Friday, January 16, 2009

NFC Schedules

2 5 star--5 4 star-- 4 3 star--4 2 star--1 1 star
Pretty good schedule for the star they don't have. Still a decent schedule for a committee back that gets the goal line touches. If that's Earnest Graham, he's a solid pick that could could slide in your draft and excel against 7 likable matchups. If Dunn is gone, Graham will be very draftable. They get the Packers in addition to avoiding their own defense in their divisional games so this is easily the best schedule in the NFCS. Bucs backs could be sleepers in this summer's drafts.

1 5 star--4 4 star--3 3 star--5 2 star--3 1 star
This doesn't look good for Turner. He might be entering the draft as the top overall choice but his schedule is not conducive to a year of lighting up fantasy sheets. There will be 8 weeks in which you will hesitate to play him. You will probably end up still playing him, but you are much better off with Peterson, and I'd consider taking another member of the first tier with a better slate of opponents.

3 5 star--4 4 star--2 3 star--5 2 star--2 1 star
This is isn't a promising schedule for what looks like a big year for Pierre Thomas. He's being talked up for next year but he will still be splitting carries with Bush and as long as they're both on the field, they should keep each other from getting big numbers. There are seven good matchups that you could play either of them in, but they might go too high to pick them as a 7 matchup type of guy. If you're lucky Thomas slips to a position where he might be a steal. If the seemingly inevitable Bush happens, Thomas becomes a play in an additional seven games.

1 5 star--5 4 star--2 3 star--6 2 star--2 1 star
This isn't pretty. As impressive as D Williams was this year, I don't see him repeating his fantasy success. I see Stewart getting a larger portion of the fantasy points this year, with both putting up solid if not spectacular numbers. This schedule is simply brutal, contributing to the decline in fantasy points, even as his actual performance remains spectacular. There are 8 unfavorable matchups for a rb that is in a comittee, even if its a great comittee. In this situation, I don't feel comfortable drafting Williams as high as someone else will.

4 5 star--3 4 star--5 3 star--3 2 star--1 1 star
Very juicy schedule for Stephen Jackson so your only concern in drafting him should be his health. I'm putting him just outside the first tier as every rb has some injury risk. This schedule is better than last years and very good overall. Jackson is a solid play in 12 games and really playable in all but one.

5 5 star--4 4 star--3 3 star--2 2 star--2 1 star
Like all NFCW teams, the Niners face an easier schedule than they did this year. Swapping the NFCS for the NFCE will do that. This is possibly the best schedule in the NFC. I can't see Gore not having a great year if he stays healthy. Too many solid matchups here and this schedule would be great for a feature back or a lower tier guy.

4 5 star--2 4 star--5 3 star--4 2 star--1 1 star
While this schedule would be ideal for a stud rb, it's pretty good for anyone. You may not be drafting anyone from Seattle, but keep an eye out during the first few weeks for someone getting the bulk of the carries. There will be matchups to exploit if any back turns out to be the man for the Seahawks.

6 5 star--1 4 star--5 3 star--2 2 star--2 1 star
That is 6 top flight matchups for the Cards. Someone should be worth a late round pick here. But it may be that no one is. The downside to the Cards rbs is that, they largely can't take advantage of their running schedule. The value in Hightower and others is that the passing offense gets them down to the goal line, negating the value in playing weak run defenses. Still, if they picked up anyone decent (Tashard Choice?) he would be worth a flier.

2 5 star--4 4 star--2 3 star--5 2 star--3 1 star
Another year, another brutal schedule for the NFCE teams. I wouldn't read too much into it. The Eagles and their divisional brethren had a tough schedule this year as well. While this year's is marginally more difficult, I would assume that the NFCE backs will put up roughly what they did this year. Their aren't a lot of premium matchups here but Westbrook is always solid. He has the same durability issues as always so feel free to treat him as Westbrook as usual.

2 5 star--6 4 star--0 3 star--5 2 star--3 1 star
Most of what was written about the Eagles applies here. The situation is a little better with two extra 4 star games. Jacobs will still go in the first tier, and you'll still play him all year. Ward is in a better position than Buckhalter should either of the stars go down because of those two games.

4 5 star--4 4 star--1 3 star--4 2 star--3 1 star
Not a great schedule but better than the Giants or Eagles thanks to those extra matchups against the Lions and Rams. Portis will the guy as always. He slowed down at the end of 2008 but there's no reason for him not to duplicate his performance in 2009. A top tier rb year after year and very likable in 13 matchups this year.

3 5 star--5 4 star--1 3 star--4 2 star--3 1 star
Thanks to the drop from 1st to 3rd place, the Cowboys are the one NFCE team whose schedule is just as good if not better than last year. Barber is still the first back off the board, but he finds himself in the same situation Jacobs was in last year. He has two backs behind him that look very good. Jacobs dropped on boards and pleasantly surprised his owners when he took the bulk of the carries. As Barber is still the goal line guy, he could do just as well. Since we don't know how many carries will go to Choice and Jones, its tough to take Barber in the first tier. But there's still 8 good matchups if Barber is heading up a committee. More should develop here before the season.

5 5 star--1 4 star--1 3 star--7 2 star--2 1 star
Ryan Grant had a very quiet year in 2008. He didn't put up big numbers even though he started every game. On the other hand, he established himself as the feature back for the Packers. He should retain that role in 09 and put up better fantasy results. I wouldn't expect stellar numbers against this schedule but if you grab him in the mid rounds he should be reliable in 6 starts. That's what you're looking for there so he fits the bill.

3 5 star--4 4 star--1 3 star--6 2 star--2 1 star
Kevin Smith has gotten press going into next year as a top back but I don't see it with this schedule. This is such an obvious case of a tough schedule; he has four games against the Vikings and Bears. There's not a lot of upside here. He should put up solid points but not like what some are expecting. If he slips to the midrounds, he has the same approximate value as Grant, even though his schedule is a bit tougher. Just don't get carried away by the hype.

5 5 star--3 4 star--2 3 star--4 2 star--2 1 star
This is a very solid schedule. Good at the top, with 5 primo matchups, and good to the bottom, with only two 1 star games. You're going to play Peterson every week, and ith the schedule you'll be happy about abll but those two games. This lineup of games given to a back of Peterson's caliber makes him the obvious number one choice. Should something happen, Taylor is a solid play no matter what and those 8 quality matchups make him very attractive.

5 5 star--4 4 star--1 3 star--3 2 star--3 1 star
I really like Forte against this schedule. He may have the highest floor of any back for 2009. Low injury risk, solid oline and defense. Forte is the feature back, he's the goal line back and he's got a good lineup of opponents. He will definitley play in 13 matchups, possibly all of them and he'll likely finish in the top 5. He's probably my second choice in next year's draft.

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