RAIN OR SHINE

Week 1 NFL football Sunday weather report

Marcus Mariota and the Titans head to Miami. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It’s finally Week 1 of the NFL season and everyone is eager to get their wagering on and to see their freshly drafted fantasy rosters in action.  But before you lock in you should take note of weather conditions on Sunday that will be putting a damper (see what I did there) on a few games. Read on to see which games this week most likely to be impacted and how I believe the conditions will affect each fantasy position group:

Steelers @ Browns (noon central): The zombie corpse of Tropical Storm Gordon will be trolling the #lolBrowns hard on Sunday.  All indications right now point to a very soggy and breezy afternoon in Cleveland. Heavy rain will be possible throughout the game, likely making the natural grass surface a muddy mess.  Those with Antonio Brown on their team hoping for him to feast on the Browns may be disappointed in this game. Brown is a must start, regardless of conditions, but given the rain and the wind I wouldn’t bank on a huge day for him. These conditions present the perfect opportunity for the teams to lean heavily on the running game, so if you have Le’Veon Bell on your roster you have my sympathies. Winds look to be rather breezy out of the southeast at around 20 MPH with some higher gusts possible. The southeasterly direction means the wind will be blowing across the width of the field making kicking and deep passes challenging. Below are my rankings for how the conditions will impact each fantasy position groups (a total of 3 arrows are possible):

QB: ↓↓

RB: ↑↑↑

WR/TE: ↓↓

K: ↓↓↓

DEF: ↑

Bills @ Ravens (noon central) – This will also be a wet game, though probably not quite as soggy as Cleveland.  Light to moderate rain showers will be present throughout the game – enough to soak the field but not totally swamp it.  Wind will also pose a challenge, coming out of the east at about 15 MPH but gusting to 20 or 25 MPH at times. The orientation of the stadium makes it such that the wind will be blowing across the length of the field, giving each team an equal opportunity to be helped or harmed by the wind.  With less a less than stellar quarterback for the Bills (and that is putting it kindly) and below average receivers for the Ravens look for the running game to be heavily favored here. These aren’t the best conditions for kickers but it’s not the worst either. Despite the conditions I would still play Justin Tucker as he is one of the best, if not the best, kicker in the game right now.  If you have Steven Hauschka though, it might not be a bad idea to take a look at what other kickers are available for this week.

QB: ↓↓ (If Peterman or Flacco is your starting QB you need more help than I can offer)

RB: ↑↑↑

WR/TE: ↓

K: ↓

DEF: ↑↑

Titans @ Dolphins (noon Central) – This game won’t necessarily feature out of the ordinary conditions, but playing in Miami in early September is no walk in the park.  Typical of south Florida the heat and humidity will be downright stifling. The heat index will be hovering around 100 degrees with little to no breeze to provide relief.  As always in Miami there is the possibility of a passing rain shower, but any impacts from rain will be minimal. Rather it will be the heat that has the greatest effect, especially given that this is the first game of the year and conditioning may not be 100%.  I would give the defenses a bump down here as they are likely to get gassed more quickly than would otherwise be normal. Alternatively, I would give the kickers a slight bump up as hot and humid air is less dense which can give a little more distance on kicks.

QB: ↔ (Neutral)

RB: ↔

WR/TE: ↔

K: ↑

DEF: ↓

For more information on these games and to get any questions answered (including College Games) you can find me on Twitter @stephenuzick


 

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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