Fog Bowl: Over the weather

Yahoo! Sports

If it's possible to dominate a game in which you don't score for the first 59 minutes and 43 seconds, the Pittsburgh Steelers did it on Monday night.

The Steelers led Miami in time of possession by more than eight minutes, they gained more net yards, they committed fewer penalties, they earned more first downs, they injured two opposing running backs, their quarterback completed 18 of 21 pass attempts and they began four drives inside Dolphins' territory.

And they won 3-0.

The game was fantastic, at least visually. If every NFL game were played in either thick snow or driving rain, that would be just fine with me. If you're a fan who was raised on the severe asceticism of the NFC Central in the late-'70s, then a non-scoring game played in ankle-deep muck is totally satisfying.

But if you're a fantasy owner who really needed 12 points from Jeff Reed on Monday, that game stunk.

It was also a reminder that very soon, you'll care deeply about the expected snowfall and wind speed in places like Green Bay and Buffalo.

If you think fantasy experts sound like idiots when we offer medical opinions based entirely on WebMD diagrams and things Jay Glazer said, just wait until we start predicting the weather! It's not really our core competency.

As a general rule, it takes a significant meteorological event – something that would suspend air travel and cause people to stockpile food – for me to consider benching an elite player. Most of the bad lineup decisions I've made in the fantasy playoffs had something to do with overestimating the impact of weather, not failing to account for it.

Yet in a few weeks, owners will probably think of Monday's game – which was played on a resodded field that had been shredded by five weekend games – and wonder if they shouldn't bench Tom Brady because weather reports sound dicey.

Don't do it, not unless intolerable conditions exist minutes before kickoff. Yup, Monday was bad. Yup, weather was a factor, though certainly not the only factor. If you were relying on fantasy stats from Monday's game, you probably lost. Sorry. But don't overreact.

There's nothing quite like benching a star in Week 16 because a few inches of snow are expected, then watching your benched quarterback throw for two TDs and run for another score. If the fantasy gods intend to smite you, they'll find a way. They don't need the weather. They can just send a concussion. Or Bill Leavy.

In the weeks ahead, talent and match-ups will still play a much greater role in my player rankings than weather. I'm already over Monday night. And yes, I needed 12 points from Jeff Reed.

A few other Tuesday notes...

If you felt that any serious conclusions could be drawn from Ricky Williams' six-carry, one-fumble, 15-yard, pre-injury performance, good for you. I thought he looked pretty much like everyone else: wet and unsteady. His pectoral injury – which sure seemed like it was going to be a shoulder injury – looks like it may end his season. Too bad, because his return was an excellent story, and there aren't many of those in Miami right now.

As expected, Cedric Benson's season is over, too. He'll undergo surgery to repair a fracture near his ankle according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The procedure "will involve a plate being inserted," Brad Biggs reports. Yikes. This really sounds like it could be career-affecting, not simply a five-week injury. The Bears don't exactly have the best upcoming schedule for fantasy purposes – they face the Giants in Week 13, then travel to Washington and Minnesota, and then they host Green Bay – but Adrian Peterson's usefulness as a receiving option enhances his value.

There just aren't many starting running backs available via waivers or free agency in fantasy leagues, so Peterson belongs on a roster somewhere.

Suddenly, facing his former team on Monday night, Joey Porter was productive. Hmm. Check his 2007 game log. Not much goin' on there until Week 12.

"To me, no news is good news," Travis Henry told the Denver Post. No official decision regarding his potential suspension had been announced as of this writing. If it isn't announced by Wednesday, apparently you can expect him to face Oakland in Week 13. He told the Post that he won't need surgery on his knee and he "definitely" can play this Sunday.

Andre Hall suffered a high ankle sprain on his first carry against Chicago. He still managed to totally de-pants Adam Archuleta en route to 167 total yards, but his status for the Oakland game is unclear.

It's sounds like Selvin Young will be available, but this situation obviously has to be monitored throughout the week. If any Broncos' back can get 20 carries against the Raiders, they're likely to be a top-five fantasy RB.

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