Strength of Schedule Fallacy - Part II

Kurt Warner will be throwing against defenses who yield an average of 220.9 ypg.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Last week I explained how most fantasy guides list "Strength of Schedule" somewhere in their pages, but that it doesn't really give a fantasy owner the necessary information to help make decisions.

If you missed the Part I, here is the argument:

They are all based on the win/loss percentage of the opposing teams. The theory might work if the 8-8 New Orleans Saints defense was the equal to the 8-8 Washington Redskins. But the Saints defense gave up 117.8 yards-per-game on the ground last year while the Redskins' defense yielded just 95.4 ypg. The New Orleans defense gave up 221.7 ypg through the air while the Washington "D" gave up just 193.4 ypg.

Or if the 5-11 Oakland Raiders defense had identical statistics to the 5-11 Jacksonville Jaguars. The Raiders yielded 159.7 yards on the ground against just 106.8 for Jacksonville.

Which team do you want your running back playing against, Oakland or Jacksonville?

Just because their records are the same, their defenses are not. They are not even close to being equal. Therefore, the "Strength of Schedule" based on win/loss record must be ignored.

Instead, I based my "Strength of Schedule" for running backs on the rushing defenses of the teams on their respective 2009 schedules (I have used only the first 16 weeks because most fantasy leagues end in Week 16).

Today we are looking at passing defenses.

With the exception of the Kansas City Chiefs' schedule, the difference between the easiest schedule and the toughest schedule is much less, percentage-wise," for pass defenses than run defenses. While the best-to-worst run defense schedule showed a 20% difference, in the passing game the difference is around 10%. That means the "Pass Defense SOS" should not be as big a factor as the "Run Defense SOS" in your decision process.

Still, I'd much rather have Arizona's quarterback, Kurt Warner, throwing against defenses who average yielding 220.9 ypg than San Diego's Philip Rivers throwing against defenses who yielded just 204.4 ypg last season.

The schedule doesn't bode well for new Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel who will face six defenses who yielded less than 200 ypg last season (Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York Giants, Dallas, Washington and Pittsburgh) and a total of 11 defenses who yielded under 206 ypg.

2009 Strength of Schedule by 2008 Pass Defense Average YPG Yielded
Team 2008 Average YPG
Arizona 220.9
St. Louis 220.9
San Francisco 219.9
Indianapolis 217.6
Buffalo 216.3
Minnesota 215.2
Jacksonville 214.9
Houston 214.3
Seattle 213.9
Green Bay 213.0
Oakland 213.0
New England 213.0
Miami 213.0
Pittsburgh 212.2
Tennessee 212.2
Philadelphia 212.0
Tampa Bay 211.8
Dallas 211.7
Detroit 210.4
Atlanta 209.5
Chicago 209.0
New York Jets 209.0
Baltimore 208.3
New Orleans 206.9
Carolina 206.8
New York Giants 206.7
Cincinnati 206.6
Cleveland 206.1
Washington 205.4
San Diego 204.5
Denver 201.8
Kansas City 187.5


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

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