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2012 Strength of Schedule Analysis


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You can never have too many pieces of data for your fantasy draft, but it is important to use each correctly and not overanalyze. The Strength of Schedule (SoS) analysis is a tool that can be quite valuable if used properly. You should not solely base your draft on a player’s SoS and bypass a much better player due solely to schedule strength, especially when you consider these numbers are based on last season and things change from year-to-year. I doubt you would want to pass on Tom Brady because he faces the second-toughest schedule against the pass this season. But utilizing SoS certainly has its uses, though, as you will read about in the following paragraphs.

The SoS is a useful tiebreaker between deciding between players of similar value. When comparing players that you are struggling with, you can look at the SoS, or even further at the SoS against the run or pass. If one of the players faces a much easier schedule this season, you may want to lean toward drafting them. For example - you are having a tough time deciding on whether to draft Vincent Jackson or Antonio Brown and you consider both to be solid options for your team, but you can’t decide which you prefer. Well, looking at their SoS, you see that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face one of the easier schedules in the league with an opponent's winning percentage of 48.4%. The Pittsburgh Steelers, on the other hand, face a tougher schedule with an opponent's winning percentage of 50%. Breaking it down farther, you see that the Steelers have the third-toughest schedule against the pass (opponents only allowed 3,347 fantasy points in 2011), while the Buccaneers rank near the bottom of the league with 3,860 points. Thus, you may want to lean toward drafting Jackson .

Another use of the SoS is helping to cover bye weeks. When you have a stud that you expect to start every week, you only really need to worry about covering their bye week (barring injuries). By finding a player with an excellent matchup during your stud’s bye week, you can put yourself in better position for a victory during a tough week. In addition, you could utilize average draft position (ADP) data to help determine when you need to draft your backup.

To help illustrate this, let us say that you were lucky enough to draft Aaron Rodgers. You see that Rodgers is on bye during Week 10, so you start by looking at the available passers that could cover his bye week. On your short list are Carson Palmer (at Baltimore), Mark Sanchez (at Seattle) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (at New England). You have determined that they are all pretty close in your book, so you check the passing defense SoS chart. You see that Palmer faces the top-ranked Ravens pass defense from last season (allowed only 155 fantasy points), Sanchez faces the Seahawks’ sixth-ranked pass defense (allowed 199 points), while Fitzpatrick faces the 30th-ranked Patriots defense (allowed 269 points). Thus, you decide that Fitzpatrick is your best option to cover Rodgers’ bye week. Looking at his ADP data, you see him being drafted with pick 12.5, so you can potentially wait until the 11th or 12th round to address your backup quarterback and continue to stockpile other positions during the draft.

Another reason to refer to SoS is for selecting your starting lineups. Looking at current season rankings is ideal, but during the early weeks of the season there is not a large enough sample set to use the current rankings. Thus, you may want to consider looking at the previous season's SoS. If you are trying to determine which running back to start, you can see who has the better matchup this week. So if you had to decide between James Starks, Willis McGahee and Jahvid Best for Week 1, you will see that Starks faces the top-ranked San Francisco 49ers’ run defense, McGahee faces the fourth-ranked Pittsburgh Steelers, while Best faces the 31st-ranked St. Louis Rams. Thus, you may decide to take a chance on Best to open the season.

Overall Strength of Schedule

The overall SoS takes the 2011 records of a team's opponents and gives an overall winning percentage. This can help you see what teams face a tough road and who is filling up on cupcakes.

Team

2011 Opponent Winning   percent

2011 Opponent Wins

2011 Opponent Losses

New York Giants

54.7 percent

140

116

Denver

54.3 percent

139

117

Cleveland

52.7 percent

135

121

Baltimore

52.3 percent

134

122

St. Louis

52.3 percent

134

122

Philadelphia

51.6 percent

132

124

Carolina

51.3 percent

123

117

Arizona

51.2 percent

131

125

Minnesota

51.2 percent

131

125

San Diego

50.4 percent

121

119

New Orleans

50.4 percent

129

127

Seattle

50.4 percent

129

127

Dallas

50.4 percent

129

127

Cincinnati

50.0 percent

128

128

Indianapolis

50.0 percent

128

128

Jacksonville

50.0 percent

128

128

Pittsburgh

50.0 percent

128

128

Oakland

49.6 percent

127

129

Miami

49.6 percent

127

129

Chicago

49.2 percent

126

130

Detroit

49.2 percent

126

130

Kansas City

49.2 percent

126

130

New York Jets

49.2 percent

126

130

Atlanta

48.8 percent

125

131

Washington

48.8 percent

125

131

San Francisco

48.8 percent

125

131

Tampa Bay

48.4 percent

124

132

Tennessee

48.0 percent

123

133

Houston

47.3 percent

121

135

Buffalo

47.3 percent

121

135

Green Bay

46.9 percent

120

136

New England

45.3 percent

116

140

Rushing Defense

This chart displays the rushing statistics for defenses using 2011 numbers. The fantasy points calculation is one point per 10 yards rushing and six points per touchdown. This can be especially helpful for finding that bye week running back that faces a run defense coming off a tough season.

Team

Rushes

Yards

Yards per Carry

Yards per Game

TD

Points

San Francisco

353

1,236

3.5

77.2

3

142

Miami

412

1,530

3.7

95.6

8

201

Houston

378

1,536

4.1

96.0

8

202

Pittsburgh

399

1,597

4.0

99.8

7

202

Baltimore

419

1,482

3.5

92.6

10

208

Chicago

384

1,542

4.0

96.4

10

214

Atlanta

372

1,552

4.2

97.0

10

215

Dallas

385

1,585

4.1

99.1

10

219

Minnesota

439

1,712

3.9

107.0

10

231

Green Bay

383

1,789

4.7

111.8

10

239

Seattle

473

1,797

3.8

112.3

10

240

New Orleans

351

1,738

5.0

108.6

11

240

San Diego

448

1,955

4.4

122.2

8

244

Philadelphia

414

1,801

4.4

112.6

11

246

Jacksonville

435

1,667

3.8

104.2

14

251

Cincinnati

425

1,675

3.9

104.7

14

252

Detroit

410

2,050

5.0

128.1

10

265

Tennessee

461

2,053

4.5

128.3

10

265

New England

405

1,874

4.6

117.1

13

265

Denver

488

2,021

4.1

126.3

11

268

Washington

438

1,884

4.3

117.8

15

278

New York Jets

451

1,777

3.9

111.1

17

280

New York Giants

435

1,940

4.5

121.2

15

284

Arizona

475

1,986

4.2

124.1

15

289

Kansas City

508

2,112

4.2

132.0

14

295

Oakland

430

2,178

5.1

136.1

15

308

Cleveland

534

2,359

4.4

147.4

12

308

Carolina

451

2,093

4.6

130.8

18

317

Buffalo

467

2,224

4.8

139.0

19

336

Indianapolis

540

2,303

4.3

143.9

19

344

St. Louis

509

2,427

4.8

151.7

17

345

Tampa Bay

498

2,497

5.0

156.1

26

406

Passing Defense

This chart displays the passing statistics for defenses using 2011 numbers. The fantasy points calculation is one point per 25 yards passing, four points per touchdown and minus one point for interceptions. This can help you decide which bye week quarterback, wide receiver or tight end has a favorable matchup to exploit.

Team

Yards

Yards per Game

TD

INT

      Points

Baltimore

3,140

196.2

11

15

155

Pittsburgh

2,751

171.9

15

11

159

New York Jets

3,216

201.0

15

19

170

Cleveland

2,959

184.9

16

9

173

Houston

3,035

189.7

18

17

176

Seattle

3,518

219.9

18

22

191

Jacksonville

3,341

208.8

21

17

201

Kansas City

3,221

201.3

23

20

201

St. Louis

3,307

206.7

21

12

204

San Francisco

3,694

230.9

20

23

205

Arizona

3,696

231.0

17

10

206

Cincinnati

3,385

211.6

21

10

209

Washington

3,553

222.1

22

13

217

Tennessee

3,629

226.8

21

11

218

Philadelphia

3,397

212.3

27

15

229

Chicago

4,065

254.1

22

20

231

Atlanta

3,786

236.6

25

19

232

Denver

3,704

231.5

24

9

235

Detroit

3,831

239.4

26

21

236

Dallas

3,906

244.1

24

15

237

Indianapolis

3,632

227.0

25

8

237

Miami

3,992

249.5

24

16

240

San Diego

3,591

224.4

29

17

243

Buffalo

3,714

232.1

30

20

249

New Orleans

4,157

259.8

24

9

253

New York Giants

4,082

255.1

28

20

255

Carolina

3,949

246.8

28

14

256

Tampa Bay

3,814

238.4

30

14

259

Oakland

4,023

251.4

31

18

267

New England

4,703

293.9

26

23

269

Green Bay

4,796

299.8

29

31

277

Minnesota

4,019

251.2

34

8

289

Overall Defense

This chart displays both passing and rushing defensive statistics. The fantasy points calculation is one point per 10 yards rushing, six points per rushing touchdown, one point per 25 yards passing, four points per touchdown and minus one for interceptions.

Team

Rush Yards

TD

Pass Yards

TD

INT

Points

San Francisco

1,236

3

3,694

20

23

346

Pittsburgh

1,597

7

2,751

15

11

361

Baltimore

1,482

10

3,140

11

15

363

Houston

1,536

8

3,035

18

17

378

Seattle

1,797

10

3,518

18

22

430

Miami

1,530

8

3,992

24

16

441

Chicago

1,542

10

4,065

22

20

445

Atlanta

1,552

10

3,786

25

19

448

New York Jets

1,777

17

3,216

15

19

449

Jacksonville

1,667

14

3,341

21

17

451

Dallas

1,585

10

3,906

24

15

456

Cincinnati

1,675

14

3,385

21

10

461

Philadelphia

1,801

11

3,397

27

15

475

Cleveland

2,359

12

2,959

16

9

481

Tennessee

2,053

10

3,629

21

11

483

San Diego

1,955

8

3,591

29

17

486

New Orleans

1,738

11

4,157

24

9

493

Arizona

1,986

15

3,696

17

10

494

Washington

1,884

15

3,553

22

13

496

Kansas City

2,112

14

3,221

23

20

496

Detroit

2,050

10

3,831

26

21

501

Denver

2,021

11

3,704

24

9

503

Green Bay

1,789

10

4,796

29

31

516

Minnesota

1,712

10

4,019

34

8

520

New England

1,874

13

4,703

26

23

535

New York Giants

1,940

15

4,082

28

20

539

St. Louis

2,427

17

3,307

21

12

549

Carolina

2,093

18

3,949

28

14

573

Oakland

2,178

15

4,023

31

18

575

Indianapolis

2,303

19

3,632

25

8

582

Buffalo

2,224

19

3,714

30

20

585

Tampa Bay

2,497

26

3,814

30

14

664

Schedule Strength by Category

Using the data below, which summarizes the points allowed by the defenses each team will face in 2012, we can rank teams based on schedule strength against the pass and run. Thus, if you are looking to draft a quarterback, you can see which team faces the toughest pass defenses over the course of the season and which has the easiest, which may help you decide between similar quarterbacks. The points are the total fantasy points given up by the opponent’s defenses against the rush and pass. This may be the most important chart to consider when looking at a particular position during the draft. The chart is sorted from toughest to easiest schedule. As you can see, this season the Atlanta Falcons face the easiest schedule against both the run and the pass, so their offense could be in for a very nice season.

  Team

Rush

Points

Team

Pass

Points

Team

Total

Points

Detroit

3,906

Cincinnati

3,298

Cincinnati

7,327

Arizona

3,945

New England

3,344

New England

7,531

New York Giants

4,014

Pittsburgh

3,347

Baltimore

7,544

Green Bay

4,021

Baltimore

3,413

New York Giants

7,559

Cincinnati

4,029

Cleveland

3,416

Cleveland

7,561

St. Louis

4,056

Buffalo

3,435

Arizona

7,565

Indianapolis

4,070

Miami

3,489

Pittsburgh

7,568

Tennessee

4,070

San Diego

3,490

Indianapolis

7,594

Chicago

4,083

Oakland

3,492

Detroit

7,598

Seattle

4,117

Dallas

3,521

Buffalo

7,620

New York Jets

4,127

Indianapolis

3,524

Tennessee

7,660

Baltimore

4,131

New York Giants

3,545

Green Bay

7,679

Cleveland

4,145

New York Jets

3,554

New York Jets

7,682

Buffalo

4,184

Philadelphia

3,558

St. Louis

7,693

New England

4,187

Denver

3,563

Dallas

7,739

Minnesota

4,197

Tennessee

3,590

Minnesota

7,798

Jacksonville

4,214

Minnesota

3,601

Seattle

7,800

Dallas

4,218

Arizona

3,620

Chicago

7,817

Washington

4,220

Washington

3,632

Philadelphia

7,821

Pittsburgh

4,222

St. Louis

3,638

Oakland

7,848

Houston

4,229

Green Bay

3,658

Washington

7,853

Tampa Bay

4,262

Houston

3,661

Denver

7,870

Philadelphia

4,263

San Francisco

3,670

Miami

7,888

San Francisco

4,302

Kansas City

3,672

Houston

7,890

Denver

4,307

Seattle

3,682

Jacksonville

7,913

Carolina

4,317

Detroit

3,692

San Diego

7,925

Oakland

4,356

Jacksonville

3,699

San Francisco

7,971

New Orleans

4,399

Chicago

3,735

Carolina

8,111

Miami

4,399

Carolina

3,794

Tampa Bay

8,123

San Diego

4,435

New Orleans

3,860

Kansas City

8,139

Kansas City

4,467

Tampa Bay

3,860

New Orleans

8,258

Atlanta

4,621

Atlanta

3,862

Atlanta

8,483

The SoS analysis is not the only tool you should rely on, but it can certainly help you put together a strong fantasy squad. It can help make those tough ranking and drafting decisions when players have similar value in your eyes. It is also very useful for finding a bye week backup and in helping choose your starting lineup each week. You would not want to take a lesser player because of their schedule, but it will help you make some of those tough decisions. The SoS analysis can help improve your team just enough to put your squad over the top and help you win the title.