Ranking the Fantasy Football Playoff Strength of Schedule for All 32 NFL Teams: Wide Receivers

Ranking the Fantasy Football Playoff Strength of Schedule for All 32 NFL Teams: Wide Receivers

The fantasy football playoffs are coming fast. These are the money weeks, the hero weeks, the legacy weeks. Your happiness a month from now might largely depend on what happens in December.

With that in mind, I thought it might be a fun (and hopefully useful) exercise to hash out the wide receiver Strength of Schedule matchups for the Weeks 15-17. A ton of qualifiers are mandatory here, so stay with me.

The rankings are a mix of data, observation and special sauce. Defensive strength and production yielded over the last two months was weighted heavier than what happened early in the year. I did not add or subtract weight to the location of games, and the possible impact of weather.

Some of you might not even need to play in Week 15 — you’re sitting on a valuable, glorious bye week. And obviously if you don’t make it to the Championship Game of Week 17, a cupcake finishing draw won’t help you one bit. Ranking these schedules in aggregate strength is a mix of usefulness with some expected noise, but I still think there’s some value here.

You decide if you agree. To be clear, the goal of this is not to tell you to start Jerry Jeudy over Michael Pittman because of the future schedule. We’re just offering one more tool to add to your toolbox, one more way to break ties or plan for the future, even if it’s on the margins.

Teams at the top have the easier WR schedules, and teams at the bottom have the harder schedules. Sometimes the easier schedules are more about volume than efficiency; the same general qualifier applies to the bottom of the page. Season to taste.

One more time, these schedules listed are for Weeks 15-17. They do not include the current week, or Week 18 — which is fantasy-irrelevant in the majority of leagues.

Preamble finished. Here is what the wide receiver schedules look like, Weeks 15-17.

1. Seahawks: PHI, at TEN, PIT

Geno Smith showed signs of life in the Dallas loss. Philly has leakiness on the back end, and the Titans have been a pass funnel all year.

2. Broncos: at DET, NE, LAC

You never expect a ton of yardage volume from the Broncos, but when they do score, it’s usually through the air. Courtland Sutton has been one of the best value picks of the season.

3. Saints: NYG, at LAR, at TB

Would the Saints be better off with Jameis Winston, even if his game involves more risk-taking than Derek Carr? We might get a glimpse of that in Week 14.

4. Eagles: at SEA, NYG, ARI

Nobody needs help pushing play on those signature Eagles, but this looks like a fun way to end the season.

5. Rams: WAS, NO, at NYG

Matthew Stafford looked pretty healthy in the Week 13 romp over Cleveland. Puka Nacua clearly is the team’s No. 1 target at the moment.

6. Titans: HOU, SEA, at HOU

A good schedule is nice, but how often will the Titans let Will Levis throw?

7. Vikings: at CIN, DET, GB

While Joshua Dobbs keeps the starting job this week, he’s obviously on a short leash. But getting Justin Jefferson back can cover a lot of warts.

8. Cardinals: SF, at CHI, at PHI

Kyler Murray and Trey McBride already look locked in, but why hasn’t Murray clicked with his receivers yet? What happened to all those Murray to Hollywood Brown moments we remember from college?

9. Giants: at NO, at PHI, LAR

Tommy DeVito is going to take a lot of sacks, but he showed some downfield chops before the bye. The Giants should probably keep him in the saddle and gauge what his future value is.

10. Chiefs: at NE, LV, CIN

The Chiefs receiver room badly needs a fresh coat of paint, but there are no supplies coming until the season ends. Rashee Rice deserves to outgrow the team’s receiver rotation, but that’s unlikely to completely fix what’s currently a negative situation.

11. Bills: DAL, at LAC, NE

I still think the Bills might have the highest upside of any AFC team. They just have to find a way to bust into the tournament. Their 6-6 record has been a comically-unlucky collection of strange events.

12. Texans: at TEN, CLE, TEN

The loss of Tank Dell is crushing, but C.J. Stroud has shown a mature approach in spreading the ball around. I’m still prepared to start the passing game proactively.

13. Ravens: at JAC, at SF, MIA

It puzzles me to see Lamar Jackson still near the top of the MVP odds; I suppose it reflects how often the award is blindly slotted to a star quarterback on a high seed, but his play hasn’t been close to hardware worthy all year.

14. Cowboys: at BUF, at MIA, DET

It was tempting to move these guys up, but it’s not like you need a lot of help on the Cowboys. You play Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb against everyone, Jake Ferguson is in the circle of trust, and everyone else requires a weeklong debate and conversation.

15. 49ers: at ARI, BAL, at WAS

No NFL offense is blesses with this such skill talent. The matchups don’t matter. If they’re healthy, push play and get your popcorn ready.

16. Packers: TB, at CAR, at MIN

Jordan Love has looked like a right answer the last few weeks, growing up nicely with the league’s youngest receiving room.

17. Steelers: at IND, CIN, at SEA

If you don’t have a quarterback, the schedule isn’t going to save you.

18. Raiders: LAC, at KC, at IND

Aidan O’Connell is still largely an unknown, but at least the Raiders are playing hard for the new coaching regime, and the offense prioritizes getting the balls to the key contributors. I’ll be looking to draft Michael Mayer next year.

19. Jets: at MIA, WAS, at CLE

I still weep for the monster season Garrett Wilson surely would have had if not for the Aaron Rodgers injury.

20. Panthers: ATL, GB, at JAC

Maybe Jonathan Mingo can show something in December, building off a promising Week 13. It’s common for rookie receivers to gradually improve at this time of year, the slow-developing Polaroid theory.

21. Buccaneers: at GB, JAC, NO

The Buccaneers still have one of the narrowest target trees around, and while Baker Mayfield hasn’t been great, he’s good enough to support his crew. Mike Evans has put the finishing touches on a Hall of Fame career; everything past this is gravy.

22. Jaguars: BAL, at TB, CAR

C.J. Beathard might actually be one of the better backups, but losing Trevor Lawrence for any length of time would obviously be a monster hit.

23. Bengals: MIN, at PIT, at KC

Like the rest of the world, I was shocked at how well Jake Browning played Monday night. A healthy Tee Higgins would go a long way towards boosting this offense.

24. Patriots: KC, at DEN, at BUF

Looks like three more losses, before Bill Belichick gears up for his favorite grudge match of all, Week 18 against the Jets. That’s one week I’ll happily back the Patriots.

25. Chargers: at LV, BUF, at DEN

The Chargers have had a very unlucky runout, but Justin Herbert is not blameless for their collapse.

26. Browns: CHI, at HOU, NYJ

Say this for Joe Flacco, he was able to threaten more of the field than the last two Cleveland quarterbacks. And he definitely showed chemistry with Elijah Moore, his former Jets teammate.

27. Lions: DEN, at MIN, at DAL

Detroit’s pretty close to being matchup proof, with plus pieces at every key level (quarterback, offensive line, play-caller, skill talent).

28. Commanders: at LAR, at NYJ, SF

It breaks my heart that the Commanders are a pass-heavy team with a quasi-breakout quarterback, and we still can’t point to one reliable weekly fantasy wideout.

29. Colts: PIT, at ATL, LV

I’m not sweating the schedule too much for my Colts. I’d follow Shane Steichen into a burning building. Atlanta’s matchup is tricky because the Falcons like to run the ball into the ground and shorten the game; they’re the king of the ugly 21-19 game.

30. Bears: at CLE, ARI, ATL

The Cleveland matchup comes down to a lot of things — weather, the health of Denzel Ward and Myles Garrett. The Browns defense was solved easily by the Rams last week. Chicago also could be dealing with multiple games of off-weather; I didn’t factor that into the ranking, but we need to at least mention it. Just remember, heavy wind is the biggest thing you’re looking for when you check those December forecasts. The other stuff can usually be ignored.

31. Dolphins: NYJ, DAL, at BAL

Tyreek Hill against anyone, obviously. Jaylen Waddle? Well, it depends on your depth, I suppose. It hasn’t been a fun year for so many signature No. 2 wideouts.

32. Falcons: at CAR, IND, at CHI

I still think Bijan Robinson is capable of tearing up December. But Arthur Smith seems determined to keep a lid on Drake London and Kyle Pitts.

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