Apr 19, 2013
There have been years in the recent past when our SOS analysis has been really strong and looking at strength of schedule has been very useful for fantasy purposes. This is always an element to inspect closely, but I have to say that looking back at least year’s coverage, the impact of SOS in 2012 was negligible. I’d say in terms of accuracy that it leaned to the positive, but overall the schedule’s impact was minor last year.
But certainly, inspecting each team’s schedule is something that absolutely has to be done, especially the key playoff weeks, when 1-2 good or bad matchups can mean the difference between merely making the fantasy playoffs and winning it all.
As we always do, we project the upcoming season’s SOS by assigning a number grade for each defense against the run and the pass. We then compare those grades for all 32 teams’ 16 matchups and attempt to predict SOS rather than go strictly off of 2012’s numbers.
We’ll do that after the draft, when we can properly grade each defense against the run and the pass, but for now here are some quick thoughts on the 2013 schedule.
Arizona – Their SOS will be tougher simply due to their four games against SF/Sea so it won’t rank high, but otherwise there are a number of favorable matchups, especially against the pass, which could be good news for Carson Palmer and their receivers.
Weeks 13-16: A mixed bag against Phi, Stl, Ten, and SF.
Atlanta – The Falcons have had a good schedule the last couple of years, but it will check in as one of the hardest this year, most likely due to four tough matchups. The good news is I see eight good matchups for the pass, so Matt Ryan should be helped by the schedule (and his division).
Weeks 13-16: Pretty solid against Buf, GB, Was, and SF
Baltimore – Their schedule won’t rank as being particularly favorable, but it doesn’t look particularly prohibitive and looks more favorable against the pass than not.
Weeks 13-16: Pretty good against Pit, Min, Det, and NE
Buffalo – The schedule looked tough for the Bills last year, but it definitely looks better this year and should rank in the top 50% for both the run and the pass. That should help, since they need assistance in their first year in a new system and with a new coaching staff.
Weeks 13-16: Pretty darn good against Atl, TB, Jac, and Mia
Carolina – They have four tough matchups against the run and zero favorable ones (as of now), but it does look better against the pass. I see Cam Newton as going up against eight weak pass defenses this year, which could definitely help.
Weeks 13-16: Overall, pretty good against TB, NO, NYJ, and NO
Chicago – The Bear schedule looks very favorable overall. They have only one tough matchup against the run (Pit) and that might not be as tough as it’s been. They also have what I view as seven favorable matchups against the pass.
Weeks 13-16: Nothing scary against Min, Dal, Cle, and Phi
Cincinnati – The Bengal schedule looks unusually easy this year, thanks to some hits the Steelers and Ravens have taken on defense (although Balt could still be very good). They rank in the top 50% against the run and pass.
Weeks 13-16: It could be particularly good against the pass versus SD, Ind, Pit, and Min
Cleveland – The Brown schedule also looks easier than usual with only one tougher matchup against the run (Pit, but they also get Pit again Week 17) and one against the pass (NYJ Week 16). But that matchup will look better if CB Revis is no longer a Jet.
Weeks 13-16: About average against Jac, NE, Chi, and NYJ
Dallas – I actually do not see a single tough matchup for them against the run or the pass, so that’s good news for their players. It’s especially good for the passing game, as I see nine favorable matchups for Tony Romo.
Weeks 13-16: Pretty darn good against Oak, Chi, GB, and Was
Denver – Thanks to their weaker division and some luck, the Bronco schedule looks fantastic. I don’t see a tough matchup on the schedule for run or pass, and I see Peyton Manning with a whopping 10 favorable matchups.
Weeks 13-16: It’s good overall against KC, Ten, SD, and Hou
Detroit – Nothing particularly scary here, but it is a little tougher against the run than the pass due to a couple of tough matchups against the run.
Weeks 13-16: Average or even slightly above average against GB, Phi, Bal, and NYG
Green Bay – They have two tough matchups against the run, but otherwise the schedule looks pretty good and it’s a little easier overall against the pass. In other words, the schedule looks negligible.
Weeks 13-16: Nothing concerning against Det, Atl, Dal, and Pit
Houston – The Texans usually have a good schedule in recent years, and 2013 is no exception. It’s particularly favorable against the pass, which will help because they need all the support they can get throwing the ball.
Weeks 13-16: Well above average against NE, Jac, Ind, and Den
Indianapolis – The Colts will likely come in below average against the run and the pass when we do our numbers, but overall their schedule doesn’t look very prohibitive. It’s going to be skewed a bit due to matchups against SF and Sea.
Weeks 13-16: About middle-of-the-road against Ten, Cin, Hou, and KC
Jacksonville – Their schedule is probably below-average against the run and the pass, but overall it doesn’t look too bad. We’ll have a better idea about their opponents after the draft, of course.
Weeks 13-16: Looks pretty good against Cle, Hou, Buf, and Ten
Kansas City – They have several matchups in the NFC East that could be tougher, but given the 2012 state of the Eagle, Giant, and Redskin defense, it does look very good for the run and the pass – and playing the Raiders twice a year doesn’t hurt.
Weeks 13-16: Nothing scary at all overall against Den, Was, Oak, and In
Miami – There are definitely some problem areas, but the schedule looks at worst above average against the run and the pass. It looks particularly favorable against the pass.
Weeks 13-16: Pretty decent against NYJ, Pit, NE, and Buf
Minnesota – Playing against Pit, Bal, and Sea doesn’t help and knocks them down in the bottom half against the run and the pass.
Weeks 13-16: Not that great against Chi, Bal, Phi, and Cin
New England – They have had some great schedules in the past, but this year’s looks below average, thanks to several matchups against top-10 NFL defenses. It looks little harder for the run than the pass.
Weeks 13-16: Not that great on paper against Hou, Cle, Mia, and Bal
New Orleans – They will likely rank low against the run and the pass due to a certain few matchups, but overall things don’t look overly prohibitive.
Weeks 13-16: About average against Sea, Car, Stl, and Car
NY Giants – Playing the AFC West and in a weaker (for now) NFC East should mean the Giants will land in the top-10 in terms of ease of schedule against the run and the pass.
Weeks 13-16: Not bad at all against Was, SD, Sea, and Det
NY Jets – Their schedule looks average or even a little worse against the run, but it’s one of the easiest schedules against the pass I can recall in recent years. Of course, that’s kind of a moot point for this team.
Weeks 13-16: Very favorable against Mia, Oak, Car, and Cle
Oakland – They will likely land around the middle of the pack in our projected 2013 SOS, but other than a couple of problematic matchups, the schedule looks pretty good for the Raiders, especially against the pass.
Weeks 13-16: Nothing scary against Dal, NYJ, KC, and SD
Philadelphia – Playing in a shakier NFC East and against the AFC West helps, and overall the Eagle schedule looks favorable against the run and especially the pass.
Weeks 13-16: Favorable overall against Ari, Det, Min, and Chi
Pittsburgh – The Steelers usually have a very favorable schedule, and that should be the case this year, especially if they can avoid Darrelle Revis playing for the Jets this year.
Weeks 13-16: Not wonderful against Bal, Mia, Cin, and GB but nothing to panic about
San Diego – The Chargers haven’t finished high in the standings for a while and playing in a weaker division, so their schedule has been pretty good the last few years. That is definitely the case this year, and they should wind up in our top-12 against the run and the pass this year.
Weeks 13-16: Could possibly be a little tough against Cin, NYG, Den, and Oak
San Francisco – It looks like they will be middle-of-the-pack or worse against the run and the pass, with the run matchups looking a little tougher.
Weeks 13-16: Not too bad against Stl, Sea, TB, and Atl
Seattle – It looks pretty tough against the run (SF twice doesn’t help) and below average against the pass.
Weeks 13-16: Could be below-average overall against NO, SF, NYG, and Ari
St. Louis – The Rams had a really tough schedule last year, thanks mainly to their division, and they are certainly looking at a tough schedule on paper this year. It’s a little tougher against the run and could wind up being the hardest run schedule in the league.
Weeks 13-16: Probably leans to the tougher side against SF, Ari, NO, and TB
Tampa Bay – It’s about average against the run and could be a little easier and overall favorable against the pass.
Weeks 13-16: Probably below-average against Car, Buf, SF, and Stl
Tennessee – Despite playing four games against the Colts and Jags, the Titans had a tougher schedule in 2012, and it looks like they do again. It looks a little tougher against the pass.
Weeks 13-16: Not too bad against Ind, Den, Ar, and Jac
Washington – Overall, the Redskins schedule looks above average, and it looks easier against the pass than the run.
Weeks 13-16: Nothing too scary against NYG, KC, Atl, and Dal