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

Back when The Huddle started in 1997, the only “Schedule Strength” done at that time was to compare the winning percentages of opponents based on their previous season win total. While mildly interesting, it obviously had no relevance to fantasy football. So for the past seven years, we have focused on what has meaning to Fantasy Football – how well the main fantasy positions scored the previous season against all NFL teams.

Top 11 for allowing fantasy points
ARZ 29.0 KC 28.7 SEA 31.4
ATL 23.8 OAK 27.2 ARZ 30.3
CIN 24.8 NO 26.4 NYG 27.3
DET 23.6 PHI 26.0 SD 25.3
IND 22.5 WAS 25.9 CIN 25.0
NYG 25.2 MIN 25.4 SF 23.4
OAK 24.2 SD 23.3 ATL 21.8
SD 27.5 ATL 23.3 STL 21.8
SEA 26.1 CIN 23.2 NYJ 21.8
SF 21.6 NYG 23.2 HOU 21.2
STL 21.7 DET 23.0 PIT 19.9
The Average Defenses
NE 21.3 CLE 22.6 TEN 19.6
KC 21.2 ARZ 21.4 KC 19.3
GB 21.2 HOU 21.3 IND 19.2
PHI 20.8 NYJ 21.0 OAK 18.5
HOU 20.8 IND 20.0 BUF 17.9
CAR 20.4 PIT 19.5 WAS 17.7
TEN 20.3 SF 19.3 BAL 17.6
MIN 20.1 STL 18.8 CHI 17.4
CLE 20.1 MIA 18.7 MIN 17.0
PIT 19.9 DAL 17.6 GB 16.9
Bottom 11 for allowing fantasy points
JAX 19.5 BAL 16.6 CLE 16.9
DEN 19.5 GB 16.0 CAR 16.7
MIA 18.7 BUF 15.4 TB 16.7
WAS 18.7 TEN 14.7 NE 16.4
NYJ 18.5 CAR 14.4 DET 16.4
BUF 18.0 SEA 14.4 MIA 16.2
CHI 17.9 CHI 14.3 DEN 15.8
NO 17.8 DEN 13.7 DAL 15.4
DAL 17.2 TB 13.2 PHI 15.4
BAL 17.0 NE 13.2 JAX 15.1
TB 16.6 JAX 12.5 NO 12.4

The first step in the process is to determine what defenses actually allowed in 2003. While we could take the full season results, that would be less accurate as defenses evolve over the course of a season. What this analysis considers is what each NFL defense allowed to quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers for the last nine games that they played – ignoring the final week 17 results since they are too often skewed by how teams treat their final game or how they hold out players for the playoffs.

Using that criteria, arrayed to the right are the actual results from weeks nine to sixteen of last season using a standard performance fantasy scoring system. The Top 11 (in green) allowed the most fantasy points per position. The  middle ten teams were average while the bottom 11 teams were the stingiest against the positions during that timeframe. While you may disagree with the grouping, it just reflects  exactly what happened from week 8 through week 16 of last season.

Knowing what teams are more likely to provide either good (green) or bad (orange) match-ups, the 2004 schedule was compared to each team to determine how many times a quarterback, running back or wide receiver would face a team either in the top or bottom 11 for allowing fantasy points to that position.

The value of this depends on the position. For quarterbacks, the schedule is less important than the individual talent of the player and the likely game situations he will face. When teams gain a lead, they throw much less. When they trail by two touchdowns, they cannot throw it fast enough. When you view the quarterbacks Ease of Schedule (EOS), use it primarily to evaluate the newer quarterbacks to the league and the extremes at either end.

For running backs, the Ease of Schedule is a very useful tool. All teams prefer to run when possible and no position is affected by their schedule more than running back. This will directly impact all runners regardless of their ability.

For wide receivers, the most useful aspect of the EOS is that it can help in a fantasy draft to decide between two otherwise similar players. Receiving is often a complex equation in a game, using two to four different players in differing mixtures.

The EOS applies more to #2 receivers than #1 receivers for a team. The reason is simple – the #1 player will get his passes regardless but an easier schedule will have a bigger impact on the other receivers for a team.

This review is predicated on the results from last season and is obviously not likely to happen exactly the same way in 2004. But it provides a basic review from which you should continue to apply your own wisdom against to find those schedules that  potential drafted players can exploit.

For the three positions, there will be listed their full season analysis and a look at the fantasy playoff weeks of 14, 15 and 16 common to most leagues. The playoff schedule should not be a major consideration when you draft this summer, but it is a factor to keep in mind when you take Domanick Davis for instance, who will end up his season on the road in Chicago and Jacksonville.

Getting a fast start to your season by having your fantasy players face the easier schedules will not only net more points, it will also put you in a far better spot for trades since you have the current “hot” player. While it only really matters where you end up, you have to win to get there in the first place.