© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Adequate assessment of fatigue damage in steel catenary risers (SCRs) is essential, and usually evaluated with time consuming numerical analyses. Simplified design strategies would improve the efficiency of the screening tasks in the early design stages. As part of on-going research aiming to define a simplified fatigue design procedure for SCRs in the touchdown zone (TDZ), the sensitivity of fatigue damage to various parameters is explored using a large database (>40,000 cases). An approximation of the maximum stress range in the TDZ is established using several artificial neural networks and predicts well the fatigue life of selected example SCRs.