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In the NFL there are 8 teams that have either an indoor stadium or a stadium with a retractable roof. Those teams are as follows;

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Houston Texans
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Detroit Lions
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Arizona Cardinals

Football as a whole has traditionally been played outdoors in the elements but there may be a shift in that mentality on the horizon. With the rise in popularity of fantasy sports, and the league moving in the direction of more high scoring offenses, indoor stadiums seem like they would be preferred. Ask most NFL players and they’ll tell you it’s certainly easier to play indoors. There’s no wind to throw or kick into, and no sudden gusts to alter the flight path of the football. No snow or rain to worry about, and a controlled temperature environment? That certainly sounds like my preference as an offensive player.

This brings up a very important question, do offensive players actually perform better indoors? Certainly, the defense is indoors as well, so there shouldn’t be any real advantage for either side of the ball, right?

Let’s take a look!

Last season the top 40 receivers averaged about 5% more total yards and catches when playing indoors. Touchdowns are much harder to predict, and can be attributed to a variety of factors, however more yards and catches certainly afford more opportunity to score. Julio Jones, for example, averaged 96.2 yards in 10 indoor games in 2017, while he only averaged 80.33 in his six outdoor games. This is a significant difference! However, when your home field advantage overlaps with playing indoors, it’s hard to say which is the bigger factor.

Below you’ll find a list of wide receivers with projections for the 2018 season. These receivers have been ranked by how many indoor games they will play in the 2018 season. The first grouping will play a majority of their games indoors and thus benefit the most from the 5% increase in their statistics.

Wide Receiver 1st Tier Indoor

ReceiverGames IndoorGames OutdoorProjected ReceptionsProjected YardsProjected TouchdownsReceptions IndoorYards IndoorTouchdowns IndoorTotal Fantasy Projection
Michael Thomas11510012508729026273
Golden Tate115909805657073218
Marvin Jones115609006436644186
Allen Hurns115547004395053144
Michael Gallup115405005273613120
Larry Fitzgerald1069210505646893227
Deandre Hopkins97104150012628867326
Julio Jones979014507548574277
TY Hilton977512257447234239
Stefon Diggs9158011006476503220
Adam Thielen9157010005415903200
Will Fuller97557005334143155
Calvin Ridley97506003293552128

The second grouping plays less than half of their games indoors but still a relevant enough amount to see a small increase in their stats.

Wide Receiver 2nd Tier Indoor

ReceiverGames IndoorGames OutdoorProjected ReceptionsProjected YardsProjected TouchdownsReceptions IndoorYards IndoorTouchdowns IndoorTotal Fantasy Projection
Davanta Adams51185112510283703253
Odell Backhem JR4129012258243212260
Sterling Shepard412607304161921157
Mike Evans3138512508172462258
Allen Robinson3137210506142071213
Brandin Cooks313609006121771187
Cooper Kupp313688005141581178
Devin Funchess313608206121621178
Robert Woods313658255131631177
Jamison Crowder313708254141631176
Corey Davis313648005131581174
Devanta Parker313657804151531167
Kenny Stills313558005131581165
Marqise Lee313587754121521159

Finally, the third group plays only one or two games indoors, however, they are still receivers that will be drafted in every single fantasy league.

Wide Receiver 3rd Tier Indoor

ReceiverGames IndoorGames OutdoorProjected ReceptionsProjected YardsProjected TouchdownsReceptions IndoorYards IndoorTouchdowns IndoorTotal Fantasy Projection
AJ Green2148612007121581248
Doug Baldwin2148010008111311228
Alshon Jeffery214659008131772203
Jarvis Landry214848505121111199
Josh Gordon21465950681251196
Pierre Garcon214729004101191186
Antonio Brown115981400106901298
Keenan Allen11595130076860267
Demaryius Thomas11585105065690220
Amari Cooper11578100065660214
Tyreek Hill1157596065630207
Marquise Goodwin1156085054601175

The first set of projections are for the entire 2018 season, and the second set are specifically for games played indoors. The formula for determining the games played indoors stats is quite simple should you wish to do some research on a player not listed here.

Games played indoors/16 X Total projection number + 5%

So for example, Michael Thomas was calculated as follows;

11 / 16 = 0.6875

.6875 X 100 = 68.75

68.75 X 0.05 = 3.44

68.75 + 3.44 = 72.19

[visualizer id=”13342″]

In this case, his projection has been rounded to 72 catches, as there is no such thing as half a catch or half a touchdown.

Below is my complete rankings with the indoor factor taken into account.

WR Fantasy Totals

 ReceiverGames IndoorGames OutdoorProjected ReceptionsProjected YardsProjected TouchdownsReceptions IndoorYards IndoorTouchdowns IndoorTotal Fantasy Projection
1.Deandre Hopkins97104150012628867326
Antonio Brown115981400106901298
3.Julio Jones979014507548574277
4.Michael Thomas11510012508729026273
5.Keenan Allen11595130076860267
6.Odell Backhem JR4129012258243212260
7.Mike Evans3138512508172462258
8.Davanta Adams51185112510283703253
9.AJ Green2148612007121581248
10.TY Hilton977512257447234239
11.Doug Baldwin2148010008111311228
12.Larry Fitzgerald1069210505646893227
13.Stefon Diggs9158011006476503220
14.Demaryius Thomas11585105065690220
15.Golden Tate115909805657073218
16.Amari Cooper11578100065660214
17.Allen Robinson3137210506142071213
18.Tyreek Hill1157596065630207
19.Alshon Jeffery214659008131772203
20.Adam Thielen9157010005415903200
21.Jarvis Landry214848505121111199
22.Josh Gordon21465950681251196
23.Brandin Cooks313609006121771187
24.Marvin Jones115609006436644186
25.Pierre Garcon214729004101191186
26.Cooper Kupp313688005141581178
27.Devin Funchess313608206121621178
28.Robert Woods313658255131631177
29.Jamison Crowder313708254141631176
30.Marquise Goodwin1156085054601175
31.Corey Davis313648005131581174
32.Devanta Parker313657804151531167
33.Kenny Stills313558005131581165
34.Marqise Lee313587754121521159
35.Sterling Shepard412607304161921157
36.Will Fuller97557005334143155
37.Allen Hurns115547004395053144
38.Calvin Ridley97506003293552128
39.Michael Gallup115405005273613120

As you can see, 3 of the top 4 receivers play the majority of their games indoors, with DeAndre Hopkins coming out as the number 1 fantasy wide receiver in 2018.

[visualizer id=”13340″]

Drafting players with heavy indoor schedules could, in fact, help you down the line when the weather becomes a factor later in the season, which just happens to be right when your fantasy playoffs start.

Whether or not these numbers will change the way you draft your receivers is ultimately up to you to decide. However, if you get stuck between two players and can’t decide who to draft, consider the 5% edge if one of those guys plays more games indoors.

Josh Uron

Author Josh Uron

Writer for SportsAlDente.com Fantasy Football Enthusiast Dynasty League Specialist

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