2009 Strength Of Schedule For Running Backs

04/17/2009 2:58 am by in Fantasy Football Articles

Below is our 2009 Strength of Schedule for fantasy running backs. Our SOS is based off of defensive rushing stats from last season. For example, Michael Turner has the toughest rushing schedule in the league in 2009. His upcoming 2009 opponents averaged 13.56 against the run last year. As you can see below, the Ravens have the easiest 2009 rushing schedule (based on last year’s defensive rushing stats). The average of his 2009 opponents ranked 19th against the run back in 2008.

2009 Strength Of Schedule For RBs

’09 Rank: Toughest Schedule
Team Opp. Avg. Rank Against Run in ’08
1
Falcons 13.56
2
Lions 13.68
3
Panthers 14.12
4
Packers 14.43
5
Colts 15.25
6
Giants 15.31
7
Dolphins 15.50
8
Rams 15.56
9
Browns 15.62
10
Raiders 15.81
11
Patriots 15.93
11
Bucs 15.93
13
Eagles 16.00
14
Bengals 16.18
15
Chiefs 16.25
16
Titans 16.43
17
Cowboys 16.62
18
Texans 16.75
19
Bills 16.81
20
Denver 16.87
21
Saints 17.25
22
Bears 17.31
22
Seahawks 17.31
24
Chargers 17.40
25
Cardinals 17.43
26
Steelers 17.68
27
Vikings 17.81
27
49ers 17.81
29
Redskins 18.18
30
Jets 18.31
31
Jaguars 18.37
32
Ravens 19.00

2008 Defensive Stats: Against The Run

#
Team
Yds
Avg
Yds/G
TD
1
Minnesota
1,230
3.3
76.9
10
2
Pittsburgh
1,284
3.3
80.2
7
3
Baltimore
1,302
3.6
81.4
4
4
Philadelphia agles
1,476
3.5
92.2
7
5
Chicago
1,496
3.4
93.5
16
6
Tennessee
1,502
3.7
93.9
12
7
New York Jets 
1,518
3.7
94.9
10
8
Washington edskins
1,526
3.8
95.4
12
9
New York
1,533
4
95.8
14
10
Miami
1,620
4.2
101.2
11
11
San Diego argers
1,641
4
102.6
11
12
Dallas
1,706
4.2
106.6
11
13
Jacksonvilleguars
1,709
4
106.8
14
13
San Francisco 49ers
1,709
3.8
106.8
14
15
New England Patriots
1,722
4.1
107.6
8
16
Arizona
1,764
4
110.2
13
17
New Orleans Saints
1,885
4.2
117.8
14
18
Seattle
1,899
4.2
118.7
13
19
Tampa Bay ccaneers
1,901
4.3
118.8
8
20
Carolina
1,912
4.4
119.5
14
21
Cincinnati
1,921
3.9
120.1
15
22
Buffalo
1,946
4.3
121.6
18
23
Houston
1,962
4.5
122.6
18
24
Indianapolisolts
1,966
4.2
122.9
18
25
Atlanta
2,046
4.9
127.9
17
26
Green Bay
2,105
4.6
131.6
20
27
Denver
2,337
5
146.1
26
28
Cleveland
2,431
4.5
151.9
16
29
St. Louis
2,475
4.9
154.7
26
30
Kansas City hiefs
2,543
5
158.9
25
31
Oakland
2,555
4.7
159.7
23
32
Detroit  
2,754
5.1
172.1
31


Analysis

Falcons, Lions & Panthers

As we said in the opening paragraph, Michael Turner has the league’s toughest rushing schedule in 2009 based on last year’s defensive rushing stats. Kevin Smith has the second toughest rushing schedule in 2009 and DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have the third toughest. Turner and DeAngelo are studs, so you can’t drop either too far on your personal rankings based on this info, but fantasy owners might want to stay away from Smith in 2009 drafts unless he falls to bargain value. Dynasty league owners might want to consider trading in the Detroit rusher if the price is right. Try swapping him out for a similar-type runner with a better rushing schedule. The Lions passing attack could struggle in 2009 — Having one of the league’s toughest rushing schedules won’t help matters either. The Lions could be in for a lot of three-and-outs in early ’09.

Bengals

The Bengals have the most up and down schedule, facing both the Steelers and Ravens twice and the Vikings, Bears and Jets once – That’s seven games against top 10 rushing defenses, five of those games are against top five rushing defenses. Mixed in with all those extremely rough match-ups, the Bengals face Cleveland (28th) twice and Denver (27th), Green Bay (26th), Oakland (31st), Detroit (32nd) and Kansas City (30th) once. That’s about as up and down as you can get right there!

Jaguars

Maurice Jones-Drew’s rushing schedule is gold, as he faces a top 10 rushing defense just four times, none of which are inside the top five. Gold.

Steelers

This season, the Steelers have nine match-ups against rushing defenses that ranked 21st (or worse) against the run in 2008. Seven of those match-ups are against defenses that ranked inside the bottom seven against the run last season.

Chargers

LaDainian Tomlinson is going up against the Raiders (31st) twice, the Chiefs (30th) twice, the Broncos (27th) twice, the Browns (28th) and Bengals (21st) both once. That’s half a season against some awful rushing defenses. Oh, and he kicks off the season against the Raiders in Week 1. If you own LT2 in dynasty leagues and you’re looking to trade him — consider waiting. Let him gain some serious value in the eyes of fantasy owners looking to win this year. If LT2 is blowing up to start the season, the offers will come and you will be glad you waited to deal him.

49ers

Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson both have a solid rushing schedules. Gore has 11 match-ups against rushing defenses that ranked 16th or worse from last season. He faces the Rams (29th) twice, the Lions (32nd) once, the Packers (26th) once, the Colts (24th) once and the Falcons (25th) once. And given that Gore is such a double-threat, having a top 5 rushing schedule only makes us more confident in predicting him as one of this year’s biggest early-round steals. Gore is a top 5 overall fantasy player heading into all leagues and formats this season! Mark it down!

Vikings

As for Adrian Peterson, he faces the Lions (32nd) twice, the Packers (26th) twice and the Browns (28th) once. He also has some other solid match-ups in between. His first two match-ups of the year are against the Browns (28th) and Lions (32nd), so don’t be shocked if AP leads the league in yards and scores right out of the gate. He might be blowing everyone out of the water entering Week 3. Another interesting thing you may have noticed is that Peterson and Matt Forte face off against each other in Week 16 — And it is the Monday night game too! What a way to finish out a fantasy season!


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12 Comments so far

  1. Smitty April 17th, 2009 3:11 am

    Any initial thoughts? Does Turner drop a touch for some of you? Does Gore rise? Portis has a fantastic schedule. Other thoughts and observations?

  2. hawk12 April 17th, 2009 7:52 am

    teams like the COlts who have a tough run schedule (and that can pass well), wouldn’t they just throw it?
    I like the Colts to throw even more in 2009…

    Miami and St. L have little more than avg difficulty, both have solid/stud RBs in Brown and Jackson. How do you see those teams shaking out on offense? I think Miami will try to run anyway, finding limited success. This offseason we hear about Jackson taking the workload… I kind of think the same could happen as last year, strong start – beat up by midseason, and weaker finish for SJ, IMO.

  3. Smitty April 17th, 2009 7:55 pm

    hawk12, good commentary. I think Brown will do alright this year and they use him in some creative ways. He was fantastic at times and wasn’t even 100%. I like Brown given his value. I wouldn’t make him your RB2 because you don’t have to given his current value, but he has RB2 upside this year no question. No question. It’s just you don’t have to pay that kind of price, which is the key.

    I like Jackson a lot this year and he is inside my top 4 overall in all leagues and formats. Sure, the injury risk is there, but I think he will come out strong and have a good year. Could I be wrong? Absolutely.

  4. walt34 April 18th, 2009 9:05 pm

    i’ve enoyed reading this site for several months and thought i’d offer some thoughts since i’ve been looking at teams’ opponents for a couple of weeks; the nfc south teams all had top ten schedules against the last years run defenses, this year they’re mostly bottom ten. the opposite is true of the nfc west, which will enjoy a very nice slate of games this year. i like julius jones as a later pick, the Seahawks are going to be focused on running. the ravens had a hard schedule last year but put up incredible numbers in Camerons rb friendly offense. this year will be easier making ray rice a possibly nice late pickup in ppr formats. having home games weeks 14,15 against det. and chi. is nice too. now that lance moore is sidelined reggie bush is going to be getting lots of screen passes trying to avoid those big front sevens. i especially like leon washington as a later pickup in ppr because of all the opportunities that the D will give him, adding in the loss of coles and the unhappiness of thomas jones and a favorable playoff schedule.
    talking about passing games, how much of an effect do you believe the tough running d’s will have on the nfc south teams as they face the afc and nfc east teams? according to rankings i have, the Falcons are facing defenses that last year gave up a lot of fantasy points to wr’s, making roddy white intriguing for this season. but will a drop off in the running game bring down his stats? also, i see you are real high on Peyton Manning, and he has one of the best schedules against pass D’s as well, but i’m concerned that his numbers dropoff last year wasn’t just because of the injury but mostly the decline of Marvin Harrison. they used to put in so much work together and i’m not sure Wayne or Gonzalez can step it up to that elite level. Dallas Clark is the biggest threat in the red zone now, and he can’t be counted on to play 16.
    thanks for any feedback.

  5. DetroitDowners April 18th, 2009 11:10 pm

    I love this site! You guys do some great work. What Im wondering is when you put this out last year…how did the info hold up? Did the toughest schedule really hold true as the toughest…and vice versa for the easiest?

    Keep up the great work!

  6. Smitty April 20th, 2009 2:32 am

    Walt: Nice work.

    DetroitDowners: Here is last year’s SOS if you want to take a look. At a glance, defenses were a lot closer together (each extreme) last season vs the season before.

  7. ThomasMagnumPI April 20th, 2009 11:37 am

    Turner has to take a hit just because he was so unproductive against good defenses during the beginning and middle of the ’08 season but I wouldn’t take him down out of the top 5 picks by any means. The passing game is developing well in Atlanta with Matt Ryan developing nicely and Roddy White and Michael Jenkins providing solid receiving options. If they happen to acquire Tony Gonzalez as well then they would have a very nasty passing game next year that should keep defenses honest.

    I think that the Jets RBs have a very real potential to be great fantasy value picks at RB2 and Flex, especially PPR leagues (not to mention return yard leagues for L. Washington, where he is GOLDEN) since they were quiet producers last year, both are solid and complimentary backs and they have a very easy schedule next year against the run.

    Jones can be had in the late 4th/early 5th round and Washington can be had in the 9th/10th and provide sneaky and solid value, especially to a team drafting a stud RB with the first pick and either WR WR or WR QB after that. I would just make sure to take Washington a bit earlier than you think you have to if you do draft Jones.

    I can’t wait for this weekend’s “real” draft!

  8. Smitty April 20th, 2009 3:03 pm

    ThomasMagnumPI: I agree with you that the Jets runners may do well overall. I really like Leon Washington, though, especially given his draft value this year. He is the guy to own if you ask me. Just invest and wait.

    Washington could really shine if given the starts. I’m not too sure how long he’d last in this league, but if given a chance elsewhere, or if given the shot to take over in New York for the second half of the upcoming 2009 season, he will shine.

  9. steelers0087 April 23rd, 2009 7:39 pm

    This looks great for Ray Rice! =], sorry I like Rice.

  10. AScrimm7 April 29th, 2009 11:42 pm

    Can’t help but notice that 2 of the 3 best positioned teams have questions at RB. Both the Ravens and Jets have committee situations. So who should we be targeting? McGahee/McClain/Rice? Thomas Jones or Shonn Greene? None of these guys will get drafted as a #1 fantasy RB, but if we’re looking for depth how would you rank them?

    Also will Beanie Wells be the guy in AZ or will he split with Hightower?

  11. ThomasMagnumPI April 30th, 2009 6:12 pm

    Beanie will be THE GUY in AZ. Hightower already had his shot and he screwed the pooch.

    I plan on staying away from the Baltimore backfield in all but the latest of rounds because the situation is such a mess. Likewise, the NYJ backfield has become a quagmire with the addition of Shonn Green. I would not be surprised if they cut ties with Jones via trade but until then, I think the guy to target is actually Leon Washington. He will be under the radar and will be their change-of-pace guy. I feel that Jones will go too high in almost all leagues now and that his value is largely gone for the foreseeable future.

  12. [...] 2009 schedule, rated among the top-five most difficult by most analysts, is much tougher than the one they faced in 2008, rated among the top-10 or at [...]

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