If you’re starting your 2015 Fantasy Football research, it’s pretty safe to assume that Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers will be the first quarterbacks off the board.
With the official release of the 2015 NFL Schedule, Fantasy Football fans now have a little more information to help them start planning their strategies. Specific matchups matter more on daily sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, but that doesn’t mean a quarterback’s schedule isn’t important for season long leagues.
When I reviewed the schedules, there were a few takeaways I found important. Granted, you shouldn’t rely too heavily on last years’ data, but defenses normally do not radically change in one year. Here are some of the most important details I took away from the newly released schedules.
After looking at the schedule and a variety of other factors, still thinking Super Bowl 50 will be Packers versus Colts.
— Elliot Harrison (@HarrisonNFL) April 22, 2015
Jacksonville Jaguars- Week 4 & Week 14
In 2014, the Jaguars’ defense ranked 27th in rushing yards allowed, tied for the sixth-most rushing touchdowns allowed, ranked 22nd in passing yards allowed and tied for the fourth fewest interceptions in the league. You may have to pay a high price to land Luck in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues, but he does have the benefit of facing the Jaguars twice. Luck posted 31 Fantasy points in his first game against the Jags last season, but he also only scored 14 points in his second meeting. With Frank Gore in the mix, you may have to worry about the Colts getting ahead early, and the rushing attack taking over the offense.
Plays the Entire NFC South
Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. called into question the toughness of the NFC South last year, and with how weak the divison performed, it was hard to argue with him. There was not a single team within the NFC South that had a winning season in 2014, and the Carolina Panthers made the playoffs with a 7-8-1 record. While things will improve with draft picks and some offseason acquisitions, the Colts’ offense should have no problem running through NFC South opponents. Luck will face the New Orleans Saints in Week 7, the Carolina Panthers in Week 8, the Atlanta Falcons in Week 11 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12.
New England Patriots- Week 6
The Colts are 0-4 against the Patriots since 2012, so Luck has yet to figure out how defeat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. During the regular season, he did put up 19 Fantasy points against New England, but this is always a tough matchup.
Plays the Entire NFC West
While Luck faces the entire NFC South, Rodgers will have to face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2, the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4, the St. Louis Rams in Week 5 and the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16. Again, you can’t rely on things to carry over from year to year, but these were all strong defenses in 2014. In terms of rushing yards allowed, the 49ers and Seahawks ranked as top-10 defenses, and the Rams and Cardinals ranked in the top 15. The Seahawks’s defenses were the owners of the fewest passing yards allowed, and the 49ers’ defense ranked fifth in passing yards allowed. Rodgers only put up nine fantasy points in his first game against the Seahawks last season, and he has a tough battle ahead of him by facing all the teams in the NFC West.
Rodger’s Performs well Against the NFC North
Rodger’s does have a total of six games against NFC North opponents, and in 2014, he averaged 22.5 points against the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings. Rodgers really appears to excel against the Bears, as he scored 28 points against the Bears in Week 4 of the 2014 season, and went off for 36 points in Week 10. Luck performs strongly against his own division as well, with an average of 20.83 when facing he AFC South. He did however, struggle down the stretch against the Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans, and only scored 14 points in his last meetings with each of those teams.
Luck and Rodgers are elite quarterbacks, and they will perform as such. As a Fantasy Football player, however, I would rather have Rodgers face the Jaguars every week than the Seahawks. There were only six points separating Luck and Rodgers in 2014, and each player is still a candidate to finish as the highest-scoring quarterback in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues. With that being said, I think Luck receives a little more help with his schedule than Rodgers.
Regardless, Rodgers and Luck are flying off the board in Round 2 for most of my mock drafts, so you will need to act early if you want either one of them on your team. Just keep their schedules in mind when contemplating your options.
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