2014 Running Back Strength Of Schedule July 8, 2014  |  Chet


 
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Good day Fake Footballers and all the fake football ships at sea. Here is my first Strength of Schedule chart for this season and it is for the backs that run and sometimes catch. SOS rankings are always fraught with danger at the beginning of the season. That caveat is more than just me covering my arse. Coordinators and personnel changes will impact these numbers no doubt, but this rough estimation of how a defense fares against running backs, I believe, is better than nothing. I say that based on anecdotal evidence in my brain cavity, like Peyton last season, who was at the top of these lists at the beginning of last year.  But I’ll also conveniently forget the players who stunk it up while also being at the top.

This first chart has the rankings for each rush defense over the second half of the season. We rank fantasy points allowed to running backs, rushing yards, yards per carry, rushing TDs, receptions, recieving yards and then Football Outsider’s and Pro Football Focus’ Rush D Ranks. I then take all of those rankings and average them out to an overall average ranking. Then I put that average number into the NFL schedule for each team and get the chart that follows.

 

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And here is the chart that follows:

 

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Chris Johnson/Chris Ivory: I just can’t trust CJ anymore, but the matchups are looking good for him.  He is getting paid and will be the lead back to start the season no doubt. If he falls I could see myself grabbing him.

Toby Gerhart: This is great news for Toby. He is going to get a ton of carries this year and will need easy matchups for chances at touchdowns in an offense that is no bueno. He’s already flying up draft boards so at some point he may be overvalued, but this SOS helps buffer that somewhat.

Arian Foster: We know he’s going to get the touches if he stays healthy and his schedule should help boost him a little in production. He could have a huge comeback year or get injured in training camp. He is a risk without a doubt, but his upside is still very high.

Frank Gore: We know that he has been a stable commodity in fake football for a while now, even though he got the injury-prone moniker early on. And now we know he has a decent schedule this season. That gives us a little more safety in grabbing him late if he falls. His ADP is around RB26 and 58th overall. I’d like to get him a little lower than that if possible, even with the nice matchups, due to his age and lack of huge workload, but if he does fall, which he will in some drafts, I will be fine grabbing him and giving him a handcuff of Carlos Hyde later on.

Andre Ellington: I was on board the Ellington bandwagon before I looked at these numbers, so this can only boost him up for me. I made sure to add in receptions and receiving yards in this because the top running backs will give you numbers from all over and Ellington can do just that. Ellington is slightly larger than you might believe at 5’9 199 pounds he has more weight per inch than Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson, who have been okay in their own right. And there really is no back on the roster that would have a chance to outplay him. Also, he misses the second game with the 49ers in fantasy because it is week 17. Gotta love that dodge!  So here’s my declaration of support for A.E.

Steven Jackson: Well, this does disturb me a little bit. I was on board with getting Freeman and SJax late in drafts, but if these numbers stay somewhat true I don’t see them overcoming tough matchup after tough matchup. I will still grab them if they fall, but I wont be reaching.

Eddie Lacy/Le’Veon Bell/Matt Forte: Opportunity will often trump matchup as long as the skill is there.  Green Bay and Chicago will score points and Forte and Lacy will be a big part of that. I have no worries about them or their abilities. Bell is a bit more worrisome as the Steelers were a middle of the pack offense last season, but it does feel like they could move to above average after picking things up in the second half last season and Bell will have a ton of opportunities, both on the ground and through the air. If they were all at the top of this chart I’d be screaming their names out to the world, but as it is I think they will be their normal selves, which is good enough for me.

 Zac Stacy: Well, my first chart had a glitch in it and threw everything off (I blame Excel). The biggest change was Stacy’s schedule, which in error-land was awesome, but in reals-ville is less so. With Arizona, Seattle and San Fransisco on their plate, Stacy won’t be eating all that much. I think he holds onto that job and can be productive, but this is worrisome.

 

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