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Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule: Running Back (2024)

It’s the offseason, and with the offseason comes a plethora of research to help us win our fantasy football championships. There are multiple avenues that we need to research and consume. However, one piece of the pie is the fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS).

The strength of schedule is helpful when deciding between two players in the same tier or near the same average draft position (ADP). The SOS also allows us to identify vital handcuff and sleeper selections that raise our team from modest contender to behemoth champions.

2024 fantasy football draft kit

Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule: RB Edition

We need to ask one question before we start the article and break down all 32 teams’ rankings and their fantasy analysis attached to the ranking.

What is Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule?

What exactly is the SOS?

FantasyPros explains the SOS as each team’s strength of schedule (SOS) displays the relative ease or difficulty of their matchups for the season. SOS is based on each opponent’s fantasy points allowed to a position, adjusted for strength of schedule. Favorable matchups receive better matchup star ratings.

Now, let’s break down each level of our SOS while I provide some analysis to help you navigate their ADP with the SOS and make the perfect, informed decision on more than 64 players.

Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule: Five Stars

Alvin Kamara + Kendre Miller (RB – NO)

The news this offseason is that the new running concepts will greatly benefit Alvin Kamara and Kendre Miller. Kamara sits at the 57th overall pick, with players such as Christian Kirk and Tank Dell drafted behind him. There are more players with higher upsides within this draft, especially in this zone of the draft process.

However, Kendre Miller is the 140th pick in Half-PPR drafts. You could draft Gabe Davis or Josh Downs, but you can add this handcuff with the potential of overtaking the shining running back at this round in your draft. With this cumulative SOS and Miller’s playoff SOS sitting at five stars, you can have a league winner at the end of your drafts.

Rachaad White + Bucky Irving (RB – NO)

Maybe Rachaad White struggled with efficiency while running the ball, but you can not deny what he added to the passing game in Tampa Bay. White ranked fourth in snap shares, second in carries, ninth in targets, and ninth in red zone touches. White was highly inefficient, as he ranked 42nd in missed tackles and 45th in yards after contact.

The Buccaneers’ running backs have an excellent opportunity to be relevant for fantasy football, and you can find a diamond in the rough on the waiver wire in Bucky Irving. Irving is going 171st overall and is a free bet on a player who can bring 1,000 rushing yards and 50 receptions to the table.

Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule: Four Stars

Jonathon Brooks + Chuba Hubbard + Miles Sanders (RB – CAR)

The only player I want in this trio is Jonathan Brooks. However, coming off injury and playing for a team that will be behind in most games is enough to make me look elsewhere at his 90th overall ADP. One pick later, you could draft Raheem Mostert with equal or more opportunities on a better team. Don’t forget that drafting players from bad teams is like running a race with your legs tied. You COULD win, but I doubt it.

Gus Edwards + JK Dobbins + Kimani Vidal (RB – LAC)

Their new coach, Jim Harbaugh, loves to run more than 50 Cent loves to win Twitter beefs. You could find yourself talking yourself into any of these three players. Gus Edwards could be a touchdown machine at the 123rd pick.

JK Dobbins, my least favorite of the three, could return to form. Kimani Vidal could use his ideal size and three-down potential to woo the coaching staff. With Vidal ADP at 155 and Dobbins at 157, your best swings are Gus Edwards taking this SOS and diving over the goal line 15+ times or Vidal emerging into a star with a late-round dart throw.

Najee Harris + Jaylen Warren (RB – PIT)

Najee Harris is 67th overall, while Jaylen Warren sits at 85th. Russell Wilson has loved to check it down the last few years, so the best bet when seeing this strong SOS is using the old New England Patriots method and drafting the lowering ADP.

Bijan Robinson + Tyler Allgeier (RB – ATL)

Bijan Robinson is a first-round selection with his eighth overall ADP pick. Robinson doesn’t need the easy schedule, but he has the seventh easiest running back schedule, so we should lock him into every team we can.

As for Tyler Allgeier, you can handcuff them if you like; however, you could draft Jaleel McLaughlin, Bucky Irving, or Tyrone Tracy later in the draft and have better profiles from younger legs.

Nick Chubb + Jerome Ford + D’Onta Foreman (RB – CLE)

Nick Chubb is returning from a gruesome injury while battling Father Time. D’Onta Foreman is serviceable but has already lost his athleticism from an Achilles injury in the past. Jerome Ford and his ADP of 128 is the most disrespected player/ADP in the whole draft.

Kenneth Walker + Zach Charbonnet (RB – SEA)

The Seattle Seahawks have been an enigma with the new coaching staff this offseason. However, both of these running backs are talented, and when facing an easy SOS, they should be drafted in their respective ADPs.

Saquon Barkley + Kenneth Gainwell (RB – PHI)

Whenever you can draft a talented running back behind one of the best offensive lines, you should do it. Saquon Barkley is at 14th overall and is worth it in any draft format.

Kenneth Gainwell is one of the few handcuffs that does not interest me, even with an ADP of 230. He will battle with Will Shipley for handcuff duties all season, so neither is worth drafting.

Javonte Williams + Jaleel McLaughlin + Audric Estime (RB – DEN)

Javonte Williams at 86th overall is attractive. Williams has all the talent and is a year away from his gruesome lower-body injury. His three-down skill set could shine with Sean Payton’s usage of running backs.

At 168th overall, Jaleel McLaughin is one of my favorite handcuffs. He is an electric running back who recorded the 14th-best explosive run rate and was fifth in missed tackles per attempt. His coach speaks highly of him, and he should see a fair amount of snaps this season. McLaughlin could be the RB1 by the end of the season.

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Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule: Three Stars

Isiah Pacheco + Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC)

Isiah Pacheco is a “my guy” this season, as his backup, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, could never truly get his career going. Pacheco is being drafted 39th overall and is a strong candidate to be a workhorse back this season.

Aaron Jones + Ty Chandler (RB – MIN)

This pair of running backs is an exciting duo with an average SOS. Aaron Jones was paid to take over duties in the backfield, but we have also seen Ty Chandler perform well.

Aaron Jones sits at the dead zone of the draft, 62nd overall, where most players find it hard to get a read on for your fantasy team. Ty Chandler lands in perfect handcuff mode at 144 overall. Neither player screams, my guy, but I would like to be a part of the offensive system for my fantasy team, so fortune favors the bold, and I’ll hold out for Ty Chandler for a late-round dart throw.

Derrick Henry + Keaton Mitchell + Justice Hill (RB – BAL)

These running backs all have issues from aging vets, returning from injury, and not being talented enough to do damage in an NFL game. If you mix that with an average SOS, I’ll fade this whole backfield.

Kyren Williams + Blake Corum (RB – LAR)

An average SOS should not stop us when it concerns the Rams backfield. Kyren Williams is 19th overall, and we know he can be a workhorse and produce 18.6 fantasy points per game (FPPG).

Blake Corrum is a handcuff. I’ll target him at 117, as he would be a league winner if Williams ever missed time. The players around Corum are not league winners (Tyler Lockett, Chase Brown and Khalil Shakir), and you should always shoot for upside at that point in the draft.

Zamir White + Alexander Mattison (RB – LV)

The Raiders’ offense will be run-heavy this season, with an average SOS and an inexperienced running back core. I can neither trust Zamir White at 79 nor draft Alexander Mattison when he makes it to the waiver wire.

Instead of Zamir White, draft Diontae Johnson at 78, and for Mattison, only go pick him up if White misses time. You are wasting your time otherwise.

Tony Pollard + Tyjae Spears (RB – TEN)

An aging running back who showed a decline in ability and was healing from a lower-body injury all through 2023 is not someone I want on my team. That’s precisely what Tony Pollard is at 89. You can draft Jonathan Brooks or Raheem Mostert in the same spot for better production.

However, Spears brings an electric skill set and pass-catching ability to your team at 100th overall. This is another “Patriots Theory” case where drafting the later running back is the right decision.

Zack Moss + Chase Brown (RB – CIN)

Joe Mixon was top-5 at inside the 5-yard line (I5) carries last season. Can either of these players pick up the mantle? Moss is 84th overall and has shown he wasn’t a good running back for most of his career. I tend to believe the consistency of his inability over one good season.

Chase Brown has some skills that could develop on your team at 118 overall. However, this duo screams evenly split duties, and when I can grab the upside of Blake Corum, Jerome Ford and Kendre Miller at the same ADP, I will.

Devin Singletary + Tyrone Tracy (RB – NYG)

Average running backs on bad teams with an average SOS never call out to me while drafting. Devin Singletary is smashed between Tajae Spear and Brian Robinson, Two players I would rather have at this 103 ADP.

Tyrone Tracy is an exciting prospect that you could take a swing at with the 184th overall selection. You’ll know early into the season if he was just a pipe dream from the draft or the real deal. At that ADP, the dart throw won’t hurt you.

Brian Robinson + Austin Ekeler (RB – WAS)

Brian Robinson is among my favorite players to draft within the 108 ADP. Robinson will enter an offense known for its pace of play under Kliff Kingsberry and will receive the majority of the goal-line touches. Brian Robinson can win you a league this year.

Austin Ekeler is an aging veteran who looked like a shell of himself last season when it came to explosive plays. Hopefully, he will only be used in passing downs like the beginning of his career. However, at 94th overall, he is the definition of a dead zone running back that I will fade.

Ezekiel Elliot + Rico Dowdle (RB – DAL)

We don’t know who will take over this backfield. However, the younger and now more athletic running back is sitting 20 total picks behind the aging veteran. Do yourself a favor and lean toward the athletic ability and age of Rico Dowdle

Joe Mixon + Dameon Pierce (RB – HOU)

Dameon Pierce showed last year that he could not become a workhorse back. Enter Joe Mixon, who does nothing but sucks up opportunities at every turn. At 50th overall, in this high-powered offense, I would be willing to go for Joe Mixon, who brings his top-5 in I5 attempts to Houston.

De’Von Achane + Raheem Mostert + Jaylen Wright (RB – MIA)

When has the backup running back been drafted at 20th overall? I can’t remember it from recent history, but you can draft the starter at 91st overall. With how the coaches speak during interviews, Mostert will lead the way. Achane, as talented as he is, will be a fade for me this offseason.

As for Wright, at 146 overall, I’ll take a stab at him in some drafts. However, Rico Dowdle and Antonio Givson tickle my fancy more at his ADP.

Jahmyr Gibbs + David Montgomery (RB – DET)

Jahmyr Gibbs took over the backfield last season, and this average SOS should not stop him now. He can run the ball and catch passes. There is even talk of him being used as a wide receiver (we see these conversations every year, so don’t take too much stock in them). At 12th overall, he is a great Hero RB candidate.

Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule: Two Stars

Rhamondre Stevenson + Antonio Gibson (RB – NE)

Stevenson’s 66th overall ADP puts him in the dead zone. The Patriots brought in “new” coaching and will run a system that doesn’t fit his skill set. We have a Patriots rule, and we should follow it with Antonio Gibson.

As soon as free agency started, the Patriots locked up Gibson. We should do the same once his ADP (149) rolls around. He is an electric player with the ball in his hands, and I expect the Patriots to put the ball in his hands a lot.

D’Andre Swift + Khalil Herbert + Roschon Johnson (RB – CHI)

There are so many mouths to feed in Chicago before you even reach the running game. Swift is the most talented, but all these running backs will see time. Swift at 75th overall screams dead zone running back, while the options around Johnson (167) and Herbert (176) have better SOS and interest me more.

Jonathan Taylor + Trey Sermon + Evan Hull (RB – IND)

Honestly, Jonathan Taylor at 13th overall is a lock for your fantasy team. These other handcuffs are not people I would waste time on and will be on your waiver wire if you decide you need them.

Christian McCaffrey + Elijah Mitchell (RB – SF)

It’s CMC, and he will be the 1.01. That’s all we have to say. If you want to handcuff him with Elijah Mitchell, you’ll have to do it around the 198th pick, which is excellent value to have a piece of the Niners run game.

Breece Hall + Braelon Allen (RB – NYJ)

Breece Hall is sixth overall and will be a monster with Aaron Rodgers back. Regardless of his SOS, if Hall can finish RB6 last season with Zach Wilson, imagine this year.

At best, Allen will be a waiver wire pick; don’t waste any thought on him.

James Conner + Trey Benson (RB – ARI)

This backfield is a tough one to predict. James Conner, at 82, has been productive over the last two seasons. However, he is aging, and the Cardinals brought in an electric player for Trey Benson. Benson is an explosive athlete with a good build who can rack up yards after contact (YAC). At his ADP of 109, he is worth the dart throw in case that explosion leads to him becoming the lead back.

James Cook + Ray Davis (RB – BUF)

James Cooks lands between two players with better SOS (Isiah Pacheco + Joe Mixon). Those two running backs also play on better offenses and don’t have quarterbacks that will cannibalize their goal-line duties. At 46th overall, I would rather draft a wide receiver.

Ray Davis is a free agent waiver wire to watch, with his ADP sitting at 162.

Travis Etienne + Tank Bigsby (RB – JAC)

As his ADP (25th overall) reflects that, Etienne should be a workhorse again. There has been some coach speak of Tank Bigsby (201 overall) working in more this season. However, statistically, Tank Bigsby was one of the worst running backs last season; we should wait until they prove those interviews to be authentic to back off Etienne. Until then, draft away with security in knowing the workload is there.

Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule: One Star

Josh Jacobs + MarShawn Lloyd + AJ Dillion (RB – GB)

A one-star ranking is not suitable for any combination of players. With Josh Jacobs coming to a new team off an inefficient year, his ADP of 36th overall allows me to fade him for better players later on. MarShawn Lloyd has a lot of hype coming off the draft. At 145th overall, you can take the dart throw, but remember his path is not easy for him to shine with this ranking

AJ Dillion is an afterthought and will only be a waiver wire selection for your roster.

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