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Fantasy Football 2012: NFL's Most Weather/Fantasy-Friendly Schedules

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Fantasy Football 2012: NFL's Most Weather/Fantasy-Friendly Schedules
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Falcons WR Julio Jones (54 catches, 959 yards, 8 TDs in 2011) accomplished more as a 13-game rookie than Jerry Rice (1985), Larry Fitzgerald (2004) and Calvin Johhson (2007).

The following 17 teams should have a minimum of 13 weather-friendly games this season based on the current NFL schedule and historical likelihood of snow, sleet, ice or strong winds wreaking havoc in certain markets from Weeks 12-17.

Obviously, it's impossible to predict which September-December games will be subjected to torrential rains, but it's also reasonable to conclude that cities like Buffalo, Chicago, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Philadelphia, among others, will be susceptible to poor playing conditions anytime after the Nov. 18 round of games.

From a numbers standpoint, this is simply one more tool to help predict fantasy goodness (especially with quarterbacks) and settle potential draft-day quandaries among running backs and receivers—all other factors being equal.

To clarify, no one is suggesting Dolphins QBs Matt Moore or Ryan Tannehill are better fantasy prospects than Tom Brady, based solely on more favorable weather conditions. That would be insane, pure fiction. But it is an inescapable truth to ponder when setting lineups or making free-agent moves in December (when the Miami QBs aren't matched up against Brady).



16 games

Atlanta

The Falcons have zero back-to-back home games, but at least Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones shouldn't encounter any weather-related roadblocks.


15 games

Houston

The only cold-weather hiccup is the prime-time road clash with the Patriots on Dec. 10. If memory serves, the temps for last November's Kansas City-New England game on Monday Night Football approached record lows.

 

Indianapolis

Quarterback Andrew Luck will have plenty of factors working against him as a rookie this season, minus the comforting gifts of Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen at tight end. But bitter-cold temperatures and stifling crosswinds likely won't be an issue for 15 Sundays.

 

Tennessee

This bodes well for RB Chris Johnson and whichever quarterback is running the Titans' show (Matt Hasselbeck/Jake Locker) in November and December. Fingers crossed on Kenny Britt staying healthy all season.

 

Jacksonville

As Blaine Gabbert's stats from a brutal 2011 may attest (2,214 yards passing, 12 TDs, 11 interceptions), the specter of ideal playing conditions does not automatically translate to shiny fantasy numbers.

 

Detroit

Matthew Stafford proved last year that December games in Green Bay (520 yards passing, five TDs) are not always a hindrance to beaucoup fantasy stats.

 

Tampa Bay 

It's scary to think how vastly improved the Bucs can be with 15 ideal-weather games—along with Vincent Jackson at receiver and high-profile rookie Doug Martin (a Ray Rice clone?) sharing the rushing duties with LeGarrette Blount.

 

New Orleans

Saints QB Drew Brees had 16 weather-friendly games last year and finished with 46 touchdowns and an NFL single-season record of 5,476 yards passing. Coincidence? I think not.

 

14 games

Oakland

It's more imperative for the Raiders to remain healthy all season (ahem, Darren McFadden) than who/when/where they play in November and December. But since we're keeping track, Oakland only has two potential hazard games on the docket—Week 12 at Cincinnati and Week 16 at Carolina.

 

San Diego 

So, the Chargers volunteered to fly cross-country during Christmas week for a second straight year, huh? The weather slate looks manageable for Philip Rivers and Co., minus two December roadies against the Steelers and Jets.

 

Minnesota

Christian Ponder, Toby Gerhart, Jerome Simpson and Percy Harvin must rise up to help Adrian Peterson (recovering from ACL surgery) in his time of need.

 

Carolina

Fantasy gurus, take note. Cam Newton and WR Steve Smith should have ideal playing conditions for Weeks 14-17 (vs. Atlanta, at San Diego, vs. Oakland, at New Orleans). Jackpot!

 

Dallas

The Cowboys' passing game should function well with this closing schedule, although late-season roadies to Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. may lead to some windy adventures.

 

Arizona

Let's remember our golden rule in all Points Per Reception leagues: NEVER bench Larry Fitzgerald! Even when the Cardinals visit the Jets (Week 13) and Seahawks (Week 14) in December.

 

St. Louis

It'll be interesting to see if the Rams are a pass-first or run-oriented attack come December. The good weather should promote more passing opportunities for QB Sam Bradford.

 

San Francisco

The 49ers' weather slate is idyllic—until their back-to-back roadies with New England and Seattle in late December. Ouch.

 

13 games

Chicago

Just like with the Raiders, weather worries run secondary to durability issues surrounding Bears QB Jay Cutler and his old Denver pal, wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.

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