Get ready for your season with theScore’s 2018 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

The fantasy strength of schedule is used to determine the overall difficulty of players’ matchups from Week 1 to Week 16.

The No. 1 ranked team is forecasted to see the easiest slate, while the No. 32 club will face defenses that are projected to allow the least fantasy points to that position in 2018.

Our model takes into account several variables, including historical defensive data, offseason roster changes, new coaching staffs, home/road splits, and individual player matchups.

Quarterbacks

  • For as many negative headlines as Blake Bortles generates, he’s been a top-12 fantasy quarterback each of the last three years, finishing as the QB4, QB11, and QB12. Now, Bortles gets the easiest overall schedule to help him hit the mark once again, even avoiding a second game against the Texans in Week 17. This isn’t an endorsement of Bortles as a weekly fantasy starter, but he’ll need to be considered as a streamer and DFS play most weeks.
  • On the other side of the spectrum, the game’s best passer will return from an injury-shortened campaign to play the toughest collection of defenses. The Vikings have played Aaron Rodgers tight in recent years, but it would be silly to let an onerous schedule cause you to shy away from him in fantasy.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo’s inauguration as the NFL’s next star quarterback could be more challenging than people realize with a slew of elite secondaries on tap, including the Vikings, Chargers, Rams, and Broncos. If Garoppolo can emerge with a solid outing against the Vikes in Week 1, there’ll be little doubt a star has been born. Just let this serve as a reminder that Jimmy G’s ascension is not guaranteed, especially in fantasy.

Running Backs

  • The Patriots, who have sported a top-10 rushing attack over the last two seasons, are poised to be among the league leaders for a third straight year. Whether you’re a Sony Michel or a Rex Burkhead supporter, investing shares in this backfield is always a wise idea. Both backs could be top-30 fantasy options with this schedule.
  • Rookie running backs will get a cold welcome into the NFL with Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, Rashaad Penny, Ronald Jones, and Kerryon Johnson all finding themselves in the red with bottom-six schedules. Quality offensive lines in Washington and Detroit could help counter strong opposing run defenses, but all five backs get a slight downgrade.
  • Melvin Gordon isn’t a tantalizing first-round pick for fantasy owners unless they can see the upside he brings in 2018. The Chargers boast one of the league’s most complete rosters, which sets them up to potentially eclipse 10 wins for the first time since 2009. With the team winning more games, while rushing against the sixth-best schedule for fantasy backs, Gordon could be headed for a career year.

Wide Receivers

  • Alex Smith and the Redskins’ receiving corps will have a chance to click in their first year together, as they’re both dealing with the second-best schedules at their positions. Jamison Crowder is the PPR asset to own, while Josh Doctson has the higher ceiling as a possible true No. 1 WR. If Doctson can stay healthy, he’s an intriguing breakout candidate.
  • Some of the pass-catchers who switched teams in the offseason may find the transition to be particularly arduous given the schedules that await them. Michael Crabtree, Jarvis Landry, Sammy Watkins, and Jordy Nelson carry added risk for owners hoping a change of scenery can supercharge their fantasy stats.
  • The Jets are top 10 in three of the four positions, but their soft slate might go to waste due to the lack of talent on their roster. Robby Anderson, the best fantasy weapon on the team, will go up against the most demanding docket of any Jet and could be given a short suspension from the league for his off-field conduct. Don’t be enticed by this article, the Jets are still a team to avoid in fantasy.

Tight Ends

  • If you’re a tight end in the AFC South, congratulations, you have one of the four best schedules in 2018. Unfortunately, outside of Delanie Walker, there’s no surefire player to bet on from the group. Jack Doyle will be pushed by new teammate Eric Ebron, Austin Seferian-Jenkins joins a Jaguars team intent on running the ball at every opportunity, and Ryan Griffin will try to hold off Stephen Anderson for the starting role in Houston. Target Walker and enjoy the results.
  • Tight end is a top-heavy position, with Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz providing owners with a significant weekly advantage. Their schedules should help them stay above the pack, with all three players landing in the top 13 in our 2018 matrix.
  • Jimmy Graham was slowing down during his last year with the Seahawks, making him extremely TD-dependent for fantasy scoring. He’s not getting any favors from the schedule-makers, either, as he’ll see the 25th-most-difficult string of opponents at his position.
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