Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule: Wide Receivers

Written by John Ferguson
June 2, 2020

As part of our 2020 Fantasy Football Draft Kit here at FantasyData, we have created a custom strength of schedule projection model with in-depth analysis to help you in your quest for a championship title. Strength of schedule (SOS) is a tool I have used ever since I started playing fantasy as a part of draft preparation. This, along with personal rankings and ADP are cornerstones of conducting a solid draft. One of the best parts about using SOS is being able to compare two players you have ranked pretty much identically with similar ADPs to see which one might have a slight edge with an easier schedule, especially in the final quarter of the fantasy season (Weeks 13-16) when wins matter the most.

Method of Projection and Numbers to Know

There are a few different ways people project SOS for an upcoming fantasy season. The way I prefer to do this is by using a recent sample of the last two seasons' fantasy points allowed ranks and points per game (PPG) allowed. I compare these side-by-side to find an average that I am happy with and use that for the upcoming season to determine where a team could potentially rank against a position in fantasy points allowed. It's a fairly simple method, but in doing this, I have found that most teams don't have a drastic change in fantasy points allowed from one season to the next. To back that up, here are some key numbers worth knowing before we dive into this more:

Across the league, the average amount of movement for teams between the last two seasons when it comes to fantasy points allowed to wideouts was 9.3 spots and 3.6 PPG. As with the other positions, however, you see a larger gap between the top and bottom ranks with the teams ranking around average and just above or below average offering much less variance. For example, the Saints have allowed the most points to WRs over the last two seasons on average at 28.05 PPG. If you moved them from the top the average 9.3 spots to rank ninth, they would have allowed 24.1 PPG, which is a difference of about four points, slightly above the average. If you take the Raiders, however, who are ranked ninth at 24.1 PPG and move them down nine spots to 18th, they would have still allowed 22.4 PPG, a difference of just 1.7 PPG. So basically, unless a team has a major jump above the average 9.3 spots from top to bottom or vice versa, there really isn't that much variance from year-to-year, and only five teams moved more than double the league average between the last two seasons.

Similar to every position in the league, we haven't seen a ton of movement over the last two years amongst the teams that we have projected to rank top five in most fantasy points allowed to WRs this season. Of the teams in the top five, only one (Miami) moved more than the league average of 9.3 spots, and it was in the positive direction for points allowed as they went from ranking 19th in 2018 (23 PPG) to second in 2019 (29 PPG). This consistency is actually maintained all the way through the top 10 in our projections, as only two teams moved more than average with the other being the Giants who went from 26th in 2018 (20.9 PPG) to fourth in 2019 (27.4 PPG), another move in the positive direction. We also had only three teams within the top ten move more than four PPG between the 2018-2019 seasons.

We see more variance at the bottom of the list here at WR compared to the top and not just at the position, but across all positions in general. Of the teams we have projected in the bottom five for least fantasy points allowed to wideouts, three of them moved more than the average 9.3 spots between 2018-2019 and six teams in the bottom 10 made moves above the average as well. The only thing that makes me feel fairly comfortable about keeping all of these teams ranked near the bottom is that only four of them allowed more points in 2019 than they did in 2018 and two of those teams (the Colts and Vikings) were jumps so big (19 spots and 21 spots, respectively) that regression to the mean could be in line.

Now that we have gotten some of the technical stuff out of the way, let's take a look at the best and worst schedules this season for wideouts!

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John Ferguson

John Ferguson is an avid Fantasy Football fanatic with 10+ years of experience in friends and family leagues, paying public leagues, and DFS Tournaments. Ferguson specializes in draft strategies, trade negotiations (Buy Low/Sell High) and DFS value picks amongst other parts of fantasy football analysis. When Ferguson isn’t spending time skimming over stats while at the beach, he follows the Oakland Athletics closely as a diehard fan and enjoys spending quality time with his beautiful wife and three children. A native of Monterey, California, Ferguson now calls Quintana Roo, Mexico home.