Fantasy tidbits from the 2010 schedule
Posted Apr. 20 at 11:01 PM
With the NFL schedule finally released, fantasy owners can start planning their draft boards accordingly. Which players will start strong, which will finish slow, and which teams figure to be helped, or hurt, by what the calendar holds. I've got a few fantasy-specific thoughts, broken down by division:
AFC East: New England's fantasy stretch drive looks pretty favorable. From week 11 through 16, they play three home games and travel to Detroit (Thanksgiving), Chicago and Buffalo. ... Four of the Jets' first five games are against the Ravens, Patriots, Dolphins and Vikings. Three of those are at home, but none are ideal matchups for their offense. The schedule looks better midseason, with a stretch of four straight from weeks 9-12 against the Lions, Browns, Texans and Bengals. ... In weeks 15 and 16, the Dolphins are home against the Bills and Lions. Ka-Ching.
AFC North: Assuming Ben Roethlisberger misses much of the season's first month (we'll probably find out today), Pittsburgh could run the ball a lot early on. That might work out in weeks 1 and 3 (Falcons and Bucs), not so much in 2 and 4 (Titans and Ravens). ... Cincinnati's schedule looks kind of appealing: an early stretch against the Panthers, Browns and Bucs, and week 15-16 games at home against the Browns and Chargers.
AFC South: The Colts play some soft defenses early (Houston, Kansas City, the Giants and Jacksonville) and late (Jacksonville and Oakland in weeks 15-16). ... Chris Johnson's first game coming off a 2,000-yard season is at home against the Raiders. Weeks 15-16 are against the Texans and Kansas City.
AFC West: If Knowshon Moreno takes a step up in his second season, he'll be pretty appealing down the stretch. In weeks 10-16, Denver plays Kansas City twice, the Rams, the Raiders, the Texans, the Chargers and the Cardinals. Their offense has potential in virtually all of those games. ... We don't know who the Chargers' starting running back will be, but in the first six games he'll face Kansas City, the Jaguars, the Seahawks, the Rams and the Raiders. Owners hoping for a fast start might want to target Chargers' players (except perhaps for Vincent Jackson, who will be suspended at the start of the season).
NFC East: Dallas' schedule has some negatives. A week 4 bye, an opener at Washington, and week 15 games against Washington and at Arizona (their offense could struggle in those games). Weeks 2 and 3, at least, are against the Bears and Texans, where their offense should be OK. ... The Giants' last five games are against the Vikings and Packers on the road, the Eagles at home, and both games against Washington. None are ideal matchups for their offense.
NFC North: Ugly schedule for the Vikings. A week 4 bye, and one of the softest games (at Detroit) is in week 17, when most fantasy leagues are complete. They've got a brutal stretch from week 5 through 8: road games against the Jets, Patriots and Packers, home against Dallas. A tough challenge for their offense. ... Green Bay is at Detroit in week 14, which is a nice matchup for the offense. The rest of their December slate, however, has weather concerns: three at Lambeau Field, one at New England.
NFC South: From week 11 on, the Falcons' offense might be very good. They'll play four games in domes (at St. Louis and home against the Packers, Saints and Panthers), while their outside games are at Carolina, Seattle and Tampa Bay.
NFC West: The 49ers' offense has some scoring potential both early (Seattle, Kansas City, New Orleans in weeks 1-3) and late (Seattle, San Diego, St. Louis in week 14-16). ... Somebody likes Matt Leinart. Arizona opens against the Rams, Falcons, Raiders, Chargers and Saints in the first five weeks. Not that they'll necessarily win all or even most of those, but their offense should be pretty good early on.
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