Josh Jacobs just might benefit from some helpful rushing matchups in his 2020 schedule.
Nick Chubb on the other hand ...
Projecting strength of schedule can be dangerous any time of year -- and more so the further you sit from a season’s start. A lot of rookies have yet to even practice with their new teams, much less settle into their 2020 roles. We’re still waiting to see the health on many guys coming off 2019 injuries. And we don’t even know yet which team(s) will employ Jadeveon Clowney or Everson Griffen.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to get in front of it.
Let’s start with what we know. If we average the PPR points allowed to RBs by defenses over the past 5 years, we find that the 9 “worst” RB defenses have added more than 10% to scoring vs. the league median.
On the other end, the 8 “best” RB defenses have sapped roughly 10+% of production vs. the median.
On average, that group of 9 “worst” defenses allowed RBs to score at 118.76% vs. league-median production. The 8 “best” defenses held RBs to just 83.65% of production. We’ll get back to those numbers in a few minutes.
Before that, though, let’s look at which defenses we can reasonably expect to be best or worst against RBs in 2020.
The Good and the Bad for 2020?
I know there’s no way I can accurately project all the rushing matchups. Just look at last year. The 2 worst RB defenses by season’s end -- Carolina and Jacksonville -- each ranked among the league’s 6 toughest RB defenses the year before. And both teams finished 2017 in that “tough” range as well.
Tampa Bay and San Francisco, on the other hand, each finished 3 straight seasons among the league’s 9 weakest RB defenses before ranking as the 2nd and 3rd toughest matchups (respectively) for fantasy RBs in 2019.
Because of those wide swings, I left all 4 of those teams out when selecting these 2 groups.
What you’ll find here, though, are 7 defenses that we can reasonably expect to be favorable matchups for RBs and 7 that appear likely to play the run tough.