Early 2011 Strength of Schedule: TEs

QB | RB | WR | TE | K | DT | RB (PPR) | WR (PPR) | TE (PPR)

Below is a full season SOS table for the tight end position. Here is what each column means:

2011: The total SOS (excluding W17 since a vast majority of leagues do not play in W17) for 2011.

%CH: The percent change from 2010. A positive number means that the team has an easier schedule, while a negative number means that the schedule projects to be tougher.

P3: The team’s average SOS for a W14-16 playoff.

P2: The team’s average SOS for a W15-16 playoff.

If a particular matchup is listed in green, it means that it is at least 3% better than the average for that week. If it’s listed in red, it’s 3% worse than the mean.

I use SOS as a tiebraker between two similarly ranked players or as a way to rank players within a tier. It’s important to note that this is just preliminary SOS. Things will change as the draft and free agency occur, and they’ll change week by week during the season as some defenses get better while others get worse. Typically, a defense won’t go from terrible to great (vice versa) in one year, so if you’re expecting a great matchup from your TE in W16, there’s a very good chance that it will be at worst mediocre at that point in the season.

(Click on the table to see a bigger version. You can download the data in CSV format if you click the link below.)

A few takeaways:

– Of the Top 5 TEs (in terms of current ADP) — Antonio Gates, Jermichael Finley, Dallas Clark, Jason Witten and Vernon Davis — only Davis appears to have a significantly more difficult schedule in 2011 as compared to 2010. He projects to have eight tough matchups versus only two easy matchups through 16 weeks. Depending on who is QB’ing the 49ers, this might be a reason to exercise caution with Davis.

– The next group of TEs — Jimmy Graham, Owen Daniels, Zach Miller, Marcedes Lewis and Rob Gronkowski — won’t see much of a change in schedule difficulty in 2011. Graham is a real threat to crack the Top 5 given his late-season performance (3.3-38-0.63 over the last eight games, TE7 numbers) along with the departure of Jeremy Shockey. He’s going in the 6th round on average in the #Draftmaster series, which means he’ll probably be a 7th-8th round pick in your local draft.

– Jared Cook is in position for a breakthrough season, assuming the Titans can find a decent QB to throw him the ball. Over the last six games he averaged 4.0-49-0.17, which are fringe starter numbers. If he’s able to find the endzone a little more often and becomes the Titan’s de facto WR2, he is a threat to finish in the Top 10.

– Don’t sleep on Zach Miller. He struggled through injuries midseason, but started the season strong and finished it with 22 catches in his final four games. His schedule looks favorable as well. If you miss out on Gates, Witten, Finley and Clark, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Miller, Graham, Marcedes Lewis or even Owen Daniels, who finally started to look like his old self towards the end of the season. Throwing Kellen Winslow (TE11 in adjusted PPG) and Rob Gronkowski (TE7 in adjusted PPG) into the mix, and there appear to be 11 pretty solid TEs available this season.

Click here to download a CSV file of this data.

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