The Huddle’s Strength of Schedule debuted in 1997 as the first time anyone compared team schedules against what defenses allowed each skill position, instead of the traditional “Win-Loss” that is meaningless in fantasy.
The 2018 fantasy points allowed by defenses to quarterbacks are applied 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. Not surprisingly, defensive performances can vary significantly depending on if a team is on the road or not.
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 0.05 points per pass yard. Passing touchdowns are worth four points. No points for quarterback rushing yards or scores were considered.
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) – He took a mulligan on the injury-shortened 2018 and returns to an offense that added Tevin Coleman and the rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd. Jimmy G. faces none of the worse 20 venues until Week 9 and just three all season. With five of the first seven against the softest venues, he’ll have a chance to get back on track quickly.
Lamar Jackson (BAL) – While Jackson’s passing doesn’t promote much confidence about this lighter schedule, the Ravens also end up with the best rushing schedule as well. The second-year starter gets perhaps the lightest schedule of any quarterback for both passing and rushing. He doesn’t face a tough venue until Week 14.
Jameis Winston (TB) – Playing for new head coach Bruce Arians alone is a reason to expect improvement from Winston. But he also only faces two of the toughest matchups all year and four of his first six games match up to the most advantageous venues. With a veteran group of receivers and a new coach, this should be as good as it gets from Winston.
Dak Prescott (DAL) – Sometimes the schedule loves you. Sometimes it hates you. Rarely it does both in the same season. Such is the case for Prescott who starts the year with six of his first seven games in great venues. And then he never faces another easy matchup while struggling through bad matchups in each game from Week 12 through 16. Odder still, the Cowboys alternate home and away games every week but one.
Marcus Mariota (TEN) – It is hard to place too much faith in a quarterback who has never played all 16 games in a season and who is forced to learn a new offense every year. He also has one of the worst opening schedules with three of his first five games in a tough venue. But playing at the Raiders and hosting the Texans and Saints from Week 14 through 16 is as good as it gets during fantasy playoffs.
Baker Mayfield (CLE) – No arguing that Baker Mayfield hasn’t exceeded all expectations for the once-lowly Browns. And there are reasons to wonder if he isn’t matchup-proof. He’ll have to prove that in 2019 though, with half of his games in the worst venues and just one good matchup over his first 11 games. By Week 6, he’ll already have dispelled (or not) that he is bigger than his schedule with four matchups in tough venues.
Joe Flacco (DEN) – The Broncos brought in Joe Flacco with a surprisingly glowing assessment of what he offered the team. Then they grabbed Drew Lock with their 2.10 pick to signal neither quarterback is a lock to play all year. Throw in likely the worst schedule in the NFL for quarterbacks and there’s not a lot of reasons to bother even as a fantasy backup. Not only do they face half of their games in tough venues, but there are also no easy matchups following their Week 10 bye.
Week by week – Quarterbacks