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NFL Schedule Review

Tue Apr 24 12:34 pm
Sr Fantasy Writer

Newton has favorable schedule

The NFL has officially released the schedule for the 2017 season. It is always a good idea to take a look at all the schedules to see how it impacts the coming fantasy season. We will release all the fantasy strength of schedule rankings in our upcoming Draft Guide. But for now, here is a quick overview of each position for the coming year. We will start with quarterbacks. . . . .

Quarterback SOS
1. Browns    			291.02
2. Packers    			292.78
3. Bengals    			294.22
4. Texans    			296.44
5. 49ers    			298.48

28. Seahawks   			314.31
29. Chargers    		316.08
30. Patriots    		316.56
31. Panthers    		316.66
32. Bills 			321.23

We still aren't sure who is going to start for the Browns to open the season, but whoever gets the job is going to be a fantasy concern. The Browns have the toughest fantasy schedule for quarterbacks. Not good. Aaron Rodgers had an injury plagued season last year and the second toughest fantasy schedule for this season. This is a bit of a concern for the coming year. You also might have some concerns about Deshaun Watson. He is trying to return from a major injury and has the fourth toughest schedule for fantasy quarterbacks. Can he repeat his huge start to his career?

Meanwhile, three of the top quarterbacks in the game get very favorable fantasy schedules. Cam Newton, Tom Brady and Russell Willson all have very good schedules for success this year. These guys could all make a run at being the top fantasy quarterback in the game this season. And don't count out Philip Rivers for one more big season. He is another player with a schedule setup for success.

Running back SOS
1. Redskins			363.08
2. Rams				365.30
3. Lions			372.03	
4. 49ers			372.71
5. Packers			372.86

28. Jets			388.91
29. Cardinals 			389.04
30. Saints			390.30	
31. Broncos 			392.05
32. Vikings			398.87

Todd Gurley was the top fantasy back in the game last season, but gets the second toughest schedule for fantasy backs this season. He could have a hard time repeating last year's monster season. And the Redskins and Lions have unsettled running back situations that look even worse after seeing this ranking. Both could be situations to avoid going forward. Stay tuned.

Don't forget about Dalvin Cook this year. He got hurt his rookie season but will be back and starting in a good Vikings offense that gets the easiest fantasy schedule for running backs. The Saints were explosive running the ball last year and should do well once again, getting the third easiest schedule for fantasy running backs. The Jets, Cardinals and Broncos also have easy schedules for running backs, but don't have their running backs set just yet. So keep an eye on those jobs this training camp.

Wide receiver SOS
1. Browns			474.49
2. Colts			476.60
3. Titans			479.34
4. Bengals			480.01 
5. Ravens			481.33

28. Panthers			521.79 
29. Buccaneers			521.92 
30. Dolphins			522.87 
31. Saints			526.23
32. Falcons			534.21

The Browns added some talent at receiver, getting a legit No. 1 in Jarvis Landry. But Landry has some fantasy concerns for the coming season. He moves to an offense with quarterback questions and gets the toughest fantasy schedule for tight ends. Not good. The Titans and Ravens didn't get much out of their receivers last year and might be in a similar situation this year, having a very challenging fantasy schedule for receivers. Lastly, TY Hilton looks like a better option this year with Andrew Luck likely back in the mix, but his schedule is a concern, having the second hardest fantasy schedule for receivers.

Julio Jones, Michael Thomas and Mike Evans are three of the elite fantasy receivers in the game. Things look great for them this year once again, having very favorable fantasy schedules for receivers. Any of these guys could be the No. 1 overall fantasy receiver this season. DeVante Parker and Devin Funchess are two players that could finally have those breakout years, having favorable schedules for success.

Tight End SOS
1. Packers			173.80  
2. Falcons			173.94
3. Bears			174.96
4. Panthers			175.19
5. Lions			176.16

28. Colts			196.11  
29. Raiders			198.01
30. Titans			198.81
31. Chiefs			201.20
32. Chargers 			205.32

The Packers made a big splash in free agency, signing Jimmy Graham. He should be a big boost to the offense, but might have a hard time reaching past success. Graham moves to an offense that doesn't have a history of using the tight end and also has the toughest overall fantasy schedule for tight ends. Greg Olsen is another past top fantasy tight end with some concerns for this year. Olsen is coming off an injury-plagued season and gets the fourth hardest fantasy schedule for tight ends.

On a positive note, Hunter Henry seems primed for a breakout season. He has the easiest fantasy schedule for tight ends and should garner all the work at the position for the Chargers with Antonio Gates no longer around. Travis Kelce was huge last year and should be once again this year, having a very easy schedule for tight ends. You also have to like the prospects of Delanie Walker and Jack Doyle, two more players that were good last year with favorable schedules for success.

Player Notes
Larry Fitzgerald Jan 23 12:10pm ET

The Arizona Cardinals signed veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to a one-year deal on Wednesday so that he can return for a 16th season. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Fitzgerald will turn 36 at the end of August but will remain the No. 1 wideout on the team because of his experience. His numbers took a hit in one of the worst offenses in the NFL in 2018, but he still led the team in receptions (69), receiving yards (734) and touchdowns (six). While Fitz can still make an impact on the field, he'll be returning to his third head coach in three years, but the addition of Kliff Kingsbury could improve the offense moving forward. We won't say for sure that Fitzgerald will return to the 1,000-yard mark, but he should be a serviceable WR3 at the very least.

From RotoBaller

Greg Schiano Jan 23 10:53am ET

Former Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano is expected to land with the New England Patriots in a top defensive role when linebackers coach Brian Flores heading to the Miami Dolphins.

Steve Spagnuolo Jan 23 10:43am ET

Former New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has emerged as the favorite to be hired as Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator, according to sources.

Larry Fitzgerald Jan 23 9:43am ET

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald announced Wednesday, Jan. 23, that he'll return for the 2019 season.

Fantasy Spin: Fitz had a 69-734-6 season, which was well below the 100-catch, 1,000-yard seasons the three years previously. The rookie quarterback was part of the problem, but he doesn't have much more upside next season. He's still a PPR asset, but he'll be a mid-round option as a WR3.

Larry Fitzgerald Jan 23 9:43am ET

Updating an earlier report, Arizona Cardinals impending free-agent WR Larry Fitzgerald re-signed with the Cardinals on a one-year deal. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Albert Wilson Jan 23 2:13am ET

Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson (hip) is on schedule with his recovery from an October hip injury that landed him on IR and could be at full speed when the team's offseason workout program begins in April.

Fantasy Spin: After four largely nondescript seasons in Kansas City, Wilson flashed some playmaking ability before getting injured against the Lions. There are far too many variables in Miami for an accurate read on Wilson's fantasy prospects for 2019, but he did enough last year to warrant your attention.

Nick Foles Jan 23 1:53am ET

Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles would be eligible to be franchise or transition tagged and then traded if the team decides not to pick up his option, which ESPN's Chris Mortensen believes is a possibility as doing so would allow the Eagles to influence Foles' destination.

Fantasy Spin: Mortensen indicates such a move would prevent Foles from going to a division rival, but it's all speculation at this point. While it's far from a sure thing, Foles could have some fantasy value in the right situation.

Daryl Worley Jan 23 1:03am ET

Oakland Raiders CB Daryl Worley (shoulder) had successful surgery on his ailing shoulder last week, according to head coach Jon Gruden.

Michael Crabtree Jan 22 11:53pm ET

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Crabtree is likely to be released in the offseason, according to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec.

Cole Beasley Jan 22 5:23pm ET

Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent WR Cole Beasley claimed Tuesday, Jan. 22, that the Dallas front office encourages the coaching staff to get the football to certain players. 'I haven't been a huge priority in that regard. Maybe that will change but I'm not sure,' Beasley said.

Fantasy Spin: Beasley's frustrations are evident and understandable, although Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Gallup are all bigger, more talented threats with the ball. Beasley does have a role to play and put together his second best season from a statistical standpoint. That being said, he's only a mid- to late-round PPR flier if he stays in Dallas.

Alex Smith Jan 22 4:50pm ET

Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said the team is "optimistic" that quarterback Alex Smith (leg) will be ready for the start of the 2019 season, but he also said "we'll see." In his first year with Washington, Smith was a disappointment, throwing for 2,108 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions with an 85.7 QB rating in 10 games before his gruesome leg injury. He'll be heading into his age-35 season and is unlikely to be ready for training camp or the regular season, so he's one to avoid for fantasy purposes. The 'Skins are in dire need of a long-term quarterback.

From RotoBaller

Chris Jones Jan 22 4:30pm ET

The Kansas City Chiefs relieved defensive coordinator Bob Sutton of his duties on Tuesday. Sutton was head coach Andy Reid's defensive coordinator for all six of his years in KC, but the Chiefs defense continued to trend downward in 2018 and was their Achilles heel in the AFC Championship loss to the Patriots last weekend. Defensive end Chris Jones -- third in the NFL with 15.5 sacks in 2018 -- and linebacker Dee Ford are the linchpins of this defense, but they must improve their talent in the secondary. The Chiefs ranked 31st in yards allowed per game (405.5), 31st in passing yards allowed (273.4), 27th in rushing yards allowed (132.1), 24th in points allowed (26.3) and tied for eighth in takeaways (27) in 2018.

From RotoBaller

Jared Cook Jan 22 2:13pm ET

Oakland Raiders impending free-agent TE Jared Cook will be re-signed if head coach Jon Gruden has his way, but Gruden admitted that Cook will be a popular name on the free-agent market.

Fantasy Spin: Cook was one of the few bright spots for the Raiders this season, and maybe the lone bright spot. He's a top-five fantasy tight end candidate now after finishing 2018 as the TE5.

Julio Jones Jan 22 2:03pm ET

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones led all receivers with 24 receptions for first downs on 30 third-down targets this past season.

Fantasy Spin: Despite a slow start in the TD department (none in his first seven games) Jones also wound up leading the league in receiving yards (1,677) for the second time in the last four seasons. And even with Jones turning 30 this offseason (on Super Bowl Sunday), he remains an elite WR1 in all fantasy formats.

Marshawn Lynch Jan 22 2:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said the team is unsure if impending free-agent running back Marshawn Lynch plans to play in 2019. Gruden said "we'd love to have him back" if he decides to play another season. Beast Mode will turn 33 in April and is coming off a season in which he played in just six games due to injury. Lynch ran 90 times for 376 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and three scores. Even if Lynch returns, he'd be more of a low-upside, injury-risk RB2 for Oakland that is more attractive in standard-scoring leagues.

From RotoBaller

Jared Cook Jan 22 2:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said the team would like to re-sign impending free-agent tight end Jared Cook, but he knows the market for his services will be competitive. He'll be in high demand after he set career highs across the board in catches (68), targets (101), yards (896) and touchdowns (six) for the Raiders. Given the sad state of the tight end position in fantasy, Cook was a strong TE1 this year and will likely be drafted as one again this year, depending on where he lands. Staying in Oakland might be the best for his value.

From RotoBaller

Andy Dalton Jan 22 1:50pm ET

The Cincinnati Bengals are hiring former Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan as their next offensive coordinator. Callahan has never been an offensive coordinator in the NFL but has been a QBs coach since 2015. He'll oversee an offense that could easily bounce back after serious injuries to quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green derailed them in 2018. Cincinnati finished 26th in yards per game (310.8), 24th in passing yards per game (205.6), 21st in rushing yards per game (105.1) and 17th in points per game (23.0) in 2018.

From RotoBaller

Marshawn Lynch Jan 22 1:43pm ET

Oakland Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch, an impending free agent this offseason, hasn't announced whether he plans on playing in 2019, but if he does, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday, Jan. 22, that 'we'd love to have him back.'

Fantasy Spin: Lynch will be 33 by the time next season rolls around, but he'd still be a fantasy RB2 consideration if were to be projected to be the primary RB in Oakland.

Jimmy Garoppolo Jan 22 12:53pm ET

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo (knee) was throwing passes to RB Jerick McKinnon (knee) recently, 49ers general manager John Lynch said Tuesday, Jan. 22, in an interview.

Fantasy Spin: All appears to be going well in the recovery of Garoppolo, who was injured in Week 3. There are sure to be plenty of updates upcoming throughout the offseason, but expect Garoppolo to be ready for training camp.

Jerick McKinnon Jan 22 12:53pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon (knee) was recently seen catching passes from QB Jimmy Garoppolo, general manager John Lynch said Tuesday, Jan. 22, in an interview.

Fantasy Spin: A preseason knee injury shelved McKinnon for the season, but at least it happened earlier enough that McKinnon is expected to participate in training camp and be ready for the start of 2019 season. And that coupled with the Niners' strong productiveness with several different backs makes McKinnon an intriguing fantasy bounce-back candidate.