The Strength of Schedule applies 2017 defensive stats allowed against quarterbacks, running backs and receivers to determine which team has the easier schedule. This is determined by comparing those statistics allowed against the current NFL schedule for each offense. This reviews the 64 venues that can happen – facing each defense either home or away. Not surprisingly, most defenses typically perform better at home than on the road.
To remove the effects of the usually bad or good game, defensive performances have their best and worst game removed before determining their average fantasy points allowed for each position.
In previous years, the statistics were used without adjustment to maintain objectivity. This year will be the first deviation from that for two teams. I improved the averages for the Rams defense. Their additions of CB Aqib Talib, CB Marcus Peters and DT Ndamukong Suh are significant upgrades and using 2017 would be significantly less accurate. So I made each iteration of the Rams defense a top 10 unit which seems more prudent. I have also downgraded the Seattle Seahawks defense to a bottom ten. Their losses of CB Richard Sherman, DE Michael Bennett and DT Sheldon Richardson cannot be ignored, nor the uncertain status of SS Kam Chancellor. No other adjustments were made to any other team.
|2017 Passing Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game|
|20 Best Matchups||20 Worst Matchups|
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. The Dorey Rule is “draft as if the season only lasted the first six weeks”. Those first six games will determine if you get out to a hot start or are trailing by mid-season.
This analysis awards and 0.05 points per pass yard. Passing touchdowns are worth six points. No points for quarterback rushing yards or scores were considered.
|Weeks 1 to 16 (Full Season)||Weeks 1 to 6 (Dorey Rule)||Weeks 14 to 16 (FF Playoffs)|
Blake Bortles (Jaguars) – There is a wealth of receivers with Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole and the rookie DJ Chark. The pecking order may take time to sort out but at least Bortles throws every pass against the lightest schedule in the NFL. Six of the first eight weeks come against an easier matchup. He’s the only quarterback that faces soft matchups in half of his games. Bortles ended at the No. 13 best fantasy quarterback last year with a slightly worse schedule and far fewer capable receivers.
Alex Smith (WAS) – Kirk Cousins left the Redskins for Minnesota after being the No. 4 fantasy quarterback last year. Now Smith arrives from Kansas City after a career-best year as the sixth-best quarterback for 2017. The Redskins offense offers an even better opportunity to crank out fantasy points with a more diverse passing scheme and the specter of improved rushing via rookie Derrius Guice to concern the opposing defenses. Smith catches a break on the only NFL team that plays in just two of the 20-worst passing venues. Smith is a later round grab that will benefit from an advantageous schedule.
Matt Ryan (ATL) – After six solid seasons, Ryan fell to only 4,095 yards and 20 touchdowns last year after offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left to run the 49ers. Now in his second season with Steve Sarkisian running the offense, Ryan should get back inside the top ten with an offense upgraded with top rookie wideout Calvin Ridley and only three visits to a bad venue. Better yet, the six matchups against a soft matchup all happen after Week 6. Ryan finishes up during the fantasy playoffs with games at the Packers, hosting the Cards and then at the Panthers.
Carson Wentz (PHI) – He remains on track to return by the season opener from the torn ACL that shortened his stellar 2017 season. Aside from meetings with the Jaguars, Vikings and Rams, the schedule is lighter than most and ends in an advantageous manner. Wentz enjoys five of his final six games of the fantasy season going against softer secondaries including hosting the Texans in Week 16. Even if he starts slowly in his return from injury, he’ll be heating up right when your fantasy team needs him most.
Derek Carr (OAK) – The return of Jon Gruden to the sideline should help, but Derek Carr is coming off a down year and relearning the Greg Olson offense that now adds the Gruden touch. The roster was retooled with Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant but will miss Michael Crabtree who was the leading scorer for the last three seasons. Worse yet is having almost half of his games against the tougher defenses and Weeks 10 through 15 are all versus bad matchups, save the Week 13 hosting of the Chiefs. The Raiders only face four soft secondaries all year and none until Week 6 (Seahawks).
Case Keenum (DEN) – Facing a tough schedule that includes the AFC North and NFC West, Keenum joins the Broncos for their second year under offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave that struggled in 2017. The Broncos upgraded with running back Royce Freeman and wideout Courtland Sutton, but facing seven bad matchups along the way won’t make a turnaround easy. The schedule starts out kindly but then starting in Week 6, they’ll face bad venues in six of their next seven games. Fortunately, the best part of the schedule is during the fantasy playoffs.