NFL Schedule Analysis: IDP Style

Eric Breeze


If you have not already heard, the NFL officially released the 2015 regular season schedule on Tuesday. A specific player’s schedule should never significantly alter how you view a player in dynasty, however, it can be used to gain a slight edge if the information is used correctly. The other piece of information that can be used now is analyzing bye weeks and see where there will be player shortages. Let’s take a quick look on how the 2015 schedule may influence IDP leagues this season.


Defensive Linemen: With the DL position in IDP getting thinner by the minute due to defensive scheme switches to 3-4, bye weeks are becoming even more important. The biggest bye week roadblock I see for DL is early in the season, week five. Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Everson Griffen, Shariff Floyd and Charles Johnson will all be unavailable. If you are reliant on multiple of these linemen, start addressing this problem now rather than waiting till week four – this does not mean sell any of these players at a discount, rather I am suggesting it would be wise to pick up an DL on waivers with potential or try making a fair trade to spread your bye weeks out more. Week six could also be a problem with Greg Hardy, Demarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, Chris Long and Gerald McCoy on bye. In Defensive Tackle required leagues, week six will be missing two of the best, if not the best, DTs that week. If you address these issues now it will cost you much less than three days before lineups lock when your leaguemates see how desperate you are for a bye week filler.

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Linebackers: This position is so deep that bye weeks are much less crippling to teams than for defensive lineman. The two heaviest byes in my opinion are Weeks six and eight. Lavonte David, Alec Ogletree, James Laurinaitis, Sio Moore, Khalil Mack, Curtis Lofton, Sean Lee and Rolando McClain will all be sitting on your fantasy bench week six. Nigel Bradham, Preston Brown, Telvin Smith, Paul Poszlusny, Mychal Kendricks (if he is still an Eagle), Kiko Alonso, Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley will all have to stay on the shelf two weeks later.

Defensive Backs: The defensive back position is so random that I don’t think bye weeks should affect your mindset whatsoever. Week 5 is interesting because both of my elite tier safeties, Harrison Smith and Reshad Jones, will not be contributing that week. Week 9 could also be a potential hiccup in extremely deep leagues with the Cardinals, Lions, Chiefs and Seahawks all on byes.

Overall, I wouldn’t let bye weeks influence you too much in dynasty roster management. Do not take a specific bye week as a negative to your player and sell them at a discount. Every player has a bye week and it changes every year (remember, you’re in a dynasty league), so it is just the way of life. However, some owners will think like this so try your best to take advantage of that. Send an offer of Carlos Dunlap and a late pick for Robert Quinn with a small comment about how you see they are decimated by week six byes. If rejected, at least you tried. If accepted, you just made out like a bandit.


Strength of schedule is a powerful tool to help predict fantasy production, but it is not automatic. Below I will highlight some potential players with interesting match-ups, however, always remember, next year will not be the same as last year. Players and entire teams improve. The Texans went from having the #1 overall pick in 2013 to barely missing out on the playoffs last year, so do not just assume teams that were good last year will be successful again this year and bottom feeders last year will continue to get beat down this year.

Potential Hot Starts
(May want to sell after early success)

Cameron Wake/Olivier Vernon: They get strong early matchups against WSH, JAX, BUF and NYJ. If they blow up early, really think about cashing out

Everson Griffen: He opens the year against SF and DET who were both in top 10 for points allowed to defensive lineman last year

Jerrell Freeman/D’Qwell Jackson: The Colts will meet the run heavy offenses of the Bills and Jets in the first two weeks leaving potential for huge tackle numbers out of the gate.

Jelani Jenkins: He starts off the year with WAS, JAX, BUF and the NYJ. The Jaguars and Jets were both top 5 for most points allowed to opposing linebackers. Washington and Buffalo should run even more (more tackle opportunities) than last year.

Barry Church: The Cowboys first three games are against the Giants, Eagles and Falcons. Church could put up huge numbers in the secondary and create a prime selling window.

ATL Secondary: Similar to Church, the Falcons play the Eagles and Giants the first two weeks.

Potential Slow Starts
(May want to buy after early failure)

Carlos Dunlap/Michael Johnson: The first three matchups are against all bottom 10 teams in points allowed to DL last year.

Ravens pass rushers: Open the year with DEN and OAK. Both in the bottom five in points allowed to DL. Manning is the least sacked quarterback in the entire league. Carr surprisingly wasn’t sacked much last year, most likely because he got rid of the ball quick.

Bears Linebackers: First two weeks are against teams that were not friendly to IDP linebackers last year. Green Bay was too efficient to surrender huge tackle numbers. Arizona was so inefficient that their offense was barely on the field

Morgan Burnett: If Chicago decides to be more run heavy this year, Burnett could potentially face five straight poor matchups to start the season. He is a run stopper so he could still fill the boxscore but he is does not and his owner is panicking you want to attack.

Playoff Darlings (Fantastic match-ups to help you to a championship)

Carlos Dunlap: He may start the season off slow but weeks 14-16 he gets WSH, MIN and TB. Could not ask for better playoff matchups for a pass rusher

Cam Jordan: Not as juicy as Dunlap’s mathups but very close. TB, DET and JAX.

ATL Linebackers: I’m the biggest Worrilow hater in the entire world, but the playoff matchups are juicy. The Panthers twice with the Jaguars sandwiched in between.

Rolando McClain/Sean Lee: If they are not on IR by week 15 and your team is still alive, the Jets come to town and they meet up with the Bills in week 16.

TEN Linebackers: Weeks 14-16 are the Jets, Patriots and Texans. If the Titans struggle again I could see 10-15 tackle games for both ILBs to help you win a championship.

CAR Secondary: Nobody sticks out in Carolina right now as a playmaker in the back four but they get ATL, NYG and ATL again when it counts the most.

Jonathon Cyprien: Could carry you in the playoffs with matchups against the Colts, Falcons and Saints

Harrison Smith/Robert Blanton: Giants, Chargers and Colts were all top 10 in most points allowed to DBs.