The strength of schedule for running backs only considers rushing yardage and scores. Since there is a great difference between how teams use them as receivers, that impacts the stats allowed by a defense. For a simpler and more 1:1 consideration, this is the strength of schedule for what only rushing production was allowed by defenses including each home or away venue.
For fantasy contests and such, only total points matter so below are the total points for each rushing 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.
Kenyan Drake (ARI) – He blew up over the final month in Arizona last year and sent David Johnson packing. Now Drake takes over the primary role for an up-and-coming offense with as much upside as most any back. Drake never faces one of the tougher venues until Week 10. That’s the way to start a season.
Todd Gurley (ATL) – His production waned last year and the Rams paid dearly to part ways. There is little competition in the Falcon’s backfield and Gurley scored at least 14 touchdowns in each of his last three years. By Week 13, he’ll go against only one bad venue and yet seven of the easier. He may not run as well as he once did, but he’s always been money at the goal line.
Miles Sanders (PHI) – His solid rookie season ended with 4.6 yards-per-carry and he assumed a more full-time role after midseason. Jordan Howard is gone and Sanders faces the softest defenses in half of his games. October is rougher with Steelers, Ravens, and Cowboys, but his final eight weeks contain just one bad venue.
Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) – Like Sanders, Elliott has a tougher time in Weeks 8 to 11, but otherwise enjoys one of the lighter schedules of his career. That only solidifies his value as one of the initial fantasy draft picks.
Christian McCaffery (CAR) – This is just not fair. Other than two meetings with the Buccaneers and one trip to the Vikings, the No. 1 pick in the draft has one of the lightest slate of games in the NFL. His one downside – a bye during Week 13 could be a killer in fantasy leagues and contests.
Alvin Kamara (NO) – His yardage and scores were down in 2019, and now Kamara faces the worst schedule of any running back. Worst yet, the fantasy playoffs face the Eagles, Vikings, and Chiefs. Elite backs are usually better than their schedule but Kamara slid last year too.
Jordan Howard (MIA) – There’s already plenty to not like about the rebuilding Dolphins this year and newly signed Jordan Howard will likely share with Matt Brieda. Throw in one of the worst offensive lines and a schedule that features bad matchups most of the time, and Howard is rightfully dropping in fantasy drafts. Even worse, fantasy playoffs are all bad against the Patriots, Chiefs, and at the Raiders.
Devin Singletary (BUF) – He may have to share with the rookie Zack Moss, but the diminutive Singletary was impressive down the stretch in 2019. That promise is likely to be at least somewhat limited with one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. He not only faces just two soft matchups, but fantasy playoffs go off with matchups against the Steelers, at the Broncos and at the Patriots.
2020 weekly grid
Average passing fantasy points allowed
Fantasy values were derived from 1 point per 10 receiving yards and six-point passing touchdowns.