RB Strength of Schedule

Thu May 18 10:35am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Related photo caption below

Henry could be a league winner


Using our rules for our money leagues, we came up with a schedule strength ranking for the running back position. We are using our fantasy defenses report to calculate the rankings. This report can be found in all of our leagues under the "reports" heading. We took the schedule of each team and entered the average number of fantasy points allowed to running backs last season from all of their opponents to get our fantasy points allowed number. This is a good indication of the running backs with the most favorable schedules for fantasy scoring for the coming season.

Defenses obviously change from year to year, but knowing the running backs that might have the easiest schedule for fantasy is always a good idea when formulating your rankings and draft strategy. This is especially true when it comes to deciding between two fringe draft picks. If you are having a tough time deciding between backs like Damien Harris or D’Onta Foreman, pick the back that has the easier schedule of the two. This could pay off in the end. 

  RB SOS  
1. Eagles 348.71
2. Seahawks 356.71
3. Dolphins 358.60
4. Giants 359.04
5. Cowboys 360.23
6. Patriots 367.82
7. Bills 368.03
8. Commanders 372.39
9. Buccaneers 373.50
10. Jaguars 374.74
11. Texans 376.01
12. Falcons 376.45
13. Rams 376.88
14. Jets 379.26
15. Cardinals 381.31
16. Saints 381.58
17. Panthers 382.53
18. Colts 386.84
19. Chargers 387.03
20. 49ers 387.49
21. Bears 388.03
22. Raiders 388.39
23. Vikings 389.59
24. Packers 390.13
25. Bengals 392.03
26. Browns 393.18
27. Ravens 393.79
28. Chiefs 402.17
29. Steelers 402.44
30. Lions 404.18
31. Titans 405.59
32. Broncos 406.72

 

The Broncos have the most favorable schedule for fantasy running backs this season. This bodes well for Javonte Williams. He is returning from a torn ACL, but once he is in the starting lineup, good things could be setup for the talented Williams. Plus, he gets a new offense that should be a benefit for him.

Derrick Henry and the Titans get the second most favorable schedule for backs. Henry is getting older, but hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down just yet. And with the Titans still lacking some top options in the passing game, it could be another heavy dose of Henry all season long in Tennessee. He might have a monster season.

The Lions, Steelers and Chiefs round out the top five easiest running back schedules. It is intriguing to see the Lions on the list. Rookie back Jahmyr Gibbs is getting a lot of hype and could post big numbers in year one with a lot of things going his way. Najee Harris is another interesting fantasy back for this year. He is coming off a poor season but gets an upgraded offensive line and favorable schedule. Maybe this is the year it all comes together for him. 

Philadelphia has one of the best offenses and rush offenses in all of football, but will have a tough fantasy schedule for their running backs. The Eagles get the toughest fantasy schedule for running backs this season. It is tough to bet against the Eagles offense, but D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny already have question marks coming into the season. It might be best to let someone else pick them come draft day.

The Seahawks, Dolphins, Giants and Cowboys also have challenging fantasy schedules for running backs. Miami is the one that sticks out. They are another team with a host of backs looking for playing time. It might be smart to let someone else deal with that mess in the backfield, especially after looking at their schedule. Seattle has two really good backs looking for playing time and should give them plenty of weekly touches, but a challenging schedule could limit their ceilings just a little.

And it is tough to go against Saquon Barkley, but he could face a little more resistance this year. The opposition might make the Giants passing attack beat them more often than not. But even with that said, we wouldn’t knock Barkley too much because of a tough fantasy schedule. 

We also wanted to look at playoff schedules for fantasy running backs. So we crunched the numbers of all the schedules from Week 14-17, which is the fantasy playoffs for most leagues. We know you have to get to the playoffs first, but knowing the running backs with the easiest playoff schedules doesn’t hurt by any means, especially in the big money contests. 

  RB PLAYOFF SOS  
1. Seahawks 319.48
2. Rams 334.90
3. Commanders 336.60
4. Dolphins 340.23
5. Ravens 352.35
6. Cowboys 354.30
7. Saints 355.48
8. Texans 355.65
9. Packers 355.73
10. Bills 358.33
11. Patriots 363.60
12. Giants 371.48
13. Chiefs 374.50
14. Cardinals 374.67
15. Bengals 377.68
16. Panthers 381.30
17. Buccaneers 381.30
18. Jaguars 382.65
19. Broncos 385.70
20. Steelers 390.08
21. Lions 394.65
22. Raiders 398.23
23. Falcons 398.53
24. Colts 399.95
25. Eagles 400.00
26. 49ers 402.40
27. Vikings 404.38
28. Chargers 406.15
29. Jets 410.40
30. Bears 415.25
31. Browns 447.63
32. Titans 478.63

 

The Titans have the easiest fantasy playoff schedule for running backs. So once again, Henry is looking pretty good to fantasy owners. If he can stay on the field and play all season, Henry could be a league winner for fantasy owners. 

The Browns, Bears, Jets and Chargers round out the top five easiest fantasy playoff schedules for running backs. Nick Chubb becomes a little more intriguing come draft day. He already seems setup for a big year with Deshaun Watson starting from day one at quarterback. Chubb looks even better because of this playoff schedule, though. 

Seattle has the toughest fantasy playoff schedule. Some owners are concerned about the possible split in work, making these two talented backs scary to pick come draft day. Well, a tough regular season and playoff fantasy schedule doesn’t make picking either back any easier come draft day. 

The Rams, Commanders, Dolphins and Ravens are the other four teams that make up the top five toughest fantasy playoff running back schedules. Cam Akers already is a little scary come draft day, but getting a really tough playoff schedule dings his value even more. And Miami is the other team besides the Seahawks to make both the regular season and fantasy playoffs top-five toughest fantasy running back schedule list. This is a concern for that backfield. 

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

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Player Notes
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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (wrist) hasn't faced any limits regarding his activity level during voluntary OTAs. "We designed the whole thing to stay within the constraints of where the medical people think he should be and where he wants to be right now," said offensive coordinator Dan Pitcher. "Nobody is sitting there with a special pitch counter. But we've been smart how we put it together." It's undoubtedly a positive update on the signal-caller, who suffered a season-ending torn ligament in his right wrist during a meeting with the Ravens in mid-November, and it appears he's well on his way to being ready for Week 1. While Burrow has all the tools needed to be a top fantasy quarterback, his health will be on the mind of all fantasy managers. With that said, the Bengals have a favorable schedule in 2024-25, meaning the 27-year-old could thrive as long as he stays on the field.

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Dameon Pierce May 25 10:10pm ET
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According to Houston Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans, running back Dameon Pierce will have a role this season. While Joe Mixon is believed to be the No. 1 option on the depth chart, it appears Pierce could have a bigger function than anticipated. "I see Dameon having a very clear headspace as we are out working, and I think that will allow him to have a really productive year this year, " said Ryans during an interview with the Houston Chronicle. "He has everything it takes to be a really good running back for us, and I think him and Joe as a one-two punch would be very beneficial for us all." Of course, it remains to be seen how things will work out for the revamped Texans' offense. However, it seems Mixon and Pierce could collectively remain productive enough to exceed expectations during the 2024-25 campaign, although it will be tough to tell which player will be the most productive from week to week.

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Brandon Aiyuk May 25 9:40pm ET
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According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is reportedly looking for a new contract similar to what Amon-Ra St. Brown got from the Lions. The wideout is slotted to make just over $14 million on his fifth-year option. However, if Aiyuk gets his wish, he could double that amount. Of course, St. Brown has been more productive, so it will be tough to justify making Aiyuk one of the highest-paid receivers in the National Football League. But the 26-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, amassing 1,342 yards and seven touchdowns off 75 catches, meaning someone would be more than happy to pay him if the 49ers decide to move on from this situation.

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Chris Rodriguez Jr. May 25 11:30am ET
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Dyami Brown May 25 11:30am ET
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Mazi Smith May 25 11:20am ET
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Jalen Tolbert May 25 11:10am ET
Jalen Tolbert

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D'Wayne Eskridge May 24 6:10pm ET
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Javon Baker May 24 4:10pm ET
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Calvin Austin III May 24 2:00pm ET
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Pat Freiermuth May 24 1:50pm ET
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Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth has been one of new quarterback Russell Wilson's favorite targets during organized team activities this week. The Athletic's Mark Kaboly writes that it's hard not to notice the connection the two have already built. The two had a throwing session in San Diego earlier in the spring, which might have helped. Wilson seems to have the most trust in Freiermuth right now, and the big tight end is fully healthy and is entering a contract year in 2024. Having a more accurate QB and an offensive coordinator in Arthur Smith who will highlight the tight end position could be the factors that lead to the 25-year-old having a breakout year. A hamstring injury cost Freiermuth five games in 2023, and he caught just 32 passes for a career-low 308 yards and two touchdowns in 12 regular-season games (nine starts) in 2023. With better health, he's a value pick at TE to consider in fantasy this fall.

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Jarrett Stidham May 24 1:40pm ET
Jarrett Stidham

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Caleb Williams May 24 1:30pm ET
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Christian Watson May 24 1:20pm ET
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Anthony Richardson May 24 1:10pm ET
Anthony Richardson

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Jonathan Taylor May 24 1:10pm ET
Jonathan Taylor

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