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2024 NFL Schedule Release: Fantasy Football Winners, Losers & Takeaways

2024 NFL Schedule Release: Fantasy Football Winners, Losers & Takeaways

The 2024 NFL schedule release is a critical event in the fantasy football world. It’s an opportunity to analyze the matchups and get a glimpse of who will benefit and who will suffer based on early-season favorability and projected betting win totals.

2024 NFL Schedule Release: Every Team’s Schedule & Bye Week partner-arrow

While the strength of the schedule should not be the only factor considered, it can be a valuable tiebreaker when deciding between two players. Additionally, understanding bye weeks and fantasy playoff matchups can be the difference-maker in some formats, such as Underdog’s Best Ball Mania V and the 2024 FFPC FantasyPros Championship.

In this article, we’ll examine some potential fantasy football winners and losers, as well as takeaways from the newly released schedule.

2024 NFL Schedule Release

2024 NFL Schedule Release Impact & Takeaways

Let’s examine the fantasy football impact and takeaways from the 2024 NFL schedule release.

2024 NFL Schedule Release Winners

Atlanta Falcons

Per SharpFootball, the Atlanta Falcons have the easiest schedule based on Vegas’ forecasted win totals. And it’s by far the easiest. Last year, they had the second-easiest schedule behind only the Saints (fifth-easiest in 2023). Perks of playing in the NFC South.

But the schedule isn’t super easy to start. The Steelers, Eagles, Chiefs, Saints, and Buccaneers open the first five games for the Dirty Birds. It could be trouble in paradise for Kirk Cousins, less than a year removed from his Achilles injury. But that’s really the only tough part of their schedule. After Week 3, it’s all but smooth sailing. The best approach to the Falcons might be to fade them during draft season, and buy low on them after a week or two. The playoff schedule is also divine, featuring the Raiders, Giants and Commanders (you like that).

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers have the second-easiest schedule this year compared to the 27th-most difficult in 2023. They will host the Raiders to open the season, followed by two road games versus the Panthers and Steelers. You don’t need to squint too hard to see the Bolts starting the season on a high note. And you better believe that positive game scripts will allow Jim Harbaugh to establish the run with Gus Edwards. Not great for Justin Herbert‘s outlook to start the season. Might have to wait until Week 4 against the Chiefs for him to post solid passing stats.

The Chargers have hit the under on their projected win totals over the last four seasons (U 8, U 9.5, U 10.5, U 9.5). Their current win total line is set at 8.5 with juice toward the over (-160).

The LAC DST also looks like an intriguing option late in fantasy drafts given the ease of the schedule to open the year against LV, CAR and PIT. They also boast a top-4 schedule overall per the FP SOS tool.

Chicago Bears

The Bears have the third-easiest schedule, and they draw the Titans at home to start the season. They follow it up versus the Houston Texans on the road (SNF), then draw the Colts, Rams, Panthers and Jaguars in London before a Week 7 bye. Caleb Williams is one of my favorite late-round QBs, and the favorable schedule bolsters the case for drafting him to use him as your starter.

Per Sharp Football, the Bears have the easiest schedule over the first 10 weeks of the season.

New York Jets

The Jets have the fourth-easiest schedule after a 2023 season that saw them draw the most difficult start to the season. It’s the third-easiest gap in SOS. And it’s just another reason to buy into the Jets having a major bounce back with Aaron Rodgers back at QB behind an improved offensive line. However, it might not happen in Week 1, given the tough road matchup versus the 49ers on Monday Night Football. But the schedule eases up dramatically after that with the Titans, Patriots, Broncos, and Vikings (all of whom could start rookie or second-year QBs) before they host Buffalo on another Monday Night Game. The Jets will play 6 prime-time games in 2024, more than half of their first 11 games.

The Jets DST might not be as heavily targeted given the tough Week 1 matchup, but Weeks 2-5 are so juicy for them to score points.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have the sixth-easiest schedule compared to the 32nd-ranked schedule they faced in 2023. Given the tough opponent they played every week without a healthy Joe Burrow, Cincy was constantly in an uphill battle last season. Buy the dip with the circumstance much more favorably in 2024. I love hitting on the Bengals from an NFL Futures Betting Perspective. No team has a larger gap in last year’s SOS versus this year’s projection than Cincinnati.

The Bengals have the third-easiest schedule, and they draw the Patriots at home to start the season. It’s a great warm-up before they take on the Chiefs in Week 2 at Arrowhead. Then it’s Commanders, Panthers, Ravens and Giants. The Bengals should start the 2024 season strong. Their DST should be a strong Week 1 option play.

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo’s opening year features potential shootouts as far as the eye can see: Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, followed by the Dolphins, Jaguars, Ravens, and Texans.

Miami Dolphins

We know the Dolphins’ offense plays better in warmer weather at the start of the year. Expect this offense to cook with matchups against the Jaguars, Bills, Seahawks and Titans to kick off the season. Three of those matchups are home games before they go on bye in Week 6.

All in all, Miami’s schedule through 12 weeks per Sharp Football is the second-easiest in the NFL. But as the weather gets colder, the schedule gets tougher.

Arizona Cardinals

Love the first-half schedule for Kyler Murray and company. Bills, Rams, Lions, Commanders, 49ers, Packers, Chargers, Dolphins, Bears and Jets before a Week 10 bye week. Six home games.

Then in the second half of the year it’s layup matchups as far as the eyes can see.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Per the FantasyPros Strength of Schedule tool, the Jags have the No. 1 schedule for fantasy QBs along with the Panthers (also the No.1 schedule for WRs), Titans, Packers, Vikings and Colts. My galaxy-brain take? The AFC South is the division to stack in 2024. A lot of shootout potential with those four teams.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay is tied with the New Orleans Saints for the No. 1 schedule for fantasy RBs in 2024. I also like their schedule to start the year against WAS, DET, DEN, PHI, ATL and NO. Rachaad White should be in line for some strong early-season production.

Detroit Lions

Home sweet home. Newly-paid Jared Goff plays better indoors at home. The Lions play three of the first four games at Ford Field. The only road game they play is at Arizona (dome). They go on a bye and then play two more games in domes at Dallas/Minnesota. They don’t play outside until Week 9 at Green Bay. The definition of an indoor cat. Also if you still play with kickers, draft Lions placekicker Michael Badgley.

Seattle Seahawks

The streaming DST de jour might be the Seattle Seahawks. Weeks 1-2 they will face the Broncos/Patriots. Doesn’t get much easier than that from a matchup perspective. They have the 3rd-easiest schedule over the first 5 weeks of the season.

2024 NFL Schedule Release Losers

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have the most difficult schedule per forecasted Vegas win totals. Perks of “sneaking” into the playoffs and playing in the ultra-competitive AFC North. They will head to Atlanta to take on the NFL’s most-hyped team this offseason in Week 1. I easily could see them sneaking out a win, given Mike Tomlin’s track record as an underdog. The Steelers will then take on Denver in Week 2 (Russell Wilson revenge game) in a hostile road environment.

Weeks 3-8 go LAC, IND, DAL, LV, NYJ and NYG.

The Steelers don’t play a single division game until after their bye week. Six of their last nine games are AFC North matchups. The two other games are against the Chiefs/Eagles. They faced those teams, with the Ravens in between, over a 10-day span from Weeks 15-17. Woof.

The early season schedule bodes well for whoever wins the QB job during training camp to keep it for at least the start of the season. But after their bye week, things could get ugly. Whichever Steelers QB can get this team to the postseason over that brutal stretch is going to be considered a favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year.

They will also host the Chiefs on Christmas Day in Week 17, exclusively on Netflix.

The tough schedule to end the season might make the majority of Steelers players major “sell highs” before the second half. Note that they have the worst schedule overall for WRs per the FP Strength of Schedule tool.

New England Patriots

The Patriots have the second-hardest schedule this season after having the toughest one in 2023. They open the season on the road against the Bengals, followed by Seattle at home. In Week 3, they go to the New York Jets, followed by the 49ers in Week 4. Yikes.

They also face the Jaguars on October 20th, which will be the second consecutive game Jacksonville will play in London. It’s a disadvantage for the Patriots, especially given that they will follow an overseas trip with another Jets matchup at home in Week 8. They won’t go on bye until Week 14. Could see Drake Maye take over Weeks 15-18 to wrap up the final four weeks of the season.

From a fantasy perspective, it suggests that the Patriots will be facing more negative game scripts. That favors more volume in the passing game. They close out the season from Weeks 16-18 with two matchups versus the Bills, who will likely be fighting for playoff seedings.

Cleveland Browns

Third-hardest schedule last season. And the third-hardest schedule this season. It’s tough from the get-go, with Dallas up first at home in Week 1. But that’s not necessarily bad for fantasy purposes, given it could lead to a higher-scoring environment. That is Dallas’ schedule in a nutshell.

After that, it’s at Jacksonville, home against the New York (Giants), and then on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders. Weeks 4-9, before the Week 10 bye week, feature more matchups that could be fun for fantasy between the Commanders, Eagles, Bengals, Ravens, and Chargers.

It’s a solid schedule for a fantasy QB, so it wouldn’t dissuade me from taking a shot on Deshaun Watson as a late-round option.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have the fourth-hardest schedule, and it starts on opening night when they travel to KC to take on the Chiefs in a rematch of the 2023 AFC Championship Game. They’re followed by matchups against the Raiders, Cowboys, Bills, and Bengals. Weeks 1-5, no team has a more difficult schedule.

They will also play the Houston Texans on Christmas Day in Week 17, exclusively on Netflix, where the fantasy football best ball champions will be crowned.

The Ravens defense is facing a tall task to be the same unit it was in 2023. The offense is going to have to pick up the slack. Music to the ears of fantasy managers invested in the Baltimore Ravens. However, it’s a word of caution for Derrick Henry, who is one of the most game-script-dependent RBs in fantasy football. If the Ravens find themselves trailing in contests, the former Titans RB will not be nearly as effective without a commitment to the ground attack.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have the fifth-hardest schedule, but it’s an easy start against the Giants on the road in Week 1. But that’s about as positive as it gets. Weeks 2-5 before their Week 6 bye week: Niners, Texans, Packers and Jets in London. This defense is going to be tested throughout 2024, and that bodes well for there to be passing volume for the fantasy weapons in the Vikings’ offense. Buy into all parts of this offense that will no doubt smash the overs on in the betting streets. Tight end T.J. Hockenson could be a force down the stretch once he returns from his knee injury in the second half of 2024.

Houston Texans

No team has a harder schedule compared to last season than the Houston Texans. Dallas and Buffalo are second and third, respectively. The Texans will take on the Colts on the road in Week 1 and then host the Bears in Week 2 on SNF. The next 3 games feature the Vikings, Jaguars and Bills. Offensively driven teams. C.J. Stroud and company should start out of the gates hot.

They will also host the Ravens on Christmas Day in Week 17, exclusively on Netflix. We love shootouts in the dome during the holidays.

Denver Broncos

Good luck, Bo Nix. Denver opens on the road versus the Seahawks, followed by hosting the Steelers in Week 2. Then it’s back-to-back road games on the East Coast against the Jets and Buccaneers. It could be a rough start for Nix’s NFL career. One of just five teams with 3 of their first four games on the road this season. The schedule is also tough for the entire season, ranking as a below-average SOS for QBs per the FanatasyPros schedule tool.

Green Bay Packers

Who has the worst schedule for fantasy RBs? The Packers. And it could be tough sledding for Josh Jacobs out of the gates with matchups against strong run defenses such as the Eagles, Colts, Titans, Vikings and Rams.

International Series

The Packers-Eagles kick off the international series opening week in Brazil, with three London matchups rounding out the October schedule. Jacksonville will play back-to-back games in London against two teams that drafted top rookie QBs.

The international series closes with the Giants-Eagles in Munich, Germany, in November.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide Overvalued Dynasty Rookies to Avoid

2024 NFL Schedule Release: Bye Weeks

The Bye Weeks start in Week 5 with four teams. Weeks 12 and 14 feature the most teams with bye weeks (6).

BYE WEEKS

Week 5: DET, PHI, TEN, LAC

Week 6: LAR, MIN, MIA, KC

Week 7: CHI, DAL

Week 9: PIT, SF

Week 10: GB, SEA, CLE, LV

Week 11: NYG, TB, ARI, CAR

Week 12: NYJ, NO, BUF, CIN, JAX, ATL

Week 14: DEN, WAS, BAL, NE, IND, HOU

2024 NFL Schedule Release: Playoff Matchups to Target

  • Dallas has two favorable matchups from Weeks 16-17 (TB, @ PHI)
  • The 49ers have two favorable matchups from Weeks 16-17 (@ MIA, DET)
  • Houston goes to KC in Week 16 and hosts the Ravens in Week 17.
  • The Jaguars have two favorable matchups from Weeks 16-17 (@ LV, TEN)
  • The Titans have two favorable matchups from Weeks 16-17 (@ IND, @ JAC), albeit both are on the road.
  • The Cardinals have two favorable matchups from Weeks 16-17 (@ CAR, @ LAR), albeit both are on the road.
  • The Raiders have two favorable matchups from Weeks 16-17 (JAC, @ NO)
  • The Buccaneers have two favorable matchups from Weeks 16-17 (@ DAL, CAR)
  • The Cincinnati Bengals host the Browns/Broncos in Weeks 16-17.
  • Buffalo plays the Patriots and Jets at home in Weeks 16-17. Gross.
  • The Jets host the indoor Rams in Week 16.

Week 16 Matchups to Target

  • Los Angeles Rams @ New York Jets
  • San Francisco 49ers @ Miami Dolphins
  • Denver Broncos @ Los Angeles Chargers
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Dallas Cowboys
  • New York Giants @ Atlanta Falcons
  • Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Commanders
  • Jacksonville Jaguars @ Las Vegas Raiders
  • Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
  • Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs
  • Indianapolis Colts @ Tennesse Titans

Week 17 Matchups to Target

  • Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
  • Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams
  • Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers
  • Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans
  • Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals
  • Las Vegas Raiders @ New Orleans Saints
  • Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
  • Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tennesse Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars

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