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A new player enters the daily fantasy arena -- Weather Battle

WX Battle has joined the DFS arena. WXbattle.com

We have officially entered the summer sports doldrums, and if you are a daily fantasy player this period is likely especially frustrating, maybe you are even getting the DFS shakes.  However, if you are willing to live a little bit outside of the box I may have a solution for you. Now you can play daily fantasy all summer long, and in fact all year long with a new game that never goes out of season.  How is this possible you ask? All sports have a season right? Well yes, they do, but do you know what doesn’t ever have an off season? The weather. Yes, a game called Weather Battle (also written as WX Battle) has brought weather forecasting into the daily fantasy arena.

I have been following this game’s development over the past year and earlier this month it officially launched for all to play.  Even better, is that for about the next month games will be free to play, but will still have real money payouts for winners.

So who had this brilliant idea? That would be Mike Collier - the Chief Meteorologist at the NBC affiliate TV Station in Tulsa, Okla.  Weather Battle was born out of Mike’s love of daily fantasy. Mike told me that a couple of years ago he, like many avid DFS players, was left wanting more at the conclusion of football season.  He wished for a game that could be played everyday and had no off season. It was then that weather forecasting - the thing he does every day - struck him as the solution. Weather, like sports, does not have a pre-defined outcome, nor does it ever stop, making it a perfect vessel for the daily fantasy model.  And just as with sports a player can test their skill and knowledge by attempting to pick the best possible outcome to gain the most points – the only difference being that points come in degrees or inches of rain instead of touchdowns and yards.

Even better is that you don’t have to have an in-depth knowledge, or really any knowledge at all, of meteorology to play.  Weather Battle has made it very simple for both the weather-enthused as well as the average fantasy sports player to participate.

Gameplay

First you have to go to weatherbattle.com. Once you log-in and hit the “Play Now” button you are taken to a page to select which contest you would like to participate in.  

As of now there are four types of games: a heat battle, cold battle, rain battle, and wind battle.  The names are pretty self-explanatory. In each of these “battles” you pick cities that you think will have the most of whatever condition the battle is for.  Keep in mind that you will be forecasting for the 24 hour period ending on the date given on the battle. Just like in regular daily fantasy each contest has an entry fee as well as a prize payout for winners.  However, as I mentioned earlier, for about the next month all contests will be free to enter.

I went ahead and chose the heat battle, and after doing so was lead to this screen to make my selections:

You are given a list of 40 cities, of which you can choose ten, however you must stay within the given 40,000 point budget.  Each city is assigned a point value, with the sure thing picks (ie. in heat contests traditionally hot cities like Phoenix) being the most expensive.  Scoring is done by totaling up all the high temperatures (or inches of rain, max winds in those other contests) in each of your selected cities. You have to choose your cities wisely though to get the most points possible while staying under budget.  Sure, you could pick Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell for your daily fantasy team, but you would be hard-pressed to fill out the rest of your roster. The same balancing act applies here.

Also, remember how I mentioned you don’t need to know a whole lot about meteorology to play? Well when you roll over the mouse over the city names a bubble pops up on the map to the right showing both the forecasted temperature as well as the average temperature for that day. Sure, you could consult some weather forecasts or simple weather models, however doing so is not necessary to have a good shot of winning.  Simply looking at the information Weather Battle provides you could see that on this particular day value picks can be found in cities like Portland or Cincinnati where the forecast temperature is 85 but the cost of picking those cities is relatively low. It’s like an average running back having a matchup against the leagues worst run defense. Finally, after you submit your picks you can return to the site the next day to see how you did and if you won any money. It is that easy.

Weather Battle plans to drastically expand the game over the coming months.  The plan is to add contests for forecasting severe weather, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other weather events.  They also plan to increase the prize pools to make these games even more attractive. However, even with contests presently limited to just four categories, over the past month participation has increased exponentially.  The first day it launched there were less than 10 people playing, but in less than a month hundreds are now playing with participation growing each day. My guess is that more than just those with a deep interest in weather will give this game a try. At the very least it is a change of pace during these dead summer months.  And finally, it will give those who love to claim that weather forecasts are a bunch of crap a chance to put their money where their mouth is.

If you decide to give it a try let me know, I would love to hear thoughts from other participants.   You can let me know via twitter @stephenuzick.


 

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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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