Tyler Moore – Fantasy Sports Contributor: The Wagner Wire

 

 

Fantasy Impact: Strength of Schedule

 

How much should you consider strength of schedule when you are drafting players for your fantasy team? If you look back just to last year the Atlanta Falcons were tied for having the hardest strength of schedule, but that didn’t stop anybody from drafting Julio Jones or Devonta Freeman. Julio Jones was actually one of the best foundations fantasy football teams could have last year. Julio came in at a staggering 20.1 percent of teams that made it all the way to their championship weekend. Pro Football Focus has the New York Giants as the top secondary for the 2017 season, but Dez Bryant, who faces the Giants twice, is going at ADP 2.08. Pro Football Focus has the Houston Texans as their number one front seven this year, however Demarco Murray’s ADP is 2.03 and Leonard Fournette ADP is 2.07.

 

For people who think that ESPN and Pro Football Focus rankings do not translate into fantasy football, well I have the answer for you also. Fantasy Pros does a strength of schedule column based solely on fantasy football. So, we take a deeper look into that, it turns out people still don’t care about strength of schedule. Derek Carr is currently being drafted as the sixth quarterback, despite having the toughest strength of schedule for quarterbacks this year. Who has some of the easiest schedules this year in the quarterback position? The Vikings and Sam Bradford have the second easiest schedule according to Fantasy Pros, and Mike Glennon has the fourth easiest. Nobody would even think about taking either of those two guys over Derek Carr. If you go over to the wide receiver position the evidence is even more clear on how much strength of schedule means in fantasy football. Many of the experts are undoubtedly saying that Antonio Brown is the number one wide receiver in fantasy football, but where does his strength of schedule rank? Number 20 is where AB comes in at, his strength of schedule is harder than players such as Robert Woods, Cameron Meredith, and Pierre Garcon. The running back position is even more evident however when it comes to strength of schedule and fantasy football. Anybody who plays fantasy football (or looks at any ranking sheet) know there is a big three this year in fantasy football. Ezekiel Elliot, David Johnson, and Le’Veon Bell are the best three running backs for fantasy football this year and nobody will question that. Where do these three rank in Fantasy Pros strength of schedule though?

Jeffrey G. Pittingr – USA TODAY Sports

David Johnson comes in at the highest at number seven, Zeke comes in second at number nine, but the most staggering one of all is Lev Bell who comes in at 31st. That’s right Le’Veon Bell, the unquestioned top two pick, has the second hardest strength of schedule for the 2017 season. That is why strength of schedule is not usually a factor when it comes to drafting you team for any upcoming season. Setting your lineup week to week is where I believe strength of schedule comes into play. Nobody wants to start a wide receiver against the no flight zone of the Denver Broncos defense. If you look back to last year when the Raiders played the Broncos the two most fantasy relevant receivers, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, they combined for 17 receptions and a 169 yards in two games. Amari Cooper had 12 receptions and a 173 yards by himself week 8 against the Buccaneers.

So, there are certain matchups you will want to try and avoid, but strength of schedule should not be a big factor when it comes to season long fantasy football leagues. Daily Fantasy is where you want to play matchups, such as if a player is playing the Jets this year you will definitely want to start them. Below is TWW’s rankings of teams that have the toughest schedules with Denver having the toughest road in 2017. Tweet any of your questions at us on Twitter @TheWagnerWire, or hit me up @tylermoore2724.

 

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RANK           TEAM

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Los Angeles Chargers
  4. Oakland Raiders
  5. Buffalo Bills
  6. Miami Dolphins
  7. Washington Redskins
  8. New York Giants
  9. New York Jets
  10. Philadelphia Eagles
  11. Dallas Cowboys
  12. New England Patriots
  13. Atlanta Falcons
  14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  15. New Orleans Saints
  16. Carolina Panthers
  17. Los Angeles Rams
  18. Green Bay Packers
  19. Chicago Bears
  20. San Francisco 49ers
  21. Cleveland Browns
  22. Detroit Lions
  23. Arizona Cardinals
  24. Baltimore Ravens
  25. Seattle Seahawks
  26. Houston Texans
  27. Minnesota Vikings
  28. Pittsburgh Steelers
  29. Cincinnati Bengals
  30. Tennessee Titans
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars
  32. Indianapolis Colts