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Beginner NFL DFS: Weather

We continue our breakdown of the basics for NFL DFS. In this section, we look at weather, with definitions and some basic strategy.

A Buffalo Bills fan watches game action during the second quarter against the New York Jets at New Era Field on December 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

For daily fantasy football, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. Playing NFL DFS has many aspects that you’ll need to master, but while some of them don’t take a ton of hardcore analysis, they do take time and commitment. One of those commitments is to following the weather near each outdoor game.

DFS weather

Definition

You know what weather is, but DFS weather is specific to weather that could cause significant changes in how a game is played.

Strategy

Wind

When we look at weather impacts on daily fantasy football, we are mostly looking at how much it will hurt quarterbacks’ ability to throw the ball. This is a passing league and without it, games are going to change rapidly from our projections, even in more run-heavy schemes.

Wind will hurt passing statistics. Studies show that the higher the wind velocity the more a quarterback’s statistic fall. In Josh Mancuso’s study, he plotted quarterback numbers in four categories: 0–10 mph wind, 10–15, 15–20, and 20+. In each statistic, there was a downward trend, with 20+ mph giving the biggest disparity in output.

In DFS, that means we want to try to avoid games with 20+ mph winds. Even if those games sport strong running attacks, the lack of passing is going to slow down the offenses as a whole and push scoring and upside down as offenses get predictable.

Rain

Rain isn’t as easy to study, as data is spottier for specific stadiums, but on average, rain pointed toward lower scoring. Often, rain is accompanied by wind, so there are a lot of data points that can’t be brought together in a meaningful way. Rain on its own isn’t likely to be a big concern for fantasy scoring unless we can forecast meaningful downpours on a game without it being postponed for lightening.

Cold

Cold weather games by themselves don’t seem to show a big affect on performance, but again, added with wind and snow, that will change.

Conclusion

When looking at perfect weather vs. bad weather, quarterbacks on average play better in perfect weather. Does that mean you can’t play a quarterback in iffy, but not necessarily awful weather in DFS? No, but if mitigating risk, especially in cash lineups, I usually take the side of caution. It can come back to bite you when the quarterback you faded due to weather goes off, but remember that feeling of regret is recency bias. Longterm strategy of avoiding pitfalls is going to be the best course.