2018 Version of the Fantasy Strength of Schedule

Back in 2017, a new way of calculating Strength of Schedule (SOS) was introduced (by yours truely). As a refresher, typical SOS rankings factor only the previous season’s win-loss record of the opponents. However, fantasy scoring is predicated not on NFL wins or losses, but on yardage and touchdowns. In addition, negative fantasy points are deducted for fumbles, sacks and interceptions.

Using these categories and ranking them, the average ranking is assigned to each NFL team, which is then calculated based on the current NFL schedule.

Last season when this format was rolled out on Fantasy Assembly, the team with the easiest opponent ranking was the Minnesota Vikings. Look how it benefited such Vikings’ players such as Case Keenum, Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Jerick McKinnon.

It may also be worth noting that using this Fantasy Strength of Schedule (or FSOS) format, last season 7 of the 8 teams with the easiest fantasy opponents made the NFL playoffs. (MIN, CAR, TEN, PIT, JAX, NE, BUF).

The chart to the right averages each NFL team’s weekly opponent and factors the rankings of the following individual categories from 2017 statistics and then combines them for the 2018 NFL schedule.

  • yards allowed
  • points allowed
  • turnovers
  • sacks

Teams at the top of the list (1) will likely have a tougher time of things against stronger and stingier defensive units. While teams at the bottom of the list (32) will face off against some of the softest, most porous defenses.

If you were to compare a typical win-loss Strength of Schedule with this Fantasy Strength of Schedule, you would see a few major differences.

One of the differences is that Chicago plays a tougher win-loss schedule (8) but defensively their opponents are softer (30). Green Bay also plays a tougher win-loss schedule (1) but defensively their opponents are ranked 14.

On the flipside, Kansas City appears to have an easier win-loss schedule since their opponents are in the bottom half of the NFL. But defensively, their opponents are third. Pittsburgh too has the 25-ranked win-loss schedule, but their defensive opponents are ranked 9.

Leaning on typical SOS charts can be misleading and disastrous for fantasy owners. By comparison the FSOS calculates more reliable defensive statistics that translate better when projecting your fantasy expectations.


For those looking for an early football draft rush, Yahoo has opened registration for the 2018 fantasy football season. See what’s new and draft your team today.


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Joe Mica

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Joe has been passionate about fantasy football since 2001. He has experience as an owner as well as a commissioner in H2H, auction, redraft and IDP leagues. He has written fantasy football columns since 2010. Submit any fantasy football questions you may have to me on twitter @averagejoem