The NFL schedule had been released – that means it’s time for our annual look at the Fantasy Strength of Schedule (FSOS).
If you’re new to this format, allow me to explain. The traditional Strength of Schedule (SOS) calculates only the wins and losses for each opponent. Conversely, the FSOS ranks four defensive categories
- yards allowed
- points allowed
These are the four areas that realistically create havoc for an opposing offense.
We then average these four rankings and assign the average to each NFL team on the schedule. That average is then calculated against every opponent.
Perhaps this format could have been labeled the “Defensive Strength of Schedule.” However, the sole purpose of using defensive categories was to more accurately gauge the direct impact the NFL schedule had on an offensive skill player from a fantasy perspective. As we rank offensive players, knowing the defensive strength (or weakness) of a player’s schedule helps to decide his overall value. Hence, the FSOS.
Just in case there is any lingering skepticism, you should know that when we started using this ranking system in 2017, seven of the 8 teams with the lowest, or easiest, FSOS made the NFL playoffs. Last season, 8 of the bottom 16 teams on the “easy” side of the rankings made the playoffs. The evidence clearly supports the FSOS.
For 2019, the 5 teams with the toughest defensive opponents are the Chiefs, Raiders, Packers, Lions and Broncos. The 5 teams with the easiest defensive opponents are the Cardinals, Seahawks, Ravens, Steelers and Jets.
Just to point out a few differences from the typical SOS compared to the FSOS
- The Lions have the 20th-easiest schedule per SOS, but are 4th hardest in FSOS.
- On the other side of the coin, the Jaguars have the 3rd-hardest SOS, but based on FSOS are smack in the middle at 17.
- The 49ers also are also on the north end (11th) in SOS but are in the southern hemisphere (24th) in FSOS.