KICKOFF UPDATE: The conditions look pretty great at kickoff. It’s 69 degrees with no rain right now. However, when players are running, we see water coming up from the grass.
UPDATE 1/11 2:30 pm: The forecast is now calling for rain to hold off until after the game. That’s good news but the wind still could be a factor, as NOAA is calling for south wind 13 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. As long as the sustained winds aren’t above 20 mph, we shouldn’t be overly cautious, especially with two teams who like to run the ball.
This weekend we have all four games in the great outdoors, so the elements could play a factor. Weather is always worth looking into, as perfect conditions are better than not-so-perfect conditions, but weather can often be overstated when trying to factor its impact on games, especially the fantasy statistics that come out of those games. Extreme weather will have an impact but quantifying what is extreme can be difficult.
The fantasy community usually uses 20 mph winds as the number to look for when downgraded a passing game, while rain and snow aren’t as impactful unless the wind is there as well. Of course, if a field has been saturated and gets torn up, it will slow down offenses. And if the rain comes down hard enough, it can be impossible to keep the ball from being a little slippery. And a lot can depend on how wind acts inside a stadium and how well the field was covered and drains. For the most part, we can feel good about playoff game fields in normal rain events.
This Saturday night in Baltimore it looks like both teams will need to deal with the elements, as rain and wind are in the forecast. The game kicks off at 7:15 pm Saturday night and rain is forecast at 90 percent right around that time, with south winds from 11 to 17 mph and gusts up to 23 mph.
Thankfully for the players, the temperature is unseasonably warm, as it should be around 60 degrees. NOAA is calling for showers versus thunderstorm-like downpours, so we’re likely looking at a steady but not hard rain. The wind is the biggest concern, but sustained winds will remain below 17 mph. Both of these teams would rather run the ball, so the weather may not impact fantasy numbers all that much — but if those gusts become frequent, kicking and deep passing could be perilous.