Senior analyst Michael Fabiano breaks down the fantasy implications of how quarterback strength of schedule affects the 2021 season
The National Football League has a strength of schedule formula that’s very simple to understand. You take the opponents’ records from the previous season, add up the wins and losses and calculate a percentage for all 16 opponents. In the world of fantasy football, we use a similar method. Instead of using team records, we use the number of fantasy points allowed (FPA) by defenses the previous season against a single position (both at home and on the road) and rank the teams/players according to the average.
For example, the Detroit Lions allowed an average of 23.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks overall last season. However, their defense was much tougher on the road (19.0 PPG allowed) than at home (28.0 PPG allowed). Therefore, a road quarterback who faces the Lions at Ford Field in 2021 receives 28.0 points. On the flip side, a home quarterback who faces Detroit received 19.0 points. This goes one step deeper than typical FPA analysis, based on a total average of the home and road numbers. The bigger the overall point total per team, the easier the schedule.
Note: Numbered columns in spreadsheet don’t represent specific weeks.
Trevor Lawrence certainly benefits from playing against in the AFC South, as the Titans and Texans both allowed more than 20 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last season. Look for Lawrence to be drafted as a No. 2 fantasy signal-caller in redrafts.
Ben Roethlisberger gets JuJu Smith-Schuster back, a massive upgrade at running back in rookie Najee Harris, and the second-easiest schedule for fantasy quarterbacks.
Jameis Winston has a favorable slate of games that could help make him a bargain in fantasy drafts. The Falcons (2), Panthers (2), Titans, and Seahawks, among their 2021 opponents, allowed more than 19 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last season.
We’re not sure if Aaron Rodgers will be the Packers quarterback, but he will have the toughest schedule based on 2020 fantasy points allowed data. He’s matchup proof, of course, but Jordan Love (if he is the starter) is not. Keep tabs on this situation, folks.
Ryan Tannehill lost his offensive coordinator in Arthur Smith and two of his top options in the passing game in Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith. He also has one of the toughest schedules in the league based on fantasy points allowed data, so you have to be a bit concerned about some statistical regression. He’s a borderline No. 1 option.
The Giants have added Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Kyle Rudolph this offseason, so Daniel Jones is in a good spot to succeed. He does have a tough slate of games, though, as he faces the Football Team (2), Saints, and Rams among some of their tougher opponents. Danny Dimes should be seen as a late-round No. 2 option.
- Orr: The 15 Best Games to Look Forward to in the 2021 NFL Season
- Pickman: 2021 NFL Schedule – Key Games, Dates for Every Team
- Orr: Six Teams Stiffed by the NFL Schedule
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!