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2011 Passing Strength of Schedule

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Look in almost any fantasy guide and one of the charts you will find is "Strength of Schedule." It supposedly tells you which teams/players have a tougher schedule and which teams play an easier schedule.

They don't.

Here's the problem with the theory. They are all based on the won/loss percentage of the opposing teams. The theory might work if the 6-10 Houston Texans defense had the identical weaknesses of the 6-10 Minnesota Vikings squad.

Unfortunately, that's not the case. The Houston defense gave up league-high 267.5 yards-per-game through the air last year while the Vikings defense yielded 210.4 ypg (10th best).

Which team do you want your fantasy quarterbacks and receivers playing against on Sunday?

The answer is obvious.

Just because their records are the same, their defenses may or may not be similar. Therefore, the "Strength of Schedule" based on won/loss records must be ignored.

Instead, I have based my "Strength of Schedule" for quarterbacks and receivers on the passing defenses of the teams on their respective 2011 schedules.

Based on the chart below, the teams with the weakest opponents pass defense for 2011 are; Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

Which means that Peyton Manning is in line for another big season, particularly if he can keep his receivers and tight ends healthy this time around.

Ben Roethlisberger and 2010 TSN Fantasy MVP Michael Vick should be solid fantasy factors as well. And the numbers give hope to the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback, whoever that might be, that he will be able to find some open spaces in the defensive secondary.

Using the same chart, this could be a much tougher season for Matt Cassel, Tim Tebow and Jay Cutler. This is not to say you should never choose any of them, but that in case of a close decision between these guys and another similar quarterback, this could be used as the "tiebreaker."

It could also be used as the final tool between two receivers of equal quality.

For example; in a decision between the Chiefs' Dwayne Bowe (1,162 yards, 15 TDs) and Mike Wallace of the Steelers (1,257 yards, 10 TDs) the edge should go to Wallace for the 2011 season because of the "easier" schedule.

2011 Passing Strength of Schedule
Rank
Team
YPG
1
Indianapolis Colts
233.0
2
Pittsburgh Steelers
232.5
3
Philadelphia Eagles
229.7
4
Cincinnati Bengals
229.0
5
Arizona Cardinals
227.5
6
San Francisco 49ers
227.0
7
Seattle Seahawks
226.7
8
Cleveland Browns
226.7
9
New York Giants
226.6
10
St. Louis Rams
226.0
11
Tennessee Titans
225.2
12
Baltimore Ravens
224.9
13
Dallas Cowboys
224.4
14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
223.2
15
Carolina Panthers
222.8
16
Buffalo Bills
222.5
17
Washington Redskins
222.3
18
Jacksonville Jaguars
222.2
19
New York Jets
221.8
20
Miami Dolphins
221.5
21
New Orleans Saints
221.5
22
Houston Texans
221.4
23
Atlanta Falcons
219.5
24
San Diego Chargers
217.0
25
Oakland Raiders
216.4
26
Minnesota Vikings
213.7
27
Green Bay Packers
212.2
28
Detroit Lions
211.8
29
New England Patriots
211.7
30
Chicago Bears
210.5
31
Denver Broncos
209.3
32
Kansas City Chiefs
208.8
* - ypg equals the average passing yards yielded in 2010 by the 16 opponents on a team's 2011 schedule.


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.