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2019 NFL Schedule: Winners & Losers (Fantasy Football)

Apr 18, 2019
Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck’s schedule should make him a fantasy stud again in 2019

After the inevitable leaks and official release at 8:00 p.m. ET, the NFL schedule is now out in the open. As fantasy fans, our immediate thoughts were how does this affect player x, y, and z? Predicting the impact this early on is without doubt, difficult. It’s also not a complete shot in the dark though as you look at the fantasy playoff scheduling for a team like the Saints. Sure, you’d love to have a combination of Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, and Alvin Kamara regardless, but matchups against the 49ers, Colts, and Titans in weeks 14-16 make them even more attractive.

To take a deeper dive into the schedule and its impact, we asked our group of featured experts below to answer some key questions that all fantasy owners ask. It’s still early in the year, but early planning is what can help you dominate your competition.

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Q1. Which notable player has favorable matchups in 2019 and should see a boost in value?

Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL)
“Elliot faces off against two top-8 RB matchups in the first four weeks, opening against the Giants and drawing the Dolphins. Neither team heads into the season with a lot of confidence that they can sustain drives. Tie in a Washington team that is facing questions at the QB position, at least at this stage of the offseason, and I could see the Cowboys playing a lot of ball control, grind it out football in the first month of the season. That bodes well for Elliot to get on a heater early.”
– Jon Collins (Fantasy Sports LR)

Andrew Luck (QB – IND)
“A player whose matchups jumped out at me right away was Andrew Luck. I generally try to play QBs against the Titans and Texans, and he has four games against those two. Beyond the division, there are a lot of potential shootout games against teams like the Chargers, Falcons, Chiefs, Steelers, Saints, and Panthers.”
– Donald Gibson (Fantasy Fusion)

Sony Michel (RB – NE)
“I’m not a big believer in the idea that April matchup forecasting can help fantasy owners but in the case of the Jets, Dolphins and Bills’ opponents, game script can be somewhat easy to decipher. I’m talking about the Patriots, of course, and namely Sony Michel who should get plenty of touches against those teams, especially on the goal line.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Alvin Kamara (RB – NO)
“It is clear for everyone that Alvin Kamara is a top 5 RB for 2019, but the favorable schedule makes me think we should boost Kamara’s fantasy value a bit and rank him just below Saquon Barkley. He could have a rough start against the Texans, Rams, and Seahawks, but his schedule becomes easier after that with matchups against Buccaneers, Cardinals and Falcons.”
– Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)

Mark Ingram (RB – BAL)
“The Ravens play half of their games against last year’s bottom-seven rushing defenses. If they don’t draft a running back, Mark Ingram could be in store for big things in Baltimore.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Q2. Who is a player facing a difficult schedule that fantasy owners should be aware of?

Julio Jones (WR – ATL)
“While Atlanta is familiar with Dirk Koetter’s playbook, they’ve had a tough time adjusting to new systems in recent years. In the first three weeks, they’ll have two of the league’s top three defenses against wide receivers last year in Minnesota and Indianapolis and while Philly and Tennessee were fairly generous to the position, they won’t necessarily yield a lot of points. It seems like it is long-since in the rearview after a stellar performance, but let’s not forget that coming into last season there was a lot of talk about Julio Jones’ inability to find the endzone. I could see a lot of hand wringing going on four weeks in if the offense isn’t clicking as expected and he similarly has a tough time scoring.”
– Jon Collins (Fantasy Sports LR)

Derrius Guice (RB – WAS)
“Assuming he’s healthy, I’m not crazy about Derrius Guice’s schedule. He has four games against the Cowboys and Eagles, both of which were top seven in rushing yards allowed in 2018. He also gets the NFC North, and three of those four were in the top 15 in rushing yards allowed in 2018. I was already hesitant about Guice because the Redskins may be playing from behind often, and the schedule definitely doesn’t help.”
– Donald Gibson (Fantasy Fusion)

Leonard Fournette (RB – JAC)
“The Jags had the single easiest schedule two years ago and nearly rode it into the Super Bowl but this year it looks to be the reverse. They have just one easy home matchup and only look to be the favorites in one or perhaps two away games. Leonard Fournette owners better hope he is involved in third downs this year or his volume may drop considerably with the game scripts.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Ben Roethlisberger (QB – PIT)
“Roethlisberger is going to be more of a matchup enigma than ever. Along with playing a pair of games against both the Ravens and Browns, who respectively ranked third and seventh in DVOA against the pass last year, the Steelers will draw four more top-10 units in the Bills, Cardinals, Rams, and Chargers. Four of those games are at home, and four are from Weeks 13-17.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Damien Williams (RB – KC)
“We are all expecting a great season for Damien Williams, be aware. He has one of the most difficult schedules for running backs this year and of course a very probable regression for the Chiefs offense as a whole, so his upside comes with a lot of risk.”
– Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)

Q3. For the fantasy playoffs (weeks 14-16), is there a notable player that jumps out as having a particularly easy schedule?

Nick Foles (QB – JAC)
Matchups: vs. LAC (14), at OAK (15), at ATL (16)
“I like the Chargers to continue to play strong defense and make another run at the playoffs this season, but it’s not all that hard to picture Nick Foles firing up some December magic again this year. He will likely go undrafted in a lot of standard leagues, but with the Raiders and Falcons (and yes, they’ll be healthier in the secondary) on the schedule in Week 15 and 16, I like the storyline, if nothing else, of him driving fantasy owners through the playoffs with another late season run.”
– Jon Collins (Fantasy Sports LR)

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB – SF)
Matchups: at NO (14), vs. ATL (15), vs. LAR (16)
“If Garoppolo stays healthy and looks like the QB plenty of us expected, he’s going to be an absolute force in the fantasy playoffs. He plays the Saints, Falcons, and Rams in Weeks 14-16, and those teams ranked third, second, and tenth, respectively in points scored in 2018. In the playoffs, I’m looking for QBs that should have to throw to keep pace with their opponent, and Jimmy G will definitely be in that situation come the end of 2019.”
– Donald Gibson (Fantasy Fusion)

Andrew Luck (QB – IND)
Matchups: at TB (14), at NO (15), vs. CAR (16)
“Indianapolis gets a trio of NFC South opponents (at TB, at NO, vs. CAR) during the fantasy playoffs. That means Andrew Luck will avoid uncomfortable winter weather and draw three of last year’s bottom-12 defenses in DVOA against the pass.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Kenyan Drake (RB – MIA)
Matchups: at NYJ (14), at NYG (15), vs. CIN (16)
“The one that jumped out to me is Kenyan Drake with matchups against the Jets, Giants, and Bengals. Especially weeks 15 and 16; the Giants were the eighth defense that allowed the most fantasy points against runners, while the Bengals were second.”
– Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)

Indianapolis Colts
Matchups: at TB (14), at NO (15), vs. CAR (16)
“I understand the purpose of the article but think it would be bad advice to recommend anyone make a single fantasy decision on Week 14 to Week 16 schedules in April. You never know if the Packers will get a full bill of health and blossom into a great secondary like the Saints did when everyone thought they were the easiest team to pick on. Please don’t make the mistake of drafting with playoff schedules in mind. With that said, as of now, the Colts seem to have the easiest path to points in the fantasy playoffs.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for giving us their thoughts on the NFL schedule. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for advice all year round.

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