Wind is the weather element of choice in Week 6, with wintry conditions creeping into forecasts around the country. Three separate areas of the United States will see rain this weekend, as wet conditions will be found in the Northwest, Northeast, and southern half of Florida. Unfortunately, there are NFL games scheduled for each of these areas this week, presenting the first week with significant weather impact of the season. Before we dig into the Sunday weather forecast for each game, remember that wind impact is generally only noteworthy when sustained gusts will reach levels of over 20 mph. At that point, kicking and passing games may be downgraded with wind swirling throughout the stadium. Precipitation is much harder to gauge from a fantasy impact standpoint, as NFL quarterbacks can generally handle rain showers, with the exception of extremely hard downpours. With varying levels of rain intensity difficult to forecast, the primary element we will focus on this week is wind.
Grab a jacket and hold onto your hat as we spin through the windy world of Week 6 weather forecasts.
The following three games are expected to see high winds on Sunday, potentially impacting kicking and passing games of both teams.
San Francisco at Buffalo (1:00 PM ET): Colin Kaepernick will make his first start of the 2016 season in rough conditions, as rain and high winds are expected in Buffalo on Sunday. Chances of rain in Buffalo are currently sitting at 70 percent and will increase to 80 percent as the afternoon hours arrive. Winds will gust between 15-25 mph in this game as well, potentially creating issues for the kickers and quarterbacks in this matchup. Downgrade kickers Dan Carpenter and Phil Dawson in this game and hit the waiver wire to find a safer replacement. Neither quarterback or his targets are prime fantasy starters to begin with, but both the Buffalo and San Francisco passing games can be slightly downgraded as well.
Kansas City at Oakland (4:05 PM ET): Rain will be present in Oakland on Sunday when the Raiders host division rival Kansas City. The Sunday forecast calls for a 60 percent chance of rain during this game, but wind will be primary cause for concern as the Raiders and Chiefs do battle. Winds will be anywhere from 20 to 30 mph, with occasional gusts topping 40 mph on Sunday. Both Sebastian Janikowski and Cairo Santos should be swapped out for safer kicker options this week, while the Chiefs and Raiders passing games should be downgraded as well. Alex Smith does not rely heavily on downfield passing, so he should be less impacted than Derek Carr, but when making lineup decisions this week, keep in mind that both of these teams could rely on their ground game more than usual.
Atlanta at Seattle (4:25 PM ET): Sunday morning thunderstorms are expected to morph into rain showers in the afternoon as kickoff between the Seahawks and Falcons arrives at CenturyLink Field. Rain should be constant during this game, with winds touching varying levels as the contest progresses, with gusts forecasted between 10 to 20 mph. Despite the fact that winds will not be constantly over 20 mph, the safe play is to eliminate the risk that comes with kicking in windy environments and move on from both Steven Hauschka and Matt Bryant for the week, as safer options can easily be found on local waiver wires. The 20+ mph gusts of wind may become a bit dangerous, but with the sustained winds expected to remain at lower speeds, the passing games in this matchup are likely safe.
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The two games below have thunderstorms in the Sunday forecast, bringing moderate winds and potentially heavy rain.
Jacksonville at Chicago (1:00 PM ET): The Chicago area is expected to see thunderstorms in the morning hours, with storms gradually breaking up by the time nightfall arrives. The game between the Bears and visiting Jacksonville Jaguars will occur in between, so this contest could see a wide range of weather. With chances of precipitation at 60% and thunderstorms labeled “scattered,” the rain impact from the storms likely will not be bad enough to negatively impact the Bears and Jaguars when passing the football. Temperatures at 72 degrees and winds of just 10 mph will not be problems, so start all fantasy options in this game as normal, but keep in mind the conditions could be damp.
Pittsburgh at Miami (1:00 PM ET): Conditions in Miami are expected to be very similar to those found in Chicago on Sunday, with scattered thunderstorms in the forecast. As normal with thunderstorms, temperatures will remain warm at 82 degrees and luckily winds will stay around 15 mph during this game. Rain is the main issue in the Miami forecast, but is likely to come in waves as the storms move through the Miami area. Don’t make any drastic fantasy adjustments to players in this game between the Dolphins and Steelers.
The remaining five outdoor games on the Week 6 slate will enjoy pleasant fall weather on Sunday with no concerns regarding the elements.
Philadelphia at Washington (1:00 PM ET): Sunday will be pleasant at FedEx Field when Washington hosts Philadelphia, with partly cloudy skies and 72 degree temperatures expected at kickoff. Wind will not be a factor in this game, so start all relevant fantasy options as usual.
Cleveland at Tennessee (1:00 PM ET): The Cleveland Browns will be welcomed with mostly sunny skies and warm 84 degree temperatures when they visit Tennessee to take on the Titans. Winds of 11 mph will not be cause for alarm in this contest.
Baltimore at NY Giants (1:00 PM ET): Joe Flacco and Eli Manning will do battle in pleasant fall conditions on Sunday, as mostly sunny skies and 71 degree temperatures are in the forecast. No significant wind interference is expected at MetLife Stadium this week, so roll out all Ravens and Giants fantasy players as normal.
Cincinnati at New England (1:00 PM ET): Temperatures will top out at 69 degrees on Sunday when the Patriots host the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, with mostly sunny skies in the forecast. Winds of 11 mph will not impact the kicking or passing games in this matchup, so fire up all startable fantasy players this game without worry.
Dallas at Green Bay (4:25 PM ET): Thunderstorms are expected in the Green Bay area on Sunday night, but the skies above Lambeau Field should be mostly sunny during this game between the Packers and Cowboys. Moderate winds and 69 degree temperatures will be comfortable during this contest, creating normal conditions as long as the thunderstorms hold off until later Sunday night,
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Home Teams Are Dome Teams
Four Week 6 games will be hosted indoors, including the anticipated shootout between Carolina and New Orleans in Cam Newton’s return to the field.
Carolina at New Orleans (1:00 PM ET)
Los Angeles at Detroit (1:00 PM ET)
Indianapolis at Houston (8:30 PM ET)
NY Jets at Arizona (8:30 PM ET, Mon)