Fantasy Football can be a fun experience or a torturous headache. Fans usually use the generalized statistics to choose their player and kickers are no different. However, there is more to kicking than just choosing someone that is accurate. To avoid going into a new article regarding kicking and fantasy, it is equally important that the player you choose does not only have a preferred team matchup, but also a preferred weather and temperature. I have played fantasy football for some time. While I will usually go with a tried and true kicker, I have always checked whether at the stadium and used that for consideration as well. Generally, it has given me a few extra points.
Temperature and the football
If you remember from your school days, the temperature can change the PSI within a fixed space (such as a football). Put simply, the hotter the temperature, the atoms in the space become more excited and the gas expands. The colder it becomes, the atoms start to slow down and bind together (the very early stages of condensation). So why does this matter? Imagine you are in a pool swimming. The water is a sea of oxygen atoms. When the temperature is cold, they want to condense, making the space between them limited. It makes the solution become more hard, hence why we see the ball deflate. The warmer it becomes, it is as if you are leaving the pool to run around on the lawn. You are freer to move as there is more space for you to move within. This extra space causes the ball to inflate more as the ball must adapt to the increased energy within the atoms.
So which would you choose?
Let us assume that the kickers you are choosing from are Steven Hauschka and Dan Bailey. Both players are facing evenly matched teams and it is expected to be a field goal kind of day. Hauschka is playing in warm Tennessee whereas Bailey is playing in cold Baltimore. Statistics would sway you to prefer Bailey over Hauschka, even though both are two slots away from each other. In this situation, you would want to select Hauschka.
The temperature does not just affect the ball, but the ambient air surrounding the field and the uprights. When the temperature is colder, the atoms within the air on the field are being pressed down a little more causing more friction. That cold ball is already slightly deflated and less aerodynamically sound. Combine that with the temperature decrease, and the ball will lose yardage. Hauschka, on the other hand, will have the advantage as the air is less dense. The ball does not have to splice through as much matter, causing the ball to keep its initial acceleration longer. The average yards gained can increase by five to ten yards depending on the kicker.
Why is the stadium kicker not included?
Because they are in a controlled environment where the temperature will not deviate substantially from the start of the game until the clock strikes 00:00. The only exception to this that I have seen was when the San Antonio Spurs were in the Finals and the A/C unit for the building failed.
NFL kickers usually have the green light to kick from 35-yards out regardless of the situation. However, if you believe that it may become necessary that your kicker has to connect from 40 or more, consider who is playing and where the game is at.