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The fantasy strength of schedule is used to determine the overall difficulty of players' matchups from Week 1 to Week 16.
The No. 1 ranked team is forecasted to see the easiest slate, while the No. 32 club will face defenses projected to allow the fewest fantasy points to that position in 2019.
Our model takes into account several variables, including historical defensive data, offseason roster changes, new coaching staffs, home/road splits, and individual player matchups.
Jameis Winston is one of the late-round quarterbacks I'm targeting in drafts thanks to his outstanding supporting cast and Bruce Arians' arrival in Tampa Bay. Winston's fantasy schedule makes him even more appealing as he'll face the third-easiest slate in 2019. In fact, every quarterback in the NFC South should be licking their fingers, since they all landed among the top 10.
Kyler Murray's fantasy value will be boosted by his rushing ability, but with Kliff Kingsbury's pass-happy attack coupled with a favorable schedule, we could see the rookie crack the QB1 ranks in his first season. Murray has very few daunting matchups, especially since the Cardinals' second meeting with the Rams is tucked away in fantasy-irrelevant Week 17.
Fantasy owners are hoping for a bounce-back campaign from Aaron Rodgers, who should benefit from the more modern offense being implemented by new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. Unfortunately for Rodgers, he'll have to rebound against the most difficult fantasy schedule of any quarterback, which includes at least six games against what we project to be elite pass defenses.
From Week 11 forward, no team rushed the ball more than the Ravens with Lamar Jackson at the helm. So it seems unfair for Baltimore to have the softest fantasy schedule for their running backs, but that's the world we're living in. Mark Ingram is the most likely to capitalize, but don't be surprised if rookie Justice Hill also becomes fantasy relevant against this cushy set of opponents.
The Patriots have sported a top-10 rushing attack over the last three years and continue to invest in their ground game as they attempt to reduce the burden on Tom Brady. A run-first approach will be the path of least resistance for New England this season as Sony Michel and Co. get the fourth-easiest fantasy schedule while Brady contends with one of the tougher slates for quarterbacks. Third-rounder Damien Harris is insurance to guarantee the running back stable is well stocked all season long and makes for an intriguing sleeper deep in fantasy drafts.
If you're trying to decide which of the top rookie running backs to select, know that the Bears' David Montgomery and the Raiders' Josh Jacobs are in the green with the third- and ninth-friendliest calendars, respectively. Meanwhile, Miles Sanders will first have to beat out veteran Jordan Howard for the starting role in Philadelphia, and if he does, the prize is a red box that contains a bottom-six fantasy schedule.
Amari Cooper will have a chance to pick up where he left off after an absolutely scorching final nine games following his trade to the Cowboys. Cooper was the WR7 in standard leagues and the WR9 in PPR formats during that stretch and now gets the least worrisome docket for 2019. We may also see sophomore Michael Gallup develop into a more regular contributor as Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott draw the attention of opposing defenses.
Breakout candidates like Chris Godwin, D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley, and Dede Westbrook will all have the benefit of less challenging slates. You should be aiming to secure at least one of them for the upcoming season.
Whether or not Tyreek Hill is in the lineup, the Chiefs will have a harder time replicating their supercharged stats from 2018. The fantasy schedule for Kansas City's wideouts ranks 32nd, while Patrick Mahomes' 16 opponents came in at 28th. That doesn't mean you have to avoid Mahomes and his receivers, but it's another reason why you should think twice about spending an early pick on last year's top-scoring QB, or any quarterback for that matter.
If you're looking for a positive about the Chiefs' schedule in 2019, it's that Travis Kelce has one of the better draws among tight ends. With Hill's situation in doubt, Kelce is primed for another career year.
Unless you're taking one of the obvious fantasy stars like George Kittle, Zach Ertz, OJ Howard, or maybe Jared Cook, you might want to consider selecting a tight from the AFC. All but one of the top 10 fantasy tight end schedules comes from that conference, with players like Delanie Walker, Hunter Henry, and Eric Ebron lined up with the most appealing 16-game slates.
Rookie TJ Hockenson will have to overcome the third-toughest schedule at his position if he plans to be a fantasy starter in his debut campaign. Hockenson certainly has the talent to accomplish the feat as long as the Lions give him enough volume in an offense that's leaning more toward the run under Matt Patricia.