Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule Swings

Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule Swings

Strength of Schedule

Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule Swings

Schedule Swings are the difference in strength of schedule that a team has from last year to this season. It considers what defenses allowed in 2015 and then applies it both to last year (to see how truly easy or tough a schedule was) and this year. And then it compares the two to show how much tougher a schedule is or isn’t. Bottom line – if a schedule is roughly the same strength as last year and no other dynamics are at play, then a player should end up about the same. If a player had a big 2015 but his schedule was far easier than this year, then he’s most likely due for a downgrade. And if a player excelled against a bad schedule in 2015 and now has a great one, man – grab that guy.

Without making this all excessively complicated, you can view here what each defense/venue allowed per game in 2015 and how each one was a relative advantage or disadvantage.

Applying those values against the 2015 schedule for each team yielded this total point advantage by teams last year. This was what they actually faced regardless if they took advantage.

Actual Schedule Advantage of 2015

QB’s RB’s RB + Rec. Pts WR & TE WR & TE + Rec Pts
CAR 33.8 NYG 37.7 TB 36.5 ATL 20.1 ATL 32.2
ATL 30.3 NYJ 36.4 NYG 34.2 CAR 20.0 CAR 26.5
DAL 14.5 TB 35.2 WAS 32.5 NYJ 14.3 NYJ 25.9
NYG 13.7 WAS 31.5 NYJ 26.8 NYG 8.7 NE 17.8
NYJ 12.3 CAR 28.1 CAR 25.2 DAL 7.0 DAL 15.3
HOU 11.8 NE 24.3 NO 20.1 JAC 5.8 NYG 10.8
TEN 11.6 SEA 22.6 ATL 17.8 NE 5.5 TEN 10.5
WAS 10.9 NO 22.2 SEA 17.6 TEN 5.5 HOU 9.2
IND 8.7 ATL 20.9 DAL 15.3 HOU 2.6 DEN 5.9
JAC 7.6 DAL 20.9 PHI 14.8 DEN -2.3 JAC 5.4
NE 6.4 DET 19.2 NE 14.5 IND -4.1 IND 0.8
TB 4.3 PHI 17.5 DET 13.9 MIA -4.2 PIT 0.7
PHI 4.0 TEN 15.9 TEN 11.7 WAS -6.6 WAS -0.2
BUF 3.5 HOU 13.8 HOU 6.7 PHI -6.7 CLE -0.2
DET 2.6 CHI 13.6 CHI 6.0 BUF -7.2 SD -2.6
MIA 1.6 KC 10.8 PIT 3.5 PIT -9.8 PHI -2.9
DEN -2.5 MIN 8.9 IND 2.1 ARI -11.2 MIA -5.3
ARI -5.5 IND 8.3 BUF 1.5 CIN -11.4 BUF -6.9
NO -6.5 BAL 7.9 KC 0.2 OAK -12.0 CIN -8.1
SF -7.0 PIT 7.8 BAL -0.6 SD -12.8 ARI -8.8
SD -7.5 BUF 7.1 MIN -0.9 CLE -15.1 OAK -10.0
PIT -7.5 JAC 6.3 ARI -2.2 DET -15.2 DET -10.1
OAK -8.5 ARI 5.0 SD -2.9 SF -20.1 CHI -13.7
SEA -9.0 MIA 4.4 JAC -5.5 LA -20.5 SF -16.9
CHI -10.4 SD 4.1 MIA -5.6 CHI -20.7 SEA -19.5
CIN -10.5 LA 0.8 GB -7.1 TB -23.0 LA -20.8
CLE -12.0 GB 0.1 CLE -7.4 SEA -24.4 KC -21.2
LA -12.6 CLE -5.0 LA -7.7 KC -25.6 BAL -23.6
BAL -15.2 CIN -6.3 CIN -19.7 BAL -27.1 TB -25.1
KC -16.5 DEN -6.4 DEN -20.7 NO -29.0 NO -29.5
MIN -19.5 SF -13.2 SF -20.8 MIN -47.8 MIN -53.7
GB -24.4 OAK -16.1 OAK -35.1 GB -50.5 GB -58.5

2015 – The Actual Advantages and Disadvantages

Remember – the numbers above show what the cumulative advantage that an offense had given how the defenses they fared against other teams as well. It is only half the equation in that a really bad offense can flop even against an easy schedule and a top offense may very well continue to excel despite a tough schedule.

Quarterbacks – Makes you wonder when Cam Newton seemed destined to a worse year without Kelvin Benjamin and instead was the #1 quarterback. Having the easiest schedule at least contributed. Matt Ryan did not do much with his advantage but then again Julio Jones had a monster year and there was no one else to catch the ball. Aaron Rodgers who struggled to maintain his normally elite play.

Running Backs – Doug Martin was the #1 running back and he had one of the easiest schedules. RBBC prevented any Giants back to matter much. Chris Ivory had a career year that turned into a starting job in Jacksonville for 2016. Devonta Freeman also enjoyed taking over last year and never looking back once Tevin Coleman was injured. The Redskins had one of the better schedules out there but still had a below average rushing offense.

Receivers – Julio Jones certainly cashed in on a lighter schedule for 2015 as did seemingly every Panther wideout despite a minimum of confidence to start the year. . And the Jets and Cardinals received monster seasons from their main wideouts. The Packers were saddled with the worst schedule and without Jordy Nelson so the result was predictable.

Forecasted Schedule Advantage for 2016

QB’s RB’s RB + Rec. Pts WR’s WR + Rec Pts
DET 17.8 CHI 30.7 TB 27.2 CIN 19.4 BAL 39.7
DAL 16.6 DET 28.6 ARI 22.2 BAL 18.7 CIN 34.3
BAL 16.2 NYG 23.0 SEA 22.1 DAL 12.8 DAL 30.6
CIN 10.1 SEA 22.9 DET 19.8 DET 2.1 CHI 11.3
DEN 9.1 TB 21.8 CHI 19.8 CHI 2.1 PIT 9.7
WAS 8.9 WAS 21.7 BUF 18.1 PIT 1.9 DET 8.4
NYG 8.8 BUF 21.2 NYG 16.1 CLE -0.7 CLE 7.5
CHI 8.6 ARI 20.7 ATL 14.2 PHI -1.5 WAS 5.2
MIN 7.7 ATL 18.8 WAS 13.2 WAS -2.4 NYG 3.0
OAK 5.1 TEN 16.6 CAR 12.7 OAK -2.6 BUF 1.0
PHI 3.1 CAR 16.5 NO 11.6 DEN -3.3 PHI 0.9
GB 3.1 DAL 14.5 SD 7.8 NYG -4.3 MIA 0.7
ATL 1.7 PHI 13.8 DEN 6.4 MIA -4.9 DEN -0.1
CLE 0.5 SD 11.9 PHI 6.0 BUF -5.7 OAK -2.4
TEN -0.1 DEN 11.7 BAL 6.0 ATL -6.4 JAC -2.8
HOU -1.4 KC 10.0 TEN 5.7 JAC -6.7 ATL -3.8
PIT -1.7 BAL 9.6 LA 5.4 TEN -9.5 SD -6.3
JAC -2.6 LA 9.5 DAL 5.4 MIN -12.3 TEN -6.5
SEA -3.3 PIT 9.4 KC 4.1 NYJ -12.6 NYJ -8.9
SD -3.5 NO 8.0 SF 4.0 SD -13.0 HOU -9.5
BUF -4.4 GB 8.0 GB -1.0 HOU -13.6 KC -12.4
CAR -4.9 HOU 7.7 CIN -1.6 CAR -13.7 MIN -14.5
ARI -5.4 CIN 7.5 MIN -3.5 SEA -17.8 SEA -14.7
IND -6.4 MIN 7.4 PIT -3.9 GB -18.1 ARI -15.2
KC -6.9 OAK 6.0 HOU -4.2 ARI -18.7 CAR -17.1
MIA -7.5 IND 5.3 OAK -4.6 KC -18.9 NE -21.0
NYJ -7.6 CLE 5.0 IND -5.3 LA -19.8 LA -23.1
TB -8.6 SF 4.9 MIA -7.0 IND -23.3 GB -23.2
LA -8.6 MIA 0.7 CLE -7.4 NE -23.5 IND -24.8
SF -11.6 NYJ -1.6 NYJ -9.9 SF -37.0 NO -34.1
NO -14.6 JAC -3.2 NE -15.1 NO -40.8 SF -40.7
NE -15.5 NE -4.5 JAC -19.6 TB -44.0 TB -47.8

2016 – The Projected Advantages and Disadvantages

Apparently this is the year of the Buccaneers. This has never happened in the decade this analysis has been done. They not only get to face the weak NFC South twice, but they also face the AFC South and NFC East.

Quarterbacks -Joe Flacco should see a bounce back season with healthy players and the best schedule. Matt Stafford loses Calvin Johnson but gains a light slate of games. Tony Romo returns from injury with a chance to redeem his disaster last year. Tom Brady and Drew Brees have unusually bad schedule but both have historically been better than opposing defenses.

Running Backs – Maybe not fair but once again, Doug Martin gets one of the best schedules. Ameer Abdullah is a second-year player that already looks more promising and his slate of games will help even more. The Bears plan on a committee approach so Jeremy Langford (or Jordan Howard) may not take full advantage. No matter the scoring, LeGarrette Blount, Frank Gore and Chris Ivory are going to be more challenged this year.

Receivers – The Ravens should be in better shape with a great schedule that will benefit Mike Wallace and Kamar Aiken. Dez Bryant gets a boost in his return from an injurious 2015 while A.J. Green and either Tyler Boyd or Brandon LaFell also get an advantage. But Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson will be at a big disadvantage particularly for the first half of the year. The Saints and Colts both have pass-happy offenses and elite quarterbacks but they’ll have to battle a tougher schedule than usual.

Schedule Swings

What we want to do is take what we already know about a player and apply how his schedule strength is changing from the previous season. The bottom line to evaluating a player is less about the strength of his schedule and more about how much harder or easier his schedule will be this year. That is more reflective of how his performance may change. You know what he did in 2015 – how does that schedule compare to 2016?

Consider the top four positive swings per position from last year:

QB – Ryan Fitzpatrick, David Carr, Tom Brady, Jameis Winston
RB – Chris Ivory, Latavius Murray, C.J. Anderson, Doug Martin
WR –
Mike Evans, Julian Edelman, Larry Fitzgerald, Jarvis Landry

Only C.J. Anderson failed to have a better season than 2014. Evans had more yards but fewer touchdowns playing with a rookie QB. Edelman was injured. But other than the enigmatic Anderson, the rest all stayed healthy and had better years including career best for some. Fitzpatrick, Martin and Fitzgerald were big surprises last year.

And the worst four negative swings from last year:

QB – Ryan Mallett/Brian Hoyer, Teddy Bridgewater, Aaron Rodgers, Johnny Manziel/Josh McCown
RB –
Jeremy Hill, Isaiah Crowell, Justin Forsett, Le’veon Bell
WR –
Mike Wallace, Randall Cobb, A.J. Green, Steve Smith

A.J. Green still turned in a very good year despite his challenges. The rest were either injured or disappointed (or both).

Bottom line – what kind of team could you have built last year choosing entirely from one group or the other? Schedules matter.

Quarterbacks

Fantasy Points
Team Swing 2016 2015 Team Swing 2016 2015
BAL 31.4 16.2 -15.2 PHI -1.0 3.1 4.0
GB 27.4 3.1 -24.4 WAS -2.0 8.9 10.9
MIN 27.2 7.7 -19.5 SF -4.6 -11.6 -7.0
CIN 20.6 10.1 -10.5 NYG -4.9 8.8 13.7
CHI 19.0 8.6 -10.4 BUF -8.0 -4.4 3.5
DET 15.1 17.8 2.6 NO -8.1 -14.6 -6.5
OAK 13.6 5.1 -8.5 MIA -9.1 -7.5 1.6
CLE 12.5 0.5 -12.0 JAC -10.2 -2.6 7.6
DEN 11.6 9.1 -2.5 TEN -11.6 -0.1 11.6
KC 9.6 -6.9 -16.5 TB -12.9 -8.6 4.3
PIT 5.8 -1.7 -7.5 HOU -13.3 -1.4 11.8
SEA 5.8 -3.3 -9.0 IND -15.1 -6.4 8.7
SD 4.0 -3.5 -7.5 NYJ -19.9 -7.6 12.3
LA 4.0 -8.6 -12.6 NE -21.9 -15.5 6.4
DAL 2.1 16.6 14.5 ATL -28.6 1.7 30.3
ARI 0.1 -5.4 -5.5 CAR -38.7 -4.9 33.8

Biggest Positive Swings

Joe Flacco
Aaron Rodgers
Teddy Bridgewater
Andy Dalton

Flacco has a great schedule and better than last year as well. Aaron Rodgers should make amends for a bad 2015 with Jordy Nelson back and a far better schedule. Andy Dalton should see more success despite changing offensive coordinators and Bridgewater has more tools this year and might not end up as one of the weakest passing offenses. Then again. with Adrian Peterson – why would he throw?

Biggest Negative Swings

Cam Newton
Matt Ryan
Tom Brady

Interesting that Newton had the best schedule in 2015 and now has the most dramatic drop. But it is only down to an average strength schedule and he has Kelvin Benjamin back. All of the worst swings belong to above average quarterbacks so the schedule will have an even bigger impact that usual.

Running Backs

No Reception Points With Reception Points
Team Swing 2016 2015 Team Swing 2016 2015
OAK 22.1 6.0 -16.1 OAK 30.5 -4.6 -35.1
SF 18.1 4.9 -13.2 DEN 27.2 6.4 -20.7
DEN 18.0 11.7 -6.4 SF 24.8 4.0 -20.8
CHI 17.1 30.7 13.6 ARI 24.4 22.2 -2.2
ARI 15.8 20.7 5.0 CIN 18.1 -1.6 -19.7
BUF 14.0 21.2 7.1 BUF 16.5 18.1 1.5
CIN 13.9 7.5 -6.3 CHI 13.7 19.8 6.0
CLE 10.0 5.0 -5.0 LA 13.1 5.4 -7.7
DET 9.4 28.6 19.2 SD 10.8 7.8 -2.9
LA 8.7 9.5 0.8 BAL 6.6 6.0 -0.6
SD 7.9 11.9 4.1 GB 6.1 -1.0 -7.1
GB 7.8 8.0 0.1 DET 5.9 19.8 13.9
BAL 1.7 9.6 7.9 SEA 4.4 22.1 17.6
PIT 1.7 9.4 7.8 KC 3.9 4.1 0.2
TEN 0.7 16.6 15.9 CLE 0.0 -7.4 -7.4
SEA 0.3 22.9 22.6 MIA -1.4 -7.0 -5.6
KC -0.8 10.0 10.8 MIN -2.5 -3.5 -0.9
MIN -1.5 7.4 8.9 ATL -3.6 14.2 17.8
ATL -2.1 18.8 20.9 TEN -6.0 5.7 11.7
IND -3.0 5.3 8.3 PIT -7.5 -3.9 3.5
PHI -3.7 13.8 17.5 IND -7.5 -5.3 2.1
MIA -3.7 0.7 4.4 NO -8.5 11.6 20.1
HOU -6.1 7.7 13.8 PHI -8.8 6.0 14.8
DAL -6.4 14.5 20.9 TB -9.3 27.2 36.5
JAC -9.6 -3.2 6.3 DAL -9.9 5.4 15.3
WAS -9.8 21.7 31.5 HOU -10.8 -4.2 6.7
CAR -11.5 16.5 28.1 CAR -12.5 12.7 25.2
TB -13.4 21.8 35.2 JAC -14.1 -19.6 -5.5
NO -14.1 8.0 22.2 NYG -18.1 16.1 34.2
NYG -14.7 23.0 37.7 WAS -19.3 13.2 32.5
NE -28.8 -4.5 24.3 NE -29.6 -15.1 14.5
NYJ -37.9 -1.6 36.4 NYJ -36.7 -9.9 26.8

Biggest Positive Swings

Latavius Murray
Carlos Hyde

Jeremy Langford
C.J. Anderson

Jeremy Langford is the only new starter in the group and the Bears already plan on a committee approach. But the rest should all improve on their previous seasons.. C.J. Anderson still needs to show up early in the year and the schedule should help. Carlos Hyde picked a good year to switch to Chip Kelly long as he can remain healthy.

Biggest Negative Swings

Matt Forte
Matt Jones
Rashad Jennings
Jonathan Stewart

Forte heads to the Jets for his swan song and is not getting any benefits from the schedule. Jones already had a rocky rookie year with a 3.4 YPC and just three touchdowns and this year he may get the reins but it will be against a worse schedule. Jennings may have a bad swing, but he still has a very good rushing schedule down from great in 2015. Stewart like Cam Newton will find the going much tougher this season.

Wide Receivers

No Reception Points With Reception Points
Team Swing 2016 2015 Team Swing 2016 2015
BAL 45.8 18.7 -27.1 BAL 63.3 39.7 -23.6
MIN 35.5 -12.3 -47.8 CIN 42.4 34.3 -8.1
GB 32.4 -18.1 -50.5 MIN 39.1 -14.5 -53.7
CIN 30.8 19.4 -11.4 GB 35.2 -23.2 -58.5
CHI 22.8 2.1 -20.7 CHI 25.0 11.3 -13.7
DET 17.3 2.1 -15.2 DET 18.5 8.4 -10.1
CLE 14.4 -0.7 -15.1 DAL 15.3 30.6 15.3
PIT 11.7 1.9 -9.8 PIT 9.0 9.7 0.7
OAK 9.4 -2.6 -12.0 KC 8.8 -12.4 -21.2
KC 6.8 -18.9 -25.6 BUF 7.9 1.0 -6.9
SEA 6.6 -17.8 -24.4 CLE 7.8 7.5 -0.2
DAL 5.8 12.8 7.0 OAK 7.6 -2.4 -10.0
PHI 5.2 -1.5 -6.7 MIA 6.0 0.7 -5.3
WAS 4.2 -2.4 -6.6 WAS 5.3 5.2 -0.2
BUF 1.6 -5.7 -7.2 SEA 4.8 -14.7 -19.5
LA 0.7 -19.8 -20.5 PHI 3.8 0.9 -2.9
SD -0.2 -13.0 -12.8 LA -2.3 -23.1 -20.8
MIA -0.7 -4.9 -4.2 SD -3.6 -6.3 -2.6
DEN -1.0 -3.3 -2.3 NO -4.6 -34.1 -29.5
ARI -7.5 -18.7 -11.2 DEN -5.9 -0.1 5.9
NO -11.8 -40.8 -29.0 ARI -6.4 -15.2 -8.8
JAC -12.5 -6.7 5.8 NYG -7.8 3.0 10.8
NYG -13.0 -4.3 8.7 JAC -8.2 -2.8 5.4
TEN -15.0 -9.5 5.5 TEN -17.0 -6.5 10.5
HOU -16.1 -13.6 2.6 HOU -18.8 -9.5 9.2
SF -16.9 -37.0 -20.1 TB -22.6 -47.8 -25.1
IND -19.3 -23.3 -4.1 SF -23.8 -40.7 -16.9
TB -21.0 -44.0 -23.0 IND -25.6 -24.8 0.8
ATL -26.6 -6.4 20.1 NYJ -34.7 -8.9 25.9
NYJ -26.9 -12.6 14.3 ATL -36.0 -3.8 32.2
NE -29.0 -23.5 5.5 NE -38.8 -21.0 17.8
CAR -33.8 -13.7 20.0 CAR -43.6 -17.1 26.5

Biggest Positive Swings

Alshon Jeffery/Kevin White
A.J. Green/Tyler Boyd
Stefon Diggs/Laquon Treadwell
Kamar Aiken/Mike Wallace

This mostly mirrors the teams with top schedules but it is interesting that the NFC North all get a far easier schedule this year. The Ravens look to make amends for a disaster in 2015 thanks to injury and a far tougher schedule.
Biggest Negative Swings

Vincent Jackson/Mike Evans
Julian Edelman

Julio Jones/Mohamed Sanu
Brandon Marshall/Eric Decker
Only the Patriots are going from a really good schedule to a very negative one along with the Panthers who catch no scheduling breaks in 2016.

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