FF Tips

2018 WR Strength of Schedule

By Matt Schauf 12:07pm EDT 7/20/18


Let’s start this off with some bad news: It appears quite tough to project matchup strength for WR defenses in fantasy.

We dug into strength of schedule for QBs and RBs over the past 2 weeks, and each of those positions gave us some signals to look for in projecting which defenses might provide the toughest and easiest matchups in fantasy football for 2018. For wideouts, however, the signals don’t flash so clearly.

First let’s look back at recent history.


Effects on WR Scoring

Here’s where the data stayed similar. Looking back on the past 10 years of WR points allowed, we see the friendliest and stingiest matchups providing the largest effects on fantasy scoring. And before you say “duh,” what I mean is that the gaps between consecutive defenses get larger at each extreme of the rankings. (Now you can say “duh” if you want.)

Like in the previous 2 articles, the “Avg” column represents the average difference (2008-2017) between the D in that ranking spot and median WR points allowed. The “Diff” column represents the change in percentage between that ranking spot and the 1 below (listed by percentage points rather than true percentages).

Here, we see the worst 6 defenses adding 10+% to WR fantasy scores, while the best 7 defenses take away 10+% of scoring. And, as you can see, the gaps between consecutive defenses grow at the top and bottom of the list.


What Makes a Tough WR Defense?

WRs score their fantasy points in fewer categories than either of the previous 2 positions we checked, but that leaves a clearer top correlation.

The table above shows that receptions and receiving yards lead the way in terms of strongest correlation to fantasy points allowed to WRs. Receptions, however, have proved more volatile in their correlation over our tested span, duking it out with TDs for a few years in there. Yardage, on the other hand, has dominated.

When we’re calculating correlation, we’re looking for a result as close to 1 as possible for 2 related factors. Over the past 10 years, receiving yards have produced an average and median correlation of 0.93 with WR points allowed. Receptions checked in at 0.81 (median: 0.80), with TDs following at 0.74 (median: 0.73) and then targets at 0.59 (median: 0.62).

After sorting that out, I looked into the correlations between the stat categories and found yards not especially closely tied to either targets or receptions. Targets, in particular, came in weak. The correlation between catches and yards, on the other hand, has been inconsistent. Six of the past 10 years found a correlation of 0.75 or stronger between yards and receptions. It’s possible that tie is getting stronger, though, as all 4 seasons of 0.8 or greater in the tested span came among the past 8 years.

What’s that all mean? We want our WRs facing the defenses giving up the most yardage. It doesn’t necessarily matter whether they’re facing the most targets or yielding the most catches.

Sorry, the rest of this content is reserved for DS Insiders.

Get instant access to read it all.

Get the insider information

Already a DS Insider? Login now

Share This!

Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think in the comments:

comments powered by Disqus

Related Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Podcast: Divisional Round Preview 1-11-19

We're down to the final 4-game week of this NFL calendar. Who are the sneaky DFS plays and fantasy potholes to avoid?

2:01pm EST 1/11/19 Read More
Fantasy Football Podcast: Wild Card NFL Playoffs 1-3-19

Drafting a fantasy football league for the playoffs? Jumping into the FFPC Playoff Challenge? Just playing DFS? We got ya covered ...

9:01pm EST 1/3/19 Read More
Fantasy Football Podcast: Week 16 Preview 12-20-18

There are some big names we suddenly can't trust for our championship-week lineups. Let's sort through the biggest lineup questions for Week 16 ...

4:12pm EST 12/20/18 Read More
Fantasy Football Podcast: Week 15 Preview 12-13-18

Doug Martin, Dante Pettis and Baker Mayfield just might factor into your fantasy football playoffs more than you ever could have expected ...

2:12pm EST 12/13/18 Read More
Fantasy Football Podcast: Week 14 Preview 12-6-18

Should you actually start Jaylen Samuels, Jeff Wilson or Justin Jackson in the fantasy playoffs?

2:12pm EST 12/6/18 Read More
Fantasy Football Podcast: What to do with this guy 12-4-18

It's playoff time for most fantasy football leagues. Let's set up some defenses, sort through the waiver RBs and figure out who's starting at WR3 in NFL Week 14.

10:12pm EST 12/4/18 Read More
Fantasy Football Podcast: Week 13 Preview 11-29-18

Let's jump back into the podcast booth and preview NFL Week 13.

4:11pm EST 11/29/18 Read More

Read More Articles

Turn your phone into a draft weapon with our FREE APP

Download on the App Store Download on Google Play