2019 Strength of Schedules

Sunday, Jul 21, 2019 at 12:00 pm ET


Let's take a look at the strength of schedule for the skill positions heading into the 2019 season.

Plenty of factors go into fantasy football rankings. When you're looking at two or three players during your draft, factors like strength of schedule can help you decide between those players. Strength of Schedule (SoS) essentially relates to the level of difficulty that an opposing defense should have on a player. For example, a running back facing the league's toughest rush defense twice a season versus a running back facing more rush-favorable defenses can be that straw that pushes one player over another.

Saquon BarkelyAt FantasyFootballNerd.com, we calculate the number of points projected to be earned from each position, from each defensive unit, and for each game throughout the season. Last year's numbers don't factor in because there's typically too many roster changes throughout the offseason. We utilize this data to produce a SoS score. When you're viewing our fantasy football draft rankings or are using the Draft Buddy to help you during your drafts, you'll see the player's SoS score when clicking on their name.

This is a forward looking analysis, but as you'll see, it should be used as a guide. For example, you'll notice that Patrick Mahomes has the most difficult QB schedule, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't draft him. Knowing his SoS score should instead guide you to not reach for him. Use our SoS scores to help influence your draft decisions and help break the ties between players.

Quarterback Strength of Schedule


Cam Newton, CAR
Player

323
Kyler Murray, ARI
Player

323
Jameis Winston, TB
Player

306
Nick Foles, JAC
Player

304
Russell Wilson, SEA
Player

299
Patrick Mahomes, KC
Player

182
Matthew Stafford, DET
Player

222
Derek Carr, OAK
Player

225
Joe Flacco, DEN
Player

228
Aaron Rodgers, GB
Player

231


The most favorable QB schedule belongs to Cam Newton. If you're not able to pick up one of the elite QB options, he's as solid a bet for a Top-10 finish as anyone. The bonus is that he has decent matches in the fantasy championship weeks against the Seahawks and Colts. Kyler Murray is untested and unproven, but you have to like his schedule. He should be a good backup for most teams. Jameis Winston has as much upside this year as any other QB and should be one of those quarterbacks that you can target in the mid-to-late rounds. Nick Foles will not likely end up on many fantasy teams, but his championship schedule is the envy of the league. Finally, Russell Wilson will have a great start to the season but his schedule gets more difficult in the second half of the year.

Patrick Mahomes has the most difficult schedule of any QB, but that doesn't mean that he won't be drafted as the first QB off the boards in most drafts. He's a fantasy stud destined to see regression and his schedule isn't going to be doing him any favors. Matt Stafford has some question marks in the receiving game and may struggle a bit this season. Derek Carr has a shiny new object in Antonio Brown, and he'll need him particularly in the championships weeks against the stout Jaguars and Chargers defenses. Joe Flacco won't likely be on your team and his tough schedule is only part of the reason why. Aaron Rodgers will be one of the first five quarterbacks taken in your draft, and he's good enough to rise above his schedule. If he gets you to the playoffs, he'll have his work cut out for him in Weeks 15 and 16 against the Bears and Vikings.

Running Back Strength of Schedule


Mark Ingram, BAL
Player

327
James Conner, PIT
Player

310
Sony Michel, NE
Player

297
James White, NE
Player

297
Chris Carson, SEA
Player

291
Devonta Freeman, ATL
Player

210
Lamar Miller, HOU
Player

216
Damien Williams, KC
Player

226
Ronald Jones, TB
Player

226
Marlon Mack, IND
Player

230


The best running back schedules belong to guys on teams that run the ball very well. Mark Ingram will likely share some of those carries with his QB, but he's poised to break out on his new team with a favorable schedule. James Conner will have the starting gig to himself with no Le'Veon Bell cloud hanging over his head. Look for him to have a big season with a schedule that any RB would salivate over. The Patriots' running backs have an opportunity to exploit plenty of defenses this year with nice matchups against the Bengals and Bills in the championship weeks. Finally, look for Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny to make the most of their carries with one of the most favorable schedules in the league. This is a run-first team and they'll look to take advantage of that.

On the flip side of the coin, the guys in Atlanta and Houston will find themselves facing stout rush defenses more than any other team. Devonta Freeman and Lamar Miller have their work cut out for them. Meanwhile the Kansas City and Tampa Bay backs will also face their fair share of run-stopping front lines. Damien Williams has a lot of eyes on him and his schedule won't be in his corner. Look for Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones to duke it out amid a tough schedule.

Wide Receiver Strength of Schedule


D.J. Moore, CAR
Player

342
Christian Kirk, ARI
Player

331
Dante Pettis, SF
Player

326
Tyler Lockett, SEA
Player

325
Julio Jones, ATL
Player

317
Sammy Watkins, KC
Player

193
Tyreek Hill, KC
Player

193
Courtland Sutton, DEN
Player

199
Robby Anderson, NYJ
Player

209
Corey Davis, TEN
Player

210


The wideouts in Carolina might not put up gaudy fantasy stats, but they certainly have a nice schedule. D.J. Moore should be a nice WR3 on your team. The same can be said about the wide receivers in the desert. Both Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald have great schedules - particularly in the middle of the season with four beautiful matchups Weeks 8 - 11. Guys like Tyler Lockett, rookie DK Metcalf, and Dante Pettis also come in with favorable matchups including those in the championship weeks of 15 and 16. Finally, it's not like you need any extra motivation to draft Julio Jones, but his schedule is very favorable with six straight games after the bye that will help you put up some serious fantasy numbers.

The unfavorable schedule continues for the Chiefs as Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins will likely face increased pressure. Hill, fresh off a significant ruling from the league, will start the year and will likely remain a WR1 for all teams - just know that his path will have plenty of obstacles in the way. The Denver receiving corp has its own set of injuries and question marks. Unfortunately, their schedule isn't going to help them this year. Finally, as much as we have always liked the potential for Corey Davis, he just hasn't delivered. The Titans are not a strong passing team, and combined with a tough schedule, Davis' fantasy potential is likely to be limited.

Tight End Strength of Schedule


Delanie Walker, TEN
Player

350
Hunter Henry, LAC
Player

330
Josh Oliver, JAC
Player

330
Eric Ebron, IND
Player

313
Mark Andrews, BAL
Player

297
Evan Engram, NYG
Player

189
Jason Witten, DAL
Player

194
Dallas Goedert, PHI
Player

213
Zach Ertz, PHI
Player

213
Jordan Reed, WAS
Player

217


If you don't happen to draft one of the elite tight ends or even the next tier down, Delanie Walker should be on your target list. The Titans don't throw very often, but Walker should still be able to shine even in this offense. His opponents this year are projected to be the most favorable to the tight end position than the rest of the league. In Los Angeles, the Chargers are excited to get Hunter Henry back. His talent combined with a fantastic schedule make him a potential Top-5 fantasy play. It will be interesting to see how the TE position shakes out in Indy with last year's surprise stud Eric Ebron and returning Jack Doyle vying for targets in one of the NFL's most pass-happy offenses.

With Beckham out of town, the passing game in New York will definitely look different. One of the guys with higher expectations placed upon him is TE Evan Engram. Unfortunately, his schedule is brutal without a single Top-10 easy defense. He'll be drafted early among the tight ends and carries some risk. Jason Witten returns to his team with a difficult schedule that puts his long-standing "safe pick" perception in serious jeopardy. We're not excited for his fantasy prospects. Zach Ertz has a difficult schedule, but that's not going to stop us from drafting him. Some guys are either matchup-proof or awfully close to it, and Ertz fits that billing. Finally, Jordan Reed has a rough schedule, but he has the opportunity to be a solid fantasy TE...while he's on the field. His injury history and poor strength of schedule relegate him to fantasy-backup status.

Kickers Strength of Schedule


Steven Hauschka, BUF
Player

321
Dustin Hopkins, WAS
Player

319
Justin Tucker, BAL
Player

311
Stephen Gostkowski, NE
Player

311
Chris Boswell, PIT
Player

310
Adam Vinatieri, IND
Player

210
Matt Gay, TB
Player

215
Cairo Santos, TB
Player

215
Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU
Player

222
Dan Bailey, MIN
Player

226


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