The Strength of Schedule takes the results from all defensive performances last season and then applies the stats allowed against quarterbacks, running backs and receivers to determine who will have the easier schedule. This is determined by taking the best and worst venues for offenses to face and comparing those statistics allowed against the current NFL schedule for each team. Unlike strength of schedules used during the regular season which only considers the 32 defenses, this look back at last year considers the 64 venues that can happen – facing each defense either home or away.
To remove the effects of the really bad or good odd game, defensive performances last year have their best and worst game removed before determining their average fantasy points allowed for each position.
Three different views are given below – Weeks 1 to 6 show what players will face as they start the season. Weeks 1 through 16 are shown for a full season view and weeks 14 to 16 show the most common weeks for fantasy playoffs. Below that is the NFL schedule marked for each team to show when they have good (green) or bad (red) match-ups. Bye weeks are considered a bad matchup since the player is unavailable for your fantasy team that week. This is important especially considering the Dorey Rule – “draft as if the season only lasted the first six weeks”.
This analysis considers both tight ends and wide receivers awarded 0.1 points per received yard and six point touchdowns along with one point per reception.
Sam Bradford – The fifth-year player faces a nice slate of games with half his games going against a Top 20 easiest venue and history says he needs every advantage he can get. He missed 11 games with a blown knee in 2013 and has never delivered on the promise of being the 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year. Since the only free agent pickup for receiver was Kenny Britt, it is hard to see Bradford making much progress despite the nice schedule.
Vikings – The soft schedule will help though the Vikings are yet another team looking at the NFL draft with an eye toward getting a new quarterback. Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson both enter their second season in Minneapolis which should benefit the offense as well. One caveat here – the Vikings won’t be in a dome this year while their new stadium is being built and playing outside could be an issue in weeks 12, 13, 14 and17.
Russell Wilson – Wilson is never going to be in a pass-heavy scheme in Seattle and that will influence just how productive he can possibly be. But he receives a nice schedule and more importantly, his first six games contains four good matchups and no bad ones. A decent fantasy play during the opening of the season when passing points are generally higher and gives you time to switch off to some other developing situation.
Jaguars – A team already searching for the starting quarterback gets the worst schedule for receivers – over half of their games go against Top 20 toughest venues from last year. That’s league-worst and not exactly encouraging about Cecil Shorts returning from injured reserve or Justin Blackmon who may or may not have his suspension lifted.
Browns – Yet another team that is deciding on a new quarterback will face a very bad schedule. 2013 was a break out season for Josh Gordon and the Browns did not add anyone likely to matter much – Nate Burleson is probably the best bet to compete with Greg Little for the #2 role that has done almost nothing anyway. Is this enough to ding Gordon this year? Well. Yes. Bad schedule and an unknown starting quarterback is the perfect recipe for at least a marginal decline.
Ravens – Tough schedule but that’s been true every season for a long time. At least the Ravens added Steve Smith who won’t be as good as he was in his prime in Carolina, but he’s bound to be an upgrade from Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones.
Week – By – Week