Strength of Schedule Targets Week 10

Updated: November 15th 2020

With the fantasy regular season nearing the end in most RSO leagues, owners with competitive teams need to begin thinking about reinforcing their squads for the final push into the playoffs.  Below I lay out a few NFL teams with particularly favorable offensive schedules for the rest of season or in the fantasy playoffs (weeks 14-16).  Most of the players on these teams would not be considered must start options at this point.  Not all teams have notably great offenses, but RSO owners should at least entertain obtaining certain players from each team based on the schedule ahead.

 

Baltimore

Lamar Jackson has been fine for fantasy football, however, “fine” is not what people were hoping for when acquiring the rushing guru.  The Baltimore signal-caller is currently a borderline QB1.  He’s on pace for just 2/3 of his touchdown total from 2019 with drops in rushing and passing efficiency.  The volume levels remain on a very similar pace however.  The lack of big plays highlights the main difference from last season.   Deep passing is a notoriously volatile measure due to a variety of factors that may not be passing accuracy.  The drop in Jackson’s passing correlates with decreases in Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews’ fantasy output which also relied on high touchdown percentages.  The run game remains stellar, but the Ravens’ three-way committee limits the fantasy impact of any running back.

I am willing to invest in the Baltimore passing attack for a playoff run.  The remaining schedule looks incredibly soft with just one tough matchup (Pittsburgh) remaining and a fantasy playoff trifecta of Cleveland, Jacksonville, and the Giants.  The offense and Jackson in particular, possess the opportunity to explode down the stretch.  Brown and Andrews remain volatile assets due to the low-passing volume of this unique Baltimore offense.  The running backs may continue as unpredictable weekly pieces with three backs potentially getting work.

 

Los Angeles Rams

This one is more for those with a fairly secure path to the playoffs.   The Rams have been one of the most opponent-dependent teams so far looking strong against the weaker opponents but struggling against some of the more difficult draws.  Increased run-game usage also limited the passing-game to a degree.  Woods and Cupp remain weekly starters at wide receiver but without many huge ceiling games, while Goff has been a streaming QB2 option.  The decreased volume in the passing game has really hurt Higbee and Everett at tight end.

The Rams get New England, the Jets, and Seattle for the fantasy playoffs.  New England may seem like a hard draw, but this is not the Patriots’ defense of old.  While they are giving up the 5th fewest passing yards per game, this largely is a function of game script for a five-loss team limiting passing volume of opponents.  The Patriots’ defense rank dead last in the NFL in passing yards per attempt (8.8) to opposing throwers.  New York and Seattle have been destroyed by passing offenses.  Increase expectations for the Rams usual suspects in the passing game (Goff, Kupp, and Woods) during playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts

Philip Rivers might have the ugliest throwing motion of any quarterback in the history of the NFL.  It has not stopped him from putting up big passing yardage yet.  His lack of arm strength makes for some very poor throws, particularly when pressure gets to him.  The Indianapolis offensive line does a fairly good job in pass protection however.  Most of the Colt’s wide receiver options have been hit-or-miss due to injuries or inexperience.  The running backs and tight ends have been used in a committee with none really getting enough consistent work to truly be trust-worthy.

Rivers should be a quality streaming option for most of the remaining season.  Each of the Colts defensive opponents ranks among the bottom half of the league in Football Outsider’s passing DVOA until week 16.   Nyheim Hines is fresh off another two touchdown performance Thursday night versus Tennessee.  His role dependency makes for a boom/bust flex play going forward.  It’s difficult trusting any of the receiving options given how Rivers spreads the rock and struggles pushing the ball downfield, but keep an eye on rookie Michael Pittman who emerged with some quality outings the last couple of weeks.

Tennessee

Tennessee finds itself in a rough stretch of games over the next few weeks.  The schedule becomes much easier throughout the fantasy playoffs however.  Jacksonville, Detroit, and Green Bay do not scare many offenses.  Tannehill should be a viable option at quarterback and Davis gets a boost in the flex while teams may expect increased production from Henry and Brown. 


Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller