The Strength of Schedule takes the 2018 fantasy points allowed by defenses to running backs and applies them against the 2019 schedule for each offense. This goes even further since it also breaks down the 64 venues that can happen – facing each defense either home or away.
The average fantasy points allowed by each defense is then sorted highest to lowest to determine the 20 best venues to play (an advantage) and the 20 worst (a disadvantage). The “middle” 24 venues offer neither advantage nor disadvantage and are not counted.
20 best venues TO PLAY
20 worst venues TO PLAY
Three different views are given below. Weeks 1 to 16 is the full season strength of schedule for the position. 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. Finally, Weeks 14 to 16 cover the traditional fantasy playoffs.
This analysis awards 0.1 points per yard rushing or receiving. Touchdowns are worth six points.
Mark Ingram/Gus Edwards (BAL) – Mark Ingram could not have landed in Baltimore at a better time. The Ravens matchups with the Steelers are the only time they face a tough venue and their second meeting is in Week 17 anyway. Half of their games will be in the easier venues and they wind down against the Bills, Jets, and Browns during fantasy playoffs. The split in workload could limit Ingram or Gus Edwards, but the schedule won’t be in their way.
Kenyan Drake (MIA) – With Frank Gore gone, Drake looks to have a clearer path to more touches and the final year of his rookie contract faces a slate of games that should help him land a bigger payday. After facing the Ravens and Cowboys over the first three weeks, only the Week 8 matchup in Pittsburgh falls in a tough venue. Come fantasy playoffs, he faces the Jets, Giants, and Bengals for one of the best fantasy schedules. This could be a sneaky way to look better than he normally will.
Derrick Henry (TEN) – Oddly enough, the Titans have one of the tougher passing schedules and yet one of the lightest for rushing. That fits perfectly for the new commitment to using Derrick Henry as a workhorse back. After Week 3, Henry faces just one bad venue over his next 11 games. Week 16 may be the rare tough venue but at least it is at home versus the Saints. Henry gets a fortuitous schedule for laying claim to being one of the top runners in the NFL.
James Conner (PIT) – The Steelers back became the No-Bell prize in 2018 and should continue to shine versus a schedule that contains only three bad venues during the fantasy season. After Week 9, he faces no tough defenses and wraps up Weeks 14 to 16 with the Cardinals, Bills, and Jets. Even his matchup in Baltimore waits until Week 17.
Peyton Barber/ Ronald Jones (TB) – The reality is that the Buccaneers have enjoyed lighter schedules for running backs in the past with marginal results. This time, they’ll face one of the toughest in the last many years and do that while trying once again to justify mixing in Ronald Jones instead of just riding Peyton Barber. Their opening schedule won’t help with the first seven games including trips to the Saints, Panthers, and Titans and just once facing a lighter matchup in the first half of the year. That’s no way to make either back appear to be worthy of a heavy load.
Leonard Fournette (JAC) – History says that Leonard Fournette will just become injured again and even if healthy, this should be a tougher year. He’s the only back that will face seven tough venues during the fantasy season and four of his first six games pit him against the Texans, Titans, Panthers, and Saints. He gets a great stretch of all light matchups from Weeks 13 to 16 but will he still be healthy by then?
Devonta Freeman (ATL) – A change in offensive coordinators could help Devonta Freeman who missed almost all of 2018 with a foot injury. But his schedule won’t help with a league-low two games versus easier opponents and yet six tough venues. After the Week 9 bye, the remaining slate is almost entirely against great defenses other than the one Week 12 matchup against the Buccaneers. Tevin Coleman’s absence could see Freeman with a bigger workload, but existing durability issues are further worsened by a tough schedule.
Week by week – Running backs