The strength of schedule for receivers considers both wide receivers and tight ends but not running backs. The usage of wideouts and tight ends varies from team to team so they should be considered together. As there are only a handful of relevant fantasy tight ends each year, considering them alone would result in much greater inaccuracy.
Receivers are also the least impacted by the schedule strength. The top receivers from each offense will always garner greater coverage. And those are mostly controlled by the quality of the opposing cornerback. Wide receiver vs. cornerback is the only 1:1 matchup of all fantasy players and defenses. So take this only as a minor consideration in valuing a player.
For fantasy contests and such, 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.
Allen Robinson/Anthony Miller (CHI) – The Bears have the best passing schedule across the board and that will benefit Robinson and Miller the most. There is an opportunity within that since the quarterback controversy between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles naturally throws shade on the receivers. With this schedule, either quarterback should look better and that benefits Robinson and Miller the most.
Kenny Golladay/Marvin Jones (DET) – Golladay is already a hot commodity after his 11 scores in 2019 but Jones was injured for the last two seasons. The return of a healthy Matt Stafford already bodes well and the Lions schedule is one of the lightest for receivers. Aside from matchups with the Packers and Bears, the wideout duo should make even more noise this year.
Tyler Lockett/DK Metcalf (SEA) – The duo already combined for 1,957 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2019. Now they get to face the bottom third of soft venues in half of their games. A mature offense with one of the better quarterbacks in the league gets a schedule advantage over most of the league. And this offense focuses almost solely on those two starting wideouts.
T.Y. Hilton/TBD – After a downturn last year, it is easy to forget that Hilton’s last two seasons with Andrew Luck produced 1,448 and 1,270 yards respectively. Now Philip Rivers takes over and that bound to improve Hilton’s stats. Throw in a schedule with only four bad venues and he’s sure to improve. The rookie Michael Pittman battles Zach Pascal and Parris Campbell for the No. 2 role that should surprise given there is only one bad matchup over the first eight weeks.
A.J. Brown/Adam Humphries (TEN) – The Titans are a run-first team anyway, but the schedule isn’t going to make it any easier when they pass. Brown was red hot down the stretch of his rookie season and is clearly the only notable receiver there. He starts out with three of his first four matchups versus top defenses and doesn’t enjoy any soft secondaries over his final six games. Brown should still see the volume to produce fantasy value but the other receivers are more certain to feel the impact of this schedule.
Marquise Brown/Mark Andrews (BAL) – Hard to get excited by any receiver on a team with a historic volume of rushing and even with the stellar results of 2019, Lamar Jackson only threw for 3,225 yards. And the Ravens had one of the lighter passing schedules last year. Now they only face two of the softer venues and one of those comes in Week 16. The 39 touchdown passes were spread over the entire offense other than Brown (7) and Andrews (10). They’ll need those scores to return similar fantasy value against this far more challenging schedule.
Adam Thielen/Justin Jefferson (MIN) – An improved rushing offense saw the Vikings passing decline from 2018 and injuries further depressed the production. With Stefon Diggs gone, the rookie Justin Jefferson is expected to pair with Adam Thielen but no other team has fewer matchups against weaker defenses than the Vikings. Three of the final four games of the fantasy season face bad venues. Tough year for Jefferson to learn the ropes and Thielen to get back to his success of 2018.
Stefon Diggs/John Brown (BUF) – Overall, the Bills receivers go against an average schedule strength but that happens in a curious way. Over the first ten weeks, they face just two bad venues and yet enjoy six good ones. After their Week 11 bye, it all goes bad. Their final five games of the fantasy season – including all of the fantasy playoffs – pit them against the worst venues. Those final five are the Chargers, at the 49ers, Steelers, at the Broncos, and then at the Patriots. That’s not going to propel anyone into their fantasy playoffs.
2020 weekly grid
Average passing fantasy points allowed
Fantasy values were derived from 1 point per 10 receiving yards and six-point passing touchdowns.