One of the most important tools in any fantasy football owner’s draft tool kit is a strength of schedule cheat sheet. Not only is it a crucial tool when it comes to comparing players on draft day, but it can help you build your strategy heading into draft day.
If you draft in the back half of your league’s draft, a quick look at the rankings can help you decide between targeting Mike Evans or Amari Cooper. Evans will play the 3rd easiest wide receiver schedule this season, while Cooper faces the 29th toughest schedule.
Obviously these rankings are somewhat sorted by division, and you can certainly use that to your advantage. Rather than trying to memorize what teams have the easiest 2017 schedule, you can simply remember what divisions you should target.
How We Come Up With Our Strength of Schedule Rankings
To come up with our strength of schedule rankings, we first take the time to power rank all 32 defenses vs each position, then go through every game on each team’s schedule and assign a score to it.
In addition to our own research and rankings, we create a consensus ranking from various website’s and experts such as NumberFire, FantasyPro’s, ESPN, etc… These consensus rankings are compared to our rankings to see if there are any glaring differences that we should address.
In the end, I think we have the most accurate strength of schedule cheat sheet in the industry. It can be sorted by each position, and allows you to view each teams SOS vs for every position on offense, defense, and special teams.
Notes From Our Strength of Schedule Cheat Sheet
There will be points in the NFC North. It would make sense that the Vikings have one of the easiest pass schedules in the league. The face the Lions, Packers, and Bears twice, while each of those teams has to face Minnesota’s stingy pass defense twice. Will Bradford take another step forward this season, and will his offensive line give him enough time to take advantage of skilled receivers on the outside?
This could be a big season for Christian McCaffrey. Not only do the Panthers play our easiest schedule against the run, but they play one of our easiest schedules overall. While a team like the Falcons don’t give a ton of rushing yards to opposing backs, they were shredded by pass catching backs last season.
Jeremy Maclin’s fantasy value just skyrocketed. The Chiefs utilize their receivers less than any team in the NFL, and it took all sorts of crazy gimmicks for Tyreek Hill to have the sort of season he had last year. Maclin would have really struggled in the Chiefs system, with Alex Smith at QB, playing the 32nd ranked schedule against the pass.
Slow your role Raider nation. The Raiders have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL, but they will need to be otherworldly to survive this schedule. Not only does Oakland play one of the three hardest schedules against both the run and pass, but they face a bunch of good offenses as well. If they find themselves in shootouts against good defenses, this will likely not be the return to football Marshawn Lynch was hoping for.
Who will be Baltimore’s number one tight end? If, let’s say for instance, Maxx Williams looks great this preseason and is able to separate himself as the clear starter in Baltimore. There is a good chance he ends up a top 10 tight end by year’s end. The Ravens play the 7th easiest QB schedule, and easiest TE schedule in the league, and Dennis Pitta was 3rd in the NFL in TE targets last season.
We will continue to get a clearer idea of just how some of these defenses changed throughout the offseason as we see rookies and free agents get preseason action. Additionally, we should get an idea of how coaching and scheme changes affected defenses this offseason. Keep an eye on these rankings as the offseason and preseason unfold.