20 Oct 2011
In Thursday's fantasy matchups column for ESPN Insider, I discussed the easiest and toughest remaining schedules in the NFL from a fantasy perspective. For quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends, I simply averaged the pass defense DVOAs for opponents from Weeks 7 to 16. Similarly, I averaged run defense DVOAs to come up with schedule strength for running backs. Because it only takes me about 10 sentences to reach the column's 2,000-word limit, there wasn't enough space to list the schedule strengths for every team. Therefore, I'm listing them here.
The table below is pretty self-explanatory, with run and pass offenses ranked from hardest to easiest remaining schedule (i.e., No. 1 is the toughest). It's meant to be used as one more piece of information to consider while you contemplate trade offers and free agent acquisitions in your league(s). Cleveland's offensive players, for instance, will probably be as cold as the wind off Lake Erie over the next 10 weeks thanks to their strength of schedule, so you're better off avoiding them just the same.
One final thing I'll note -- because I know it will come up -- is that, no, that's not a typo. The average opponent DVOAs for all 32 pass offenses are above zero percent, and the average opponent DVOAs for 29 of 32 run offenses are below zero percent. That's because pass offenses in 2011 are increasingly divergent from the era on which baseline efficiencies are based. It's something Aaron's mentioned previously as an issue we'll be addressing this upcoming offseason. Not to worry; regardless of the NFL average, a ranking of one is still a ranking of one, and so on.
Good luck the rest of the way.
22 comments, Last at 08 Nov 2011, 3:04pm by dw123
Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?