Early 2011 Strength of Schedule: DTs

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

Below is a full season SOS table for the defensive/special teams 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, an opposing offense won’t go from terrible to great (vice versa) in one year, so if you’re expecting a great matchup for your DT 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 12 DTs of 2010, only five managed to also finish in the Top 12 in 2009: Packers, Patriots, Jets, Ravens and Chargers. The Packers were the only team to finish in the Top 5 the last two years. The Jets finished 4th in 2010 and 6th in 2011. The Patriots finished 10th and 2nd.

– Of the Top 12 DTs of 2010, only Green Bay, Baltimore, Detroit and Arizona have significantly easier projected schedules in 2011.

– The Steelers project to have a similar schedule in 2011, but they have several nice matchups down the stretch, with six mediocre to good matchups in their last six games. Pittsburgh has Cleveland, San Francisco and St. Louis in the fantasy playoffs. Pittsburgh is going in the 10th round, which is too early for a defense, but they are one of maybe two (GB being the other) of the no-brainer DT starts every week.

– Of the Top 12 DTs of 2010, the Raiders and Bears both project to have significantly worse schedules in 2011.

Click here to download a CSV file of this data.

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