Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule: Quarterbacks
Every year there are players in the NFL who fans and experts expected would break onto the scene and become stars. The success and overall production of a player can be a reflection of their schedule’s degree of difficulty. Here are a few players you should expect to put up high numbers due to easy schedules, and others to draft with caution as they face a much tougher schedule. When considering who to draft, note the fantasy playoff matchups occurring in Weeks 14-16 of the NFL regular season.
Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
Quarterback Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have, according to ESPN, the easiest schedule in 2015. The Falcons will face numerous dainty secondaries that will collapse trying to deal with elite wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. Along with a new head coach in Dan Quinn, the Falcons are aiming for a playoff-or-bust year. Ryan’s average draft position (ADP) is 63rd overall, and would be a steal to grab late.
Fantasy Playoff Matchups: @ Carolina, vs. Jacksonville, vs. Carolina
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
If there was ever a year for Andrew Luck to put up ridiculously high career numbers, it is in 2015. The Colts rank 31st in strength of schedule and have an impressive offense. The Colts will breeze through their regular season schedule en-route to another playoff berth. Luck will have another incredible year and will perform well in the fantasy playoffs. Luck is a must-grab QB1, who will go no later than the second round. Luck is the number one ranked quarterback on our site.
Fantasy Playoff Matchups: @ Jacksonville, vs. Houston, @ Miami
Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
Despite being 36 years old, Drew Brees threw 4,952 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. Now that his favorite target, Jimmy Graham, has left the team, it will be interesting to see how the Saints’ offense will produce in 2015. Their schedule is ranked 28th-overall, and Brees has a solid run game to rely on when the throwing options aren’t there. Brees defies the limits of age and continues to play high-quality football, so do not ever count the man out.
Fantasy Playoff Matchups: @ Tampa Bay, vs. Detroit, vs. Jacksonville
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers face the toughest schedule in the NFL in 2015. However, the Steelers offense is loaded with weapons who will produce regardless of the opponent’s quality. 52% of experts on our site have “Big Ben” ranked higher than his ADP of 59. The Steelers have enough offensive talent to erase any doubt about drafting their players, including wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell, who both have an ADP in the top ten overall.
Fantasy Playoff Matchups: @ Cincinnati (A), vs. Denver, @ Baltimore
Colin Kaepernick – San Francisco 49ers
After a brutal offseason highlighted by retirements and departures, the 49ers did not get any help from their schedule, as they acquired the third toughest schedule in the NFL. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has his work cut out for him in a “make or break” year in San Francisco. However, the 49ers could be set to shock the league, practicing a high tempo offense and adding weapons like wide receiver Torrey Smith and running back Reggie Bush. We have Kaepernick going at No. 109 overall, making him a QB2 in late rounds
Fantasy Playoff Matchups: @ Cleveland, vs. Cincinnati, @ Detroit
Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals
After tearing his ACL in Week 10 last season, Carson Palmer’s knee is reportedly at 100% and ready to go for the 2015 season. It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals’ quarterback plays in 2015, as he has to face the fifth toughest schedule and the rough NFC West division. If healthy, Palmer can be a successful fantasy quarterback, but there are too many asterisks for Palmer, with a hard schedule and the unpredictable recovery from such a significant injury. Luckily, Palmer can be drafted as a QB2, with an overall ADP of 128.
Fantasy Playoff Matchups: vs. Minnesota, @ Philadelphia, vs. Green Bay