Show Navigation
Show Menu

2022 QB Strength of Schedule

By Matt Schauf 3:15pm EDT 6/22/22


There’s a highly drafted QB – with even more highly drafted WRs – who just might face a brutal close to his schedule.

There’s an upside QB going late in drafts who might be unusable come fantasy playoffs time.

And there’s a near-forgotten QB whose schedule finish looks excellent.

We’ll get to all 3 … and much more. But first, the path.


Strength of Schedule

The primary thing I’ve found through several years of trying to project QB strength of schedule is that no single stat (at least that I’ve uncovered) does a good job of carrying over year to year and revealing good/bad matchups. We see wide swings every year. Sometimes injuries take hold. Sometimes it’s sheer luck, with TD rates and/or INT rates swinging otherwise modest points totals. Some defenses prove efficient vs. high pass-attempt totals. Others prove generous on fewer attempts. And even the attempt volume hasn’t been sticky.

What I have settled on over the past couple of years is passing fantasy points allowed per pass attempt (PFP/PA) as a decent measure. And it makes intuitive sense.

We strip away the rushing production, which can depend heavily on the QB and TD luck. Not every defense faces Lamar Jackson … while others get him twice. The Chiefs allowed the 2nd most QB fantasy points last season, but ranked just 14th in passing fantasy points allowed per attempt. Jackson’s 107 yards and 2 scores on the ground in Week 2 played a large role in that difference.

Additionally, breaking it down by attempt allows us to better compare teams such as Seattle and Chicago. The Seahawks allowed 28.1 more passing points for the season, but they also faced 181 more attempts.

The quality of those 2 defenses is more likely to carry over into 2022 than the specific attempt totals.


Last Year’s Picks

The goal here is to project positive and negative QB-scoring matchups for the coming season. Let’s see how I fared in making those picks last year, with passing points per attempt as the driver …


Positive

Atlanta (8th most passing points allowed per attempt)
Cincinnati (18th)
Detroit (2nd)
Houston (6th)
Jacksonville (7th)
Las Vegas (31st)

Pretty good overall, and even the 2 bad outcomes here still don’t look like terrible picks in hindsight. The Bengals finished last season just 24th in Football Outsiders pass-defense DVOA, and the Raiders checked in 21st. So neither was actually a good pass defense, and neither motivated us to bench QBs last season. Cincinnati managed to finish below the league average in passing-TD rate, while the Raiders proved generous to ground scoring (6th most RB rushing TDs allowed on 14th most carries faced).


Negative

Baltimore (4th most passing points allowed per attempt)
Denver (25th)
L.A. Rams (10th)
New England (24th)
Pittsburgh (20th)
Washington (3rd)

The biggest misses here were obviously Washington and Baltimore. The Ravens struggled with injuries throughout their secondary. That included losing CB Marcus Peters to an ACL tear before the season and CB Marlon Humphrey to a pectoral tear in early December. The leading corner in playing time was Anthony Averett, who the team has since let walk in free agency.

Washington dealt with some injuries as well, but the defense also just stunk.

The Rams didn’t prove as stingy as expected on fantasy points, but they delivered the league’s #6 defense in passing DVOA. So it was a good unit.

I’ve kept all of this in mind for projecting 2022 …


Looking Ahead

In the past, I’ve limited this to 6 picks for each group. I’m going to expand that this year, breaking the league into 3 nearly equal parts. I know I’ll never get all the picks right, but I’m following trends and offseason moves to try to capture more upside and downside matchups.

Here are my best guesses at the 10 most positive and most negative matchups for QB scoring …

Positive

Atlanta
Chicago
Cincinnati
Dallas
Detroit
Houston
Jacksonville
Kansas City
Minnesota
Washington

Despite sporting 1 of the league’s top young CBs in A.J. Terrell, the Falcons ranked just 29th in passing DVOA last season. That marked the 3rd time at 25th or worse in the past 4 years. They, Detroit and Houston are easy selections.

The Bears were tough in pass D as recently as 2019. But they went from 4th toughest in PFP/PA that season to 20th in 2020 and then last in 2021. Then they traded away EDGE Khalil Mack. And it looks like Chicago will trust 2 of its top 5 secondary spots to rookies. This looks like a defense that won’t scare any QBs.

Washington has the talent to rebound. But DE Chase Young is coming off an ACL tear. And the secondary doesn’t contain a game-altering player. So I’ll start out betting against it.

The Bengals seemed to prove me wrong last year. But as I mentioned, they finished 24th in pass DVOA. So it wasn’t actually a good pass defense. With no big changes in personnel and an offense that looks ready to create some shootouts, I’ll keep betting on Cincinnati games as positive settings for our fantasy QBs.

Minnesota and Kansas City were a little tougher. The Chiefs, though, have ranked better than 12th in pass DVOA just once over the past 5 years. Last season matched the team’s worst ranking in that category since Andy Reid arrived. And then K.C. let DB Tyrann Mathieu, CB Charvarius Ward and CB Mike Hughes walk.

The Vikings have trended away from its days as a top-shelf pass defense. The past 2 versions allowed the 6th and 12th most PFP/PA. The Vikings hit 2022 with a new scheme under a new coaching staff for the 1st time since 2014. The pass rush has plenty to prove, and the secondary might be starting a pair of rookies.

Dallas might seem like the oddest inclusion, but there was a lot of mirage to last year’s defense. The team allowed the 7th-lowest passing-TD rate and produced the 2nd-highest INT rate. Despite ranking 3rd-best in completion rate allowed, the Cowboys yielded the 14th most yards per attempt. Even breakthrough CB Trevon Diggs graded just 80th at the position in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. Throw in an offense with shootout potential, and there’s plenty of upside to this matchup.


Neutral

Arizona
Carolina
Cleveland
Indianapolis
L.A. Rams
Las Vegas
N.Y. Giants
N.Y. Jets
Philadelphia
San Francisco
Seattle
Tennessee

The Jets began this process in the “positive” section. But they allowed the 5th fewest PFP/PA last year. Then they spent 2 first-round picks on CB Sauce Gardner and EDGE Jermaine Johnson. They’ll also get EDGE Carl Lawson back from an Achilles’ tear. Free-agent S Jordan Whitehead isn’t a scary coverage defender, but sheer stability at the position will be an upgrade for a defense that struggled at safety after Marcus Maye went down in Game 6.


Negative

Baltimore
Buffalo
Denver
Green Bay
L.A. Chargers
Miami
New England
New Orleans
Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay

The Ravens ranked among the 3 toughest defenses in PFP/PA for 4 straight seasons before last year’s tumble. I’ll go back to being hesitant with them.

Denver, Miami, New England, Tampa Bay and Buffalo all ranked 25th or lower in most PFP/PA allowed in 2021. Green Bay has finished 21st or lower 3 straight years and gets a healthy Jaire Alexander after missing him for most of last season. Pittsburgh ranked 24th, 29th and 20th the past 3 years.

New Orleans got friendly as a PFP/PA defense last year (5th most allowed), but that marked a significant difference vs. the previous 7 seasons. But the Saints remained a good defense, ranking 3rd in DVOA and 4th against the pass. They added Mathieu in free agency and should sport a healthier pass rush.

The Chargers have been a middling pass defense the past 4 years, but they went for it this offseason. L.A. signed the top available CB, J.C. Jackson, and traded for EDGE Khalil Mack. I’ll buy significant improvement.


The Schedule

Before we get to the grid, keep in mind that I’m not telling anyone to avoid the red weeks altogether. I’ll get some picks wrong. Players will outperform tough matchups. Guys will deliver fantasy numbers even while enduring a bad game. And stars will disappoint.

Consider the red spots more “proceed with caution” than “stop.”

And the green spots aren’t magic. A crappy QB doesn’t become a must-start even in the best matchup.


16-Game Factor

I tallied up the positive matchups for each team and multiplied that by 1.136, the average impact of the 10 most generous QB matchups vs. median annual scoring over the past 9 years. Then I tallied the negative matchups and multiplied by 0.8845, the average impact of the bottom 10 defenses over the same span.

The “factor” calculation comes from combining those 2 results and adding 1 for every “neutral” matchup.

Now back to the passers from the beginning of the article …

Bengals QB Joe Burrow gets a tough finish. There’s lots of best-ball stacking of him, his WRs and Bills, centered on that Week 17 Cincinnati-Buffalo matchup. There’s nothing wrong with that approach. But relying heavily on Burrow and either of his top 2 wideouts could hurt your season-long, lineup-setting team when he travels to Tampa Bay in Week 15 and then New England in Week 16.

I’m not saying don’t draft Burrow because of that. But be aware of the looming matchups, especially as fantasy-playoff time approaches.

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa matters less than Burrow, because his ADP can’t climb out of low QB2 range. He certainly doesn’t look like a league-winning pick with road games against the Chargers, Bills and Patriots among the final 4 weeks in most leagues.

On the positive side – and even lower than Tagovailoa in ADP – Titans QB Ryan Tannehill gets home dates with Jacksonville, Houston and Dallas among the final 4 fantasy weeks. If he (and Derrick Henry) hit that stretch healthy, there’s room for some Titans to be involved in title decisions.


17-Game Factor

Same deal as above, but I’ve included Week 18 … in case your league plays that far.

Related Fantasy Football

Rachaad White sits prominently among this month's dynasty trade targets -- as a SELL.

Dynasty Trade Targets: Buy Low/Sell High

11:39am EST 2/24/24

Our latest round of dynasty trade targets includes buying a TE who stunk in 2023 and selling a RB who just broke out. Plus how to treat those late-Round 1 rookie picks.

Read More »
Dynasty Player Spotlight: Calvin Ridley & Trevor Lawrence

Dynasty Player Spotlight: Calvin Ridley & Trevor Lawrence

8:55pm EDT 9/26/23

The early parts of the 2023 season have been a struggle for the Jaguars. What should dynasty managers do with WR Calvin Ridley and QB Trevor Lawrence?

Read More »
Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers

Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers

10:02pm EDT 9/1/23

This article will track the fantasy football risers and fallers in the Draft Sharks rankings throughout the summer. Find out who to target in your draft.

Read More »
Preseason Winners and Losers

Preseason Winners and Losers

11:56am EDT 8/30/23

Let's run through 21 fantasy football preseason winners and losers as we barrel toward Week 1. A must-read before your draft!

Read More »
Premium Content Premium Content11 Guys Who Could Win You a Fantasy Championship

11 Guys Who Could Win You a Fantasy Championship

3:03pm EDT 8/25/23

Each Draft Sharks analyst gives 2 guys they're targeting in drafts. The result: 11 guys who could win you a fantasy football championship (with a surprise player getting 2 votes).

Read More »
Premium Content Premium ContentOvervalued Fantasy Football Players to Avoid (2023)

Overvalued Fantasy Football Players to Avoid (2023)

9:35am EDT 8/22/23

Want to draft a championship-level fantasy football team in 2023? Avoid taking on bad values. Take a look at our list of the most overvalued players in ADP.

Read More »
Premium Content Premium Content15 Underrated Fantasy Football Players (2023)

15 Underrated Fantasy Football Players (2023)

1:18pm EDT 8/21/23

What's the best way to attack any fantasy football draft? Find the biggest values. Draft them. This list of 15 underrated players does half the job for you.

Read More »
Other rankings are stale  before the 2nd round.

Draft using the best dynamic tool in the industry. Our fantasy player valuations (DMVP) change during your draft in response to...

  1. Exact league settings - direct sync
  2. Opponent and Team Needs
  3. Positional scarcity & available players
  4. Ceiling, injury risk, ADP, and more!

You need a dynamic cheat sheet that easily live-syncs with your draft board and adapts throughout your draft using 17 crucial indicators.

Get your Draft War Room Today
Winning Your League Starts Here Trophy
Why Wouldn’t You Invest
$36 to Win Your League?
Check out thisleague-winning info
2023 Draft Package Now - Sept 15

$39

Get Instant Access
2023 In-Season Package Sept 5 - Mar 7

$39

Get Access Sept. 5
2023 DFS Package Sept 5 - Mar 7

$49

Get Access Sept. 5
Best Value – All Access Pass
DS Insider Membership All 3 Packages

$127 $36

Semi-annual
Get Instant Access
Draft War Room Included Draft War Room Draft War Room Draft War Room Included Draft War Room
Unlimited Live-Draft Sync Included Unlimited Live-Draft Sync Unlimited Live-Draft Sync Unlimited Live-Draft Sync Included Unlimited Live-Draft Sync
Award-Winning Player Rankings Included Award-Winning Player Rankings Award-Winning Player Rankings Award-Winning Player Rankings Included Award-Winning Player Rankings
3D Projections Included 3D Projections 3D Projections 3D Projections Included 3D Projections
In-Depth Player Profiles Included In-Depth Player Profiles In-Depth Player Profiles In-Depth Player Profiles Included In-Depth Player Profiles
Mock Draft Trainer Included Mock Draft Trainer Mock Draft Trainer Mock Draft Trainer Included Mock Draft Trainer
DMVP Trade Values Included DMVP Trade Values DMVP Trade Values DMVP Trade Values Included DMVP Trade Values
The Perfect Draft Included The Perfect Draft The Perfect Draft The Perfect Draft Included The Perfect Draft
Breakout & Comeback Player Included Breakout & Comeback Player Breakout & Comeback Player Breakout & Comeback Player Included Breakout & Comeback Player
Average Draft Position by Scoring Included Average Draft Position by Scoring Average Draft Position by Scoring Average Draft Position by Scoring Included Average Draft Position by Scoring
Scientific Injury Predictor Included Scientific Injury Predictor Scientific Injury Predictor Scientific Injury Predictor Included Scientific Injury Predictor
Insider Sleepers & Busts Included Insider Sleepers & Busts Insider Sleepers & Busts Insider Sleepers & Busts Included Insider Sleepers & Busts
In-Season Weekly Rankings In-Season Weekly Rankings Included In-Season Weekly Rankings In-Season Weekly Rankings Included In-Season Weekly Rankings
“Who Should I Start?” Tool “Who Should I Start?” Tool Included “Who Should I Start?” Tool “Who Should I Start?” Tool Included “Who Should I Start?” Tool
“Team Intel” Tool w/ Analysis & Notifications “Team Intel” Tool w/ Analysis & Notifications Included “Team Intel” Tool w/ Analysis & Notifications “Team Intel” Tool w/ Analysis & Notifications Included “Team Intel” Tool w/ Analysis & Notifications
Live-Sync Free Agent Finder Live-Sync Free Agent Finder Included Live-Sync Free Agent Finder Live-Sync Free Agent Finder Included Live-Sync Free Agent Finder
Trade Navigator Trade Navigator Included Trade Navigator Trade Navigator Included Trade Navigator
Player Shares Player Shares Included Player Shares Player Shares Included Player Shares
In-Depth Free Agent Gems In-Depth Free Agent Gems Included In-Depth Free Agent Gems In-Depth Free Agent Gems Included In-Depth Free Agent Gems
Buy/Sell/Hold Trade Advice Buy/Sell/Hold Trade Advice Included Buy/Sell/Hold Trade Advice Buy/Sell/Hold Trade Advice Included Buy/Sell/Hold Trade Advice
Strength-of-Schedule Data Strength-of-Schedule Data Included Strength-of-Schedule Data Strength-of-Schedule Data Included Strength-of-Schedule Data
DFS Lineup Builder DFS Lineup Builder DFS Lineup Builder Included DFS Lineup Builder Included DFS Lineup Builder
DFS Ownership Projections DFS Ownership Projections DFS Ownership Projections Included DFS Ownership Projections Included DFS Ownership Projections
Weekly Top Stacks Weekly Top Stacks Weekly Top Stacks Included Weekly Top Stacks Included Weekly Top Stacks
High-Stakes DFS Line-up Reviews High-Stakes DFS Line-up Reviews High-Stakes DFS Line-up Reviews Included High-Stakes DFS Line-up Reviews Included High-Stakes DFS Line-up Reviews
DFS Independent DFS Independent DFS Independent Included DFS Independent Included DFS Independent
Premium Insider Articles Included Premium Insider Articles Included Premium Insider Articles Included Premium Insider Articles Included Premium Insider Articles
Daily FF Email Updates Included Daily FF Email Updates Included Daily FF Email Updates Included Daily FF Email Updates Included Daily FF Email Updates
Breaking News Updates Included Breaking News Updates Included Breaking News Updates Included Breaking News Updates Included Breaking News Updates
To-the-Minute Game Day Inactives Included To-the-Minute Game Day Inactives Included To-the-Minute Game Day Inactives Included To-the-Minute Game Day Inactives Included To-the-Minute Game Day Inactives
All-Access Draft Sharks App All–Access Draft Sharks App Included All-Access Draft Sharks App Included All-Access Draft Sharks App Included All-Access Draft Sharks App Included All-Access Draft Sharks App
Get Instant Access Get Access Sept 5 Get Access Sept 5 Get Instant Access

Turn your phone into a draft weapon with our FREE APP

Download on the App Store Get It on Google Play