The National Football League has released its 2022 regular-season schedule, so we now know all the matchups we'll be looking at during the fantasy football campaign. We’ve already covered the 2022 strength of schedule per position and the fantasy football postseason (Weeks 15-17), so now let's turn our attention to the best and worst fantasy schedules for the first four weeks of the NFL regular season.
Why is this important?
Well, a favorable schedule to start the campaign can fuel a potential breakout, while a negative one could mean a slow start in the stat sheets. This can also give us a view into the players we might want to sell high on or buy low on in early player trades.
Quarterbacks - Top 5
1. Tom Brady, Buccaneers: Brady should have a hot start, as he faces three teams (Cowboys, Packers, Chiefs) that allowed 18.5 or more points a game to quarterbacks.
2. Jalen Hurts, Eagles: Hurt's stock is rising, and a schedule that starts with games against the Lions, Vikings, Commanders and Jaguars makes him even better.
3. Matt Ryan, Colts: Ryan could shine to open the year against the Texans, Jaguars, Chiefs and Titans, but he does have one of the worst fantasy playoffs schedules too.
4. Jameis Winston, Saints: Winston’s schedule, coupled with the additions of Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry, has his stock on the rise. He also has a nice postseason slate.
5. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars: Lawrence has new weapons in Christian Kirk and Evan Engram and opens with four teams that allowed 17.9 points a game to quarterbacks. My SI colleague, Matt De Lima, also believes Lawrence is a sleeper this season.
Quarterbacks - Bottom 5
32. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins: The Dolphins have added great weapons for Tua, but the schedule won’t be so kind. He’ll open against the Patriots, Ravens and Bills. Ouch.
31. Aaron Rodgers, Packers: Rodgers lost his top target in Davante Adams, and he could have a slow start with opening games against the likes of the Bucs and Patriots.
30. Mitchell Trubisky, Steelers: Whether it’s Trubisky or Kenny Pickett, the Steelers quarterback will face the Patriots and Browns among their first four matchups.
29. Ryan Tannehill, Titans: Tannehill lost his top wideout in A.J. Brown during the offseason, and he’ll begin the season with tough games against the Bills and Raiders.
28. Mac Jones, Patriots: Jones won’t be drafted as a No. 1 fantasy option, but it’s still notable that he opens the year against the Dolphins, Steelers, Ravens and Packers.
Running Backs - Top 5
1. Nick Chubb, Browns: Chubb and Kareem Hunt draw the most favorable opening slate, facing the Jets, Steelers and Falcons after an opening-week game in Carolina.
2. Austin Ekeler, Chargers: Ekeler could come out of the gate hot for fantasy fans, as he’ll face the Raiders, Chiefs, Jaguars and Texans in his first four games of the season.
3. D’Andre Swift, Lions: Swift, a surefire top-30 pick in all fantasy drafts, opens the slate with favorable tilts against the Eagles, Commanders, Vikings and Seahawks.
4. Joe Mixon, Bengals: One of the top running backs in fantasy football, Mixon faces two teams (Steelers, Jets) that allowed 29-plus points to backs in his first four games.
5. Javonte Williams, Broncos: Williams lost value when the Broncos retained Melvin Gordon, but opening games against the Seahawks, Texans and Raiders are favorable.
Running Backs - Bottom 5
32. Saquon Barkley, Giants: Barkley has fallen into the third or fourth rounds in some drafts, and he has a tough opening slate against the Titans, Panthers and Cowboys.
31. Damien Harris, Patriots: I like Harris as a flex starter in fantasy drafts, but he could have a slow statistical start with games against the Dolphins, Ravens and Packers.
30. Devin Singletary, Bills: Singletary had an excellent finish to the 2021 season, but he'll start the new campaign against the Rams, Titans, Dolphins and Ravens defenses.
29. Dameon Pierce, Texans: Pierce, who will battle Marlon Mack as the Texans' top back, opens with a tough slate of games against the Colts, Broncos and Bears.
28. James Conner, Cardinals: Conner's draft stock is rising after the loss of Chase Edmonds, but he’ll have to face the Rams and Panthers in the first four weeks.
Wide Receivers - Top 5
1. Michael Pittman Jr., Colts: Pittman’s value is on the rise with the addition of Matt Ryan, and an opening slate against the Texans, Jaguars, Chiefs and Titans is terrific.
2. A.J. Brown, Eagles: Brown will need time to gain a rapport with Hurts, but games against the Lions, Vikings, Commanders and Jaguars should help ease the transition.
3. Mike Evans, Buccaneers: Evans could be a fantasy beast if the Buccaneers don’t have Chris Godwin against poor pass defenses like the Cowboys, Saints and Chiefs
4. Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals: As if you need more reason to draft Chase and Tee Higgins, the Bengals will face the Cowboys, Jets and Dolphins in their first four games.
5. Michael Thomas, Saints: Thomas, Olave and Landry should benefit from opening the 2022 regular season against the likes of the Falcons, Panthers and Vikings.
Wide Receivers - Bottom 5
32. Diontae Johnson, Steelers: Johnson, who will be breaking in a new quarterback, could have a slow start against the Patriots, Browns and Jets over his first four games.
31. Brandin Cooks, Texans: Cooks will be the top option in the Houston pass attack, but opening games against the Colts, Broncos, Bears and Rams aren’t favorable.
30. Elijah Moore, Jets: Whether it’s Moore, Garrett Wilson or Corey Davis, the Jets have to open the 2022 season against the Ravens, Browns, Bengals and Steelers.
29. Drake London, Falcons: London could be the top rookie wideout picked in most fantasy drafts, but facing the Saints, Rams, Browns and Seahawks isn’t favorable.
28. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys: Lamb’s opening schedule might not be great on paper, but that won’t keep him from being drafted among the top 24 overall players in 2022.
Tight Ends - Top 5
1. Evan Engram, Jaguars: Engram won’t be a No. 1 fantasy tight end in drafts, but he could be useful to open the regular season against the Colts, Chargers and Eagles.
2. Irv Smith, Jr., Vikings: Smith could be a late-round bargain in fantasy football drafts, and an opening slate that includes the Packers, Eagles and Lions is favorable.
3. Logan Thomas, Commanders: Thomas' stock has fallen since a disappointing 2021 campaign besieged with injuries, but he opens against the Jags, Lions and Steelers.
4. Gerald Everett, Chargers: Everett landed in a good spot this offseason with the Chargers, and he’ll face good opening matchups against the Raiders, Chiefs and Jags.
5. Albert Okwuegbunam, Broncos: Okwuegbunam has late-round sleeper appeal in most drafts, and he could start off hot against the Seahawks, Texans and Raiders.
Tight Ends - Bottom 5
32. Tyler Higbee, Rams: Fantasy fans might want to avoid Higbee in the opening month, as he’ll face the Bills, Cardinals and 49ers in three of his first four contests.
31. Robert Tonyan, Packers: Tonyan will be picked late in most drafts as a No. 2 tight end, but he could start slowly coming off an ACL and against the Vikings and Patriots.
30. George Kittle, 49ers: Kittle has tough matchups against the Bears, Broncos and Rams among his first four games, so don’t be surprised if he isn’t “golden” at the start.
29. Mark Andrews, Ravens: Andrews remains a must-start across the board, but keep in mind he’ll face the Dolphins, Patriots and Bills in the first month of the regular year.
28. Noah Fant, Seahawks: Fant has a tough matchup in a revenge game against the Broncos in the opener before another difficult contest against the 49ers in Week 2.
More fantasy & NFL coverage:
- SI Fantasy's Experts Mock Draft
- Best and Worst Fantasy Playoff Schedules
- Sleeper Quarterbacks
- Fantasy Strength of Schedule: Quarterbacks
- Fantasy Strength of Schedule: Running Backs
- Fantasy Strength of Schedule: Receivers
- How the NFL Built the 2022 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 all of the late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!