The best and worst schedules for the fantasy outside WRs
On Thursday, we looked at the projected 2017 strength of schedule for fantasy running backs. Today, we’re looking at the strength of schedule for each team’s outside wide receivers. (Slot receivers and tight ends are upcoming.) Obviously, I’m not the only fantasy analyst looking at strength of schedule this offseason, but I am the only one I know of breaking down wide receivers by where they run the majority of their routes. This should paint a better picture and make things significantly more accurate.
For instance, last season, the Green Bay Packers allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers on outside routes and the third-fewest to wide receivers running routes from the slot. If only looking at their totals to all wide receivers you may otherwise have gotten duped into playing a slot-only wide receiver in a poor matchup.
The first chart below is the basic 2017 NFL schedule. The chart below that has each opponent team name removed and replaced with their 2016 average PPR fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers running routes from the outside. By creating a chart in such a manner, we can gauge to some level of accuracy how difficult a team’s fantasy strength of schedule might be in 2017.
With every article ever written on strength of schedule, one must always disclose the following: There’s a lot of variance in this data. So much changes year-to-year and team-to-team. A defense’s weakness last season may now be its strength after significant free agency and draft acquisitions. Or, perhaps that defense’s vulnerability was the result of a defensive scheme that no longer exists after the team made a coaching change. Still, with these caveats, strength of schedule is something I spend a good deal of time on each season. It paints a decent picture of the season as a whole, a player’s postseason schedule (P-AVG), and weeks to stream or target players in trade.