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Players With Easy & Difficult Early-Season Schedules (2022 Fantasy Football)

May 16, 2022

Right now, we know almost nothing about the upcoming fantasy football season.

When it comes to anticipating matchups, things change all the time. Teams improve and decline from year to year in different phases of the game. What we can do, though, is make educated guesses based on observed patterns. Isn’t that the whole point of this fantasy football thing anyway?

Here are some players who, after the NFL schedule release, are in for both difficult and easy early-season matchups.


Easiest Schedules

Russell Wilson (QB – DEN)

It’s sports betting 101 — always look for the revenge games. In Week 1, Russ gets his former team, the Seattle Seahawks. That’s a revenge game and an opportunity to face the 2021 season’s second-worst passing defense. So come hungry, don’t be late, hang your coat and hat by the door, and pull up a seat because I fully expect Russ to cook on the 2022 Monday Night Football premiere.
Additionally, Wilson and the Broncos get the Houston Texans in Week 2.

Miles Sanders (RB – PHI)

Sanders battled injuries in 2021, but in 12 games, he averaged an impressive 5.5 yards per carry. Alas, our concern with Sanders has never been talent but rather volume. Well, there’s hope. From Weeks 11-14 (he got hurt and subsequently shut down for the rest of the season in week 15), Sanders averaged over 18 touches per game. If he can come close to that to start the 2022 season, he’s in for a big few weeks. In their first four games, Philly gets three bottom-10 rushing defenses (Detroit, Jacksonville, Minnesota).

T.J. Hockenson (TE – DET)

Hock showed flashes of a week-changing tight end last season, having games where he was targeted like a true WR1. Unfortunately, he also showed flashes of a week-ruining player, sometimes completely disappearing. Well, he’s got a solid schedule through the first four weeks, facing Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, three teams who were all in the bottom half of fantasy points allowed to TEs. If Hock can’t get it done early, you might want to start thinking about your next option.

Allen Lazard (WR – GB)

Here’s a money pick. You’ll probably draft Lazard as a late flex consideration. Well, that’s exactly what he can be through the first four weeks of the season. Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson will factor into the Packers’ offense eventually, but early in the season, I’m betting on Aaron Rodgers finding his guys, and he’s got a rapport with Lazard. Green Bay gets a favorable matchup in Minnesota in Week 1, then in Week 4, they get New England, who just lost J.C. Jackson in free agency.

Toughest Schedules

Matthew Stafford (QB – LAR)

The Super Bowl champ is fighting an uphill battle through the first four weeks. The Rams will take on the Bills, Falcons, Cardinals and 49ers, respectively. Three of those teams had great pass defenses in 2021, and the other has A.J. Terrell. Consider grabbing a second option if you land Stafford in your redraft league.

Breece Hall (RB – NYJ)

The Jets’ backfield drew an unlucky hand regarding matchups in Weeks 1 through 3. In Week 1, they face Baltimore, the NFL’s best rushing defense in 2021. Then, in Weeks 2 and 3, they have the Browns (12th-best) and Bengals (fifth-best). Sure, they get the Steelers (most rushing yards allowed in 2021) in Week 4, but between the early schedule and Hall being a rookie, I’m not even thinking about starting him until Week 3.

D.K. Metcalf (WR – SEA) and Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA)

The Seattle receivers are in for some epic challenges through the first four weeks of 2022. In Week 1, they draw the Broncos and the ascending Patrick Surtain. In Week 2, it’s the 49ers who allowed the sixth-fewest passing yards in 2021. In Week 3, they’re up against the Falcons and A.J. Terrell. Week 4 gets easier against Detroit, but if both Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye are healthy, it’ll be far from a walk in the park.

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