The National Football League has a strength of schedule formula that's very simple to understand. You take the opponents' records from the previous season, add up the wins and losses and calculate a percentage for all 16 opponents. In the world of fantasy football, we use a similar method. Instead of using team records, we use the number of fantasy points allowed by defenses the previous season against a single position (both at home and on the road) and rank the teams/players according to the average.
For example, the Buffalo Bills allowed an average of 14.8 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends overall last season. However, their defense was much tougher at home (13.1 PPG allowed) than on the road (16.5 PPG allowed). Therefore, a road tight end who faces the Bills at Orchard Park in 2021 receives 13.1 points. On the flip side, a home tight end who faces Buffalo receives 16.5 points. This goes one step deeper than typical FPA analysis, based on a total average of the home and road numbers. The bigger the overall point total per team, the easier the schedule for the position.
Note: Numbered columns in spreadsheet don't represent specific weeks.
The combination of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith will be tough to trust in fantasy land, but this duo does have the second-easiest schedule among tight ends. They’ll face the Jets (2), Bills (2), Falcons, Chargers, Buccaneers and Titans among their easiest foes.
Blake Jarwin missed last season due to injuries, but he'll be back as the starter in 2021 and has a favorable slate of games. He'll face the Eagles (2), Falcons, Panthers and Chiefs, among his more attractive opponents. Jarwin could be a late-round bargain.
No one is going to avoid George Kittle in fantasy football drafts based on his schedule, but it's worth noting that he'll have the toughest slate at the position with games against the Cardinals (2), Rams (2), Seahawks (2), Colts and Packers.
Robert Tonyan was the TE4 a season ago, but touchdown regression and questions about Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay loom. He'll also face the third-toughest schedule that includes games against the Lions (2), Steelers, Cardinals, 49ers, Rams, Washington Football Team and Vikings. If Rodgers leaves the Packers, Tonyan becomes a No. 2 option.
- Orr: The 15 Best Games to Look Forward to in the 2021 NFL Season
- Pickman: 2021 NFL Schedule - Key Games, Dates for Every Team
- Orr: Six Teams Stiffed by the NFL Schedule
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!