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2013 Strength of Schedule

By: — February 7, 2013 @ 6:47 pm
Filed under: Other

I’ve just posted the 2013 Strength of Schedule report based on wins and losses from the 2012 season.

As you can see in the chart below, the Panthers have the toughest schedule thanks in large part to home and away games with the Falcons (13 wins in 2012) and a matchup with the Patriots (12 wins in 2012).

The Broncos have the easiest schedule due to the putrid performance of the remaining AFC West teams. The Chiefs, Chargers and Raiders were a combined 13-35 last season.

 2013 Strength of Schedule
Rk Team Percentage Win/Loss Record Games vs. Quality Opp.*
1 Carolina Panthers 0.543 138-116-2 7
T-2 Detroit Lions 0.539 138-118-0 10
New Orleans Saints 0.539 137-117-2 6
St. Louis Rams 0.539 137-117-2 8
5 Baltimore Ravens 0.535 137-119-0 8
6 Green Bay Packers 0.533 136-119-1 10
T-7 Arizona Cardinals 0.520 131-121-4 7
Miami Dolphins 0.520 133-123-0 6
San Francisco 49ers 0.520 132-122-2 7
T-10 Minnesota Vikings 0.516 132-124-0 9
Seattle Seahawks 0.516 130-122-4 7
T-12 Cincinnati Bengals 0.508 130-126-0 7
Jacksonville Jaguars 0.508 129-125-2 7
New England Patriots 0.508 130-126-0 5
15 Atlanta Falcons 0.504 128-126-0 5
16 Chicago Bears 0.502 128-127-1 8
17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0.500 127-127-2 5
18 Washington Redskins 0.498 127-128-1 8
T-19 New York Jets 0.496 127-129-0 5
Philadelphia Eagles 0.496 127-129-0 8
T-21 Cleveland Browns 0.492 126-130-0 8
Pittsburgh Steelers 0.492 126-130-0 8
23 Tennessee Titans 0.488 124-130-2 7
T-24 New York Giants 0.480 123-133-0 7
Dallas Cowboys 0.480 121-134-1 8
T-26 Buffalo Bills 0.473 121-135-0 5
Houston Texans 0.473 120-134-2 7
Kansas City Chiefs 0.473 121-135-0 6
29 Oakland Raiders 0.469 120-136-0 6
30 Indianapolis Colts 0.461 117-137-2 7
31 San Diego Chargers 0.457 117-139-0 7
32 Denver Broncos 0.430 110-146-0 6

Durable NFL running backs – a true football fantasy

By: — November 6, 2011 @ 1:43 am

In 2010, there were 25 NFL running backs that logged at
least 100 carries and played in all 16 games. In 2009, the number was 19.

This year, let’s hope you kept your rabbit’s foot alongside
your four-leaf clover and threw some salt over your shoulder while avoiding
black cats and remembering not to walk under ladders…

In 2011, the numbers are sobering. Since the season is
nearly half over, I’ll set the bar at 50 carries. By my count, only 30 runners
have surpassed that low benchmark so far. Of those 30 players, only 18 can be
considered decent (or better) regular fantasy starts – and that’s only if you
classify the likes of Chris Johnson, James Starks, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and
Jackie Battle as “decent” this season.

Taken one step further, I count only 14 of those 18 as
runners who have yet to miss a game and/or not projected to sit out this week
(which includes Darren McFadden, Ryan Mathews and Ahmad Bradshaw).

Among the more intriguing bits of information are the names
of some of the players who have survived the carnage so far: Maurice Jones-Drew
(entered season with knee concerns), Frank Gore (missed at least one game in
five of first six NFL seasons), Shonn Greene (yet to play a full season) and
Starks (missed most of 2009 and 2010 seasons due to injury).

Assuming Mathews (who hasn’t played a full football season
since high school and has suffered five known injuries already this season)
beats the odds and finds a way to play through his groin injury in Week 9 –
Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune tweeted that he “had a
feeling” he would – he only adds to bizarre list of this season’s
“durable” runners.

With running back depth charts around the NFL already
looking like something out of a horror movie, I decided it was about time to
take a look at the “new wave”. For the purposes of this blog, I’m not
interested in singing the praises of a high-profile second-stringer who is about
to step into the starting lineup, I’m more interested in writing about the
talented third- and fourth-stringers that may end up deciding fantasy
championships this season if this injury wave doesn’t stop.

In no particular order…

Tashard Choice – Perhaps I’m a fool for Mike Shanahan
running backs, but unlike the other RBs on this list, Choice has already shown
a little bit in the league – albeit not much recently. However, unlike the
situation in which he found himself with the Cowboys, Choice may now be able to
show fantasy owners the skills that made him one of the best backup RBs in the
league just two years ago. With a change of scenery, more devotion to the
running game and a chance to rest his nagging injuries, Choice is as good of
bet as any to emerge as the Redskins’ lead RB by the time the fantasy playoffs
roll around.

Taiwan Jones – If the rookie from Eastern Washington wasn’t
buried behind one of the league’s premier backs (McFadden) and one of its
finest second-stringers (Michael Bush), there is a pretty good chance you would
know Jones by now. Perhaps Oakland’s plan of resting McFadden for Week 9 allows
him to play in Week 10 (a Thursday night game vs. the Chargers), but D-Mac’s
return for that game is far from guaranteed, which means Jones could have a
shot at fantasy value for two games. With his speed and playmaking ability, he
may not need more than 8-10 touches in either game to have a fantasy impact for
desperate owners.

Chris Ogbannaya – Peyton Hillis aggravated his hamstring
(again) and is likely to miss multiple weeks while Montario Hardesty is on the
same timetable with a calf injury, which means Ogbannaya is already assured a
starting job for the next week or two. Ogbannaya, who did some good things with
the Texans in the preseason, struggled in his first real shot at significant
touches in Week 8. However, as long as he is only fighting off the likes of
Thomas Clayton, Ogbannaya will have a shot at 15-20 touches and will be a
usable bye-week fill-in/desperation start in PPR leagues because the Browns
lack playmakers in the passing game but rank among the league leaders in pass

Kregg Lumpkin – There’s a pretty good chance Lumpkin is
already rostered in deeper leagues. HC Raheem Morris is talking up LeGarrette
Blount as an every-down back in the wake of Earnest Graham’s season-ending
injury, but I can’t imagine how that experiment will work out well for the
Bucs. First and foremost, when Blount returns to the field in Week 9, it will
be for the first time he’s played in nearly a month, so conditioning will be an
issue. Secondly, Blount isn’t the most able or willing in blitz pick-up nor is
he an accomplished receiver, so defenses like the Saints will be even apt to
load the box and blitz more than they already do. Last but not least, I have my
doubts about Blount’s ability to avoid another injury.

Curtis Brinkley – The Chargers’ running-back rotation of
Mathews and Mike Tolbert takes turns getting hurt, which means owners of either
one or both players really need to consider keeping tabs on Brinkley. While he
is hardly a threat to either player and is clearly a backup, PPR owners
undoubtedly took note at what Brinkley was able to do following Mathews’
departure in the Monday night loss to the Chiefs. Should Mathews and/or Tolbert
both miss games at the same time, Brinkley would quickly become a temporary RB2
in PPR since San Diego utilizes its backs so often in the passing game. With
bye weeks mercifully coming to an end, I would strongly advise owners of
Mathews and/or Tolbert to find room for Brinkley.

Phillip Tanner – I briefly discussed Tanner in the Blitz
last week, so suffice it to say that his opportunity to shine on the likelihood
that DeMarco Murray cannot stay healthy and Felix Jones continues being
“fragile”. Since both Murray and Jones are huge injury question
marks, it is not a stretch to think that Tanner won’t get an opportunity as the
featured back for a 1-2 game stretch. There’s also a pretty good chance Tanner
never gets that shot, but Dallas should consider using him in a goal-line role
and make sure it reduces its risk of burdening any of its runners by making
sure it uses all of them.

Da’Rel Scott – Even by the standards of this blog, Scott is
a complete shot in the dark for any modicum of fantasy value this season.
However, his chances just increased this week with Ahmad Bradshaw’s foot
injury. Coming off his own injury, Brandon Jacobs is talking and playing his
way out of New York and D.J. Ware has essentially been pigeonholed into a
third-down back role. The one thing Scott has is what Bradshaw brings to the
table and the other two do not – speed. Like Bradshaw, Scott enters the league
as a talented but injury-prone enigma. Either way, it would not surprise me if
Scott got his first real chance vs. New England today and makes the most of it.

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