Over the 24 years since The Huddle originated strength of schedule analysis from a fantasy perspective, there have been tweaks along the way to improve accuracy and to minimize the spikes, flukes, and aberrations that result from the variable-rich environment of the NFL.
This year, quarterback rushing is not included. I am only totaling passing yardage and scores. There is a mountain of difference between playing against Lamar Jackson and any non-rushing quarterback and that impacts fantasy points allowed.
If your fantasy starter also runs the ball, all the better. The average passing fantasy points allowed per venue is at the bottom of this page for reference. Only the first 16 weeks were considered in all analyses to follow.
For fantasy contests and some leagues, only total points matter so below are the total points for each passing offense derived from their schedule against the averages allowed in 2019 by those defenses.
Three different views are below. Week 1 to 16 is the full season fantasy strength of schedule. “The Dorey Rule” says to draft like the season only lasted the first six weeks for a hot start. Finally, Weeks 14 to 16 represent the most common fantasy playoff weeks. “Good” games were when they faced one of the top 22 venues from last year; “Bad” was when they played in one of the worst 22. The middle 20 matchups were neither good nor bad.
Mitchell Trubisky/Nick Foles (CHI) – The reality is that the Bears had one of the better schedules last year and Trubisky did not take advantage. Now there’s no certainty which quarterback will start. Maybe if Foles overtakes Trubisky on the depth chart…
Matthew Stafford (DET) – He was on a path for a 5,000-yard season in 2019 but missed the final eight weeks. Now he’s back with one of the best schedules in the NFL. A mature offense and new weapon with D’Andre Swift goes against the AFC South and NFC South and that could allow Stafford to surprise.
Philip Rivers (IND) – Playing in Pittsburgh in Week 16 won’t help, but Rivers steers the Colts through the first ten weeks with only one matchup in a tougher venue. Fantasy leaguers usually downgrade players changing teams but this schedule says Rivers remains relevant.
Teddy Bridgewater (CAR) – The schedule is kinder than most though there’s a ton of change going on with the Panthers, let alone relying on a new quarterback. Only facing three of the bad venues from last year should help the installation of the new offense and adding Robbie Anderson helps as well. There’s no expectation that the Panthers are going to air it out more often but the transition to all the changes should go smoother.
Ryan Fitzpatrick/Tua Tagovailoa (MIA) – There’s plenty of risk with a rookie quarterback that may, or may not, play this year. But unlike the Panthers, the change to a new offense with new players is less likely to go as well. Six of their first eight games go against the tougher venues of last year and this total rebuild already had enough challenges without the schedule working against them.
Ryan Tannehill (TEN) – No arguing that Tannehill brought new life to the offense in 2019, and the same scheme and coaches still exist. Four of their final six games are on the road and just one faces a softer secondary. This offense prefers to run anyway, so there’s no reason to expect much uptick in passing production from last year. The schedule only furthers the reality that Tannehill is unlikely to consistently produce fantasy starter production.
Kyler Murray (ARI) – There are plenty of reasons why Murray sparks optimism this year. The second-year for HC Kliff Kingsbury already held promise after the rookie Murray threw for almost 4,000 yards and 20 touchdowns. Then they added DeAndre Hopkins. Murray will earn his salary against one of the tougher schedules in the NFL. He’ll get to prove if he really is elite enough to be better than his schedule.
2020 weekly grid
Best and worst venues to play
Fantasy values were derived from 1 point per 20 pass yards and four-point passing touchdowns.