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.
Buccaneers – This is encouraging for both Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson after the season ended on a down note over the final six weeks. The problem will be introducing a rookie quarterback into the league which should depress what a veteran quarterback could accomplish with these two wideouts. But with half their games against easier venues – and all three in fantasy playoffs – Evans and Jackson are still worth a risk despite their quarterback situation.
Saints – Same as with no reception points, this lighter schedule has to benefit Brandin Cooks as he and Marques Colston become the primary receivers in the absence of Jimmy Graham.
Giants – Odell Beckham Jr. was a major surprise when he excelled in the second half of 2014 and an easier schedule this year only serves to keep him rated highly. Victor Cruz may not be completely over his torn patellar tendon but he gets a lighter matchup in at least half his games and no longer has to worry about being the biggest concern for opposing secondaries. Beckham and Cruz both have a better outlook thanks to the schedule.
Lions – The passing stats were down last year and mostly because Calvin Johnson played with a high ankle sprain much of the season. Johnson will look to get back to form that saw him with 1492 yards and 12 scores only the season before but he’ll be facing a tougher stretch of games this time around. Opening the year @SD, @MIN, DEN and @SEA won’t make it any easier.
Steelers – They always have a tough schedule in Pittsburgh thanks to the AFC North and this year won’t be any better. That still won’t keep Antonio Brown from turning in another great season but Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton gain no favors from most of their weekly matchups.
Jets – A continued shaky situation at quarterback is already enough to downgrade the Jets wideouts who ranked among the most unproductive in the NFL last year. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker both show what a difference a quarterback makes. Marshall gets a bad quarterback and a bad schedule. That should match his attitude by the end of the year.
Week – By – Week