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 running backs awarded 0.1 points per rushed or received yard and six point touchdowns.
Chris Johnson – He’s starting over his career that has struggled since breaking 2000 yards back in 2009 and he’s in a new offense that has not been very good and that does use a committee approach to the backfield. Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell will be involved to some unknown measure but at least Johnson steps into the softest schedule in the NFL. Caveat here – the Jets had the same situation last year and produced nearly nothing.
Toby Gerhart – The Jaguars may use the draft to bulk up the backfield that so far is little more than Toby Gerhart rubbing his eyes to make sure it is all real. Half the games go against Top 20 easiest venues fro 2013 and that could make Gerhart a reasonable spec pick for any fantasy team barring the addition of a hot rookie runner.
Rashad Jennings – Like the Jaguars, the Giants have half their games against softer matchups but they too use a committee and start the season out with Rashad Jennings as the likely primary and David Wilson still in the picture. Throw in a rookie runner and this could be a mess again this year.
Eddie Lacy – No way to sugar-coat this bad schedule that begins with three tough venues and never gets that much better. Fortunately Lacy is a heavy-use back and scores touchdowns as well as acts as a receiver. This schedule will affect his production but he’s still a good bet for at least average stats if not better.
Saints – The Saints parted ways with Darren Sproles but that has no impact on the rushing effort and his production will just be spread out among Pierre Thomas and Travaris Cadet if not even Mark Ingram who so far has been rarely used as a receiver. The Saints are never going to rely on one back so a bad schedule only means an even more muddled backfield in fantasy terms.
Ray Rice – This is unwelcomed given that Ray Rice fell off a cliff last year and was arrested for beating his girlfriend unconscious (who he has since married of course). Bernard Pierce already ran 152 times to Rice’s 214 in 2013 so there’s no warm and fuzzy here even before a bad schedule was introduced.
Week – By – Week