The new NFL schedules are finally here! Now we can start utilizing the SCOUT Fantasy Strength of Schedule Tool to help us build our Fantasy Football teams. Our strength of schedule tool allows you to break down players by their potential upcoming matchups in 2017. Of course, be sure to take into account that this is based on 2016 statistics, and things do change from year to year. Still, this is a highly beneficial tool for Fantasy owners and here at Scout Fantasy, we give you the edge over your opponents. Whether you’re participating in the Fantasy Football World Championships or trying to win a trophy against your buddies, we have the top content to help you win.
In Fantasy Football, it’s all about the matchups. This tool can be utilized all season to determine the best start on any given week. If you are dealing with an injury and perusing the waiver wire for a crucial fix, this tool is not only helpful but vital. This tool can also be crucial when it comes to DFS. If you’re looking for value, check out or strength of schedule tool. Whether you’re deciding between two stars or looking for a low-priced steal, this is the perfect tool to use.
Each of our experts briefly weigh in on the key positions before we really dive into the matchups as we get closer to the regular season!
Dr. Roto analyses quarterbacks and running backs.
The Top 5 Best QB Schedules
Minnesota—Is Sam Bradford the guy you want leading you to a Fantasy championship?
New Orleans—Drew Brees just became a 7th round pick again with his easy schedule and the addition of Adrian Peterson.
Carolina—If the Panthers add a RB early in the draft (Fournette, McCaffrey), I will be way more interested in Cam than I am now.
Chicago—Mike Glennon with a top five schedule? It only makes him Fantasy backup worthy, not a starter.
Tampa Bay—Jameis Winston had a great schedule last year and he killed Fantasy owners. Can he improve his fortunes in 2017? I think I might be willing to find out.
The Worst 5 QB Schedules
Los Angeles Chargers—Philip Rivers has never been much of a second half player and now he’s another year older in a city that won’t be happy with mediocrity.
Indianapolis—Andrew Luck’s schedule is rough, but it won’t dissuade me from drafting him as my QB1.
Washington—Kirk Cousins is looking for a big contract from someone but with such a tough SOS it might not be from the Redskins.
Oakland—Derek Carr is well on his way to becoming one of the best QBs in Fantasy Football but his schedule is doing him no favors. I will still draft him, especially if Marshawn Lynch ends up a Raider.
Kansas City—I hate Alex Smith. I hate him even more with the worst SOS in the league.
The Top 5 Best RB Schedules
Carolina—I am assuming the Panthers will take a RB early in the draft. No matter the player, the SOS for Panthers RBs looks great.
New England—White, Lewis, Burkhead, Gillislee—all looking tremendous as next year’s SOS favors them big time.
New York Jets—The SOS says the Jets will have an easy road if they choose to run the ball, but can the OL open up enough holes?
Tennessee—The Titans are a team that likes to pound the football AND they have a top five SOS against the run. Sign me up!
Minnesota—Latavius Murray just got even more interesting. I like him as a 3rd or 4th round pick.
The Worst 5 RB Schedules
Indianapolis—The schedule maker must not like the Colts this year. First Luck has a bad SOS and now the running game too. Chuck Pa-Gone-O might be fired early in 2017.
Pittsburgh—Le'Veon Bell has a tough schedule, but are you going to pass on him at your draft? I’m not!
Oakland—They have a beastly schedule, but if Beast Mode is there, I am not overly concerned.
Washington—This could be a very long year for Jay Gruden. Rob Kelley might have to fly in order to get significant rushing yards.
San Francisco—The 49ers are a dumpster fire and now they have the worst SOS against RBs too.
Shawn Childs examines wide receivers and tight ends.
The early data suggests the NFC South will be the best targeted area for Fantasy WRs. Tampa, Carolina, New Orleans, and Atlanta all rank in the top eight in schedules before intaking the offseason moves and draft day upgrades. The Falcons will have top CB Desmond Trufant back and the Saints are trying their best to land CB Malcolm Butler from the Patriots. Two undervalued options for wide receivers could be Seattle and Minnesota who rank first and second in the early version of strength of schedule. Even with a favorable schedule, the Vikings may not have the fire power at wide receiver to deliver winning scores from week-to-week.
Surprisingly, and yes, I doubled checked, the AFC West has some of the tougher matchups for WRs in 2017. Three teams have two black marks in that division by playing the Broncos, whose defense has graded highly in pass coverage vs. WRs over the last couple of seasons. The Rams have struggled to pass the ball under Jeff Fisher, but a new coaching staff will try to lead them off the mat even with a young QB and a bad schedule. On the positive side, the Cardinals lost some talent in the secondary and the Seahawks’ pass defense looks to be on the decline with Richard Sherman losing some luster.
In the Fantasy playoff weeks in the high stakes market, the Falcons look the best for me (NO, @TB, and @NO) while the Panthers do have three home games (MIN, GB, and TB). The schedule rater has the Titans ranked highly, but they do play three teams in the NFC West (@ARI, @SF, and LAR), which is an interesting end of the year schedule.
The TE position can be tricky as far as matchup as some defenses don’t get exposed if they play too many teams with weak TE options. Based on the top five schedules at TE, I’d be attracted to the Packers and Martellus Bennett. Aaron Rodgers is a great QB and he needs a dump off and scoring threat at the position. The Packers will score plenty of points and Bennett may fly under the radar as he played most of 2017 injured.
The NFC North has the best schedule for TEs. The Vikings, Bears, and Packers rank in the top six. All four teams in the AFC South have schedules that rank in the bottom third in the league.
If I was placing my bets on a TE with the best playoff schedule, I would look no further than Travis Kelce. The Chiefs play three home games (Oak, LAC, and MIA). The same goes for Greg Olsen (MIN, GB, and TB). I love to think Rob Gronkowski could stay healthy to be on the field in weeks 14, 15, and 16 since he plays against two teams he owns (@PIT and BUF) and Miami won’t put a lot of fear in Tom Brady, even with the game played in warm weather in Florida.
Miami, Tennessee, and Jacksonville have the toughest schedule for TEs based on last year’s data.
Adam Ronis looks at Strength of Schedule during the most important time of year in Fantasy Football.
Playoff Schedule Weeks 14-16
The Saints have one of the most favorable postseason schedules facing the Falcons, Jets and Falcons again. The Falcons are Top 5 at every position except tight end (26th), matching up with the Saints twice and the Buccaneers. The Bears are Top 10 at each position except WR (25th) with the easiest schedule for tight ends and third at QB. They get the Lions, Bengals and Brows. As if Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Cameron Brate already don't have appeal, the Buccaneers have the second easiest schedule for QB, WR and TE. They get the Lions, Falcons and Panthers. The Chiefs face the Raiders, Chargers and Dolphins and are Top 10 at each position except WR (17th).
Statistically, the most favorable postseason schedules at each position are:
- QB: Saints
- RB: Ravens
- WR: Titans
- TE: Bears
Some of the best offenses from last season have a tough road in the 2017 playoffs. The Colts are in the bottom half at every position and have the toughest matchups for QB and WR facing the Bills, Broncos and Ravens. Kirk Cousins has a tough task this season with the second toughest schedule in playoff weeks as do the Redskins receivers with the Chargers, Cardinals and Broncos. The Steelers have one of the toughest schedules across all positions. Their most favorable position is RB (25th). They get the Ravens, Patriots and Texans. Dak Prescott has the fourth toughest schedule.The Cowboys get the Giants, Raiders and Seahawks. The Giants RBs have the toughest schedule and the Dolphins TEs rank at the bottom of the league.
Matt De Lima examines IDP Strength of Schedule
Individual Defensive Players (IDP)
Focusing on Strength of Schedule (SOS) when playing in IDP leagues would be a mistake. Nine times out of ten, you're going to stick with your studs. However, there are times where a decision can feel like a coin flip and SOS becomes a mitigating factor just before you hit submit on your lineup.
When deciding on that coin flip, be sure to also weigh game flow (do you think one offense will be playing from behind? That means they would run less (fewer tackles for LBs) and pass more (more INT opportunities for DBs & sack opportunities DEs / blitzing LBs). If your LB is playing against a run-oriented offense or a team focused on short passes, they make for a great starting option.
Also take a second look at the injury report. An injured interior lineman means an ILB could have an easier time finding paths to the ball-carrier. And of course, a backup QB getting the starter nod could equal big plays for just about anybody on a given defense. That said, don't count on big plays for IDP scoring unless the system is heavily weighted in its favor. A consistent tackler is almost always the safer choice in IDP-scoring leagues.
Finally, if you have weighed all those factors in your mind and still can't come to a conclusion, that's when you want to check an opposing offense's points allowed per defensive position, which is the key stat according for IDP SOS. Good luck!