A crazy season became a bit crazier last week thanks to one of the most ordinary parts of our lives, the weather. Rain and wind wreaked havoc on some Week 10 games, making putting ball security in jeopardy and hampering kicking and passing accuracy. The weather is something few fantasy football managers likely weight heavily as a factor when setting their lineups, and for good reason. The only time it should seriously impact your lineup is if it’s severe weather (rain, snow, crazy wind) and even in those instances the weather doesn’t impact every position.
Kickers are obviously impacted, especially those playing outdoors in a city where cold, wet, and windy weather is common. It’s generally safer to choose a kicker playing in the comfy confines of a dome, or in the parts of the country that don’t really have much in the way of Fall and Winter.
A team’s passing game can also be impacted. As we were reminded this week, the wind can wreak havoc on a team’s deep passing game, and of course wet weather can also make it more difficult for all players to hold on to the ball. However, you should really only seriously take the weather into consideration when looking at a team with a questionable passing game. You aren’t benching Davante Adams or DeAndre Hopkins because of the weather, don’t even think about it.
So while it shouldn’t weigh heavily on your lineup decisions be sure to check the weather before plugging in a potentially questionable player. It could help, or it could make absolutely no difference. Anything can happen on any given Sunday.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger (@ JAC) – Only once this season has Roethlisberger failed to throw two or more touchdowns and he’s only thrown an interception in two games this year. It doesn’t get much more consistent than that. Roethlisberger’s ceiling has actually risen of late as the Steelers have gone pass heavy, with the veteran throwing the pass over 40 times in three of the last four games. All of this matches up well for Big Ben as he takes on the Jaguars this week. Jacksonville has allowed multiple touchdown passes in all but three games this season, and five of the nine quarterbacks they’ve faced have thrown for over 300 yards. They have also registered just nine sacks on the season, the fewest in the league. Roethlisberger will have plenty of time to sit back, relax, and choose which of wide array of fantastic pass catchers he feels like throwing the ball to each down as he carves up this lean Jaguars defense.
Also consider: Jameis Winston (vs ATL) – We don’t know how Winston will look as the Saints’ starter for a full game but we know he can be a good fantasy quarterback, and it doesn’t get much easier than facing the Falcons at home in your season debut. Justin Herbert (vs NYJ) – Herbert has at least three total touchdowns in three of his last four games and now he faces the lowly Jets. Don’t hesitate for even a second, start the rookie, but maybe keep an eye on that chance of rain on Sunday
RB: D’Andre Swift (@ CAR) – The Panthers seriously struggle to stop the run, it’s that simple. Only three teams haven’t gone over 100 yards rushing against them, and those were all teams with lackluster run games (yes that includes the Chiefs). This past week Tampa Bay became the second team to rush for over 150 yards against Carolina. Even if you take away Ronald Jones amazing 98 yard run the Panthers still allowed 113 rushing yards to the Bucs. Enter Detroit running back D’Andre Swift. The rookie was finally given the reigns to the backfield and it doesn’t look like he intends on ever giving them back. Swift ran the ball 16 times, a season high for him, and caught five passes, tying a season high for him. Kerryon Johnson and Adrian Peterson combined for six touches. Johnson and Peterson will annoyingly continue to have a role in the offense but, after setting a new high for yards from scrimmage, Swift has left no doubt that he is the most talented running back in Detroit. The Lions do have a couple tough matchups down the stretch, including Week 16 against Tampa Bay (in case you make it to your league championship game) but this week there are few matchups as friendly to running backs as Carolina. There is no good reason to leave Swift out of your lineup this week.
Also consider: Kalen Ballage (vs NYJ) – Came up just shy of 70 yards rushing this past week but saw increased passing game work. Ballage is a viable flex and facing the Jets gives him intriguing upside. Damien Harris (@ HOU) – Lack of usage as a receiver and in goal line situations (thanks a lot Cam Newton) limits the ceiling for Harris but he is one of the most efficient rushers around and anyone can run wild against the Texans.
WR: Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson (vs DAL) – The Cowboys have allowed multiple pass catchers to score a touchdown or go over 70 yards receiving in seven of their nine games this season. In six of those nine games wide receivers have caught multiple touchdown passes. So yeah, there’s a very good chance for both Thielen and Jefferson to have a big day against Dallas. The Vikings dynamic wide receiver duo has been a mixed bag this season. They’ve alternated big games some weeks, both busted others, and on a few occasions they’ve both put together great outings. That’s just the nature of talented wide receivers on a run first offense. Lucky for you, Dallas sucks. So even if this Sunday turns out to be another low volume passing day for Kirk Cousins, there’s still a good chance for Thielen to record his tenth touchdown of the season, and for Jefferson to increase his already impressive 18.1 yards per reception. No matter which of these two you have, you should feel confident rolling each of them out this week.
Also consider: Michael Thomas (vs ATL) – We’ll have to wait and see if having Jameis Winston under center will help Thomas get out of this rut, but you can’t pass up a player this talented against a defense this bad. Christian Kirk (@ SEA) – Of course you’re starting DeAndre Hopkins but in a shootout against Seattle, Kirk could have a big game as well. If you don’t mind the high level of risk involved, Kirk could reward you in a big way this week. Although there’s always a chance of rain in Seattle.
TE: Eric Ebron (@ JAC) – Having Ebron as a start again this week seems repetitive but he continues to be relatively reliable at the most unreliable position. Ebron has seen five or more targets in five of his last six games. There’s no reason to believe the Steelers will suddenly stop being a pass-heavy offense, meaning Ebron should maintain this fantastic volume. He might only have three touchdowns on the year but has 10 red zone targets, among the most for tight ends this season, so he’s a decent bet to start scoring more often. This week Ebron gets a solid matchup against Jacksonville. Through nine games the Jaguars have allowed seven touchdowns to tight ends. Only once this season have opposing tight ends failed to either score a touchdown or combine for at 45 receiving yards against Jacksonville. Ebron has eclipsed 40 receiving yards five times this season. That’s not a lofty total but at a position as barren as tight end, you could do a lot worse. Give Ebron another shot this week.
Also consider: Taysom Hill (vs ATL) – Some fantasy football sites allow you to play Hill as a tight end so check if yours is one of them. With Drew Brees sidelined we could see the Saints expand the Taysom Hill package alongside Jameis Winston, making Hill a very risky option with the potential for a big day. Against the always friendly Falcons defense Hill is a very intriguing desperation play. Hunter Henry (vs NYJ) – He’s playing the Jets and tight end is a wasteland, Henry is about as safe as they come this season plus he’s starting to click with Justin Herbert. Once again though, a rainy day could have a slight impact.
QB: Tom Brady (vs LAR) – It’s tough to even consider benching Brady given the playmakers he has at his disposal, but you need to consider it this week. Brady has struggled at times this season. He had a tough outing against a couple of good defenses earlier this season, the Bears and Packers in Week 5 and Week 6 respectively, and put up a dud against the Saints just two weeks ago. Those were the best defenses he’s faced so far this season. Simply put, the veteran is great but he’s not matchup proof and the Rams are a matchup to avoid. Just last week Los Angeles shut down Russell Wilson, becoming the first team all season to not allow Wilson to score a touchdown. They also intercepted Wilson twice and recovered a forced fumble. LA has forced at least one turnover in seven of their nine games this season. Brady has mostly taken care of the football this season but he was just picked off three times by the Saints in Week 9. The Rams have only allowed multiple passing touchdowns twice all season and allowed just a single touchdown pass on two other occasions. That makes for seven out of nine games in which opponents have thrown for one or zero touchdowns against LA. This is a tough matchup for almost any quarterback, making Brady difficult to trust.
Be wary about: Matt Ryan (@ NO) – With the weapons at his disposal Ryan can usually provide at least serviceable fantasy production, but the Saints defense has been coming on strong in recent weeks. We’ll see this matchup again in just two weeks so Ryan owners should pay close attention. Aaron Rodgers (@ IND) – Temper expectations for Rodgers this week against a Colts defense among the best in the league. The Colts haven’t faced a quarterback of Rodgers caliber but Rodgers struggled against the only defense he has faced that is as good as the Colts, being Tampa Bay.
RB: Los Angeles Rams RBs (@ TB) – All season long Los Angeles’ backfield has been one of the most confusing and that confusion only increased this past week. Cam Akers became more involved in the Rams last two games, turning this backfield into a three-headed monster. It really had seemed like we had things figured out. Darrell Henderson was the best runner, although he had recently been dealing with a quad injury, and Malcolm Brown had touchdown equity, but the addition of Akers severely muddles that. Akers was highly touted entering the season, and some even thought that the rookie would quickly earn a majority share of the backfield. That hasn’t happened yet, and up until Week 8 it didn’t seem like it would happen. There’s a chance a fully healthy Henderson retakes the lead role but there’s no way to sure how Sean McVay will divvy the running back work going forward. Now this strange trio will face a Tampa Bay defense that hasn’t allowed more than 90 yards rushing in any game this season. The Bucs have given up some receiving yards to running backs, but none of the Rams running backs receives sizeable, consistent work in the passing game so you can’t count on that. Amidst all of this confusion, and facing a stingy defense, you can’t trust any Rams running backs this week.
Be wary about: Todd Gurley (@ NO) – Most weeks, if Gurley doesn’t score he’s a bust and the Saints haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown since Week 4. The Saints are also allowing the second fewest rushing yards per game this season. Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones (vs LAR) – Figuring out which of these two will get the most carries each week is a nightmare, especially when they face the very scary Aaron Donald and the Rams defense.
WR: Jerry Jeudy (vs MIA) – Hopefully Jeudy owners enjoyed the past three weeks because things don’t look good for the rookie going forward. Drew Lock is hurt and while he isn’t a particularly great quarterback, the Broncos offense is even worse with Jeff Driskel or Brett Rypien under center. Although, it likely won’t matter who is throwing the ball to Jeudy as he’ll be dealing with an elite cornerback almost every week for the rest of the season. That starts this Sunday against the Dolphins duo of Byron Jones and Xavien Howard. As a whole, Miami’s defense has been playing very well of late and that ascension has coincided with Jones and Howard showing they are one of the league’s most fearsome cornerback combos. While some of the league’s best wide receivers have had good very games against Miami, Jones and Howard held Tyler Lockett, De’Andre Hopkins, and Keenan Allen to a combined eight catches, 108 yards, and one touchdown. Most weeks it wouldn’t be surprising for any one of those wide receivers to post those numbers on their own. Given the quarterback situation and the matchup Jeudy might be better suited for your bench this week, and you might have trouble finding a good week to take him off your bench the rest of the season.
Be wary about: Tampa Bay Buccaneers WRs (vs LAR) – Tampa Bay’s incredible depth of talent at wide receiver caps the upside a bit for each of their starters and this week they face the dominant Rams secondary. Chris Godwin is the safest, followed by Mike Evans with his penchant for touchdowns, and then Antonio Brown, but they are all risky this week. A.J. Brown (@ BAL) – After busting against the Colts last week, Brown faces another stiff test in the talented Ravens secondary. Brown is always one play away from a big day but everyone struggles against the Ravens.
TE: Noah Fant (vs MIA) – Fant is currently dealing with a rib injury so there’s a chance he doesn’t even play. However, if he is healthy enough to suit up for the Broncos this week he should still be kept on your bench. Fant hasn’t eclipsed 50 receiving yards since Week 2, which is also the last time he scored a touchdown. He has just three catches in three of his last four games. None of this makes for a reliable tight end. Especially when the passes will be coming from either a banged up Drew Lock or one of the Broncos backup quarterbacks. Facing the Dolphins defense certainly doesn’t help matters. Although Miami allowed three touchdowns to tight ends over the last two weeks, those were the first touchdowns tight ends scored against them all season. The Dolphins went through their first seven games of the season without allowing a single touchdown to a tight end. Even more impressive, Miami hasn’t allowed more than 50 receiving yards in a game to tight ends all season. That’s 50 yards combined amongst a team’s tight ends. The Seahawks were the only team to reach 50 yards and their tight ends needed seven catches. The Broncos offense is a mess right now making it difficult to rationalize starting Fant in a harsh matchup.
Be wary about: Robert Tonyan (@ IND) – It’s been a long time since Tonyan’s Week 4 three touchdown game and he just doesn’t have enough of a role in the Packers offense to trust him, especially against a Colts defense which no tight end has scored a touchdown against this season. Mike Gesicki (@ DEN) – The Broncos haven’t allowed a touchdown to a tight end since Week 1, and Gesicki only has two truly good receiving games this season, the last of which came way back in Week 5.
Follow Moshe Kravitz on Twitter @MosheKravitz