The temperature is beginning to drop drastically here in California. Mornings are filled with frozen over windshields and folks turning on defrosters, warming up prior to leaving driveways. I’m sure you understand that this time of the year can really affect your fantasy team.
I had players in a monsoon a few years back that I would have benched had I known that the conditions would be that bad. In this day and age, you have no reason to make mistakes like that when your playoff seeding and playoffs are at stake.
This is the information age where someone farts and you can immediately get a whiff via Twitter. I’m not kidding. It’s frightening the amount of information at your disposal. Be smart this week and check the weather in all your players’ games. This information can help you decide if you should be concerned or carefree.
Here are the games that I am concerned about:
Minnesota @ Baltimore – 36 degrees with a chance of ice pellets***.
Indianapolis @ Cincinnati – 31 degrees with a chance of snow***
Oakland @ New York Jets – 38 degrees with a chance of rain*
Detroit @ Philadelphia – 38 degrees with a chance of ice pellets***
Miami @ Pittsburgh – 34 degrees with a chance of snow***
Kansas City @ Washington – 36 degrees with a chance of rain*
Atlanta @ Green Bay – 16 degrees with a chance of snow***
While I would not hesitate to start anyone with chance of rain, I’m not sure how catchable balls are with ice pellets coming down. I’m sure that what we think is ordinary could be increasingly difficult when trying to kick a ball 50 yards.
I know that teams that are acclimated to playing in poor weather like the Packers, have a distinct advantage in that game. The kickers will have the most difficult time in most of these games because the ball is slick and getting a good hold after a snap may prove to be quite a task.
Here is a list of Kickers that I would start this weekend:
1. Dan Carpenter BUF
2. Josh Brown NYG
3. Garrett Hartley NO
4. Graham Gano CAR
5. Nick Novak SD
6. Greg Zuerlein STL
7. Jay Feely ARZ
8. Mason Crosby GB (this guy is acclimated to snow and the cold.)
Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers is clearly not the same team. You can’t plug in any arm and expect results. I know there are guys like James Jones that make the tough catch look easy, but Matt Flynn simply isn’t serviceable enough that you can pin your hopes on Jordy Nelson, James Jones, or Jarrett Boykin.
Eddie Lacy is the only must start Packer in my book until Rodgers returns.
The Indianapolis Colts won ugly again despite doing very little with their opportunities. Darrius Heyward-Bey dropped two balls in a row when they could have sustained a drive this last week. I honestly think whoever calls the shots needs to be fired. He is at the top of a short list of receivers who should not be starting. You can say that he is a tremendous blocker for only so long. I’ve seen enough to know he is not cut out for this line of work.
Andrew Luck is one of the most blitzed signal callers in football. The buzz is that he has trouble with the blitz. I don’t subscribe to that as much as the Indianapolis offensive line is among the worst at blitz protection. I think you will see more blitzing and Luck trying to use his legs more because he really is a talented runner.
Josh Gordon is the one man wrecking crew in Cleveland. Jordan Cameron has all but disappeared in the offensive scheme. Folks that waited in the draft and called Gordon’s name in the latter rounds because of the suspension are all rejoicing. Gordon has been the hottest receiver in football for the last three weeks followed by Calvin Johnson, and Eric “one week” Decker.
Should Gordon continue to run free this week against a very mediocre New England secondary, He could potentially lead the league in receiving yards after having sat out the first two games due to a suspension. I think he will see a ton of double coverage this week as he is the only real threat. Belichick loves to take away key players with unorthodox defensive schemes.
I’m sure fantasy owners are chomping at the bit to see Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson head into Philadelphia to take on a porous secondary. The weather there could really favor the ground game. While I think there will be some passing yards, I don’t see that one turning into the shootout that most folks think. Monitor the weather in this game very closely. I’m not saying that I’d sit either Stafford or Johnson unless they were playing in a hurricane, but you may be surprised at the lower production if the field is nasty. If it is indeed nasty, that favors the Lions defensive line that much more.
Thanks for the read folks! Make sure you understand the variables associated with your games and temper those expectations. If you have questions shoot me a message on Twitter @AudibleFantasy
Michael Sarmento is a proud member of the talented team of writers at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.