Receivers are the least sensitive position to overall schedule strength, and are more impacted by one-to-one matchups from defensive backs. A defense may only be average, but if they feature one shut-down cornerback and he lines up on your wideout, expect a poor outcome. Schedule strength for receivers is worth a look, but it is the least accurate measurement of schedule strength.
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 separately would result in greater inaccuracy.
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 average points per game allowed in 2020 by those defenses.
Three different views are below. Week 1 to 17 is the full-season fantasy strength of schedule. “The Dorey Rule” says 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.
D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson (CAR) – The Panthers head into Year 2 of HC Matt Rhule’s offense, and benefit from the lightest schedule for receivers. A change at quarterback to Sam Darnold will impact both D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson but the unit already rated Top-10 in receiving stats playing with Teddy Bridgewater. Not only will they face nine matchups versus soft secondaries, the only times that they face good defenses are at home.
Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Kyle Pitts (ATL) – There’s some speculation that Julio Jones may not remain with the team, but the Falcons already produced Top-5 stats from their wideouts in 2020 and now have added the rookie tight end Kyle Pitts. All seven of their soft matchups happen over the first ten weeks, and the final six weeks contain four road venues. The schedule starts as lightly as any team through midseason.
T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman (IND) – The Colts are another team with a change at quarterback. Carson Wentz looks to improve on the mediocre stats from 2020 and shows up for Year 3 of Frank Reich’s offense. T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman both disappointed and look to improve versus with seven of their first ten matchups going against weak secondaries. A Week 14 bye hurts fantasy leagues, as does playing the Patriots and Raiders over the final three weeks.
Devante Parker, Will Fuller, Jaylen Waddle (MIA) – Tua Tagovailoa takes his first full-year start and enjoys new weapons in Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle. After opening against the Bills and Patriots, the schedule contains nine favorable matchups and only two more tough defenses. Better yet, the final three games to the fantasy year feature the Jets, Saints and Titans.
Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle (SF) – The 49ers couldn’t catch a break in 2020 between COVID-19 and team injuries. That turns around this season with the return of all three primary receivers, and the quarterback either remains Jimmy Garoppolo or switches to the 1.03 pick of Trey Lance. That may have a learning curve but the 49ers schedule only contains two bad matchups during the middle of the season. The final three games are all favorable going against the Falcons, Titans, and Texans.
Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry (CLE) – All of the elements of the Browns passing offense fast a brutal slate of games that never improve. The offense will run the ball as much as possible, and all matchups versus weaker secondaries are over by Week 4. They received a Week 13 bye right when you’ll need them most to reach your playoffs. And the final stretch of games are at the Ravens, hosting the Ravens and Raiders, and then finishing with road trips to Green Bay and Pittsburgh where weather may be as big a factor as the opposing secondary.
A.J. Brown, Josh Reynolds (TEN) – It’s not enough that the Titans’ receivers face an NFL-high ten games against top defenses of 2020, but their final three games face the Steelers, 49ers, and Dolphins. Josh Reynolds replaces Corey Davis, but he catches no luck showing up against a very challenging slate of games.
2021 weekly grid
Average receiving fantasy points per game allowed
Fantasy values were derived from 1 point per 10 receiving yards and six-point receiving touchdowns from opposing tight ends and wide receivers.