Fog Bowl: Weathering the storm

Fog Bowl: Weathering the storm
By Andy Behrens
December 19, 2007

Andy Behrens
Yahoo Sports

Here's something that I had completely forgotten, but an emailer reminded me last week: Brad Evans has a Master's degree in Geoscience, with an emphasis in meteorology.

That's right, he's a weatherman – slightly more like this kind of weather person, not this kind. So if you have questions about gusting or low pressure systems or cloud formation, you'll want to ask Brad.

None of us can predict what the exact impact of inclement weather is going to be in fantasy leagues, however. There's no simple formula that uses projected fantasy points, wind speed, precipitation, temperature and whatever else, then spits out a number. If anyone has the unique skill set to create such a formula, though, it's Brad. Definitely not me.

It became evident last Sunday that all Bills and Browns, except the running backs – both of whom were rightly touted on Fantasy Football Live – were to be benched. Those conditions were extraordinary. The weather wasn't as extreme in New England, yet Tom Brady actually scored one less fantasy point than Derek Anderson. Ben Roethlisberger and David Garrard both had very useful fantasy days, though, and they were playing in this stuff.

We first discussed dealing with the weather after that 3-0 slugfest between the Steelers and Dolphins in Week 12. My general rule, as mentioned then, is that I'm not benching elite players unless they're faced with the sort of meteorological event that leads to travel delays and/or checking on the elderly. And if I knew any old people in Cleveland, I would have checked on them last weekend. Therefore, I benched Derek Anderson in favor of Jeff Garcia. This only netted me two or three points, but even that could have been significant.

Thousands of you dropped Phil Dawson on Sunday morning, too. That was smart. But it's worth noting that in that game, Dawson drilled the most impressive field goal you'll ever see. With snow everywhere and a brutal wind whipping across the field, Romeo Crennel sent him out to attempt a 49-yard field goal. Impossible conditions, basically. Dawson and his holder, Dave Zastudil, spent at least a minute clearing snow and ice from spot where the ball was placed. The kick was a low liner that the wind pushed at least eight feet from left to right. It would not have been good from 50 yards. Dawson actually hit the support, maybe two feet over the crossbar – not the first time he's done that in 2007.

He earned the right to react this way. I meant to discuss the kick in Sunday Scene, but I'd actually written several sentences on how ridiculous it was that Crennel sent Dawson out to attempt the field goal in the first place … and then I had to delete them. Never got around to praising Dawson, even though the kick was easily the play of the day.

Anyway, just to get back on topic: in extreme cases, fantasy owners obviously have to react to nasty weather. "Light rain" isn't nasty, nor is "light snow." Don't overreact just because Cleveland scored eight points in a total blizzard.

Looking at the early forecasts for Week 16, it doesn't yet seem likely that we'll be faced with conditions anywhere that should result in mass benchings. But for reference throughout the week, here are links to forecasts for games that might experience less-than-ideal conditions:

Dallas at Carolina Saturday night: 50 percent chance of rain.

NY Giants at Buffalo (Sunday 1:00 pm ET): 60 percent chance of rain showers.

Green Bay at Chicago (Sunday 1:00 pm ET): looks like snow.

Cleveland at Cincinnati (Sunday 1:00 pm ET): 40 percent chance of rain and/or snow.

Oakland at Jacksonville (Sunday 1:00 pm ET): 20 percent chance of rain.

Miami at New England (Sunday 4:15 pm ET): 60 percent chance of rain.

Baltimore at Seattle (Sunday 4:15 pm ET): Rain likely. Whoa, there's a shock.

NY Jets at Tennessee (Sunday 4:15 pm ET): 20 percent chance of rain.

Nothing should really scare you there … yet. If you need any assistance interpreting the information in those links – other than the pictures of raindrops and snowflakes – you should really ask Brad. He's fully accredited.

Clearly, you can't and shouldn't do anything with those forecasts right at this moment. If you're going to make any lineup decisions based on weather conditions, you should make them at 12:55 pm ET, immediately before kickoff. Everyone knows this, but you're still going to fret about wind and snow all week anyway.

Andy Behrens has written for ESPN.com, the Chicago Sports Review, NBA.com, the Chicago Reader and various other publications. In all likelihood, Andy owns more Artis Gilmore memorabilia than you. Follow him on Twitter. Send Andy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

Updated on Wednesday, Dec 19, 2007 5:21 pm, EST

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