Comparing SOS for 2nd tier RBs

Once I get past the top-3 RBs on the board, how the rest of the RBs who are going to make it into my top-20 overall stack up is somewhat up in the air. There is a lot we need to see in the preseason, and it’s mostly due to injury issues. For example, if Darren McFadden shows no sign of trouble, he’ll move up. And if Ryan Mathews shows signs of trouble, he’ll move down.

But another way to differentiate players like Maurice Jones-Drew, Ryan Mathews, Trent Richardson, Darren McFadden, Chris Johnson, DeMarco Murray, and Matt Forte – who are hard to differentiate – is to look at their playoff strength of schedules. SOS can be a solid tie-breaker when you’re trying to decide between players of seemingly equal value, and playoff SOS is obviously especially important.

If you’re drafting toward the end of the first round, I think you have to take a RB with at least one of your first two picks, but deciding between these seven options isn’t easy, so looking at each of their schedules for the critical playoff weeks (13-16) might be the best way to pick the best one, preseason injury red flags or clean bills of heath notwithstanding.

So here’s how I see their schedules stacking up this year, from easiest to hardest.

  1. If Darren McFadden is healthy, his playoff SOS looks to be the best among all 2nd tier RBs

    Darren McFadden, Oak – Of course, he has to be healthy in December to take advantage, but matchups against Cle, Den, KC, and Car looks pretty solid.

  2. Trent Richardson, Cle – If your league ends after Week Sixteen, Richardson’s matchup in the season finale against the Steelers means nothing, so his playoff matchups look pretty good against Oak, KC, Was, and Den.
  3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac – For MJD, it’s best to focus on teams that have weaker offenses, since he’ll have his best chance to get 20+ carries if the Jags are leading or in a close game, and that should be the case for most of their playoff matchups against Buf, NYJ, Mia, and NE.
  4. Matt Forte, Chi – Of course Mike Bush is in the mix here, but games against Sea, Min, GB, and Ari looks pretty decent.
  5. Chris Johnson, Ten – The vibes are good this summer, and Johnson can offset any issues running the ball with production in the passing game. Overall, his playoff schedule against Hou, Ind, NYJ, and GB looks okay. Houston is the biggest issue.
  6. Ryan Mathews, SD – These schedules are very close on the surface, so Mathews landing only in the 6th slot isn’t a tragedy. But Weeks 13-14 against Cin and Pit will be tough, yet Car and NYJ are better Weeks 15-16.
  7. DeMarco Murray, Dal – He gets Phi, Cin, Pit, and NO, which isn’t that good. Again, it’s not like those considering Murray should head for the hills upon seeing this schedule, but his schedule does check in as the hardest.

Category: Fantasy Football


17 Responses

  1. Ferch says:

    Sorry this question is unrelated to this article, but I didn’t know where I could ask it. In a 12 team 3RR draft like in NFFC, how would you rank the draft spots?

  2. PackFan says:

    Does the following concern you about Trent Richardson:
    1. He plays for the Browns …
    2. He has a rookie quarterback starting under center
    3. The Browns do not have the most prolific passing game to take pressure off the running game
    4. If teams load up to stop the run,will the Browns be able to move the ball via the pass?
    5. Might we be seeing a boatload of 3-downs and a punt from the Browns?
    6. If the Browns get behind early – will they try and pass more than run?
    7. If the Browns try and pass a lot instead of run the ball, won’t that squash Richardson’s value?

  3. TheChad says:

    I agree with PackFan. You guys really love Richardson and push him as an early pick (which you say should be for solid, dependable players). Then you contradict yourselves in other articles, saying that you should generally pick up RBs from winning teams/offenses (which the Browns are not) and that strength of schedule, if it matters at all, affects the run more than anything (and the Browns have one of the worst SOS’s this year). Not seeing why he’s such a great pick, especially as high as he’s going right now.

  4. Repoman says:

    It’s easy guys. Opportunity and talent, Trent has both. He is a damn good runner, a solid receiver out of the backfield and the Browns have a very good O-line. The kid is set up for success. He just needs to stay healthy, just like every other player in the NFL.

    The most gurrific 12 team Dynasty league squad ever assembled (6th season)


    Can’t wait to add to my future back to back champs!

  5. PackFan says:

    Repo – that’s a wicked aerial attack you’ve got going – wouldn’t want to face that every week.

    It would be nice to see the Browns put together a good season, and I agree – Richardson appears to have a lot of talent – and he better have, because the Browns gave up a king’s ransom in high draft choices just to move up a few spots to select him – and then they turn around and pick a 28 year old quarterback with their second 1st round pick, and have anointed him as their starter.

    Take a look at the Cleveland schedule before their Week 10 bye – Eagles, Bengals, Bills, Ravens, Giants, Bengals, Colts, Chargers, Ravens. That looks like a meat grinder to me … and I have doubts as to whether the Browns are equipped to successfully manage it. If Richardson is still walking after Week 9, I think it will be a minor miracle.

  6. John Hansen says:

    TheChad, While it would be nice to have every morsel of information and every single tip blend together to form one unified opinion, that’s impossible. And you really answered your own question when you used the word “generally.”

    People prefer when we’re bold on players we really like rather than playing it safe. You can make a case against all but 8-10 skill players out of 400+ if you really wanted to.

  7. Bulldog says:

    #8 pick in 16 team competitive league; PPR, .5 for RB, qb, 2rb, 2wr, 1 flex, 1 te
    Assuming Megatron gone, options are basically RBs or Graham. So if it’s McFadden, Johnson, Murray, Richardson, how would you rank the 5?

  8. Repoman says:


  9. Will says:

    Help Pick 2 ppr H2H league? in 10 ppr league I can only have two of these players: Nicks, Colston, Mike Turner, McGahee, Gates, Wallace, or Percy please pick the best two for most points for my team but DO MOT CHOOSE 2 Wide receivers only stipulation

  10. Repoman says:

    I’d roll with Nicks and Gates… But I’m not the guru

  11. RJ says:

    Who is Peyton Manning going to go to more this season Decker or Thomas?

  12. bart says:

    If you are in a keeper league and keep MJD, in which round should you select Rashard Jennings?

  13. bart says:

    Saw your tweet about six year old twins, our are 8 yr old twin boys starting 3rd grade.
    they really want to know where Daddy should pick Jennings ….thanks

  14. Rich says:

    In a non-PPR, 14 team, 6 points for passing TD, start 1 QB league I am drafting #8. After the top 3 RB’s (Foster, Rice, McCoy) and after the top 3 QB’s (Brees, Rogers, Brady) who should I target at #8 and #21? Which position? The thought of waiting till 21 for a QB scares me.

  15. Todd says:

    Long time suscriber to Guru,and Mr. Hansens Draft Plan… (It’s made me lot’s of $$),Drafting tomorrow, 14 team,PPR Snake draft…I will probably get Megatron at#5,When it comes back to me 2nd pick #24… and C.Newton and Stafford are gone… who would would target…Thank you for your help…..

  16. Cris Lahaie says:

    Megatron is the founder of the Decepticon uprising and their most feared leader. Bob Budiansky, the writer for the Marvel Comics series, stated that originally Hasbro took issue with the name, saying it sounded too frightening. Budiansky responded that as the lead villain, that was the point. Hasbro later agreed with his reasoning, and approved the name “Megatron”….-

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