Draft Engine Expert Analysis
At DraftEngine, we use unique and proprietary algorithms to assess how a player’s fantasy output will be affected by the quality of their opponent. On a very basic level, we do not use popular “fantasy points against” stats, but rather we factor in the caliber of previous opponents when assessing a defense. Over the course of a season, teams will face differing degrees of opponent quality at every position, making fantasy points against easy to misuse. Oversimplifying for clarity: Allowing 120 TE receiving yards to the Eagles or Chiefs is calculated far differently than allowing 120 TE receiving yards to the Jaguars or Cardinals.
While we realize a lot can change once the 2020 season gets started—and rest assured our calculations are adjusted after every game—here’s a look at some fantasy strength-of-schedule considerations going into the season. We’ll tell you which opponents to target or avoid if you’re streaming or have a deep bench, and we’ll highlight some players whose schedules project to affect their fantasy value.
Defenses to target
Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals gave up by far the most fantasy points to opposing TEs, and it’s worth mentioning that George Kittle missed one of their matchups.
Washington Football Team: Washington’s defense was in shambles late last season. Ryan Griffin and Kaden Smith were among the TEs to take advantage (bonus points if you know what teams those players were on last year).
New York Giants: Year in and year out, the Giants’ atrocious linebacking corps has been giving up fantasy points in bunches to tight ends.
Atlanta Falcons: There’s little shame in giving up a big game to George Kittle (13 receptions for 134 yards in Week 15), but plenty of lower-tier TEs did damage against the Falcons.
Tennessee Titans: Six tight ends posted at least 70 receiving yards against the Titans last season.
Defenses to avoid
Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends last season, with no TE reaching 40 yards in their last 12 games.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles held opposing teams’ TEs to fewer than 40 yards combined 10 times in 2019.
New England Patriots: Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce were the only tight ends to reach 45 yards in New England’s last 12 games.
TEs with favorable schedules
Zach Ertz (PHI): Not only does Ertz play in a division with two of our “defenses to target,” but he also faces the Cardinals in Week 15.
Mark Andrews (BAL): Houston, Washington, Tennessee and the Giants are four of our easiest-rated defenses for fantasy TEs, and all appear on Baltimore’s 2020 slate.
Blake Jarwin (DAL): Jarwin may be worth a look as a streamer in matchups against the Giants, Washington and Arizona.
TEs with tough schedules
Hayden Hurst (ATL): The NFC South is chock full of problematic defenses for fantasy TEs.
Jimmy Graham/Cole Kmet (CHI): The Bears’ abundance of tight ends face a series of fantasy-tough defenses in Tampa Bay, Carolina, Minnesota and Green Bay.