2017 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: NFC East schedule breakdown
Who's got the best schedule in the NFC East? How about no one? It'll be rough across the board, but the Giants have it worse than everyone.
You can do plenty of research when it comes to every NFL skill-position player, but none of it would matter if you knew they'd have a tough schedule, or even an easy one.
This June, we graded every defense based on talent, depth and coaching, then used those grades to determine which teams had the easiest and hardest schedules. The results are published by division. The goal is to draw some conclusions about Fantasy players who you might not start every week regardless of matchup.
NFC East common opponents: NFC West, AFC West
Cowboys team defensive grades -- Run: 5 | Pass Rush: 5 | Pass Coverage: 6
Sked specs: Week 6 bye, Week 12 Thursday game vs. San Diego Chargers , 10 games indoors, 10 games on turf, one game with opponent coming off a bye week (vs. Philadelphia Eagles , Week 11).
Sked notes: The Cowboys have it tough like everyone else in the NFC East, but because they play the New York Giants and Eagles twice each and have to face the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons , it's especially difficult. Dak Prescott won't see a soft secondary until Week 4 against the Los Angeles Rams , and even then there's a strong pass rush he and his O-line must cope with. One might argue the Cowboys won't catch a great matchup until Week 7 at San Francisco. Three of their last four games are on the road. If there's a plus, it's that tough matchups didn't faze Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott last year, so maybe it won't wear down the 'Boys.
Cowboys projected opponents defensive ranks -- Run: 25th | Pass: 31st
Predicted record: 8-8
New York Giants
Giants team defensive grades -- Run: 7 | Pass Rush: 8 | Pass Coverage: 9
Sked specs: Week 8 bye, Week 12 Thursday game at Washington Redskins , two games indoors, nine games on turf, league-high four games with opponents coming off a bye week (at Denver Broncos , Week 6; vs. Seattle Seahawks , Week 7; vs. Rams, Week 9; vs. Kansas City Chiefs , Week 11).
Sked notes: Obviously it's not a good thing that 25 percent of the Giants' opponents will play them on a week's worth of rest, though it helps that the Giants themselves will come off a bye for their home game against the Rams. It's also not good that four of the Giants' first six games are on the road against four playoff contenders. Some of that is made up for when they play all three of their divisional home games within the final four weeks of the season, but this is a real 180 from their 2016 schedule.
Giants projected opponents defensive ranks -- Run: 15th | Pass: 24th
Predicted record: 9-7
Eagles team defensive grades -- Run: 8 | Pass Rush: 7 | Pass Coverage: 4
Sked specs: Week 10 bye, Week 6 Thursday game at Carolina Panthers , one game indoors, three games on turf, no games with opponents coming off a bye week.
Sked notes: It's not as bad as last year's docket, but Philly won't exactly be led down the primrose path. Three of their first four are on the road. In Weeks 7 through 9 they land a home stand that includes a home date with the Broncos (and a big test for Carson Wentz ). The season ends with a thud -- three straight road games including two on the Pacific coast and then home dates against the Oakland Raiders and Cowboys. The Eagles should be competitive, but without many easy matchups, the Fantasy stats will leave a lot to be desired.
Eagles projected opponents defensive ranks -- Run: 18th | Pass: 27th
Predicted record: 8-8
Redskins team defensive grades -- Run: 5 | Pass Rush: 4 | Pass Coverage: 6
Sked specs: Week 5 bye, Week 12 Thursday game vs. Giants, two games indoors, three games on turf, one game with opponent coming off a bye week (vs. Minnesota Vikings , Week 8).
Sked notes: It's graded as the toughest schedule in the league, and it really suggests that Kirk Cousins will throw a ton in come-from-behind/high-scoring outings. That could mean some really great weeks, or it could mean a ton of turnovers. To be fair, we thought the schedule was tough last year and Cousins wasn't bad. It might come down to just how good his receiving corps is, though matchups against a bunch of tough secondaries could negate it.
Redskins projected opponents defensive ranks -- Run: 29th | Pass: 32nd
Predicted record: 7-9
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