in the cold. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Chiefs are 4-2 since 2013 when the temperature dips below 32-degrees with Denver 5-2 over the same span. In 2014, both sides battled in less than ideal winter conditions with the Broncos escaping KC with a 29-16 road win.
This might be Denver’s first cold weather impacted matchup this season and it certainly won’t be the last. Rookie QB Trevor Siemian has already played in a weather-related game this season but the team focused on the running game tallying 32 total carries. Coming off a bye, the well-rested Broncos offense will be looking to do the exact same against a KC D that allows over 120 rushing yards per game. Devontae Booker will be the workhorse and will easily see 20+ touches but that doesn’t mean Denver is going to avoid Siemian taking shots downfield. The Chief’s D just isn’t what it used to be so if they stack the box, Emmanuel Sanders and Demeryius Thomas will have an absolute field day despite the frigid temps.
Kansas City might not have the most intimidating or high octane offenses in the league, but KC does have one of the most consistent QB’s in crummy conditions. Veteran Alex Smith is notorious for protecting the pigskin and making smart decisions, and in his six career games with the Chiefs in freezing temperatures he’s only tossed five INT’s and fumbled once compared to his eight touchdowns. Smith has a completion percentage of 64% in the cold and 167 yards on average per game, not the most herculean numbers but enough to get the win.
The Chiefs backfield has taken a number of hits this season but Spencer Ware has seized his opportunity and has done everything but cool off. Charcandrick West will get a handful of touches if he’s healthy but West didn’t practice Wednesday so his status is looking grim. In his last seven games, Ware has averaged roughly 16 carries and will see substantially more than that on Sunday night. Like West, Jeremy Maclin didn’t practice and if the Chief’s most dynamic offensive threat can’t go, all eyes are on Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to cause problems in Denver’s secondary.
This is a must win game for both sides trying to keep pace with the 8-2 division-leading Raiders. A win simply means the division title is within grasp while a loss indicates plenty of work needs to be done to even be mentioned in the AFC West title discussion. Sunday night we have a bitter rivalry in the bitter cold to look forward to, what more could you ask for? Well, maybe a change of pace from the Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-19-2016 10:00
|Matt’s Value Players:|
Green Bay is so bad against the pass and Cousins is very good at home. If DeSean Jackson misses this game, feel free to pair him up with Pierre Garcon ($3900) to give you ultimate flexibility. A WR turned RB here is a great value. Easing Rawls back into the game is highly probable which gives more touches to CJ Prosise. More of a cash game option here, but either way there is value. Alex Smith hates down field throws which is a fact. That combined with Maclin being out gives Hill an advantage and the opportunity to possibly see more than the 13 targets he saw last week. Get Ty “freak” on your roster. McDonald has seen 18 total targets in the last 3 games. The 49ers will be playing from behind and I see many garbage time points here. A slight gamble but he will be low owned and a great pivot from Martellus Bennett.
|Will’s Value Players:|
Bortles has become the king of garbage time points in fantasy. His team might be atrocious but the young QB still consistently racks up respectable numbers. For the price, he’s a solid play. Pittsburgh allows on average over 100 yards rushing and this week will be no different. The injury bug is plaguing the Steelers and the Crow will benefit tremendously. The Browns won’t get their first win but Crowell is in for a career day. There was a time when it appeared rookie Tyler Boyd would emerge as the number two option behind AJ Green but the veteran LaFell has impressed all season. He’s dirty cheap and he’ll see close to 8-10 targets, making him a phenomenal buy for four G’s. Lastly, the reliable veteran Witten seems to have great chemistry with his rookie QB. Baltimore has a solid defensive unit so Dak will look to his security blanket early and often.
Matt’s Pick: SEA -6.5 vs PHI
Ok so I messed up last week. My bad! But do you think the Hawks are gonna let Philly do anything offensively? I do not. Lock. Of. The. Week.
Will’s Pick: GB +3 @ WAS
After surrendering 47 points on the road to Tennessee last week, there’s no way Green Bay can play any worse this time around. Washington at home this season has yet to hold its opposition to under 20 points and with the Pack getting +3 this week, it’s tough to see them lose by more than that in DC.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-19-2016 09:00
Start ‘em: Andy Dalton, Derek Carr
With the shuffling of the Bills secondary during their bye week combined with the fact that Eifert is healthy, I see Dalton having a nice day here and a good fill in QB if your starter has a bye.
Houston has a top-five defensive unit but the altitude in Mexico City could play a role in negatively affecting the defensive backs like it did in week seven. Having already lost once in Denver’s high altitude venue where a Trevor Siemian-lead offense put up 29 points, Carr could end up having a career day south of the border.
Sit ‘em: Carson Wentz, Jameis Winston
In his last four games, Wentz has managed to cough up six fumbles and toss four picks. The rookie’s stock has been fading fast and with rain in Sunday’s forecast against Seattle’s punishing defense, Wentz is in for a long and disappointing afternoon.
Winston is headed to Arrowhead where the Chiefs D is always tough. Think elsewhere here.
Start ‘em: Isaiah Crowell, Robert Kelly
With near freezing temperatures and 25mph winds, the passing game for both Pittsburgh and Cleveland will struggle mightily along the banks of Lake Erie this week. Now that defensive end Cameron Heyward out for the Steelers, Pittsburgh’s mediocre run defense might end up getting burned in the cold by a winless rival.
Kelly is a great bye week sub and will see the majority of the carries in a potential shootout.
Sit ‘em: Latavius Murray, Doug Martin
Houston has a pretty legit run defense and I can see Murray stalling out in the high altitude in Mexico. Not so sure he can keep his same output like he did against Denver.
Finally activated for a mouthwatering matchup against a KC D that allows over 120 rushing yards per game but Martin is by no means a lock to get 20+ touches. The coaching staff will be monitoring him closely and it’s not like Tampa’s rushing attack has been anything to be feared.
Start ‘em: Doug Baldwin, Robert Woods
The secondary for the Eagles has been quite poor, giving up way too many big plays. The Sea Chickens are passing a lot more these days and look for Baldwin to be the beneficiary.
If Woods can put up the numbers he did against Seattle’s secondary, he shouldn’t have any issues tormenting Cincinnati’s average-at-best DB’s. Weather looks to be a nonfactor this week and if the Bengals keep eight in the box to shadow McCoy or even Taylor, Woods will have a handful of chances for big play opportunities.
Sit ‘em: Jordan Matthews, DeVante Parker
His rookie QB is heading to Seattle where it is not a friendly place to play. I don’t see Matthews being successful at all here.
Even with Jarvis Landry dinged up and perfect passing conditions expected in Los Angeles on Sunday, Parker still can’t be trusted. With Pouncey out, Tannehill could be under pressure from LA’s stellar D-line all afternoon.
Start ‘em: Zach Miller, CJ Fiedorowicz
Jay Cutler’s favorite target is suspended. Enter his 2nd favorite, Zach Miller. The Bears will be down this game and will be required to pass a lot. There is a legitimate chance he sees double digit targets Sunday.
Fiedorowicz has been a pleasant surprise in Houston’s passing game while superstar DeAndre Hopkins has been virtually nonexistent. Oakland’s defense can’t keep a team under 300 yards passing and Monday night in Mexico City will be no different.
Sit ‘em: Cameron Brate, Zach Ertz
KC’s defense is so good against the TE due to the greatness of Eric Berry. FIND SOMEONE ELSE.
Ertz draws Cam Chancellor this week. Who else is on the waiver wire?
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-19-2016 08:00
Four years have passed since the Philadelphia Eagles last competed in a rain game and come Sunday, they’ll have an uphill battle against a stout Seattle Seahawks side that spends half the year in a seemingly endless monsoon.
According to NFLWeather.com, rain is expected to hit the Pacific Northwest all weekend with swirling winds topping out around 10-12 mph and temperatures in the mid-50s. CenturyLink Field is no stranger to rain, having hosted 10 rain games since 2011, but with a FieldTurf playing surface it’s unlikely the field would get slick. The ball on the other hand, well, we’ll find out early if Carson Wentz did any damp-football prep work before this massive NFC showdown.
The rookie quarterback was outstanding early on but has tapered off the last few weeks which most fans and experts alike expected. The Seahawks defense might get to him a little but the elements shouldn’t, having played his college ball at frigid North Dakota State University. Wentz has yet to play in a weather impacted professional game so it’s yet to be seen if the coaching staff trusts him to drop back 30+ times but through week 11 he’s averaged almost 35 passing attempts per game. However, with a total of four interceptions and six fumbles over the last four weeks, a turnover is almost as much a guarantee in this game as the impending rain itself.
To take the pressure off the young franchise QB, the unpredictable running back committee of Ryan Matthews, Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood will be relied upon heavily to eat up clock against a front seven that surrenders less than 100 yards rushing on a weekly basis. Sproles has emerged as the more versatile back and is especially dangerous in the passing game. With a drizzle looming, short passing routes will be Philly’s focus and Sproles has been targeted 26 times in his last three games.
Seattle (6-2-1) on the other hand, has an experienced QB in Russell Wilson who historically has thrived in weather-related games. Armed with an accurate cannon and quick, decisive footwork, the former Wisconsin Badger is a multi-tool weapon at Pete Carroll’s disposal. As unpredictable as the weather in Seattle, Carroll’s game plan for utilizing his QB’s arm is next to impossible to plan for.
According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics Database, in four of the Seahawks’ last nine poor weather outings, Wilson has dropped back 19 times or less. In the other five, he’s averaged over 30 passing attempts. He might be a tough guy to bank on in daily fantasy, but he’s a lock for pulling out a win in crummy climates.
As equally as unpredictable as Wilson’s rain game performances is who will be the top wide-out in Seattle’s passing attack? Doug Baldwin consistently sees plenty of action while Tyler Lockett is still battling back to full health, but Jimmy Graham has risen up as Wilson’s most trusted target. Primary RB entering the season, Thomas Rawls, has returned but will compete with C.J. Prosise has the lead back for week 11. With rain in the forecast and uncertainty in the backfield, Graham is the lone must-start this week.
Philadelphia’s (5-4) been fading fast but a big win on the west coast could turn around this downward spiral. We saw it before when a dismal Rams team stormed into Seattle last year and shocked the ‘Hawks in the rain. If Case Keenum can pull it off, why can’t Wentz?
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-12-2016 12:30
|Matt’s Value Players:|
Cousins has been very good at home and tripling his point per dollar basis in every start. Jordan Reed coming back also helps out his numbers. In a smash mouth game, this is where Blount excels. Seattle has a banged up defense and he’ll receive all the goal line carries. Bumped up to #2 on the depth chart and playing the porous 49’ers team, I see Nelson returning his value here and more. With Gronk possibly being guarded by the returning Cam Chancellor, I see Bennett as a good option that will not be highly owned. Take a chance!
|Will’s Value Players:|
If you have Blake Bortles as your starting fantasy QB, you’ve experienced some unexpected highs and lows. He might not be the best QB to lean on but it’s astonishing how many points he racks up in garbage time. For dirt cheap and with the likelihood of 40+ passing attempts, he’s a solid cheap play this week. Time and time again Matt Jones has missed out on the opportunity to impress as the lead back in Washington. Coach Gruden handed the job over to Kelly so let’s see what he can do this week as the top dog. Stephon Diggs went off last week so all eyes will be on him, leaving the speedy and versatile Patterson looking at single coverage all day. Lastly, McDonald had a tremendous week last week and even though he might not be able to replicate that performance, he may have just earned some respect and trust from Kaep. He’ll see plenty of targets again this week.
Matt’s Pick: ATL +2 @ PHI
Atlanta has a great offense that is firing on all cylinders. They will outscore Philly here and that’s all that matters. Good golly miss molly I am hooking you up here!.
Will’s Pick: TB +1.5 vs CHI
I’m not saying Chicago’s victory last week was a fluke, but there’s no way they can replicate that defensive performance against an offense with tremendous aerial weapons. We could see a career day here for Winston and if that’s the case, Chicago is hopeless on Sunday.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-12-2016 12:00
Start ‘em: Eli Manning, Jameis Winston
Manning has an average low total point at home this year of 16 in fantasy. Cincinnati is exploitable in the secondary where they do not have a person that can cover OBJ 1-on-1. Look for Eli to perform well in this spot.
The former Heisman Trophy winner might not be able to carry a fantasy team on his own, but he’s a formidable backup when your #1 QB is unavailable. With players like Luck, Stafford, and Carr on a bye, Winston is a solid waiver wire grab.
Sit ‘em: Ryan Tannehill, Jay Cutler
A week after recommending Tannehill, I believe to you should stay away this week. If he can’t even perform well at home against the Jets secondary, what do you expect from him in week ten? Quite frankly, he is just not that good.
As mentioned above, there is a trio of top QB’s on a bye this week and while free agents like Winston might be available to pick up, Jay Cutler isn’t. Steer clear of this fading veteran.
Start ‘em: Paul Perkins, DeVontae Booker
Last week, Perkins split carries with Rashad Jennings and was easily more effective. With the coaches talking about getting him more involved, I could easily envision 15 touches at least. He’s a decent flex fill in during the bye week for some solid teams.
Once CJ Anderson went down, few people saw what John Fox saw in Booker. Against a high-octane New Orleans offense in the dome, the Broncos need balance and eating up the clock while Brees is on the sidelines is a recipe for victory against the Saints.
Sit ‘em: Spencer Ware, Christine Michael
Kind of a crazy call but I could totally see Carolina stacking the box and making Alex Smith throw it here. Now that Ware is coming back from a concussion, will they give him the majority of the touches? I might not want to take a chance here.
He’s been a workhorse all season but against New England’s stout front seven with a banged up o-line, Michael will struggle to find seems between the tackles. Not to mention, there’s a good chance they’ll be playing catchup against Tom Terrific.
Start ‘em: Julian Edelman, Alshon Jeffery
Speaking of Brady, Tom is not going to have all the time in the world here. Shorter routes and quicker plays will allow Edelman to be that guy for the Pats. Ten targets here is not out of the question.
Boy, we’ve really been hating on this guy for the last couple of weeks. But against Tampa’s secondary and weather a nonfactor, I’m not saying Cutler will have great day but Jeffery might put up the 100-yard receiving numbers we’ve come to expect.
Sit ‘em: DeAndre Hopkins, John Brown
I know since you drafted him so high he is a must start. Eh, I just can’t expect much here. Jalen Ramsey is only a rookie but has been pretty affective shadowing team’s #1 receiver. Please also let me remind you the Brock-star is just flat out wet sand for his offensive weapons.
This guy is plummeting down the depth chart. Even against the 49er’s atrocious defense, John Brown is a must sit. Honestly, cut him loose for a waiver wire wideout with a higher ceiling.
Start ‘em: Delanie Walker, Zach Miller
In a shootout, every player is in play in the Tennessee offense but especially Walker. He is Mariota’s favorite target and his floor will be very high in this one.
Miller is still seeing plenty of targets week in and week out and Tampa is notorious for surrendering TD’s to TE’s. Play him.
Sit ‘em: Travis Kelce, Kyle Rudolph
Going out on a limb here but I believe this game will be very slow paced and I see limited opportunities for Kelce. Maybe look elsewhere.
Rudolph has become the quintessential touchdown dependent tight end but it’s doubtful he’ll snag one here. Sit the big man.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-11-2016 10:00
Once considered to be the NFL’s greatest rivalry, having clashed in a pair of Super Bowls during the 1970s and again in 1995; the Steelers and the Cowboys are a classic heavyweight bout and for this particular round with a fall chill in the air, both storied franchises are sitting atop their respected divisions. The stage seems very fitting for two organizations that share 11 Super Bowl victories between them.
According to NFLWeather.com, clear skies are currently in the forecast for Sunday’s late afternoon kickoff at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Temperatures will linger in the lower-50s but come fourth quarter, temps could dip into the 40s with a wind chill that could feel close to freezing. With Heinz Field’s open end zone, along the banks of the Ohio River, once the wind picks up the kicking game notoriously turns to absolute rubbish that will likely be the case Sunday evening.
Dallas (7-1) has been red hot all season but once the temperature dips into the 40s or below, the Cowboys are 8-10 since 2010. In fact, the last time Dallas played in Pittsburgh was a frigid December night in 2008 where the Steelers scored 17 unanswered fourth quarter points en route to an improbable comeback. It didn’t help the Cowboys’ cause that Deshea Townsend picked off Tony Romo and returned it to the house for the go-ahead TD with less than two minutes in regulation.
Speaking of Romo, whether it’s the veteran or rookie sensation Dak Prescott under center, Dallas will rely heavily on their bruising rookie running back who leads the entire league in rushing, Ezekiel Elliot. Dallas averages over 185 rushing yards per game and against Pittsburgh’s front seven that surrenders just under 100 rushing yards per game, if the Cowboys can find daylight between the tackles and dominate the time of possession battle then the Steelers are in big trouble. Pittsburgh has also struggled to shut down the tight end and top wide-outs all season so expect Jason Witten and Dez Bryant to see 10+ targets a piece.
Pittsburgh (4-4) doesn’t feel like a .500 team but having only played one full game with all three of their coveted offensive weapons (Big Ben, AB, Bell), the offense just isn’t as intimidating or effective without one of their three playmakers. However, when cold weather is a factor, the offense doesn’t seem to cool down, averaging over 25 points per game since 2012. Much of this can be contributed to their immovable QB.
It’s tough to find a better quarterback for games in crummy playing conditions than Ben Roethlisberger. The veteran QB has a 6’ 5’’ frame and looks seemingly impossible to bring down while he’s shaking off defenders and extending plays. The two-time Super Bowl winner might not be the most graceful scrambler, but he somehow manages to get the win when it matters most. Even in unfavorable passing conditions, he’s led Pittsburgh to an 8-2 record in his last ten weather impacted matchups and 10-4 in freezing conditions since 2009.
According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Big Ben averages roughly 33 passing attempts in weather impacted matchups and over 240 yards per game over the last six seasons. He’s also thrown for 21 touchdowns over that span and astonishingly only four interceptions. He looked atrocious last week but beat writers in Pittsburgh suspected he came back a week too early. A healthier Ben means plenty more offensive production from Antonio Brown and his new favorite red zone target, tight end Jesse James.
Here’s to hoping this is a Super Bowl preview but don’t expect it. A fourth meeting between two respected franchises in the Super Bowl would be both historic and riveting, but it isn’t going to happen. In a game featuring two elite running backs and mediocre [at best] defensive units, the weather might be brisk but the intensity will be electric.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-04-2016 17:00
|Matt’s Value Players:|
San Diego’s secondary is very beatable and I love the rushing upside to Mariota. This will give you flexibility to spend elsewhere. To go with 11 rushing attempts, Riddick also had 11 targets in the passing game. Detroit might have to play catch up here and he is a perfect back for that role. Over the last three weeks, Hurns has seen 29 targets. Garbage time points here are almost certain. Back from injury and in his first game Ebron sees 10 targets. Stafford is going to be forced to throw a ton here and why not use this player and price to move up for a more expensive RB?
|Will’s Value Players:|
He was mediocre at best last week on the road in Chicago but Sam Bradford is very much capable of bouncing back week nine at home against a Detroit secondary that’s surrendered a league-high 19 passing TD’s. For the absolute lowest price a QB can be in daily, and over his last four games averaging 36 per outing, Bradford is the frugal buy that enables you to stack your lineup with superstars at other positions. It was evident during his absence that no one in Oakland’s backfield can quite do the job that Latavius Murray does. Denver has a tough D but Murray will still get plenty of touches and 100% of all the goalline opportunities. Golden Tate over the last few weeks has emerged as the top wideout in Detroit like we all expected. The Lions offense will have trouble on the ground against Minnesota’s front seven so expect another 40+ passing attempt game from Matthew Stafford. With Ben Roethlisberger expected to be under center, James won’t have to pass protect nearly as much as he did last week with Landry Jones under center. Ben’s new favorite redzone target will see plenty of action against Baltimore.
Matt’s Pick: NO -3 @ SF
My spidey senses say take New Orleans -3 in San Fran. The 49ers can’t even seem to stop a cold. If Tampa can storm into Santa Clara a few weeks ago and cover 2, the Saints are more than capable of doing the same. This game could get ugly quick.
Will’s Pick: PIT +2.5 @ BAL
Three of the last four meetings in Baltimore have come down to a field goal and as of late Thursday afternoon, all signs are pointing to Big Ben being under center for this bitter AFC North rivalry. Expect a low scoring game here but with all the offensive firepower in Pittsburgh’s offense, the pressure is on the Baltimore D to contain AB and company.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-04-2016 16:00
Start ‘em: Nick Foles, Dak Prescott
Foles is a high risk option if you have a QB on bye this week, but he’s not afraid to throw it deep and KC is still favored by 9. I like him here.
What a story Prescott has been all season, marching Dallas to an impressive 6-1 record. Against Cleveland’s atrocious D with zero weather concerns, Prescott will give us at least one more solid performance before the return of Tony Romo. Side note, might be a tame atmosphere if Cleveland fans still haven’t gotten over the heartbreak from Wednesday’s Game Seven.
Sit ‘em: Derek Carr, Russell Wilson
Carr was unstoppable last week against Tampa Bay, torching the Bucs for four TD’s and over 500 passing yards. But this week against Denver’s top shelf D and with rain a possibility in the East Bay, don’t expect to see last week’s numbers in this heavyweight bout between bitter division rivals.
Ok, hear me out… Yes, he is at home against the Saints, but keep this in mind... The Saints are more prone to allowing rushing TD’s in the red zone as opposed to giving it up thru the air. Temper expectations here.
Start ‘em: Jonathan Stewart, Derrick Henry
Four TD’s in the last two games?! Ya, that’s right! Protecting Cam is clearly what’s happening here. Carolina will be moving the ball Sunday and I like Stewart’s high floor.
With DeMarco Murray nursing a hamstring injury, Henry could see a massive increase in his workload. If by some chance Murray doesn’t suit up, this week at sunny San Diego could be the former Heisman Trophy winner’s breakout game.
Sit ‘em: Todd Gurley, Frank Gore
I believe Carolina will use all of its resources to shut down Gurley. They will force Case Keenum to beat them.
On the road against a Green Bay D that on average allows less than 75 rushing yards per game, Gore will be touchdown dependent for week nine. He’ll still see over 15 touches but don’t expect a 90+ yard afternoon from the veteran back despite the favorable weather conditions.
Start ‘em: Terrelle Pryor, Donte Moncrief
If you haven’t figured it out by now, Pryor is a must start when he’s healthy. He’s hogging all the targets, he’s getting the occasional carry and he’s even lining up under center. He’s the lone weapon in Cleveland’s offense and everything is being routed through him. Nothing will change on Sunday with clear skies expected in Cleveland.
TY is a little banged up and this game is going to be a shootout. There are plenty of opportunities here to score and seeing double digit targets is a great possibility.
Sit ‘em: Allen Robinson, Doug Baldwin
Robinson has not returned to last year’s form and now heads into Arrowhead on Sunday. KC’s defense will stifle Bortles and I see this one being a long day for Jacksonville.
At home against a Buffalo secondary that allows over 240 passing yards per game, Baldwin isn’t a terrible play but he’s not going to be the difference-maker in your fantasy lineup. There’s plenty of wideouts with high-ceilings this week and Baldwin just isn’t one of them with rain a possibility in Seattle Monday night.
Start ‘em: Hunter Henry, Gary Barnidge
After two down games, I like Henry here at home against Tennessee with zero weather concerns. I believe this game will be a high scoring affair and if Henry gets his expected targets, he will do very well for you this week.
As defenses hone in on doubling up on Pryor, Barnidge can really thrive in the redzone with the secondary’s focus mostly on the Cleveland playmaker. A healthy Pryor only means attention is off Barnidge and the likelihood for more targets only increases.
Sit ‘em: Julius Thomas, Coby Fleener
Back to praising the KC defense here where the Chiefs are one of the best against the tight end. Look elsewhere.
Aside from only a pair of solid performances this season, the new Saints TE has been more of a disappointment than anything else. New Orleans shouldn’t have any issues moving the ball against SF but averaging only four targets a game over the last four games, Fleener just isn’t as integral a part of the NO offense as we all had hoped for.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-03-2016 18:00
The Oakland Raiders are primed to host their most pivotal home game in roughly a decade. Knowing how inconsistent the Bay Area weather can be, the visiting Denver Broncos could be in for a chilly and/or damp evening but most importantly, the AFC West summit is on the line Sunday night.
According to NFLWeather.com, temperatures will dip into the high-50s for the evening kickoff at the Oakland Coliseum with minimal wind expected. There’s currently about a 20% chance of precipitation, as of Tuesday ,but Bay Area weather can be unpredictable and sporadic so despite party cloudy being the current forecast, there’s a decent chance the east bay could see some drizzle. It feels like every season the Raiders host an absolute mud bowl on their battered bluegrass playing surface and hopefully Sunday night’s heavyweight divisional bout will provide us fans with another.
After hiding in mediocrity for so many years, who in their right mind would have thought that Oakland would be sitting at 6-2 right now?!?! The Raiders are fifth in the league in total offense with over 400 yards per game and average over 285 passing yards. However, having already played in and lost one weather impacted game, 26-10, at home to Kansas City in the rain; it was glaringly apparent the offense was struggling to battle both the elements and the Chiefs’ mediocre defense.
Another concern is the Raiders are 3-5 in rain games since 2009, according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics. Of those games, quarterback Derek Carr has been under center in three and posts a career rain game record of 1-2. But, miserable weather and a little drizzle doesn’t seem to deter Carr from dropping back on average in weather-related games over 36 times. He also still manages to average at least one TD per game. Even with his decent passing stats, Carr will still be handing the ball off plenty to a now healthy Latavius Murray, but expect Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper to get still their targets regardless of playing conditions.
Denver (6-2) has also played in a rain game already this season, thumbing the Buccaneers 27-7 after an excruciatingly long weather delay. During that nonconference road win, despite racking up 32 total carries, the team only rushed for 89 total yards. It was clear the offensive game plan was to take the pressure off first year starter Trevor Siemian but the former Northwestern QB still managed to thrive in the crummy conditions prior to exiting the game with a shoulder injury. Backup Paxton Lynch came in and picked up where Siemian left off, leading the Denver offense downfield with ease en route to Denver’s fourth win of the season. The two QBs combined for 19 completions from 31 attempts while finding the endzone twice and accumulating 218 total passing yards. Not bad for a pair of inexperienced quarterbacks.
With CJ Anderson done for the year, the Broncos rushing attack will now relay on Devontae Booker to carry the load. Booker, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and has scored in each of his last two games, is an ideal bruising back for goal line and short yardage situations yet he’s still surprisingly shifty and elusive. In only two games, Booker has earned defense’s respect and if Oakland starts putting eight or nine defenders in the box, Siemian will have a field day finding Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders tormenting a secondary that surrenders over 285 passing yards per game.
When Denver hosts Oakland on New Year’s Day, it’s probably safe to assume weather will be a factor in that week 17 battle. But week nine in the East Bay might feature far from flawless conditions. If that’s the case, points might be hard to come by but big, tenacious hits certainly won’t be in this heated and bitter division rivalry.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-28-2016 10:30
|Matt’s Value Players:|
Tampa has a pretty decent run defense. This will be a high scoring affair where both team will be throwing a ton. I see Carr going low owned here in big tourneys so take a chance on a QB with zero weather conditions. As for Freeman, is $6,500 really a value play at this price? Absolutely! He is guaranteed all the touches since Tevin Coleman will be out. He’ll have at least 25 touches including a few catches and with all that being said in a possible shootout? This is value. Same goes for Cole Beasley who’s lowest point total is 10 this year. With Dez back, I think this will open more room up for Beasley and I predict his ownership drops this week making him a sneaky play. C.J. Fiedorowicz, say that five times. A big target Osweiler has been relying on heavily this season. His targets are getting more and more consistent and also note Detroit is awful in shutting down the tight end. This price will allow you to construct a lineup with more high priced players.
|Will’s Value Players:|
At home against a Detroit defense that this season has on averaged surrendered over 270 passing yards per game, the Houston offense should have no issues extending drives if they continue to spread the ball as much as they do. Osweiler has been a wildcard all season but $5,400 is a modest price for a QB that could potentially put up top-10 fantasy numbers. The Cleveland backfield has been unpredictable all season but it’s apparent that The Crow is the more reliable rusher and is regularly expected to get more carries. A $3,700 price tag is a steal for a starting RB. Last week was a tough game for Jordy Nelson fans as Devonta Adams, Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery stole the show. Adams is far from a one-hit wonder and will be targeted heavily on Sunday. Atlanta once again has one of the NFC’s most high octane offenses. While secondary’s keep constant tabs on Julio Jones, Tamme has thrived in the redzone. In this high scoring matchup, he’s a TD or bust play and for under $3,000, that’s a gamble worth taking.
Matt’s Pick: PHI +4.5 @ DAL
In the last six games at Dallas, the Eagles are 5-1. This will be a close game, as a lot of divisional matchups are and this game will come down to a field goal. You are all welcome again for another lock of the week.
Will’s Pick: NE -6 @ BUF
With rain in the forecast, historically Tom Terrific is lights out in crummy conditions. If Shady McCoy can’t go, the Buffalo offense is hopeless on Sunday. The Pats should easily pick up a second straight road win and bring the Bills back to .500.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-28-2016 10:00
Start ‘em: Sam Bradford, Trevor Siemian
With so many teams on bye this week, you might find yourself with the need to stream a few players. Bradford is in a good spot here in week eight against a poor Chicago secondary. With just an average run game, I can see Bradford filling in nice here with a healthy Stefon Diggs back.
After three straight modest starts, Siemian has the opportunity to improve and impress this week at home against San Diego’s defense that’s surrendered 30 points or more in three of the last four games. A cheap play in daily fantasy and with weather a nonfactor this week, Siemian will have plenty of drop backs and should spread out the ball nicely to his numerous offensive weapons.
Sit ‘em: Carson Palmer, Phillip Rivers
Anyone who struggled to sit through Arizona’s dismal draw against Seattle last week isn’t debating if Palmer should start. They’re thinking who they can find on the waiver wire so they can rid themselves of the inconsistent train wreck that Palmer has sadly become. Against a well-rested Carolina D coming off a bye week, an already questionable Palmer will be under pressure all afternoon.
Denver’s defense will be ready for this one. In this divisional matchup at home, I can see Denver forcing a few turnovers and getting to Rivers.
Start ‘em: LeGarratte Blount, Matt Asiata
Could this be the NFL’s best goal line and shortage back that no one is talking about? He’s getting plenty of touches and if rain hits Buffalo on Sunday, those touches will only increase.
With a huge bye week combined with some other running back injuries around the league, Asiata will be a good fill in. Now, he might not accrue a mass amount of yards but he will be the guy to punch it in near the goal line. Also add the fact McKinnon might not play ups his opportunities for scores.
Sit ‘em: Melvin Gordon, Matt Jones
We’ve returned to our faith in Denver’s defense again. If you have a different option at RB, think hard on this one. Gordon might not be a lock for starter points here on the road.
Jones has been handed countless chances to take the reins as the top back in Washington but he just keeps finding a way to blow it. With two fumbles last week and Chris Thompson impressing more and more, Jones’ touches, and opportunities, could be decreasing.
Start ‘em: Michael Crabtree, Emmanuel Sanders
The guy is averaging almost 9 targets per game. Playing against a terrible TB secondary, Oakland will be throwing a ton here. Crab all day.
It’s tough to think of a #2 receiver on any other team in the league that’s more lethal than Emmanuel Sanders. For a little guy, he fearlessly goes across the middle and can burn corners on a deep route. San Diego’s pass defense gives up over 275 passing yards per game and Sunday in sunny Mile High Stadium will be no different. Averaging over 10 targets per game, Sanders might see even more than that.
Sit ‘em: Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson
Going against a stout Minnesota D here plus add the fact that he might be on the trading block? Ugh, I cannot imagine he puts up great numbers here. Pass.
He’s only been targeted 10 times or more once this season and he’s racked up only one 100-yard receiving game. DeSean Jackson is no longer the most dangerous weapon in Washington’s attack. Averaging only 32.5 receiving yards over the last four games, Jackson isn’t even worth FLEX consideration against Cincinnati.
Start ‘em: Zach Miller, Zach Rudolph
By now, Miller is no longer the best kept secret at the TE spot in 2016. He’s been Chicago’s only reliable receiving option and Monday night with Jay Cutler returning under center, Miller will be his go-to red zone security blanket. Unless the Windy City gets a little too windy in the evening, passing conditions will be prime for this bitter NFC North bout against Minnesota.
Don’t need to repeat myself here for Rudolph against Chicago. Bears’ defense is weak sauce. Start him.
Sit ‘em: Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry
Just because Hunter Henry shouldn’t be started in fantasy lineups doesn’t guarantee Antonio Gates should either. Gates saw plenty of targets last week but the dinged-up veteran dropped all the vital ones. He’s losing a step, he’s losing his chemistry with Phillip Rivers and he’s losing his starting role to Henry. The once great Gates shouldn’t even be rostered at this point.
Man, I am jumping all over Sand Diego here but with Henry being a little banged up and Rivers really relying on Gates last week, maybe stream another tight end on this one.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-26-2016 16:00
Fall is officially in full force in scenic, upstate New York but locals in Buffalo won’t be braving the rain on Sunday to see the leaves change. Bills fans will be raining down insults on Tom Brady when the heated-rival Patriots storm into town for a damp, divisional clash.
According to NFLWeather.com, rain is possible throughout the entire afternoon in Buffalo with a light wind of 10-12 mph as well. Temperatures inside Ralph Wilson Stadium will be in the mid-50s for this bitter AFC East rivalry. We’ve seen a number of muddy playing fields already this season but traction won’t be an issue on the Bills’ Astroturf surface.
In 2013, New England beat up Buffalo in a rain game, 34-20, at home in late December. The Pats focused heavily on the rushing attack, racking up well over 40 carries between five different players and totaling roughly 200 total rushing yards. But that hasn’t always been New England’s game plan for big games in crummy conditions.
It’s easy to assume Tom Brady carries the Patriots’ offense. In rain games, that’s not always the case. For example, Brady averaged 39 passing attempts per game last season. Over his last six rain games, he’s only dropped back 30+ times twice. But that doesn’t slow down the offense, averaging 33 points per game over that span. Expect Brady to spread the ball around the field, honing in on Gronkowski in the red zone. Well, that’s if the NFL’s top bruising short yardage back, LaGarrette Blount, doesn’t hog all the goal line action.
The Patriots (6-1) in rain games are almost unbeatable. Well, they actually have been for over four years, dating back to a 24-23 loss in 2012 to Seattle in a drizzle. Since then, they’ve been a flawless 5-0. According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Pats are 8-2 in rain games since 2009 and 6-0 at home during that stretch.
Buffalo (4-3) has been a thorn in New England’s side over the last few meetings, splitting the series 2-2 dating back to December 2014. But when it comes to battling the elements, the Bills have been extremely weak, posting a 3-6 record in rain games since 2010. To make matters worse, the Bills haven’t even won a game in the rain since 2013.
Not having LeSean McCoy at full health last week in Miami was a massive blow to the offense. Shady is expected to be back against the Pats but without the shifty RB, Buffalo will struggle mightily against a New England defense that, on average this season, has surrendered just over 15 points per game. Averaging only 18.5 points per rain game since ’10, it’s up to McCoy and Tyrod Taylor to make some big plays on the fly in order to pull off the unfathomable season sweep of New England.
With Tom Terrific back under center, it’s tough to find a more dominant and Super Bowl-worthy team in the league right now than New England. But the only team to down the Pats, thus far, this year has been Buffalo. An AFC East upset could just as easily be in the forecast as storm clouds on Sunday.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-22-2016 08:30
|Will’s Value Players:|
After his phenomenal performance last week against Cleveland where he threw three TD’s, it’s astonishing Mariota’s price tag dropped $100 from last week. Expect similar numbers this week at home against Indy for the second-year starter. Rodgers was a revelation last week, tormenting the Carolina defense with 30 touches for over 100 yards and five receptions. Against the 49ers who surrender on average almost 175 rushing yards per game, Rodgers could put up Le’Veon Bell-like numbers. The Raiders can’t stop an aerial attacking team for the life of them which will mean big things for Jacksonville’s Allen Hurns. Across the state in Tampa Bay, Brate has been a machine since taking over the starting tight end roll. After only seeing three targets a week ago, he’ll bounce back against San Francisco’s Swiss cheese defense.
|Matt’s Value Players:|
|RB||Duke Johnson Jr.||$3,900|
At this price and expected output, plugging in Winston here gives you flexibility for roster construction. The likelihood the Browns falling behind to the Bengals is very good and a receiving back like Johnson has the higher ceiling when playing from behind. There’s a chance Pryor might miss this game which could result in more looks for Johnson. Hogging all the passes for the Rams this season, Britt has emerged as their #1 option. Anytime you can get a starter like that for this price, take it. With Dwayne Allen listed as doubtful for this week, look for Doyle to be a major part of the Colts offense. This will be a high scoring game and at this price, he’s a steal.
Will’s Pick: BAL +1 @ NYJ
The Jets’ offense is a sinking ship, and now that Geno Smith is in control, scoring double digits might be too tall an order let alone beating a solid Baltimore side. The Ravens won’t even need the point in this one.
Matt’s Pick: TB -2 @ SF
Tampa has the potent offense and San Francisco has the poor defense. It’s that simple. Buccaneers should run away with this one (pun intended for Chip). Take this one to the bank.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-22-2016 08:00
Start ‘em: Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston
Over the last four consecutive weeks, the dreadful Browns D has allowed opposing QB’s to toss for at least three touchdowns a game. With clear skies in Sunday’s forecast, expect Dalton to eviscerate the in-state rival Browns’ atrocious secondary.
Playing against the 49ers means Winston’s fantasy floor is very high this week. A fast paced game means more offensive plays and creates more opportunities to score points. A great streaming option if your QB is on a bye this week.
Sit ‘em: Carson Wentz, Alex Smith
Last week against Washington, Wentz was sacked five times and completed only half of his passes. If Philly’s offensive line doesn’t get it together against Minnesota’s stout D that only surrenders 12 points per game this season, another poor performance by the Wentz is in the cards. Winds could kick up to 15-20 mph which could also create some problems for the rookie.
Ok, hear me out… Yes, he is at home against the Saints, but keep this in mind... The Saints are more prone to allowing rushing TD’s in the red zone as opposed to giving it up thru the air. Temper expectations here.
Start ‘em: Jacquizz Rodgers, Spencer Ware
After seeing what Shady McCoy did the 49ers did last week, I can see Rodgers racking up good numbers here. Head Coach Dirk Koetter will always ride the running back no matter who it is. Until Doug Martin returns from injury, keep Rodgers starting in your lineup.
Even with Jamaal Charles back, Ware out touched the veteran RB last week 26 to 11 and is still very much an important factor of Andy Reid’s offense. Heading into week seven’s bout against a New Orleans defense that allows 117 rushing yards per game, Ware is a must-start and with wind expected to be a factor, Reid will prefer the traditional ground and pound attack.
Sit ‘em: Jay Ajayi, Lamar Miller
Expect Ajayi to come back down to earth this week at home to Buffalo. That, along with the fact Arian Foster is a week healthier, I can’t expect a large point total here this week. Wind and rain could end up being a factor here as well.
With only one rushing touchdown under his belt, it’s safe to say the expectations set for Miller in Houston this season were exceedingly too high. He’ll have his occasional 100-yard performances but against Denver’s lights out defense, there’s a minimal chance he’ll hit triple digits on Monday night.
Start ‘em: Brandon Marshall, Allen Robinson
Geno Smith, Fitzmagic, PeeWee Herman, or Carlton Banks.. It could be anyone under center but regardless of which clown is taking snaps, Marshall will get his looks and targets regardless. Expect a Brandon Marshall kinda game here.
Robinson, who was taken in most fantasy drafts in the third round, is a sleeping giant just waiting to put up big numbers against a sorry defensive unit. A visit from Oakland’s awful secondary that gives up over 312 passing yards per game might just do the trick. With clear skies in the forecast, Blake Bortles has perfect passing conditions to reignite his chemistry with his top wide out.
Sit ‘em: DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Floyd
At this point in the season, Hopkins has been touchdown dependent. It gets worse this week when they arrive in Denver for a matchup nightmare. Hopkins was probably your first round pick, but sad to say he might not perform this week.
Aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona receivers can’t be trusted. Against Seattle’s stellar defense and with Carson Palmer dinged up from last week, Floyd’s two targets from last week could be an indication he’s being phased-out of the Cardinal’s offensive game plans.
Start ‘em: Gary Barnidge, Hunter Henry
Finally, Barnidge is once again a key factor in Cleveland’s [limited] passing attack. Over the last four weeks, Barnidge’s targets-per-game has leaped to 6.5 after averaging just over three a game following the first two weeks. With the Browns expected to be trailing the Bengals and forced to play catch-up, Cleveland will be compelled to abandon the run.
Henry’s production has been unbelievably consistent over the last month or so. Atlanta has two rookie LB’s and one rookie strong safety starting. Expect a lot of points put up in this game and Henry will be a part of it.
Sit ‘em: Dennis Pitta, Zach Ertz
The Jets can be beat through the air but with Flacco not 100% and this most likely being a low scoring game, the ceiling is low here for Pitta.
Since returning from injury, fantasy and Philly fans alike have been waiting for Ertz to live up to his hype. Well, both parties are still playing the waiting game and not much is expected to chance against Minnesota’s tenacious defense. Wind could be a factor on Sunday and if the Viking’s D-line causes the same problems Washington’s did last week (five sacks), Philly may need Ertz to help out in pass protection.
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