One of the problems with strength of schedule is that it’s based on last year. Teams change, so it doesn’t really make sense to calculate schedule difficulty over what they used to be.
The Titans, for example, went 12-5 last year, but that’s not an opponent that people are scared off. They easily could be a sub-.500 team. The Falcons, meanwhile, finished 7-10 last year, which looks optimistic for how their season will likely go. Everyone would love to play Atlanta every week.
It makes more sense, therefore, to work off the projected over-under win totals published by the various sportsbooks. You take those numbers, plug them into the 2022 schedule, and see what comes out.
For this projected, I took projected over-under totals for each team, then smoothed them to ensure the proper balance of wins and losses. (The betting totals tend to run high, and there were a few teams that I thought looked off anyway.) Nobody has published anything for Cleveland yet, with the Deshaun Watson situation up in the air. For the Browns, I went with 6.5 wins for the first half of the season, and 9.5 wins for the second half.
Plugging those over-unders into the schedule (and also leaving out Week 18, which isn’t used by most fantasy leagues), I get the Lions, Giants and Commanders playing the easiest schedules. And these numbers suggest the Rams, Raiders, Titans and Kansas City will play the hardest schedules.
If you’re a fan of D’Andre Swift (pictured) this could be interpreted as good news, with the Lions perhaps helped along by a softer schedule.
Four teams are in bold. Those are the teams whose schedules increased the most in difficulty (relative to traditional methods). Teams with black dots, those are the ones whose schedules got easier. (The Rams rank last using either method, but not by as much here.)
|STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE (over-unders)|
|• San Francisco||136||135||1||.502|
|• LA Rams||149||122||1||.550|