What sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And what big-name running back could ruin your season? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Alvin Kamara's huge breakout last season and find out.
- | | |
- More: Early season preview
Digging into the NFL schedule isn't a process that will clinch you a playoff spot in your Fantasy league, but it will provide some insight that could change your drafting plans. Players you might consider snagging could have a bunch of tough opponents in their future, or a bunch of weak ones. Knowing the difference could save you some headaches in 2018.
In early June, we graded every defense based on talent, depth and coaching, then used those grades to figure out which teams had good schedules and which teams had bad schedules. Below, you'll see how a team's slate of opposing defenses rank -- the higher the number, the easier the schedule. This should serve as at least a tie-breaker when considering two players for one draft pick.
AFC South common opponents: AFC East, NFC East
Texans projected opponents defensive ranks -- Run: 4th | Pass: 3rd
Sked specs: Week 10 bye, Week 8 Thursday game vs. Dolphins, nine games indoors, 11 games on turf, no games with opponent coming off a bye week.
Sked notes: It's a great schedule, but we can still complain about the Texans playing just one home game in the first four weeks. The schedule gods make up for that by dropping a three-game homestand against the Titans, Browns and Colts just after Thanksgiving. They also stuck a home game against top-rated Jacksonville in Week 17, a tough matchup Fantasy owners won't have to bother with if the title games are in Week 16. There might be five defensive backs who could give DeAndre Hopkins a sliver of trouble over the course of the season — and fewer to hassle Will Fuller.
Colts projected opponents defensive ranks -- Run: 14th | Pass: 20th
Sked specs: Week 9 bye, Week 5 Thursday game at Patriots, nine games indoors, 11 games on turf, three games with opponents coming off a bye week (at Raiders, Week 8; vs. Jaguars, Week 10; vs. Dolphins, Week 12).
Sked notes: It's a tale of two halves for the Colts. Four of their first six games are on the road including their short-week game at New England. But once they're done with the Raiders Oct. 28, they won't leave Indiana again until early December. In total, the Colts have three road games between Weeks 10 and 17, which isn't bad. Ultimately, Indianapolis' defense figures to be a very weak unit, pushing the offense to ratchet up the pace and put up some come-from-behind stats. Andrew Luck, if healthy, should be productive.
Jaguars projected opponents defensive ranks -- Run: 2nd | Pass: 1st
Sked specs: Week 9 bye, Week 14 Thursday game at Titans, two games indoors, five games on turf, two games with opponents coming off a bye week (at Colts, Week 10; at Bills, Week 12), Week 8 home game in London vs. Eagles
Sked notes: The Jaguars have it good early, landing a three-game homestand from Weeks 2 through 4 after opening against Tom Coughlin's old squad in New York. They're on the road a bunch after that, playing away from home four times over five games in a 36-day span. But from Week 12 on, they're looking great. Perhaps their toughest road game all year, at Houston, is tucked into Week 17. It lines up perfectly for second-year back Leonard Fournette, and if Blake Bortles could just put together some decent throws then the passing game would be just fine. By the way, if you draft the Jaguars DST then you better be prepared to start them at the Giants and versus the Patriots to begin the season.
Titans projected opponents defensive ranks -- Run: 5th | Pass: 13th
Sked specs: Week 8 bye, Week 14 Thursday game vs. Jaguars, three games indoors, five games on turf, one game with opponent coming off a bye week (at Cowboys, Week 9), Week 7 road game in London vs. Chargers
Sked notes: The Titans have some great matchups for their run game, but much of it comes after their bye. That's when they play three of their first four November games on the road, then finish the season with four home games in five weeks. You might love that news if you're chasing Derrick Henry in drafts, but he could be in for some tough outings against the Texans, at the Jaguars and versus the Eagles in Weeks 2 through 4.