2022 Schedule Swings: Quarterbacks

Which quarterback gets a far easier schedule for 2022? Who experiences the worst drop in schedule strength?

The same quarterback playing in the same offense with mostly the same players should produce the same results from last year, right? Of course not. The difference is that even if almost nothing changes on a team, they never face the same schedule from year to year. So a part of the valuation of a fantasy player should be if his schedule is easier or more challenging than the previous season.

The fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks by each defense and venue (both at home and away games) were arrayed against each team’s schedule for both 2021 and 2022. Then they are ranked from 1-32 for which teams had the best or worst schedules they played against last year and applied that against what they will face for 2022. Swings of less than 10 in schedule strength ranking say that the schedule isn’t really reliably different for the player.

What is relative is when a player has a significant shift in the quality of defenses that he will face. Davis Mills leaves the No. 32 ranked schedule last year and faces the No. 7 for 2022 – that should be a notable positive for his second year. Conversely, Lamar Jackson went against the No. 8 schedule in 2021 but drops to only No. 26 – that won’t help his passing game that already lost Marquise Brown.

Best schedule swings

Davis Mills (HOU) – Mills’ final four games as a rookie resulted in eight touchdowns, and he totaled four 300-yard games on a bad team that faced the worst schedule in the NFL for 2021. This year, he enjoys the biggest positive swing in the NFL shooting up to the No. 7 best schedule strength. The Texans have been one of the most dysfunctional franchises these past few years, but at least the schedule turns around for them and Mills’ second season contains more promise than may seem at first glance.

Marcus Mariota/Desmond Ridder (ATL) – The quarterback situation isn’t certain this year, and that brings plenty of risk for a franchise that’s moved on from all the best players of recent years. Last year ended poorly for the passing effort but did face one of the worst schedules along with losing Calvin Ridley. The improved schedule will help whichever quarterback starts, but neither were there last year, so there’s no real comparison.

Matt Ryan (IND) -Although Ryan wasn’t with the Colts last year, recall his down year in Atlanta went against one of the worst schedules and now restarts his career versus the No. 6 schedule for quarterbacks. The receivers are iffy outside of Michael Pittman, and the Colts make swapping out aging quarterbacks an annual event, but at least Ryan has an easier slate of games to get his career back on track.

Carson Wentz (WAS) – Following the theme of older quarterbacks leaving town after a down year versus a bad schedule, Wentz moves to Washington where he too trades up from a No. 29 schedule to the No. 2 best for 2021.  He’s no better than an average fantasy backup, but at least he gets a more generous schedule if you have to use him for more than a bye week cover.

Jared Goff (DET) – The ex-Rams quarterback likely still feels the sting from getting dumped on the lowly Lions offense while his old team just won the Super Bowl. But he was given a few new weapons for 2022 and starts a second season with the offense. Throw in a schedule that went from No. 27 up to No. 9 and he’s another fantasy backup that should see an increase in production.

Worst schedule swings

Derek Carr (LV) – This is a bothersome development, given that Carr usually flirts with the Top-12 in recent seasons and just upgraded with Davante Adams. But that nightmare 2021 season went against the No. 9 schedule, and now the Raiders are pitted against the No. 30 quarterback schedule. That isn’t to say that Adams cannot continue to be a pass-sponge, but overall, Carr has to contend with much better secondaries for this year.

Lamar Jackson (BAL) – The reality is that Jackson is a premier running quarterback, so his matchups typically fare differently than do other quarterbacks when they face a particular defense. But it is troubling that his stats were down across the board even before ending his season early in Week 14. He’s not only facing a much more daunting schedule than 2021, the Ravens did nothing to replace the departed Marquise Brown’s 91 catches and 1,008 yards.

Aaron Rodgers (GB) – The better the quarterback, the less that the schedule matters. That could hold true for Rodgers who’s been a fantasy starter for his entire career. He doesn’t face a bad schedule so much as he enjoyed one of the easiest set of opponents last year and 2022 looks to be just average in schedule strength. Maybe not the ideal year to miss Davante Adams, but Rodgers plays bigger than his schedule anyway.

Patrick Mahomes (KC) – Like a few other elite quarterbacks, Mahomes lost Tyreek Hill, and the Chiefs only brought in a few moderately-talented replacements. The decline in schedule will have at least a minor impact and may only matter thanks to losing Hill. But Mahomes is yet another quarterback that is bigger than his schedule.

Kyler Murray (ARI) – He’s another elite quarterback who rates as a fantasy starter every year. He was banged up, as was his receivers last year, and ended on a down note. For 2022, Murray loses DeAndre Hopkins for the first six weeks of a year facing the No. 29 schedule for quarterbacks. Adding in Marquise Brown should lessen the impact and Murray is healthy again. But the schedule will have an impact, and likely most at the start of the season when Hopkins is out.

2022 Schedule Swings: Receivers

Which receiver gets a far easier schedule for 2022? Who experiences the worst drop in schedule strength?

The schedule strength for receivers is typically the least accurate compared to running backs and quarterbacks because there are two to four wideouts and a tight end that are regularly used per team, and each varies in how they mix them.

That means comparing the schedule strength between 2021 and 2022 is also harder to apply to individual players. Only the extremes are likely to matter.

The average fantasy points allowed by defenses to receivers last year were applied to each offense’s schedule to determine their true schedule strength of last year, and the same values are applied to their 2022 schedule. This includes considering both home and away venues separately for each defense.

The resulting fantasy point advantages are compared between years and their difference is their “swing points.”  The higher the Swing Points, the better their schedule is compared to last year.

Best schedule swings

Kyle Pitts / Drake London (ATL) – Applying schedule strength to receivers is never straightforward, but at least in Atlanta their receivers are mostly just Pitts and the rookie London. The Falcons trade the worst schedule for receivers for 2021 for an advantageous No. 6. A shaky backfield means the passing game will be needed often, though the quarterback situation is less than optimal to start their rebuilding year.

Terry McLaurin / Jahan Dotson (WAS) – Streaking from the No. 28 up to the No. 1 schedule for receivers is bound to benefit McLaurin and even the rookie Dotson who is projected to be a starter. There’s a new quarterback in Washington, but Carson Wentz should be good enough to help the Commander’s receivers to find some advantage in the lightest cast of opponents.

D.J. Moore / Robby Anderson (CAR) – The Panthers passing game declined last year, especially for Anderson, but should see at least an incremental turnaround, no longer fighting one of the worst schedules for receivers. Sam Darnold is running out of chances to prove himself but should be able to connect better with Moore and Anderson for 2022.

Stefon Diggs / Dawson Knox BUF) – One of the elite passing offenses in the league hardly needs any extra advantages, but the Bills swing over to one of the lightest in the NFL and Josh Allen already has chemistry with Diggs, Knox and Gabriel Davis. The wideouts already ranked No. 1 in the NFL with 443 targets in 2021. Maybe this year, they’ll catch even more.

Worst schedule swings

Amari Cooper / Donovan Peoples-Jones (CLE) – The Browns ranked in the Bottom-3 for most receiving categories for wideouts last year and upgrading to an aging Amari Cooper may not be the boost they need. Facing the worst schedule for receivers after flopping against the No. 9 last year doesn’t bode well for an increase in receiver production.

Cooper Kupp / Allen Robinson (LAR) – There’s no mistaking that the Rams face a much tougher schedule this year, but Kupp was already churning out astronomic stats and Robinson is a clear upgrade for the No. 2 wideout. The Rams are likely to be challenged to run well, and Matt Stafford led them to a Super Bowl win last year as the No. 1 offense in wideout catches, yards, and touchdowns. This isn’t a feel-good addition to their outlook, but if any receivers can be better than their schedule, it is the Rams.

Justin Jefferson / Adam Thielen (MIN) – Similar to the Rams, the Vikes enjoyed one of the lightest schedules for receivers in 2021, and now face the No. 25 toughest slate of games for the position. And as with the Rams, the Vikings receivers – principally Jefferson – are elite and should be better than their opponents.

Diontae Johnson / Chase Claypool (PIT) – This is a concern for the Steelers wideouts and tight ends. Their schedule was just average last year, and falls to only No. 31 while installing a new quarterback(s) for the first time since 2004. And the receivers were already ranked No. 31 last year with just 10.9 yards per catch by wide receivers. The ability to throw downfield will improve regardless of which non-Roethlisberger quarterback starts, but connecting with receivers could be tougher regardless.

2022 Schedule Swings: Running Backs

Which RB gets a far easier schedule for 2022? Who experiences the worst drop in schedule strength?

The schedule strength for running backs is always the most accurate among fantasy positions thanks to their volume of work and the tendency of teams to feature the run and rely more consistently on individual players. That makes this analysis the most reliable.

The average fantasy points allowed by defenses to running backs last year were applied to each offense’s schedule to determine their true schedule strength of last year, and applied the same values to their 2022 schedule. This includes considering both home and away venues separately for each defense.

The resulting fantasy point advantages are compared between years and their difference is their “swing points.”  The higher the Swing Points, the better their schedule is compared to last year. This analysis is actually more interesting than standard schedule strength. You know what happened last year with players – do they get an easier or tougher schedule for 2022?

Both the Bears and Dolphins have a Top-5 schedule for running backs, but they had great schedules last year as well, so there’s no boost for their offenses.

Best schedule swings

Seattle Backfield – This is worth tracking through the offseason because whoever tops the depth chart gets to face an easy schedule, far better than the No. 31 they faced last year.  Chris Carson’s neck injury is a major question mark, Rashaad Penny has been an injury waiting to happen aside from a handful of games last year, and they tabbed Kenneth Walker as the second running back drafted back in April. Losing Russell Wilson already has the Seahawks looking to do more with the run and a friendlier schedule should help accommodate that plan – whichever back can take advantage.

Devin Singletary/James Cook (BUF) – The Bills backfield only ranked No. 31 in carries last year, and their schedule (No. 19) was mostly average. They upgraded to the No. 1 running back schedule in total points for 2022 which should encourage more rushing, and the rookie James Cook was the third running back taken in the NFL draft.  But so long as Josh Allen is the quarterback of the pass-happy scheme, the backfield won’t likely take full advantage of a schedule gift this year.

D’Andre Swift/Jamaal Williams (DET) – The fantasy community is higher on the oft-dinged Swift and the schedule makes that sentiment even stronger. Rocketing up from the No. 26 spot to the No. 2 will make a difference so long as Swift can stay healthy. The Lions’ offensive talent promises to be at least incrementally better this season and facing a lighter set of opponents will improve them even further.

J.K. Dobbins (BAL) – The Ravens backfield is another unit that is a committee with a lot more questions than answers. Dobbins and Gus Edwards return (probably) from injury. Mike Davis and the rookie Tyler Badie were added. The Ravens’ backfield struggled with injuries last year and ranked in the Bottom-5 for most running back categories. The schedule lightens up significantly but the roles of individually players remain murky.

Antonio Gibson/J.D. McKissic/Brian Robinson (WAS) – There’s a definite bump up in ease of schedule for the Commanders’ backfield, but the division of labor appears to be even greater this season. McKissic returns for the third-down role, Gibson was good last year but not as great as hoped, and they added the bull Robinson who could figure in for short-yardage and goal-line work.  Gibson could lose at least minor touches, but at least he’ll have an easier schedule for an advantage.

Worst schedule swings

Aaron Jones/AJ Dillon (GB) – The Packers backfield ranked slightly above average in most fantasy metrics last year but even that may be hard to replicate in a season where they drop from the No. 2 to the No. 25 schedule for running backs. The backfield already split touches between Jones (223) and Dillon (224) last season and now they’ll face tougher defenses. Jones is less likely to be impacted as the primary receiver in the backfield.

Najee Harris (PIT) – The shift to a non-Roethlisberger offense already casts uncertainty on the offense and Harris already was one of the elite backs as a rookie, so he’ll be challenged to repeat his great 2021. Falling from No. 4 to No. 27 in schedule strength will have an impact, but his role as a rusher and how often he’ll be used as a receiver with Mitchell Trubisky under center remains unknown.

Cam Akers (LAR) – Tearing his Achilles erased his 2021 season other than returning very late and doing very little. Now Akers will be a year removed from the same injury that ended most players’ careers and he has to face a decline from the No. 3 schedule of last year to only No. 24. The Rams’ backfield was only average in rushing for 2021 and in the Bottom-3 in all receiving categories for running backs. Akers has an uphill battle to meet the expectations that he spawned last year before his injury.

Josh Jacobs (LV) – After two seasons of mostly RB1-level production, Jacobs’ outlook isn’t as shiny as it once was. He’s due to be a free agent in 2023 and isn’t expected to be a great fit for the new Patriots-style offense that new head coach Josh McDaniels is installing. The backfield is already a bit murky with Kenyan Drake returning from a broken ankle, ex-Patriot Brandon Bolden signing, and drafting Georgia’s Zamir White who some speculate could replace Jacobs this year. The Raiders faced the No. 20 schedule for running backs in 2021 and now are pitted against the No. 32 slate of opponents for this season. It all casts shadows that may never turn bright.

2022 Fantasy Strength of Schedule: Running Backs

2022 fantasy strength of schedule for running backs

Schedule strength for running backs considers both rushing and receiving yards as today’s players rarely rely on just running production anymore. The analysis also considers the venue. There is a difference between how defenses respond either home or away, which creates 64 “different defensive matchups” depending on where the game is played.

See also:
2022 fantasy football schedule strength – Quarterbacks
2022 fantasy football schedule strength – Running Backs
2022 fantasy football schedule strength – Receivers

The scoring was a point for every ten yards rushing or receiving, six-point touchdowns, and a point per reception. The average fantasy points allowed to running backs are at the bottom of this page for reference.

Total Points

Below are the total points for each backfield according to their schedule, using the averages allowed in 2021 by those defenses.

BUF DET CHI SEA MIA NE BAL CAR LAC WAS IND
422 412 412 411 411 410 410 409 407 406 406
KC DEN NYJ SF DAL NO JAC CLE TEN ARI
405 403 402 401 401 400 398 397 396 395
CIN PHI LAR GB MIN PIT ATL NYG HOU TB LV
394 393 393 393 392 392 389 388 385 381 381

The differences do not appear dramatic. And the Bills and Lions are primarily passing teams with committee backfields. David Montgomery is nicely situated but will be in a new offense.  The Seahawks, Dolphins, Patriots, and Ravens are the next best, but all also rely on a combination of several running backs.

Weekly Play

Three different views are below. Week 1 to 17 is the full-season fantasy strength of schedule. “The Dorey Rule” says to draft by considering the first six weeks for a hot start. Finally, Weeks 15 to 17 represent the most common fantasy playoff weeks. “Good” games against a Top-22 venue from last year; “Bad” was when they played in one of the Bottom-22. Bye weeks were also considered as “bad”.

Notable schedules

Antonio Gibson / J.D. McKissic (WAS) – The Commanders’ schedule is very advantageous for their running backs. As it works out, they battle three bad matchups by Week 6 but then the only remaining negative is a Week 14 bye. Better yet, six of their final nine weeks contain weaker defenses and Weeks 15 and 17 are at home versus the Giants and Browns. The workload looks to be more distributed this year, and there is the specter of Brian Robinson Jr. cutting into the workload. By midseason, the schedule looks profitable for the backfield.

Ravens Backfield (BAL) – One of the murkier backfields gets a lighter slate of games. Both J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards return from injury, Mike Davis was added and Tyler Baddie was drafted. The best part of this schedule is Weeks 1 to 8 which contain five soft matchups and no bad ones. The second half of the season is much less favorable, but at least they end up with home games against the Falcons and Steelers during fantasy playoffs.

D’Andre Swift / Jamaal Williams (DET) –  The Lions face one of the better schedules for running backs with a nice opening to the season with three of five matchups favorable and ending with only one tough venue in the final seven games of the fantasy season. D’Andre Swift already enters 2022 with promise, and his schedule will work with him if he can stay healthy.

Rashaad Penny / Kenneth Walker (SEA) – The respective roles are up for grabs in the Seattle backfield, but an intention to run more and a kind schedule should help. After Week 6, the only negatives are the bye and Week 14 versus the 49ers. Overall, this could let the rookie Kenneth Walker shine if Rashaad Penny continues to have injury issues. Fantasy championships at home versus the Jets sound like a winner.

Devin Singletary / James Cook (BUF) – Another backfield with less clarity after the Bills made James Cook as the third running back taken in the NFL draft. Devin Singletary likely remains the primary back but faces a tough opening with three bad matchups over the initial four games. It clears up the rest of the way with only a bye and Week 16 at the Bears, but otherwise, they enjoy seven favorable matchups between Weeks 5 to 14.

Dalvin Cook (MIN) – The Vikings’ stud running back has already fallen in fantasy drafts this year and that’s likely compounded with a glance at his schedule.  Cook battles a brutal stretch between Weeks 4 and 12, with every matchup in a tough venue other than hosting the Bears in Week 5 as a neutral pairing. It lightens over the final five games but still plays the Colts and at the Packers during fantasy playoffs.

Najee Harris (PIT) – The top rookie rusher last year, Najee Harris was a fantasy goldmine but he’ll have a tougher time repeating with a new quarterback and a schedule that contains just three favorable venues against eight top defenses plus a bye week. Even his fantasy playoffs holds road trips to the Panthers and Ravens.

Josh Jacobs / Kenyan Drake (LV) – There’s a chance that even the rookie Zamir White could also limit what Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake accomplish this year. Jacobs star isn’t as bright, and Drake returns from a broken ankle. Worse yet, after opening at the Chargers, the Raiders don’t have a favorable matchup until Week 12. And when you need them the most, this backfield faces the 49ers, Patriots and Steelers during fantasy playoffs.

2022 weekly grid

Week ARI ATL BAL BUF CAR CHI CIN CLE
1 KC NO @NYJ @LAR CLE SF PIT @CAR
2 @LV @LAR MIA TEN @NYG @GB @DAL NYJ
3 LAR @SEA @NE @MIA NO HOU @NYJ PIT
4 @CAR CLE BUF @BAL ARI @NYG MIA @ATL
5 PHI @TB CIN PIT SF @MIN @BAL LAC
6 @SEA SF @NYG @KC @LAR WAS @NO NE
7 NO @CIN CLE bye TB @NE ATL @BAL
8 @MIN CAR @TB GB @ATL @DAL @CLE CIN
9 SEA LAC @NO @NYJ @CIN MIA CAR bye
10 @LAR @CAR bye MIN ATL DET bye @MIA
11 SF CHI CAR CLE @BAL @ATL @PIT @BUF
12 LAC @WAS @JAC @DET DEN @NYJ @TEN TB
13 bye PIT DEN @NE bye GB KC @HOU
14 NE bye @PIT NYJ @SEA bye CLE @CIN
15 @DEN @NO @CLE MIA PIT PHI @TB BAL
16 TB @BAL ATL @CHI DET BUF @NE NO
17 @ATL ARI PIT @CIN @TB @DET BUF @WAS
18 @SF TB @CIN NE @NO MIN BAL @PIT
DAL DEN DET GB HOU IND JAC KC
1 TB @SEA PHI @MIN IND @HOU @WAS @ARI
2 CIN HOU WAS CHI @DEN @JAC IND LAC
3 @NYG SF @MIN @TB @CHI KC @LAC @IND
4 WAS @LV SEA NE LAC TEN @PHI @TB
5 @LAR IND @NE NYG @JAC @DEN HOU LV
6 @PHI @LAC bye NYJ bye JAC @IND BUF
7 DET NYJ @DAL @WAS @LV @TEN NYG @SF
8 CHI @JAC MIA @BUF TEN WAS DEN bye
9 bye bye GB @DET PHI @NE LV TEN
10 @GB @TEN @CHI DAL @NYG @LV @KC JAC
11 @MIN LV @NYG TEN WAS PHI bye @LAC
12 NYG @CAR BUF @PHI @MIA PIT BAL LAR
13 IND @BAL JAC @CHI CLE @DAL @DET @CIN
14 HOU KC MIN bye @DAL bye @TEN @DEN
15 @JAC ARI @NYJ LAR KC @MIN DAL @HOU
16 PHI @LAR @CAR @MIA @TEN LAC @NYJ SEA
17 @TEN @KC CHI MIN JAC @NYG @HOU DEN
18 @WAS LAC @GB DET @IND HOU TEN @LV
LAC LAR LV MIA MIN NE NO NYG
1 LV BUF @LAC NE GB @MIA @ATL @TEN
2 @KC ATL ARI @BAL @PHI @PIT TB CAR
3 JAC @ARI @TEN BUF DET BAL @CAR DAL
4 @HOU @SF DEN @CIN @NO @GB MIN CHI
5 @CLE DAL @KC @NYJ CHI DET SEA @GB
6 DEN CAR bye MIN @MIA @CLE CIN BAL
7 SEA bye HOU PIT bye CHI @ARI @JAC
8 bye SF @NO @DET ARI @NYJ LV @SEA
9 @ATL @TB @JAC @CHI @WAS IND BAL bye
10 @SF ARI IND CLE @BUF bye @PIT HOU
11 KC @NO @DEN bye DAL NYJ LAR DET
12 @ARI @KC @SEA HOU NE @MIN @SF @DAL
13 @LV SEA LAC @SF NYJ BUF @TB WAS
14 MIA LV @LAR @LAC @DET @ARI bye PHI
15 TEN @GB NE @BUF IND @LV ATL @WAS
16 @IND DEN @PIT GB NYG CIN @CLE @MIN
17 LAR @LAC SF @NE @GB MIA @PHI IND
18 @DEN @SEA KC NYJ @CHI @BUF CAR @PHI
NYJ PHI PIT SEA SF TB TEN WAS
1 BAL @DET @CIN DEN @CHI @DAL NYG JAC
2 @CLE MIN NE @SF SEA @NO @BUF @DET
3 CIN @WAS @CLE ATL @DEN GB LV PHI
4 @PIT JAC NYJ @DET LAR KC @IND @DAL
5 MIA @ARI @BUF @NO @CAR ATL @WAS TEN
6 @GB DAL TB ARI @ATL @PIT bye @CHI
7 @DEN bye @MIA @LAC KC @CAR IND GB
8 NE PIT @PHI NYG @LAR BAL @HOU @IND
9 BUF @HOU bye @ARI bye LAR @KC MIN
10 bye WAS NO @TB LAC SEA DEN @PHI
11 @NE @IND CIN bye @ARI bye @GB @HOU
12 CHI GB @IND LV NO @CLE CIN ATL
13 @MIN TEN @ATL @LAR MIA NO @PHI @NYG
14 @BUF @NYG BAL CAR TB @SF JAC bye
15 DET @CHI @CAR SF @SEA CIN @LAC NYG
16 JAC @DAL LV @KC WAS @ARI HOU @SF
17 @SEA NO @BAL NYJ @LV CAR DAL CLE
18 @MIA NYG CLE LAR ARI @ATL @JAC DAL

 

Fantasy points allowed per game to running backs

These are the values applied to this year’s schedule to determine strength of schedule for running backs.

NYJ 36.1 @SF 24.7 @BUF 21.5
DET 31.1 @PHI 24.7 @DEN 21.5
@SEA 30.8 @ATL 24.6 TB 21.3
SEA 30.7 @KC 24.6 NE 21.2
PIT 29.7 HOU 24.6 @NO 20.9
@NYJ 29.6 MIA 24.5 @CHI 20.8
@NYG 27.1 @CIN 24.3 @CLE 20.6
@LVR 26.9 @MIN 24.2 @PIT 20.6
LVR 26.4 @TB 24.1 TEN 20.5
CIN 26.1 KC 23.6 DAL 20.5
@LAC 26.0 @IND 23.5 @DAL 20.3
@NE 25.9 GB 23.4 @CAR 20.3
WAS 25.8 PHI 23.3 @BAL 20.2
@HOU 25.6 CHI 23.0 @MIA 20.2
CLE 25.5 @ARI 22.9 @GB 20.1
ATL 25.3 BAL 22.5 @WAS 20.1
NYG 25.2 DEN 22.2 ARI 19.6
@LAR 25.2 @JAC 22.2 SF 19.3
LAC 25.1 CAR 21.9 LAR 18.9
MIN 25.0 BUF 21.9 IND 18.0
JAC 24.9 @TEN 17.4
@DET 24.9 NO 16.8

 

2022 Fantasy Strength of Schedule: Quarterbacks

2022 fantasy strength of schedule for quarterbacks

The Huddle created the fantasy football schedule strength by positions back in 1997 and has continuously tweaked and refined it. This provides an early expectation for your fantasy players by applying the averages allowed by defenses last year to current schedules.

The analysis also considers the venue. There is a difference between how defenses respond either home or away, which creates 64  individual “defensive matchups” depending on the game location.

See also:
2022 fantasy football schedule strength – Quarterbacks
2022 fantasy football schedule strength – Running Backs
2022 fantasy football schedule strength – Receivers

The scoring was a point for every 20 passing yards and four -point touchdowns. Rushing is a point for every ten yards and six-point scores. The average passing fantasy points allowed by defenses to quarterbacks are at the bottom of this page for reference.

Total Points

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 2021 by those defenses.

PHI WAS BUF CIN JAC IND HOU SF DET CHI LAC
401 400 396 394 391 390 389 388 387 385 384
DEN NYG TB ATL NO SEA GB DAL CAR TEN
383 383 382 382 382 379 378 378 378 377
MIN MIA KC NE BAL LAR CLE ARI LV PIT NYJ
377 375 374 373 370 369 367 365 362 362 356

The Eagles fare the best – nice timing with an upgraded set of receivers. The poor Jets catch no break with the toughest overall schedule fantasy point-wise for quarterbacks. The addition of Davante Adams in Las Vegas comes at an opportune time for David Carr since he and Kyler Murray face a more daunting overall schedule.

Weekly Play

Three different views are below. Week 1 to 17 is the full-season fantasy strength of schedule. “The Dorey Rule” says to draft by considering 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. Bye weeks were also considered as “bad”.

 

Notable schedules

Carson Wentz (WAS) –  He’s been below-average for the last couple of seasons, but Wentz lands in an opportune spot with Terry McLaurin and the rookie Jahan Dotson as starting wideouts and the lightest schedule of any quarterback. He opens the year with nine favorable matchups against just one bad game over the first 12 weeks before ending the season with a less advantageous stretch. For those who like to stream quarterbacks, Wentz should be a consideration.

Josh Allen (BUF) – He’s the consensus No. 1 fantasy quarterback again this year, so he doesn’t need any help. But Allen only faces an opening schedule at the Rams and at the Dolphins in the first three weeks, then the two matchups versus the Patriots are the only bad matchups the rest of the way.

Jalen Hurts (PHI) – When the Eagles acquired A.J. Brown, Hurts fantasy stock already took a bump up. Add that to second-year DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert and Hurts should see better stats opening up with just one bad matchup over his first 13 games while facing nine of the more advantageous defensive venues. His playoff stretch is much less appealing with a string of road games when fantasy leagues are ending.

Trevor Lawrence (JAC) – Last season’s 1.01 draft pick, Lawrence suffered through a nightmarish rookie campaign complete with losing layers of offensive starters and arguably the worst coaching situation in recent history. The receivers were upgraded with Evan Engram and Christian Kirk, and Travis Etienne gets his mulligan from a lost rookie year. Add that to a more fortunate slate of games that opens lightly without a bad matchup until the Broncos in Week 8 and four of the final six weeks versus the weaker secondaries of last year.

Joe Burrow (CIN) – Like Josh Allen, Joe Burrow is already better than any schedule, but he still lands one of the better opening stretches in the league with soft matchups in each of his first seven games. He’ll be more challenged to finish up fantasy playoffs with road venues in Tampa Bay and New England, and then hosting the Bills in Week 17.

Zach Wilson (NYJ) – The Jets have retooled and should see more success on offense in head coach Robert Saleh’s second season. But Zach Wilson will be fighting the worst schedule of any NFL quarterback. Starting in Week 2, he enjoys only one of the lighter defensive matchups while going against the better secondaries in almost every game until, mercifully, facing the visiting Jaguars in Week 16.

Kyler Murray (ARI) – The schedule is a new complication for Kyler Murray. The Cardinals open against the visiting Chiefs and never again face a defensive venue in the Bottom-20 from last year. Neutral games against the Buccaneers and Falcons end the fantasy season, but there’s no advantage to this schedule along the way.

2022 weekly schedule strength by team

ARI ATL BAL BUF CAR CHI CIN CLE
1 KC NO @NYJ @LAR CLE SF PIT @CAR
2 @LV @LAR MIA TEN @NYG @GB @DAL NYJ
3 LAR @SEA @NE @MIA NO HOU @NYJ PIT
4 @CAR CLE BUF @BAL ARI @NYG MIA @ATL
5 PHI @TB CIN PIT SF @MIN @BAL LAC
6 @SEA SF @NYG @KC @LAR WAS @NO NE
7 NO @CIN CLE bye TB @NE ATL @BAL
8 @MIN CAR @TB GB @ATL @DAL @CLE CIN
9 SEA LAC @NO @NYJ @CIN MIA CAR bye
10 @LAR @CAR bye MIN ATL DET bye @MIA
11 SF CHI CAR CLE @BAL @ATL @PIT @BUF
12 LAC @WAS @JAC @DET DEN @NYJ @TEN TB
13 bye PIT DEN @NE bye GB KC @HOU
14 NE bye @PIT NYJ @SEA bye CLE @CIN
15 @DEN @NO @CLE MIA PIT PHI @TB BAL
16 TB @BAL ATL @CHI DET BUF @NE NO
17 @ATL ARI PIT @CIN @TB @DET BUF @WAS
18 @SF TB @CIN NE @NO MIN BAL @PIT
DAL DEN DET GB HOU IND JAC KC
1 TB @SEA PHI @MIN IND @HOU @WAS @ARI
2 CIN HOU WAS CHI @DEN @JAC IND LAC
3 @NYG SF @MIN @TB @CHI KC @LAC @IND
4 WAS @LV SEA NE LAC TEN @PHI @TB
5 @LAR IND @NE NYG @JAC @DEN HOU LV
6 @PHI @LAC bye NYJ bye JAC @IND BUF
7 DET NYJ @DAL @WAS @LV @TEN NYG @SF
8 CHI @JAC MIA @BUF TEN WAS DEN bye
9 bye bye GB @DET PHI @NE LV TEN
10 @GB @TEN @CHI DAL @NYG @LV @KC JAC
11 @MIN LV @NYG TEN WAS PHI bye @LAC
12 NYG @CAR BUF @PHI @MIA PIT BAL LAR
13 IND @BAL JAC @CHI CLE @DAL @DET @CIN
14 HOU KC MIN bye @DAL bye @TEN @DEN
15 @JAC ARI @NYJ LAR KC @MIN DAL @HOU
16 PHI @LAR @CAR @MIA @TEN LAC @NYJ SEA
17 @TEN @KC CHI MIN JAC @NYG @HOU DEN
18 @WAS LAC @GB DET @IND HOU TEN @LV
LAC LAR LV MIA MIN NE NO NYG
1 LV BUF @LAC NE GB @MIA @ATL @TEN
2 @KC ATL ARI @BAL @PHI @PIT TB CAR
3 JAC @ARI @TEN BUF DET BAL @CAR DAL
4 @HOU @SF DEN @CIN @NO @GB MIN CHI
5 @CLE DAL @KC @NYJ CHI DET SEA @GB
6 DEN CAR bye MIN @MIA @CLE CIN BAL
7 SEA bye HOU PIT bye CHI @ARI @JAC
8 bye SF @NO @DET ARI @NYJ LV @SEA
9 @ATL @TB @JAC @CHI @WAS IND BAL bye
10 @SF ARI IND CLE @BUF bye @PIT HOU
11 KC @NO @DEN bye DAL NYJ LAR DET
12 @ARI @KC @SEA HOU NE @MIN @SF @DAL
13 @LV SEA LAC @SF NYJ BUF @TB WAS
14 MIA LV @LAR @LAC @DET @ARI bye PHI
15 TEN @GB NE @BUF IND @LV ATL @WAS
16 @IND DEN @PIT GB NYG CIN @CLE @MIN
17 LAR @LAC SF @NE @GB MIA @PHI IND
18 @DEN @SEA KC NYJ @CHI @BUF CAR @PHI
NYJ PHI PIT SEA SF TB TEN WAS
1 BAL @DET @CIN DEN @CHI @DAL NYG JAC
2 @CLE MIN NE @SF SEA @NO @BUF @DET
3 CIN @WAS @CLE ATL @DEN GB LV PHI
4 @PIT JAC NYJ @DET LAR KC @IND @DAL
5 MIA @ARI @BUF @NO @CAR ATL @WAS TEN
6 @GB DAL TB ARI @ATL @PIT bye @CHI
7 @DEN bye @MIA @LAC KC @CAR IND GB
8 NE PIT @PHI NYG @LAR BAL @HOU @IND
9 BUF @HOU bye @ARI bye LAR @KC MIN
10 bye WAS NO @TB LAC SEA DEN @PHI
11 @NE @IND CIN bye @ARI bye @GB @HOU
12 CHI GB @IND LV NO @CLE CIN ATL
13 @MIN TEN @ATL @LAR MIA NO @PHI @NYG
14 @BUF @NYG BAL CAR TB @SF JAC bye
15 DET @CHI @CAR SF @SEA CIN @LAC NYG
16 JAC @DAL LV @KC WAS @ARI HOU @SF
17 @SEA NO @BAL NYJ @LV CAR DAL CLE
18 @MIA NYG CLE LAR ARI @ATL @JAC DAL

Fantasy points per venue allowed to quarterbacks

These are the values applied to this year’s schedule to determine strength of schedule for quarterbacks.

KC 29.7 @TB 23.6 @DEN 21.5
WAS 29.6 @CIN 23.6 @SEA 21.5
@PHI 27.4 @IND 23.5 DET 21.4
ATL 26.1 SF 23.3 @NE 21.4
@DAL 26.1 TB 23.1 @CAR 21.3
MIN 26.1 CHI 23.1 DAL 21.2
CLE 25.9 @ARI 23.0 @PIT 20.8
MIA 25.6 @LVR 23.0 LVR 20.8
GB 25.1 @ATL 22.8 CIN 20.5
BAL 25.0 HOU 22.8 @SF 20.3
JAC 24.9 @LAC 22.4 @JAC 20.2
@WAS 24.8 @CHI 22.4 @LAR 20.0
TEN 24.8 LAR 22.3 CAR 19.8
@DET 24.7 @GB 22.3 NO 19.5
@BAL 24.6 ARI 22.2 DEN 19.1
@NO 24.4 @MIN 22.1 BUF 18.6
NYJ 24.3 @TEN 22.1 @NYG 18.6
NYG 24.2 @KC 21.9 @MIA 18.5
IND 24.2 SEA 21.9 @CLE 18.2
@NYJ 24.1 LAC 21.8 PHI 17.8
PIT 24.0 NE 15.2
@HOU 23.9 @BUF 15.1

 

2022 Fantasy Strength of Schedule: Receivers

2022 fantasy strength of schedule for receivers

The strength of schedule for receivers lumps wide receivers and tight ends together since each team uses the positions differently. The reality is that while the overall averages are interesting, no position is as sensitive to individual matchups as are receivers facing particular defensive backs. This makes the  analysis less accurate than for running backs and quarterbacks.

The analysis also considers the venue. There is a difference between how defenses respond either home or away, and that creates 64 “different defensive matchups” depending on where the game is played.

See also:
2022 fantasy football schedule strength – Quarterbacks
2022 fantasy football schedule strength – Running Backs
2022 fantasy football schedule strength – Receivers

The average passing fantasy points allowed by defenses for receivers last year is at the bottom of this page for reference.

Total Points

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 2021 by those defenses.

WAS JAC BUF NYG PHI ATL LAC DEN KC CIN CAR
713 710 710 705 703 701 699 693 692 687 687
CHI DET TB DAL NO SEA IND GB NE SF
685 683 682 682 681 681 681 677 677 677
HOU TEN MIA MIN LAR ARI LV BAL NYJ PIT CLE
675 675 674 673 672 662 660 659 653 649 646

The NFC East all fare the best while the AFC North goes against the toughest slate of games for receivers. But these are total numbers for all receivers, so they are less revealing for individual performances.

Weekly Play

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 playoffs. “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. Bye weeks were considered “Bad”.

Notable schedules

Terry McLaurin / Jahan Dotson (WAS) – The Commanders switch to Carson Wentz at quarterback while Terry McLaurin comes off two straight 1,000-yards season and 1.16 pick Jahan Dotson is expected to start. McLaurin has been light on touchdowns but that should get some relief facing the lightest schedule for receivers. The Commanders only three of the toughest venues and an NFL-high ten games facing favorable matchups. After Week 7, they only face one tough opponent while the new passing game should be coming together.

Marvin Jones / Christian Kirk / Evan Engram (JAC) – While not the flashiest starting wideouts, the Jaguars get a reset from the disaster of 2021, and Trevor Lawrence will use his trio of receivers to get back on track. Other than Weeks 8 to 10, the schedule serves up nine positive matchups and starts with six of the first seven games versus weaker secondaries. After the initial month of the season, it should be apparent if the Jaguars are on the path to improvement.

Kenny Golladay / Kadarius Toney (NYG) -A change in coaching should help the lackluster passing of Daniel Jones, and while the schedule isn’t chock full of light matchups, it is kind with only one game against a tougher venue. It’s a middle-of-the-road slate of opponents but a chance for the new offense to come together.

A.J. Brown / Devonta Smith / Dallas Goedert (PHI) – The expectations for the Eagles shot up with the acquisition of A.J. Brown to the passing offense. A favorable set of opponents only makes improvement even more likely. Their schedule through Week 13 is as advantageous as any in the NFL with eight favorable matchups and no tough weeks. That goes away with three of the four next weeks facing stingy defensive venues right when fantasy playoffs kick off.

Rashod Bateman / Devin Duverney / Mark Andrews (BAL) – The Ravens lost Marquise Brown and are left with only Andrews as a proven receiving weapon. Making it worse – they own the worst schedule for receivers. They face just two favorable matchups, and those are done by Week 7. Bateman is a popular sleeper as the new No. 1 wideout, but he faces eight of the worst defensive venues.

Diontae Johnson / Chase Claypool (PIT) – The Steelers enter their new era without Ben Roethlisberger and could switch quarterbacks during the season. The receivers adjusted to the short-yardage passes last year and while they can once again run downfield, they’ll be shadowed by mostly solid defensive backs. After Week 1,  the next six games contain five tough venues. That should slow down progress while the Steelers decide on which quarterback to rely on.

DeAndre Hopkins / Marquise Brown (ARI) – Hopkins is already suspended for six weeks, and after he returns, the Cardinals only enjoy one softer matchup while going against five of the tougher venues over the next seven weeks. With Christian Kirk gone, Kyler Murray has to adjust to new starting wideouts without Hopkins while going against a tougher stretch of games over the first half of the season. 

2022 weekly grid

Week ARI ATL BAL BUF CAR CHI CIN CLE
1 KC NO @NYJ @LAR CLE SF PIT @CAR
2 @LV @LAR MIA TEN @NYG @GB @DAL NYJ
3 LAR @SEA @NE @MIA NO HOU @NYJ PIT
4 @CAR CLE BUF @BAL ARI @NYG MIA @ATL
5 PHI @TB CIN PIT SF @MIN @BAL LAC
6 @SEA SF @NYG @KC @LAR WAS @NO NE
7 NO @CIN CLE bye TB @NE ATL @BAL
8 @MIN CAR @TB GB @ATL @DAL @CLE CIN
9 SEA LAC @NO @NYJ @CIN MIA CAR bye
10 @LAR @CAR bye MIN ATL DET bye @MIA
11 SF CHI CAR CLE @BAL @ATL @PIT @BUF
12 LAC @WAS @JAC @DET DEN @NYJ @TEN TB
13 bye PIT DEN @NE bye GB KC @HOU
14 NE bye @PIT NYJ @SEA bye CLE @CIN
15 @DEN @NO @CLE MIA PIT PHI @TB BAL
16 TB @BAL ATL @CHI DET BUF @NE NO
17 @ATL ARI PIT @CIN @TB @DET BUF @WAS
18 @SF TB @CIN NE @NO MIN BAL @PIT
DAL DEN DET GB HOU IND JAC KC
1 TB @SEA PHI @MIN IND @HOU @WAS @ARI
2 CIN HOU WAS CHI @DEN @JAC IND LAC
3 @NYG SF @MIN @TB @CHI KC @LAC @IND
4 WAS @LV SEA NE LAC TEN @PHI @TB
5 @LAR IND @NE NYG @JAC @DEN HOU LV
6 @PHI @LAC bye NYJ bye JAC @IND BUF
7 DET NYJ @DAL @WAS @LV @TEN NYG @SF
8 CHI @JAC MIA @BUF TEN WAS DEN bye
9 bye bye GB @DET PHI @NE LV TEN
10 @GB @TEN @CHI DAL @NYG @LV @KC JAC
11 @MIN LV @NYG TEN WAS PHI bye @LAC
12 NYG @CAR BUF @PHI @MIA PIT BAL LAR
13 IND @BAL JAC @CHI CLE @DAL @DET @CIN
14 HOU KC MIN bye @DAL bye @TEN @DEN
15 @JAC ARI @NYJ LAR KC @MIN DAL @HOU
16 PHI @LAR @CAR @MIA @TEN LAC @NYJ SEA
17 @TEN @KC CHI MIN JAC @NYG @HOU DEN
18 @WAS LAC @GB DET @IND HOU TEN @LV
LAC LAR LV MIA MIN NE NO NYG
1 LV BUF @LAC NE GB @MIA @ATL @TEN
2 @KC ATL ARI @BAL @PHI @PIT TB CAR
3 JAC @ARI @TEN BUF DET BAL @CAR DAL
4 @HOU @SF DEN @CIN @NO @GB MIN CHI
5 @CLE DAL @KC @NYJ CHI DET SEA @GB
6 DEN CAR bye MIN @MIA @CLE CIN BAL
7 SEA bye HOU PIT bye CHI @ARI @JAC
8 bye SF @NO @DET ARI @NYJ LV @SEA
9 @ATL @TB @JAC @CHI @WAS IND BAL bye
10 @SF ARI IND CLE @BUF bye @PIT HOU
11 KC @NO @DEN bye DAL NYJ LAR DET
12 @ARI @KC @SEA HOU NE @MIN @SF @DAL
13 @LV SEA LAC @SF NYJ BUF @TB WAS
14 MIA LV @LAR @LAC @DET @ARI bye PHI
15 TEN @GB NE @BUF IND @LV ATL @WAS
16 @IND DEN @PIT GB NYG CIN @CLE @MIN
17 LAR @LAC SF @NE @GB MIA @PHI IND
18 @DEN @SEA KC NYJ @CHI @BUF CAR @PHI
NYJ PHI PIT SEA SF TB TEN WAS
1 BAL @DET @CIN DEN @CHI @DAL NYG JAC
2 @CLE MIN NE @SF SEA @NO @BUF @DET
3 CIN @WAS @CLE ATL @DEN GB LV PHI
4 @PIT JAC NYJ @DET LAR KC @IND @DAL
5 MIA @ARI @BUF @NO @CAR ATL @WAS TEN
6 @GB DAL TB ARI @ATL @PIT bye @CHI
7 @DEN bye @MIA @LAC KC @CAR IND GB
8 NE PIT @PHI NYG @LAR BAL @HOU @IND
9 BUF @HOU bye @ARI bye LAR @KC MIN
10 bye WAS NO @TB LAC SEA DEN @PHI
11 @NE @IND CIN bye @ARI bye @GB @HOU
12 CHI GB @IND LV NO @CLE CIN ATL
13 @MIN TEN @ATL @LAR MIA NO @PHI @NYG
14 @BUF @NYG BAL CAR TB @SF JAC bye
15 DET @CHI @CAR SF @SEA CIN @LAC NYG
16 JAC @DAL LV @KC WAS @ARI HOU @SF
17 @SEA NO @BAL NYJ @LV CAR DAL CLE
18 @MIA NYG CLE LAR ARI @ATL @JAC DAL

 

Fantasy points allowed per game to quarterbacks

These are the values applied to this year’s schedule to determine strength of schedule for wide receivers and tight ends.

TEN 49.5 DAL 42.1 @LAR 39.0
CLE 48.6 SF 41.9 LVR 39.0
@CIN 48.5 @NO 41.7 @LVR 38.7
BAL 47.9 @JAC 41.6 @TB 38.3
MIA 47.5 SEA 41.5 @KC 38.2
@DET 47.3 WAS 41.3 @CAR 37.9
@MIN 46.4 @ARI 41.2 @PIT 36.9
@BAL 46.2 @NYJ 41.2 LAC 36.6
GB 46.1 ATL 41.1 NYJ 36.5
CHI 45.8 @DAL 41.0 @NE 36.1
KC 45.6 ARI 40.9 @DEN 35.7
@IND 45.4 DET 40.6 @CLE 34.9
@SEA 45.1 TB 40.5 CIN 34.7
@LAC 44.9 @ATL 40.4 @NYG 34.6
@PHI 44.7 @TEN 40.3 BUF 34.2
MIN 44.1 CAR 40.1 NO 34.0
JAC 43.8 @SF 39.7 @MIA 33.7
LAR 43.8 HOU 39.7 DEN 33.5
@WAS 43.3 PIT 39.4 @CHI 33.4
NYG 43.3 @GB 39.3 PHI 33.4
IND 43.0 NE 27.0
@HOU 42.3 @BUF 23.3

 

2021 Schedule Swings: Receiving

Comparing schedule strength for fantasy football receivers – 2020 vs. 2021

The fantasy football strength of schedule is a useful tool, comparing the games for each team against what those defenses allowed the previous season. But what is even more useful is to compare that against 2020.

Simply put – you know what a player did last year. Will he face an easier or tougher schedule? Only the extremes are worth noting given how teams and players change from year to year. So, the best comparison is between what their schedule strength was last year versus this year.

Since this compares all tight end and wide receiver production each week, there are a lot of points at play and how they are distributed within an offense has obvious variation. The schedule strength has the least accuracy with receivers, so consider this as a minor tool in valuing wideouts and tight ends.

Also see:
Schedule Strength – Passing
Schedule Strength – Rushing
Schedule Strength – Receiving
Schedule Strength Swing – Passing
Schedule Strength Swing – Rushing

Best Swings

Nelson Agholor, Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith (NE) – The Patriots’ first season without Tom Brady went against the worst schedule strength in the NFL last year, so rising to the No. 10 should yield significant improvement. Now the only issue is an all-new set of receivers catching passes from either Cam Newton or the rookie Mac Jones.

Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims (NYJ) – The Jets are another team that suffered a horrible schedule strength in 2020 and now improve for this year. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson installs a new offensive scheme that will be a bigger success factor, and the receivers haven’t been upgraded either.

Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle (SF) – The 49ers’ passing game fell apart last year thanks to injuries to almost everyone. If they can stay healthy, the schedule becomes their friend in this complex passing game that may end up manned by a rookie quarterback.

Kenny Golladay, John Ross, Darius Slayton (NYG) – Daniel Jones looked significantly worse in his second season, but the No. 30 schedule hampered his mediocre set of receivers. The crew was upgraded this year and the slate of games clears up nicely for 2021.

DJ Moore, Robby Anderson (CAR) – Moore and Anderson were both productive last year even under a bad schedule. That won’t be an issue for 2021, but now they’ll rely on Sam Darnold trying to get a mulligan on his career.

Worst Swings

Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry (CLE) – The Browns draw no favors from the schedule with a serious decline from 2020. Throw in that they prefer to run the ball, and Beckham and Landry will be challenged to improve.

Keenan Allen, Mike Williams (LAC) – Justin Herbert was the rookie of the year and his schedule helped a bit. Allen and Williams won’t have that benefit but they will have a year’s worth of experience with Herbert and the Chargers’ passing scheme doesn’t employ a lot of receivers in most plays.

A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, Josh Reynolds (TEN) – Brown broke out in the second half of the 2020 season with impressive performances, though that was mostly facing the rest of the AFC South. This year, there are still meetings with the Texans and Jaguars, but the rest of the schedule is far less inviting.

2021 Schedule Swings: Rushing

Comparing schedule strength – 2020 vs. 2021

The fantasy football strength of schedule is a useful tool, comparing the games for each team against what those defenses allowed the previous season. But what is even more useful is to compare that against 2020.

Simply put – you know what a player did last year. Will he face an easier or tougher schedule? Only the extremes are worth noting given how teams and players change from year to year. So, the best comparison is between what their schedule strength was last year versus this year.

Also see:
Schedule Strength – Passing
Schedule Strength – Rushing
Schedule Strength – Receiving
Schedule Strength Swing – Passing
Schedule Strength Swing – Receiving

Swing Points – The positive or negative point change in their schedule strength between last year and this year.

Best Swings

Cam Akers (LAR) – This is an exciting development for the second-year player. After starting slowly and then catching fire late in his rookie year, Akers is the clear-cut primary back for the Rams and trades the No. 30 schedule strength for the No. 8. Add in an upgrade at quarterback, and the needle points upward for the Ram’s backfield.

Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) – While normally placing in the Top-5 of running backs each year, Elliott tumbled to No. 9 when the Cowboy’s offense went cold without Dak Prescott. That coincided with facing the No. 31 rushing schedule and Elliott turned in his worst season. Now Dak is back, and the schedule at least rises to only average.

Melvin Gordon, Javonte Williams (DEN) – The biggest problem will be relying on either back unless an injury or coaching move produces more clarity for the Denver backfield. The problem is that the Broncos get the No. 1 rushing schedule for 2021, so both backs may look equally as good. This is a good spot to be if either is removed from the rotation for any reason.

Joe Mixon (CIN) – Mixon’s biggest issue has been staying healthy, and working behind an ineffective offensive line for four seasons has not helped that cause. At least the schedule is better, and the offense improved with Joe Burrow last year. The point shift suggests better production, but he’s still facing the No. 10 rushing schedule with durability and blocking questions.

Chris Carson (SEA) – He signed a three-year extension to remain the primary back for the Seahawks but had injury issues last year along with one of the toughest schedules. Carson has been a lock for 1,000 yards and eight to ten touchdowns when healthy, and the schedule becomes a friend for 2021. Rashaad Penny hasn’t been a factor for three years, and Carson takes the look of a solid RB2 addition to a fantasy team.

Worst Swings

Aaron Jones (GB) – The Packers let Jamaal Williams go and promoted A.J. Dillon, so fewer short-yardage rushing touchdowns may go to Jones. And worse yet, he enjoyed the No. 2 rushing schedule in 2020 and ended up as the No. 5 back. But, he incurs one of the most dramatic swings possible, swapping that No. 2 for a No. 31 this year thanks to facing defenses from the NFC West and AFC North. Throw in the Rodgers situation and he looks far riskier this season.

 Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones (TB) – Their schedule was only average last year but drops to the worst in the league for rushing in 2021. That won’t make the normal drop in production from a Super Bowl season any easier to avoid. The duo are in a timeshare, and there may be even more hands in the pie with second-year Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard there.

Jonathan Taylor (IND) – While the Colts do have a significant rise in rushing  schedule strength, they still face the No. 11-ranked slate of games. The No. 1 schedule helped the rookie Taylor end up as the No. 6 fantasy back. His fortunes are more sensitive to the effectiveness of Carson Wentz and the passing offense.

2021 Schedule Swings: Passing

How does the schedule compare to last year?

The fantasy football strength of schedule is a useful tool, comparing the games for each team against what those defenses allowed the previous season. But what is even more useful is to compare that against 2020.

Simply put – you know what a player did last year. Is he going to have an easier or tougher time? Only the extremes are worth noting given how teams and players change from year to year. So, the best comparison is between what their schedule strength was last year versus this year.

Also see:
Schedule Strength – Passing
Schedule Strength – Rushing
Schedule Strength – Receiving
Schedule Strength Swing – Rushing
Schedule Strength Swing – Receiving

Swing Points – The positive or negative point change in their schedule strength between last year and this year.

Best Swings

Cam Newton, Mac Jones (NE) – As would often be the case, the team with the best positive swing has an unclear situation at quarterback and a complete makeover of the receiving corps. The Patriots ranked near the bottom in all passing categories in 2020, including dead last with only ten passing touchdowns. Newton did more damage as a runner which means nothing in this metric. If Mac Jones shows up at any point as the starter, he’ll get an advantage with the schedule compared to what Newton struggled against last year.

Daniel Jones (NYG) – Jones struggled last year against what became the worst passing schedule and it showed. After a promising start in 2019, he fell off the fantasy map with Saquon Barkley’s departure and a set of receivers that also incurred rampant injuries and underperformed. Now the G-Men have restocked the receivers, Barkley’s back, and the schedule at least becomes average in strength.

Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance (SF) – Like the Patriots, the 49ers welcome a dramatic positive shift in schedule strength from last year and also have an unclear quarterback situation. The 49ers were decimated by injuries in 2020 and not one of their starters lasted all 16 games. A healthy Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle going against the No. 4 fantasy schedule for quarterbacks should pay off well, if they make it clear who the starter will be and then stick with him.

Zach Wilson (NYJ) – The rookie Wilson lands in what has been a Siberia for quarterbacks, but at least the schedule is far kinder this year; there’s some optimism with a new offensive scheme along with a few minor upgrades to the receivers. It’s still a tall order to expect much from a rookie quarterback in this situation, but at least the schedule shouldn’t be the biggest challenge Wilson will have kicking off his NFL career.

Matt Ryan (ATL) – The offense changes with HC Arthur Smith importing his scheme from the Titans and there is some concern that Ryan may have peaked physically as a passer. But he’s gifted potentially the best tight end ever drafted and a schedule that improves markedly from 2020. 

Worst Swings

Justin Herbert (LAC) – The rookie shattered all expectations when he finished as the No. 8 fantasy quarterback with 15 games played. He benefitted by going against what was the No. 2 fantasy schedule. He’s saddled with the worst swing from 2020 but the schedule is still only No. 23 and he’s shown remarkable progress in reading NFL defenses.

Baker Mayfield (CLE) – The Browns are already in a bad division for passing and already went against the No. 24 schedule last year when they ranked low in passes (29) and passing yardage (26). They end up with the worst schedule for passing in 2021 but they will run the ball more anyway. Baker has a few nice weapons, but the need is low and the schedule works against them even more this year.

Tom Brady (TB) – He moved to Tampa Bay at a fortuitous time, leaving the Pats No. 31-ranked pass schedule for the Buccaneers’ No. 8, along with a massive upgrade in pass targets. It’s always tougher the next year after winning a Super Bowl and the schedule is not working in his favor this year. But – he is Brady and still throws to a dizzying set of pass targets.

Jared Goff (DET) – The Rams fell out of love with their former first-round pick and shipped him off to the Lions in exchange for Matt Stafford. Goff wasn’t there last year but it is just as well since everything is new in Detroit anyway and the receiving corps have been completely made over (and, perhaps, not in a positive way). He’ll have to figure out the new offense using a downgraded set of receivers and battle a schedule that is also not working in his favor.

2021 Fantasy Strength of Schedule: Rushing

Who has the easiest schedule for rushing?

The strength of schedule for running backs only considers rushing yardage and scores. There is a significant difference between how often teams use them as receivers, and that impacts the stats allowed by a defense. For a simpler and more 1:1 consideration, this is the strength of schedule for only  rushing production that was allowed by defenses including each home or away venue.

The extra game in the NFL schedule starting this year won’t help running backs to stay healthy as well.

See also:
2021 fantasy football schedule strength – Passing
2021 fantasy football schedule strength – Rushing
2021 fantasy football schedule strength – Receiving

Total Points

For fantasy contests and such, only total points matter, so below are the total points for each rushing offense derived from their schedule against the average rushing fantasy points allowed in 2020 by those defenses.

Weekly Play

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.

Notable schedules

Melvin Gordon, Javonte Williams (DEN) – The backfield situation could change from game to game, but whichever back takes the lead will enjoy the most favorable schedule in the NFL. Aside from two midseason games, the entire lineup of opponents is light, and four of the final five matchups go against weaker defenses from 2020.

Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown (MIA) – The Dolphins matchup with the AFC South helps to give the otherwise mediocre backfield a chance to surprise if they don’t add another back and start rotating players. The final nine games only contain one tough venue, and there’s nary a bad weather game possible.

Najee Harris (PIT) – The hottest rookie running back takes a further step in the lead with a schedule that can reward a full-time rusher. He gets a fast start with no bad matchups until Week 8 and then three of the final four games face weak defenses right when you need him most.

David Montgomery (CHI) – Hopefully, the spike in production that ended 2020 picks up again this season while enjoying one of the lighter schedules for rushers. Montgomery faces a mixed set of games through midseason but then faces his final tough venue in Week 9. The Bears fortunes should increase in the second half of the year and the passing offense will be hitting a higher gear by then as well.

James Robinson, Travis Etienne (JAC) – The schedule is kind aside from a three-game stretch from Week 11 to Week 13. And then the final four games all face favorable matchups during the fantasy playoffs. The split in workload between James Robinson and Travis Etienne may evolve through the season, but the primary back for December should end the season on a high note.

Jonathan Taylor (IND) – Second-year running back Jonathan Taylor already broke out in 2020 with over 1,100 rushing yards, and he gets a chance to take another step up, facing seven opponents with weaker defenses. The first seven weeks are tough with four bad matchups but then clears up with only one more in the final  nine games while playing in five weak venues. A Week 14 bye will hurt in larger leagues and contests, but hosting the Raiders in Week 17 should end the fantasy year with a bang.

Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette (TB) – There’s already a committee backfield that shifts roles, and now the Super Bowl champion’s path to a repeat navigates the worst rushing schedule of any team. They only play in two of the lighter venues from last year while over half of their matchups go against  the toughest rush defenses. Starting in October, they face a twelve-game stretch without any weak defenses.

Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon (GB) – The quarterback situation will be resolved, but the rushing schedule never improves for the Packers in 2021. After a mostly challenging stretch through midseason, Aaron Jones not only has a Week 13 bye, but the last six weeks of the season produces only one favorable matchup and yet four of the toughest venues for rushers.

2021 weekly grid

 

Average rushing fantasy points allowed (points per game)

Fantasy values were derived from 1 point per 10 rushing yards and six-point rushing touchdowns.