By JEFF PAUR
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 RANK FANTASY PTS ALLOWED 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 RANK FANTASY PTS ALLOWED 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 RANK FANTASY PTS ALLOWED 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 RANK FANTASY PTS ALLOWED 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.
Arizona Cardinals QB Sam Bradford (knee) saw more reps during team drills as minicamp progressed, and he said limiting his reps has helped him prepare physically and mentally. 'I can really build on what we had done here and coming to training camp ready to go,' Bradford said. 'I feel like we've done a great job of sticking to the plan,' Bradford said. 'I think the plan has worked and my body feels really good right now.'
Seattle Seahawks WR Brandon Marshall (hamstring) skipped organized team activities and the minicamp, but coach Pete Carroll indicates the team is fine with this as long as Marshall keeps recovering.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger won't pursue an extension on his contract, which expires in two years, over the summer months. Roethlisberger said he prefers to just play football and let his representation worry about the money.
Houston Texans WR Keke Coutee might be the team's answer in the slot, according to ESPN's Sarah Barshop, who notes the rookie has 'stood out among the young receiving corps.'
New York Jets WR Chad Hansen is one of the most improved players on the team - looking stronger and faster than last year - and could play his way into a prominent role with a good preseason, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady acknowledged in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired on her network Sunday, June 17, he knows he is getting closer to retirement as he nears his 41st birthday in August, telling Winfrey he is 'seeing that there's definitely an end coming, sooner rather than later.' However, Brady also added he wants to play 'as long as I'm loving the training and preparation and willing to make the commitment.'
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard 'showed how versatile and explosive he can be during minicamp,' according to Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times.
Buffalo Bills WR Zay Jones will have to 'earn his way' and 'not necessarily go right to the top of the line' after a mostly disappointing rookie season, according to general manager Brandon Beane.
Tampa bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones could post the biggest numbers of the team's defense-heavy draft class since he should get 15 to 20 touches per game, according to Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times.
New York Jets QB Sam Darnold 'hasn't flinched' and has 'handled everything (the team) has thrown at him' since rookie minicamp, according to offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen has 'mesmerized fans with his big arm in practice' and, although he'll start the preseason third on the depth chart behind AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman, he also 'has a real chance to be the Week 1 starter,' according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe.
Dallas Cowboys WRs Michael Gallup and Lance Lenoir as well as TE Blake Jarwin seem to be the three players who have shown the most chemistry with Dak Prescott through the end of the team's offseason workouts, according to Bryan Broaddus and David Helman of DallasCowboys.com.
Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield 'still has a long way to go' to unseat Tyrod Taylor as the starter, according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe.
Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki is a 'big man that can run and has really good hands' and had some 'really good days' toward the end of the team's offseason practices, according to head coach Adam Gase.
Los Angeles Chargers CB Jason Verrett (knee) was a full participant in practice Wednesday, June 13.
Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers LB Dekoda Watson (calf) sustained a strained calf muscle during practice last week but should be ready for the start of training camp.
San Francisco 49ers CB Richard Sherman (Achilles') is expected to resume taking part in 11-on-11 drills at the start of training camp.
Denver Broncos WR DaeSean Hamilton should 'play plenty' this season, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.
Cleveland Browns WR Corey Coleman 'work ethic and football intelligence' continue to be questioned by the coaching staff, according to Scott Petrak of the Chronicle-Telegram.
Houston Texans RB D'Onta Foreman (Achilles') is unlikely to be 100 percent by the start of training camp.