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Strength of Schedule Detail Analyses Players Bottom 5

In my previous article, I went through the Top 5 players at the skill position that had the easiest schedule. That SOS will help you in determining who to grab among similar players and what players you can grab that will give you an advantage. If you haven’t read it, take a moment to check it out.

 

When you look at the top 5 you also want to consider looking at the bottom 5. SOS charts are being featured a lot more then they were in the past. Last year I saw two, Tony’s hot and cold player chart and a standard year long chart from another source. This year I’ve seen as many as 5 different SOS charts. The majority of them agree on who’s going to be hot and who is not but there are a few discrepancies. Don’t always take a chart for what it’s worth. Look it over and form your own objective opinions.

 

Now let us look at the players that will have an uphill battle to be productive this year and face some tough defenses and some of their PROs and CONs.

 

QB SOS

QB SOS takes into account the defenses it will be facing and weapons the QB has all around them.

 

TEAM

       PLAYER

        

  1. SD

           Rivers

                  

PRO Great Weapons. Excellent D to get short fields

CON Change of coaches and system. Lack of elite WR

 

  1. KC

           Croyle/ Huard

      

PRO For Huard, He was productive last year. For Croyle, he will get every chance to start

   

           

CON Inexperience for both QBs, O-line has taken major hits and the uncertainty of LJ

 

  1. HOU

        Schaub

PRO Has all the tools to be a great QB. Upgrades made by team

                 

           

CON Unproven, lack of elite WR2 and WR3

 

  1. OAK

        McCown/ Russell

PRO Improved team, new coaching system

             

CON McCown has limited experience and #1 pick behind him. Russell is a Rookie

 

  1. DEN

        Cutler

                  

PRO Stepped in and played well. Great weapons around him

           

CON Inexperience, DEN run base team

 

This list has many QB’s that would be drafted later in the draft or picked off waivers. Only Rivers has played a full season and only Cutler will be drafted as a QB1 for some teams in a 12 team format. For those who think Schaub is a Sleeper must proceed with caution as the HOU O-line is still a work in progress and there are a lot of unknown such as entering a new system, new RB with injury history and mileage and poor defense. Rivers faces a very tough schedule and will have to learn a new system under Turner. He played well last year and will have to do so again for him to be successful. I’m avoiding the KC situation all together. There is just to many factors that make the KC QB situation one that will struggle to be productive. If LJ holds out or is traded, that will make it even harder on them. McCown or Russell will take over for

Oakland but I don’t see them having much success this year. Russell could be this years Vince Young. But fantasy wise he won’t lead anyone to a championship but may help during bye weeks or in case of injury. I would take a wait and see approach with those QB’s. Cutler seems to be a young QB who will do well in the NFL and may be an elite QB in the future. However, he may struggle this year and finish middle of the pack in leagues in 2007.

Note: 4 of the 5 teams with the toughest SOS play in the AFC West.

 

RB SOS

RB SOS takes into account the defenses it will be facing and the O-Line.

 

TEAM

       PLAYER

                                                                    

           

  1. BUF

         Lynch/ Thomas

               

PRO Major improvements on the O-line. More consistent QB

          

CON RBBC, Lynch is a Rookie and Thomas isn’t an all down back

 

  1. DET

         Jones/

    Bell

           

PRO High powered offense, RB’s will catch a lot of passes

             

CON RBBC, Jones may start on PUP.

Bell has fumbling issues

 

  1. WAS

        Portis/ Betts

         

PRO Both backs can produce and are explosive. WAS will lean on the run

   

CON Another RBBC, Portis is having more and more health issues, Betts new contract will cut into his touches

 

  1. IND

         Addai/ Dorsey

      

PRO Great offense that will open up the run

CON Some injury concerns with Addai, Dorsey is a unknown rookie

 

  1. PHI

          Westbrook/ Buckalter

PRO Westbrook is an all around pro, Buckalter is powerful back

      

CON Injuries galore for both these running backs and Hunt may be a factor

 

Running back is the one position fantasy owners pay more attention to then any other spot. Getting a stud is key as well as the next back to break out. On this list 4 of the 5 teams have backs with major injury concerns. Lynch is most likely the 1st rookie drafted in leagues and if he wins the job will be asked to carry the load. He also hasn’t carried the load or runs with power so he may not get the goalline and short yardage opportunities.

  Jones is still recovering from the Lisfranc injury and if he is put on the PUP, he won’t play until week 6. That would give the starting job to T. Bell who was traded this off season and will be asked to catch more passes then he has in the past. If he can cure his turnovers, he could be a steal in the draft. If Jones is healthy then both he and

Bell will kill any chance of being a top 20 back. Portis had a let down season last year and was plagued by injuries. Betts stepped in and played well in his absence. Betts new contract shows that WAS is not confident Portis can carry the load. Early reports of knee problems doesn’t help either. Addai is the hot flavor of drafts this off season. I’ve seen him go very high in drafts and for me personally I would not pick him in the top 5. I think he will be the bust of the 1st round putting up less numbers then people expect. Now I’m not saying he won’t be good as he’s on a great offensive team. However, facing good run defenses will force Indy to pass more. We don’t know how Dorsey or any other back will factor in as they will want to keep Addai from wearing down and getting injured like he did in the play off game against the Ravens. Westbrook is a back everyone likes and if he stays healthy can be one of the best backs in the league. In leagues that award PPR or even just receiving yards, his value is much greater. Westbrook has missed time ever year due to some injury but many owners are willing to take that risk. Maybe knowing he has a tough schedule to face will also be a factor. You also have to consider Buckalter can be good but is never healthy himself and the Eagles drafted Hunt who could push for playing time.

WR SOS

WR SOS takes into account the secondary they will be match up with.

 

TEAM

       PLAYER

        

                       

                                               

       

  1. TN

           Jones/Roby/Williams

         

PRO Young WR, QB is improving

 

CON

  Unproven and inexperienced

 

  1. KC

           Kenneson/Bowe/Parker

PRO Elite RB will keep defenses honest

     

      

    

CON QB situation, LJ hold out

 

  1. HOU

        A.Johnson/Walter/B.Johnson

        

PRO

 Upgrades on team

    

     

     

CON

  New QB with inexperience, not great WR2 or WR3

 

  1. SD

           Jackson/Parker/Davis

       

PRO High powered offense, QB improved

CON

Jackson young never been #1, WR or 3rd option on team

 

  1. DEN

        Walker/Smith/Marshall

     

PRO Good offense with good running game

          

CON Young QB new RB in system

 

Tennessee

has Vince starting a new year and some questioned his passing ability when he entered the league. Jones is projected to be WR1 and played well down the stretch but now defenses will be keying in on him. There is a lot of inexperience at WR and Givins will not be health. Plus if you believe in the Madden Curse then it’s all down hill. Kenneson disappointed last year and that’s when Haurd was QB. He Ave. 47.9 yards in the 10 game Haurd was the QB and he only had 2 TD’s in those 10 games. It is hard to think that his stats will be better this year under either KC QB’s. Bowe is a rookie who many think will play well but if the offense is struggling, he will too. Andre Johnson lead the league in targets and many believe he is going to put up better numbers this year. However if the other wide outs on the team don’t produce, it will allow teams to double up on Johnson all year. We still don’t know what to expect from Schaub or the run game. In SD LT & Gates are the 1st and 2nd options on the team. This leaves the WRs waiting for the leftovers or making a play when the 1st play is broken down. Rivers put up decent numbers last year and could be aloud to throw more but under a new coaching staff, we have to see how the offense will be used.

Walker is a top WR but Smith has been on the decline and injuries have caught up with him. This leaves the door open for

Marshall to step up and take the #2 but he has had some nagging injuries as well and has not been given the starting spot. With Cutler only in his second year and facing a tough schedule, it could make it tough for the WR to put up great numbers.

 

Note: 3 of the 5 are AFC West teams.

 

 

TE SOS

TE SOS takes into account the linebackers they will be match up with.

 

TEAM

       PLAYER

                                                                                            

  1. SD

           A. Gates

                                 

PRO Top TE in the league, Playmaker

                    

CON New Coaching staff, has to improve drops

 

  1. CIN

          R. Kelly

                           

PRO Great QB and offense

                                   

CON TE not used much in CIN, used only as a check down.

 

  1. MIA

         D. Martin

                                     

PRO Has QB that throws to TE, will step in for departed McMichael

                       

CON New Coach, inexperience.

 

  1. CLE

         K. Winslow

                                  

PRO One of the top options on the team

                 

CON Too many injuries, QB situation

 

  1. PIT

          H. Miller

                                      

PRO underrated TE, good hands

                 

CON New coaching staff, not used consistently

 

Gates is the #1 TE but facing the toughest schedule for a tight end where the QB & WR face a tough road will not justify how high you will have to draft him. If he falls outside the 3rd round he will be worth taking. R. Kelly is on an offense that ignores the TE and he is not a great route runner. He won’t be productive enough to warrant a roster spot and this schedule makes it more so. Martin is on some sleeper list and the team thinks he can step in and produce the way McMichael did. Green likes to through to the TE which is a plus but Martin hasn’t caught more then 27 passes in a season. Winslow has been drafted fairly high this season as he’s been around the top 5 TE selected. With his injury history and the questions his team has at QB, Winslow shouldn’t been selected so high. Facing a tough schedule and having off season surgery it’s hard to see him producing big numbers. Miller was high on many people draft boards last year but wasn’t used consistently through out the year to be a great starter. After gaining 101 yards and a TD in week 1 his never put up more then 35 yards a game and finished with only 4 more TDs. With a hard schedule and improving WRs, he looks to put up similar numbers in 2007.

 

In Conclusion of the QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs facing the toughest schedules the RBs have to be the major concern.

San Diego faces a tough schedule at all the positions so proceed with caution when drafting these players. AFC West teams face the toughest schedule and many of those players will struggle to put up great numbers for your team. I wouldn’t avoid these players all together because they still have value but you have to take their SOS into account when your basing how well they will do in 2007.

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