Over the 25 years since The Huddle originated fantasy football strength of schedule, we’ve tweaked the formulas for better accuracy. This considers only passing yardage and scores, not quarterback rushing. That evens the field for all players since they all throw the ball as their primary job.
The analysis also considers the venue. There is a difference between how defenses respond either home or away, and that creates 64 “different defenses” depending on where the game is played.
The addition of a Week 18 bumps up the numbers from past years. The review now considers a full fantasy season as Week 1 through Week 17 and ignores the new final week. The scoring was a point for each 20 passing yards and four -point touchdowns.
The average passing fantasy points allowed per game is at the bottom of this page for reference.
For fantasy contests and some leagues, only total points matter. Below are the total points for each passing offense according to their schedule using the averages allowed in 2020 by those defenses.
Oddly, the Top-6 teams in total points all will feature a different quarterback this year. That makes it tougher to rely on since the offense will already face a challenge to integrate a new passer.
Three different views are below. Week 1 to 17 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 15 to 17 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.
Someone in Houston – If, somehow, Deshaun Watson plays this year without distraction (yeah, I know), he has the lightest schedule of them all. Failing that, very likely, Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills are unlikely to optimize the opportunity.
Carson Wentz (IND) – The Colts are onto yet another quarterback while Wentz attempts to recharge his career against a schedule containing eight opponents that sported the softest secondaries last year. The rest of the offense is unchanged from 2020, so Wentz must fit into an existing scheme with experienced receivers. His schedule improves mostly in the second half of the season.
Matt Ryan (ATL) – This should be a favorable fantasy situation for Ryan. He’s learning a new scheme under HC Arthur Smith, but he has an outstanding crew of receivers, including the much-hyped rookie tight end Kyle Pitts. Better yet, there appears to be no reason to expect the rushing effort to account for much again this year. Ending the season versus the Panthers, 49ers, Lions and Bills will force the need to throw the ball.
Zach Wilson (NYJ) – Rookie quarterbacks rarely produce fantasy-relevant stats, much less someone playing for the Jets. But at least the reason to throw should be significant, and Wilson gets to start going against one of the least challenging passing schedules. Wilson does play in four home games during the final five weeks of the fantasy season.
Baker Mayfield (CLE) – The Browns ranked in the bottom five in passing yards last year and that may not change. The Lions in Week 11 provides the only matchup with a soft secondary from last year. The AFC North is brutal by itself and the Browns add matchups against the AFC West and NFC North. Their backfield already ranked Top-5 in all rushing categories and ended up with one of the lightest rushing schedules. The schedule suggests even less passing with even worse results.
Russell Wilson (SEA) – The Seahawk’s star faces a tougher road in 2021 versus a very challenging stretch of games after the first month of the season. Limiting the offense to mostly DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett is tough enough versus NFC West defenses. He’s been better at Seattle than away, and yet he’ll play in nine road games and only seven home games during the fantasy season.
Jared Goff (DET) – The ex-Ram seeks to continue his NFL career as a Lion during their Year 1 rebuild where the roster has undergone an almost total change from 2020. It didn’t add any talent better than they lost and he starts out against the 49ers, Packers, Ravens, Bears and Vikings. Nothing in Detroit appears to be an upgrade from what he left in Los Angeles, including the schedule.
2021 weekly grid
Best and worst fantasy points allowed per game to passers