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2022 TE Strength of Schedule

By Matt Schauf 2:30pm EDT 7/13/22

If you read last week’s WR strength-of-schedule article … you might have come away disappointed. I know I did.

But I’ve got good news: This one will go back and help that position as well.

The problem with TE matchups is the same as it was for the wideouts. It’s difficult to find stat categories that correlate year to year and tell us which defenses are likely to remain generous or stingy the following season.

So what can we look to if that position alone doesn’t give us a strong enough signal?

Well, I finally got a light bulb switched on as I worked on this article … one that probably should have lit with the receivers … or last year’s TEs (... or maybe even earlier).

We’ve had some better luck with finding such a signal for QB matchups.

A QB is kinda important to a pass-catcher’s success.

What about checking the connection between points allowed to QBs and points allowed to TEs?

It turns out that the correlation between annual fantasy points allowed to QBs and PPR points allowed to TEs is stronger than the year-to-year correlation for any individual category for stats allowed to TEs (average of 0.376 over the past 7 seasons; no TE-specific category got close to 0.3). And if we compare with just passing fantasy points allowed to QBs, it gets even stronger (0.404 average).

The link proved even stronger between passing points allowed to QBs and PPR points allowed to WRs (0.625 average).

These results make sense. Think of how much individual WRs and TEs differ from each other in the NFL. There are many different player types, roles, offensive schemes, surrounding talent levels and game situations. It’s no wonder that we have trouble finding consistency in matchup impact. A defense isn’t going to play Kyle Pitts anywhere near the same as it does Adam Trautman. Ja’Marr Chase won’t see the same coverage as Tyler Boyd.

But a stingier pass defense on whole – one that limits a QB’s production – is bound to increase the challenge for that entire passing offense.

So rather than BS you with a list of blind dart throws at defenses that may or may not prove tough on TE scoring, here’s the same matchup grid we used in the QB article.

Just as I said there, you shouldn’t be treating red spots as ***AVOID*** and green speeds as “start everyone.” They are just signals of games (and stretches of games) that might prove tougher or more favorable for your pass-catchers.

As always, you'll be able to find our up-to-date in-season strength of schedule ratings throughout the year. That page will give us more specific matchup advice based on how things are going once we have real 2022 data behind us.

From this preseason vantage point, though, I see potentially worrisome late-season stretches for the Cardinals and Dolphins.

Arizona surrounds its Week 13 bye with 4 consecutive negative passing matchups. The upshot there is just 1 of those games (Denver in Week 15) will be on the road.

Miami, on the other hand, visits the Chargers, Bills and Patriots over a 4-week span to close the fantasy season -- with a home date vs. Green Bay as the other game. Those 2 cold-weather matchups at Buffalo and New England in December look particularly risky.

Tennessee, on the other hand, finishes with a nice patch of green. And even the red game in Week 15 -- a visit to the Chargers -- looks like a potential shootout that could drive up passing volume. Austin Hooper has been available as a very late TE2 or TE3 in Underdog best-ball tournament drafts all offseason.

There's also a lot of green in the 2nd half of the Giants' schedule and among the Jets' final 6 fantasy weeks. Home games vs. Detroit and Jacksonville in weeks 15 and 16 could make Jets wideouts useful in the fantasy playoffs.

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