2019 NFL Schedule Released
The 2019 NFL schedule has been released! YA! And while it is abundantly clear that the Cleveland Browns are the “IT” team of 2019, is that going to help your fantasy fortunes?
While predicting who is going to ball and who is going to fall is risky…it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. But remember the NFL is fluid. But for now…let’s do it:
The New England Patriots have the easiest schedule. They will not face a 2018 playoff team until week nine. Their first four weeks they play, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills.
The Oakland Raiders have the harshest schedule. They will face, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears (in London), Green Bay Packers, and Houston Texans.
That’s nice. But what does it mean?
Best fantasy matchups in 2019 NFL season
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: When you are scheduled games against the Chiefs, Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers, expect a shoot-out. When your quarterback is Luck, expect fantasy points to be at a premium.
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys: While everyone knows the offense runs through Elliott it doesn’t seem to matter to his production. And now his first three games will be against defenses that ranked poorly in the DVOA against the run last season. That would be week one against the New York Giants, ranked 20th, week two against Washington, ranked 28th, and week three against the Miami Dolphins, ranked 24th.
Sony Michel, New England Patriots: First, remember the receiving options for the Patriots are…um…suspect? Add that to the stat, six of the first eight games the Patriots play will be against teams that ranked in the bottom 12 of DVOA against the run in 2018. Those teams and their DVOA rankings would be Dolphins, 24th; New York Jets, 21st; Washington, 28th; Giants 20th; Cleveland Browns, 25th. Except for the additions the Browns have made, there is nothing here to suspect it will be any different this year.
Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens: Ingram is now “the man” for the run game in Baltimore (we are of course counting on quarterback Lamar Jackson being more quarterback than running back), and Ingram couldn’t have picked a better time to be “the man”. Their first four opponent are against teams that begged teams to run against them, giving up the most rushing yards per game. The Ravens will face, Dolphins, 31stagainst the run, Cardinals, 32ndagainst the run, Chiefs, 27thagainst the run and the Browns, 28th against the run.
Worst fantasy matchups in 2019 NFL season
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: This is more than a referendum of the dumpster fire that appears to be the Steelers. Nor is it a commentary on the loss of wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell, completely separate issues. This is about the Steelers playing, Baltimore Ravens, who ranked third in DVOA against the pass and the Cleveland Browns, who ranked seventh in DVOA against the pass. And then playing Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, all top ten teams against the pass last year.
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars: This is a cautionary tale for those still on the Fournette bandwagon. Why? Anyway, their first six games may make or break your fantasy season (and their season). Except for the match-up against the Chiefs who have been generous to running backs, the Jaguars will face Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. The Texans, Broncos and Panthers are traditionally stout against the run. And figure that the games against the Chiefs and Saints, the Jags will be playing catch-up, which means more passing and less running.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons: In addition to playing the Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts in the first two weeks, both top three defenses against wide receivers last season, they have a new offensive coordinator. And if the past has taught us anything about the Falcons, it is that it takes them awhile to acclimate to new offensive coordinators.
A little afterthought, things change, due to injuries, new coaches and the draft (next week)! Being prepared means keeping up on the changes!
DVOA is “defense adjusted value over average”, which simply means by calculating a team’s success based on down-and-distance of each play during the season, then calculate how much more or less successful each team is compared to the league average.
Have a great weekend, until next time!