Stevie J Has Favorable Matchups On Tap
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall
Though a lot of people don't take the time to examine strength of schedule as it relates to fantasy football, it can be a useful way to help owners become a little more decisive on players they are on the fence about. In this piece, we'll look at some NFL teams who have favorable schedules this season and explain what the fantasy ramifications are.
More after the jump:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012 opponents combined record 124-132 (.484)
With home games against the Panthers (Week One), Redskins (Week Four), Chiefs (Week Six), Chargers (Week 10) and Rams (Week 16), Tampa Bay has five very winnable games at Raymond James Stadium. Easy matchups away from home include contests against the Vikings (Week Eight), Raiders (Week Nine) and Panthers (Week 11). Expect Josh Freeman, Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, and Mike Williams to excel in these matchups. In addition, the Buccaneers get two games against the New Orleans Saints. While the Saints have boasted one of the league’s top offenses for years, they continue to remain a team that struggles in stopping opponents from scoring. All said and counted, the Bucs have 10 games on their schedule where their offensive weapons should be on display.
Buffalo Bills 2012 opponents combined record 121-135 (.473)
While I’m not very high on most of the Bills offensive starters, their schedule is favorable. Buffalo's 2012 slate features divisional matchups against the Miami Dolphins as well as multiple games against a Patriots defense that ranked 31st in the NFL last year. Home games include the Chiefs (Week Two), Titans (Week Seven), Jaguars (Week 13), Rams (Week 14) and Seahawks (Week 15), while road games see them travel to Arizona (Week Six) and Indianapolis (Week 12). On my count, that’s 11 games that should favor players such as Stevie Johnson and Fred Jackson. One can also make an argument for Ryan Fitzpatrick as a backup quarterback or a QB2 in two-quarterback leagues. With a schedule as easy as Buffalo’s, it’s hard to dispute the worth of the aforementioned players.
Houston Texans 2012 opponents combined record 121-135 (.473)
What’s not to love about Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson in 2012? Okay, so Andre Johnson is battling an injury again and Arian Foster is going vegan. If either of those are deterrents keeping you from drafting them, then consider the Texans schedule. They get the Dolphins (Week One), Titans (Week Four), Jaguars (Week 11), Colts (Week 15), and Vikings (Week 16) at home. While their road schedule is testier, they do get the Jaguars (Week Two), Titans (Week 13), a weak Patriots defense (Week 14) and the Colts (Week 17). While it’s unknown how veganism will affect Foster’s play, he does get a healthy diet (no pun intended) of weak defenses that should make for some easy sledding. As far as Andre Johnson is concerned, his minor tweak seems to be water under the bridge. Schaub is injury-prone as well, but he remains a fantasy threat. That said, you would be hard pressed to pass on Foster, Johnson, and Schaub.
New England Patriots 2012 opponents combined record 116-140 (.453)
The Patriots were a dropped Wes Welker pass away from winning the Super Bowl last year. And here they are in 2012 with the easiest schedule in the league. It just doesn’t seem fair. As far as their division is concerned, the Patriots can easily run the table and go 6-0 versus the AFC East. Beyond that, they get the Cardinals (Week Two) and Colts (Week 11) at home. As for their road contests, the Patriots travel to Tennessee (Week 1), Seattle (Week Six), St. Louis (Week Eight) and Jacksonville (Week 16). The only games I see the Patriots potentially losing are against the Texans, Ravens and 49ers. As far as this analyst is concerned, you can put New England down for 13 wins and another exceptional fantasy season for their usual suspects.
Teams With the Easiest Fantasy Playoff Schedules
Houston Texans - Week 15 (Colts), Week 16 (Vikings), Week 17 (@Colts)
Chicago Bears - Week 15 (Packers), Week 16 (@Cardinals), Week 17 (@Lions)
New Orleans Saints - Week 15 (Buccaneers), Week16 (@Cowboys), Week 17 (Panthers)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Week 15 (@Saints), Week 16 (Rams), Week 17 (@Falcons)
San Francisco 49ers - Week 15 (@Patriots), Week 16 (@Seahawks), Week 17 (Cardinals)