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Ease of Fantasy Schedule - The Dorey Rule
David M. Dorey
July 8, 2004
Main  |  Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers  |  Dorey Rule

Back in my early days of fantasy football, I was the scorekeeper in my first league. While today it is easy enough witness real-time stats online, back then it was about buying a newspaper and opening a spreadsheet. While such a manual process seems laughable now, it allowed me to get intimate with the statistics since I scored every player by hand each week. For years. Plus I had nifty spreadsheets to play with instead of doing actual work.

It was during that time that I recognized the advantages of playing an easier schedule and how fantasy teams would start and finish their seasons.  While some teams finish strongly, invariably the better teams always have a hot start and then maintain their advantage or even improve upon it. After reviewing how a fantasy season began versus how it ended, it continually pointed at the first six weeks as being the most critical time to build a good record.

This is for many reasons. Player injuries begin to affect teams more starting in the seventh week as the season starts to wear on players. Bye weeks are underway and immediately change the make-up of starting lineups. Players that begin hot often do so thanks to an easier schedule and those too often don’t last the entire season. Predictable performances last more often to that mark before the dynamics of a team begin to change in ways that could not be forecasted.

There are a variety of reasons why six weeks works out as optimal, but none so compelling as having compared all the other sets of weeks and finding that six weeks is the magic mark. You do well in your first six weeks; you will be primed to coast to the playoffs.

QUARTERBACKS   Most Favorable QB Schedules 
Team EOS Good Bad Team EOS Good Bad   Team 1 2 3 4 5 6
ATL 5 5 0 SEA -1 2 3   ATL @SF STL ARI @CAR DET SD
NO 3 4 1 CAR -1 1 2   NO SEA SF @STL @ARI TB MIN
HOU 3 3 0 CHI -1 1 2   SF ATL @NO @SEA STL ARI @NYJ
SF 2 4 2 DAL -1 1 2   STL ARI @ATL NO @SF @SEA TB
STL 2 4 2 DET -1 1 2   HOU SD @DET @KC OAK MIN @TEN
GB 2 3 1 IND -1 1 2   GB @CAR CHI @IND NYG TEN @DET
ARI 1 3 2 MIA -1 1 2                
NE 0 3 3 BAL -1 1 2                
NYJ 0 3 3 OAK -2 1 3   Least Favorable QB Schedules
TB 0 3 3 SD -2 1 3   Team 1 2 3 4 5 6
DEN 0 2 2 WAS -3 1 4   WAS TB @NYG DAL @CLE BAL @CHI
JAX 0 2 2 BUF -3 1 4   BUF JAX @OAK bye NE @NYJ MIA
PHI 0 2 2 NYG -3 0 3   NYG @PHI WAS CLE @GB @DAL bye
TEN 0 2 2 CIN -4 0 4   CIN @NYJ MIA BAL @PIT bye @CLE
CLE -1 2 3 KC -4 0 4   KC @DEN CAR HOU @BAL bye @JAX
PIT -1 2 3 MIN -4 0 4   MIN DAL @PHI CHI bye @HOU @NO

Michael Vick has the best schedule to start the season, followed by his cousin Aaron Brooks. Considering the Saints play well against the Buccaneers and Vick had 272 yards and two scores in Carolina their last meeting, they may actually have even better schedules. David Carr never faces a top 11 defenses in his first six games and Marc Bulger only faces two while benefiting from having four of the easier match-ups. If Tim Rattay does not heal quickly enough, Ken Dorsey could actually look enticing with a nice initial stretch.

The worst schedules are facing Daunte Culpepper, Trent Green and Carson Palmer. All have face four tough defenses and none get to play an easy team. While Culpepper and Green can rise above the adversity, the challenge for Carson Palmer looks very daunting for a quarterback starting the first games of his career.

RUNNING BACKS   Most Favorable RB Schedules 
Team EOS Good Bad Team EOS Good Bad   Team 1 2 3 4 5 6
HOU 4 5 1 PHI 0 3 3   HOU SD @DET @KC OAK MIN @TEN
CLE 2 3 1 NO -1 1 2   CLE BAL @DAL @NYG WAS @PIT CIN
DAL 2 3 1 TEN -1 1 2   DAL @MIN CLE @WAS bye NYG PIT
BAL 2 3 1 DET -1 2 3   BAL @CLE PIT @CIN KC @WAS bye
CHI 2 4 2 GB -1 2 3   CHI DET @GB @MIN PHI bye WAS
PIT 1 2 1 JAX -1 2 3                
SF 1 2 1 CIN -2 0 2                
ATL 1 2 1 MIA -2 1 3   Least Favorable RB Schedules
TB 1 3 2 SD -2 1 3   Team 1 2 3 4 5 6
MIN 0 2 2 SEA -2 1 3   NE IND @ARI bye @BUF MIA SEA
NYG 0 2 2 WAS -2 1 3   OAK @PIT BUF TB @HOU @IND DEN
NYJ 0 2 2 BUF -2 1 3   IND @NE @TEN GB @JAX OAK bye
STL 0 2 2 NE -3 0 3   KC @DEN CAR HOU @BAL bye @JAX
ARI 0 2 2 OAK -3 0 3                
CAR 0 3 3 IND -4 1 5                
DEN 0 3 3 KC -5 0 5                

Using the Dorey Rule with running backs has always been productive. Domanick Davis should look like a genius draft pick after the initial five week since he faces nothing but bottom 11 defenses. Jamal Lewis, Julius Jones and the eventual Cleveland back  tie for the second best starts having only one bad match-up against three easier ones. In the case of Jones, his only bad week is when he gets rid of his bye. Lastly, Anthony Thomas may hold off Thomas Jones in Chicago since he has an easier early schedule, though reality is that he only did well at home last year and he has two road games and a bye to get past.

The slowest starts appear to be Corey Dillon, Edgerrin James and the platoon of mediocrity in Oakland. The worst belongs to Priest Holmes but obviously if any player can rise above the schedule, Holmes is the one. The same goes for Edgerrin James who historically has always had a bad schedule thanks to all those games against ARC East defenses. Now that he is in the AFC South, the Jaguars and Titans are not making life very much easier.

What this primarily says is that Davis, Green/Suggs, Julius Jones and Jamal Lewis should have good starts while the New England and Oakland backfields will be more challenged than most.

WIDE RECEIVERS   Most Favorable WR Schedules 
Team EOS Good Bad Team EOS Good Bad   Team 1 2 3 4 5 6
SF 4 5 1 BAL 0 2 2   SF ATL @NO @SEA STL ARI @NYJ
NO 3 4 1 ARI 0 3 3   NO SEA SF @STL @ARI TB MIN
CLE 2 3 1 GB -1 1 2   CLE BAL @DAL @NYG WAS @PIT CIN
MIA 2 3 1 CIN -1 2 3   MIA TEN @CIN PIT NYJ @NE @BUF
STL 2 4 2 CAR -2 1 3   STL ARI @ATL NO @SF @SEA TB
ATL 2 4 2 DEN -2 1 3   ATL @SF STL ARI @CAR DET SD
NYJ 1 3 2 PHI -2 1 3                
SD 1 3 2 PIT -2 1 3                
HOU 0 1 1 WAS -2 1 3    Least Favorable WR Schedules
JAX 0 1 1 SEA -2 2 4   Team 1 2 3 4 5 6
DAL 0 2 2 CHI -3 0 3   CHI DET @GB @MIN PHI bye WAS
DET 0 2 2 IND -3 0 3   IND @NE @TEN GB @JAX OAK bye
NE 0 2 2 KC -3 1 4   KC @DEN CAR HOU @BAL bye @JAX
OAK 0 2 2 MIN -3 1 4   MIN DAL @PHI CHI bye @HOU @NO
TB 0 2 2 BUF -3 1 4   BUF JAX @OAK bye NE @NYJ MIA
TEN 0 2 2 NYG -4 0 4   NYG @PHI WAS CLE @GB @DAL bye

The 49ers will not only need to throw, they should have an easier time though with an offense stripped down they may not be able to take advantage of it. Donte Stallworth not only opens with four very nice games, it may be the only weeks during the season you can feel positive he will not be injured. Jeff Garcia could find Quincy Morgan and Andre Davis open in the early going and David Boston gets yet another good opportunity that he will likely not use.

The toughest early schedule belongs to Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard who already get a rookie quarterback in Eli Manning. Eric Moulds, Lee Evans, Marcus Robinson, Johnnie Morton and Eddie Kennison all suffer through tough secondaries and their bye weeks during that critical first six weeks. Both Randy Moss and Marvin Harrison have bad schedules, but will always get their passes regardless of the competition. Considering that they too have their early byes, there is a chance they can be had in a trade cheaper after facing such an early challenge.