Within our 2016 fantasy football strength of schedule ratings we've included individual defense players (IDP), all the team offense positions and team defense. You can also download the positional ratings in an excel document which is linked below. The number "1" indicates the easiest schedule and a number "32" indicates the hardest schedule. This is the same way we identify a positions strength of schedule in our customized cheat sheets, except in our cheat sheets the strength of schedule is listed next to each players name, which is very handy when drafting.
"The correlation between strength of schedule and teams making the playoffs has been extreme in the last five seasons. Teams with a Top 5 toughest strength of schedule in that span have made the playoffs 24.1 percent of the time. Teams with a Top 5 easiest strength of schedule have more than doubled that percentage, making the playoffs 50.0 percent of the time." Source: NFL.com
When analyzing a players strength of schedule similar indicators are obvious for the top players based on the positions rating. For example, in 2011 we projected Seattle to have the easiest strength of schedule at running back. Lynch went on to have the best year of his career (at the time), posting 1204 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. We also projected Detroit to have the easiest strength of schedule at quarterback. Matthew Stafford posted record numbers (for the Lions) in his first full season. Also in 2011 Aaron Rodgers had the 3rd easiest strength of schedule and posted his best passing stats at that point in time. The Eagles had the third easiest SOS at RB, McCoy posted 17 rushing touch downs and 1309 rushing yards. I can play the name game for hours, pointing out how studs abused fantasy stats because they had an easy SOS. Bottom line, strength of schedule plays a factor in fantasy football.
Strength of Schedule For All Positions
Positions included are the common positions used in fantasy football including: Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Running Back, Kicker, Defensive Back, Defensive Lineman, Linebacker and Team Defense. You can also download our excel cheat sheet in excel format here. Usually, I only bump a players projection up a notch if they have the 1st or 2nd easiest schedule. I use the same simple logic when moving a player down a few spots if they have the 31st or 32nd hardest. If you read the third paragraph above you know I've done the research and can back up my reasoning.
The National Football League has a strength of schedule formula that anyone can understand. They tally the opponents' records from the previous season then add up wins and losses to come up with a percentage, that formula is used and references below in table format in case you want to see how it correlates to the fantasy football strength of schedule. In Fantasy Football we use the number of fantasy points surrendered by opponents the previous year against each individual position. I swiped the chart below from the NFL here, it list the teams from hardest to easiest schedule. According to them the Atlanta Falcons and 49ers will have the toughest road to the playoffs.
You can get SOS listed next to each players name in our online cheat sheets and I've ran the numbers and know for a fact that when good players face easy schedules you benefit if you draft them. This is by far a game changer during the draft. I use SOS and other indicators within our cheat sheet which help me make quick decisions when I'm on the clock. You can use Strength Of Schedule during your fantasy football draft to help you make decisions when drafting similarly ranked players, SOS can be the tie breaker for you. Or you can use it to highlight players ahead of time to identify them as "targets" for your draft, I like to do both! Keep in mind only really pay attention to the number 1 and number 2 ranked SOS.
Some people discount the value of a players strength of schedule but do your homework before you shove such data to the side, it is indeed relevant. In order to calculate SOS we used last years defensive data combined with off season moves to calculate fantasy points allowed for the 2016 season. We then run the numbers together to give you a numerical ranking for each NFL team based on their schedule. We also include SOS side by side with our projected fantasy points, draft value, ADP and bye week in our draft guide.