Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Weekly Rankings
Compare Any Players
Starts and Sit
Daily Fantasy
Who To Pickup
Fantasy Updates
24x7 News and Alerts

Players Poised To Start Strong With Soft Early Schedules

It's been more than two months since the NFL released the full 17-week schedules for the 2020 season. We have no idea if we will get to actually watch any football during the upcoming fall and winter, but here's to hoping. If we make it there, though, the strength of schedule will always make a huge impact on how successful your fantasy team performs in your league. In DFS football there are no worries about planning for season-long runs in contrast to redraft leagues. Each weekend you pick your brand new team trying to exploit the best matchups and run with it. Not so easy in leagues where you have to draft your squad prior to the start of the season.

Even if that's the case, early soft SOS should absolutely be taken into consideration when you draft your team, or at least when it comes to making late-round picks or snatching some free agents from the waiver wire to start the year. Although often overlooked, picking players expected to put on huge performances from Week 1 and during the first few matches can be key to lock up a playoff spot. The longer you hesitate on putting a player in your starting lineup, the worse. You need to be ahead of the competition as soon as you can.

That's what I'm doing here today. I'm highlighting three teams with the easiest schedules from Weeks 1 to 5 and the players that can benefit the most from that early stretch of games so you can go ahead and erase any doubt you have about drafting them, or in the case of those with "less" value, go ahead and pick them for free before any other fantasy GM does so. Let's get to it!

Featured Promo: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off and win big in 2023. Exclusive access to our Premium articles, 15 lineup tools, new Team Sync platform, Lineup Optimizer, Premium DFS tools and cheat sheets, and much more! Sign Up Now!


San Francisco 49ers

The Niners start 2020 with the softest five-week slate of games in the whole NFL. San Francisco will be facing the worst and second-worst averaged defenses against the run and the pass respectively. That's a cupcake start for the year right there, no matter how you look at it. The Niners, though, don't have many players with an ADP inside the top-12 or top-24 players at their position, which might make you pause before drafting some of them.

  • Tight end George Kittle is a must-draft player at his position if you want to invest a high draft pick on a TE. And I'm not talking just for the first few weeks, but rather the whole season. He's a known asset and PFF has him finishing 2020 as the TE1 with 251.1 PPR points. So there's that.
  • More pressing is Raheem Mostert's situation. While currently getting drafted as the RB24, he projects to finish the year as the RB12 (234.4 points) but he's allegedly asked for a trade and he might be out of San Francisco by the time the season starts. If something indicates a change in that position and he becomes a lock to retain the RB1 status on the Niners, then you can safely draft him inside the first six rounds. He would rack up huge points during the first weeks of the year so if he ultimately gets traded you'd be selling him as high as possible. Win-win situation.
  • While Deebo Samuel has the best WR-projection of any Niners' receiver he's currently injured and he might miss a few games. Fade Samuel given the unknowns he carries and the fact that he won't be able to fully exploit this early soft schedule.
  • Samuel's status opens the door to other players, namely WRs Brandon Aiyuk and Jalen Hurd. The greatest thing about these two is that their current ADPs are 142.3 and 230.8 respectively, getting off draft boards as the WR64 and WR122. That's like saying they're going mostly undrafted and available for free after drafts. Given the super-soft early schedule of San Francisco and the potential absence of Samuel, both Aiyuk and Hurd should be FLEX targets at the very least, with the upside of getting big numbers early boosting his price to flip them for something valuable after Week 5.
  • Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a lock to be the starter at QB, but he's also a middling fantasy option. He's currently the QB21 by positional ADP and PFF has him finishing the year as QB20. He's only draftable in two-QB leagues, so pass on him but don't hesitate to stream him during the first few games of the year if available for free once your draft is finished.


Chicago Bears

The Bears will benefit the most on the running side of the game during the first five weeks of the season. Chicago faces the second-softest SOS overall during that span only behind San Francisco, and that's made up of the softest opponents at stopping the run and the fifth-softest against the pass. That bodes well for Bears truthers, as the QB situation of Chicago is not exactly clear while the backfield should be.

  • While I expect QB Mitchell Trubisky to be in the starting lineup come Week 1, the word on the streets is that there will be an open competition between him and QB Nick Foles to see who gets the first start. I don't believe it and think Chicago will keep riding Trubisky until it becomes untenable, but we'll see. Same with Garoppolo above, don't waste a draft pick on either quarterback. Let them slip and, if anything, get them for free and stream them at some point during the first five-week span if your actual starter faces way strong competition and tough matchups.
  • Don't let the shaky quarterback situation move you away from WR Allen Robinson II. Robinson is a stud and seemingly QB-proof. He's getting drafted as the WR9 and although that might seem a little overboard (he's projected to finish 2020 as the WR24) he has the upside to play as a high-end WR2 or low-end WR1 all year long. Draft Robinson and enjoy the ride, more than anything during the first few games of the season.
  • Now what will matter the most around Chicago is its backfield. It will face the softest SOS for the first five weeks and it will feature two clearly contrasting RBs in David Montgomery (the rusher) and Tarik Cohen (the pass-catcher). Montgomery is currently the RB25 (ADP 61.9) and Cohen the RB38 (ADP 125.2). At those prices, both of them should return positive ROIs as they are projected to rank above their current draft positions. Montgomery projects to 218 carries (57.9% of Chicago's) for 167.4 PPR points, and Cohen is expected to see 72 targets (16.1%) to finish as the third most-targeted Bear while racking up 155.9 PPR points through the year.
  • Although already past his prime, Jimmy Graham (ADP 270.7) should be available for free while facing a soft early schedule.
  • Anthony Miller (ADP 157.0) could be a great late-round flier expected to get good points earlier in the year taking advantage of that easy five-game span to start the season.


New England Patriots

The regression that the Patriots will suffer after losing Tom Brady was expected to be huge before adding Cam Newton, and although the new Patriot QB will definitely raise the team's floor we'll have to wait until we actually see him to know his current form. No matter what, though, New England faces the third-softest SOS against the run and the seventh-softest against the pass. Not many teams will have it so easy against both those types of defense. Only Dallas and San Fransisco will have it easier against the run, and the Niners alone against the pass too.

  • Let's start by addressing the elephant in the room. Cam Newton's ADP slowly dropped from January (near-100) to June, when it touched the ground (above 250) and then suddenly started to rise in July after his signing with New England. He's currently getting drafted with an ADP of 142.1 good for QB21. No change here in comparison to either of the quarterbacks from the teams above, with Newton being a player with QB1 upside but so many doubts around his health that it doesn't make much sense to tab him as your No. 1 option in redraft leagues. You can use a late-round pick on him, though, as he is supposedly going to at least start the year healthy and the early schedule benefits him. Newton could be one of the strongest streaming options for the first few games of the season and (maybe?) droppable/tradable after that.
  • The Patriots receiving corps are slim at best, that's right, but that also works in your favor if you get any shares of their parts as they're about to rack up targets no matter what. WR Julian Edelman is going off the boards as the WR36 these days with an ADP of just 120.6, making him a great addition with a 10+ round pick and with clear WR1/2 upside whether Newton plays over expectations or not. Taking advantage of the soft schedule, though, N'Keal Harry (ADP 137.9) and Mohamed Sanu Sr. (ADP 266.7) are clear late-round fliers or waiver wire targets to snatch early, exploit, and then drop. Don't hesitate at running with them at least for the start of the year.
  • New England's backfield is the one poised to benefit the most during the first five weeks of the season. RBs Sony Michel and James White complement each other nicely, with the former being the clear carrier and the latter in on pass-catching situations. Michel is the RB39 and projects to finish as the RB34 with 192 rushing attempts for 150.4 PPR points. White is the RB35 and projects to end 2020 as the RB32 with 77 targets (third-most in NE) and 153.7 PPR points. Both of them are thus expected to return more than positive ROIs for those fantasy GMs using them all year long, with even more upside during the first few games of the year.

Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy football app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, rankings, starts/sits & more. All free!

Win Big With RotoBaller

Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:

More Fantasy Football Analysis


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Weekly Rankings
Compare Any Players
Starts and Sit
Daily Fantasy
Who To Pickup
Fantasy Updates
24x7 News and Alerts


Daniel Bard7 hours ago

Still Off Monday
Blake Sabol7 hours ago

Made "Fantastic Impression" This Spring
Anthony Rendon7 hours ago

On Fire This Spring
Tyler Anderson7 hours ago

Wraps Up Strong Spring Monday
Miguel Rojas7 hours ago

' Two-Strike Approach Leading To Success
Akil Baddoo7 hours ago

Optioned To Triple-A Toledo Monday
Zach McKinstry7 hours ago

Tigers Acquire Zach McKinstry Monday
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander8 hours ago

Questionable Versus Charlotte
Ja Morant9 hours ago

Doubtful Versus Orlando
Terry Rozier9 hours ago

Out Again On Tuesday Evening
Gordon Hayward9 hours ago

Unlikely To Play Against OKC
Daniel Gafford9 hours ago

Dealing With A Sore Foot
Kyle Palmieri9 hours ago

Records Three Points Monday
Monte Morris9 hours ago

Uncertain For Tuesday Night
Kyle Kuzma9 hours ago

Remains Out Versus Boston
Triston McKenzie9 hours ago

Could Be Out Up To Eight Weeks
Gustav Forsling9 hours ago

Scores Twice Despite Florida Loss
Bradley Beal9 hours ago

Sidelined Again On Tuesday
Nico Hoerner9 hours ago

Cubs, Nico Hoerner Agree On Three-Year Extension
Brady Tkachuk10 hours ago

Logs Two Points In Ottawa Win
New England Patriots10 hours ago

Jerod Mayo To Be Bill Belichick's Successor?
Buffalo Bills10 hours ago

Taylor Rapp Signs One-Year Deal With Bills
Jarrett Stidham10 hours ago

Broncos Think Jarrett Stidham Has Starting Potential
Gardner Minshew10 hours ago

To Compete For Starting Job
Mac Jones10 hours ago

Not Guaranteed To Start In 2023
Samaje Perine10 hours ago

Could Fill In As Starter
Justin Herbert10 hours ago

Chargers Confident They'll Keep Justin Herbert Long Term
Joe Musgrove11 hours ago

Throws In B Game Monday
Michael Brantley11 hours ago

Timeline Moved Back
Jose Altuve11 hours ago

Could Go On 60-Day Injured List
Christopher Morel11 hours ago

Optioned To Triple-A
Ezekiel Elliott12 hours ago

Cowboys Open To Re-Signing Ezekiel Elliott
Rashod Bateman12 hours ago

Will Be Running In Three Weeks
Odell Beckham Jr.12 hours ago

Giants Open To Reunion With Odell Beckham Jr.
Saquon Barkley12 hours ago

Giants Hopeful Of Long-Term Extension With Saquon Barkley
Lamar Jackson12 hours ago

Commanders Won't Pursue Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson12 hours ago

Colts Pursuing Lamar Jackson?
Aaron Rodgers12 hours ago

No Timeline On Aaron Rodgers Trade
Jalen Hurts13 hours ago

Eagles Want To Get Extension Done With Jalen Hurts Soon
Fernando Tatis Jr.13 hours ago

Could Serve As Leadoff Man
Maxi Kleber13 hours ago

Questionable On Monday
Jrue Holiday13 hours ago

Ruled Out Monday
Logan O'Hoppe13 hours ago

Makes Opening Day Roster
Max Stassi13 hours ago

Jared Walsh, Max Stassi Opening On The Injured List
Marcus Morris13 hours ago

Sr. Sitting Out On Monday
Trevor May13 hours ago

Jeurys Familia, Dany Jimenez Options For Saves
Karl-Anthony Towns13 hours ago

To Sit Out On Monday
Triston McKenzie13 hours ago

Undergoes MRI Exam
Tyrese Haliburton13 hours ago

Won't Play On Monday
Myles Turner13 hours ago

Unavailable On Monday
Kyle Wright13 hours ago

Officially Placed On Injured List
Brice Turang13 hours ago

Makes Opening Day Roster
Chad Pinder14 hours ago

Signs Minor-League Deal With Nationals
Reilly Smith14 hours ago

Ruled Out For At Least Three Games
Erik Gudbranson14 hours ago

Won't Return This Season
Todd Gilliland14 hours ago

Impressive At COTA
Ville Husso14 hours ago

Could Be Done For The Season
Ty Gibbs14 hours ago

Finds His Footing At COTA
Robby Fabbri14 hours ago

Likely Finished For The Season
Detroit Lions14 hours ago

Calais Campbell To Meet With Lions
Troy Terry14 hours ago

Sits Out Monday's Game
Chris Buescher14 hours ago

Continues To Shine On Road Courses
Bryan Edwards14 hours ago

Joins Saints
Frank Vatrano14 hours ago

Returns To Ducks Lineup
NASCAR14 hours ago

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Finishes Seventh
DeAndre Hopkins14 hours ago

Deandre Hopkins Granted Permission To Seek Trade
Tage Thompson14 hours ago

A Game-Time Call For Monday
Brandon Aiyuk15 hours ago

49ers Planning To Exercise Brandon Aiyuk's Option
Brock Purdy15 hours ago

Viewed As Starter
Austin Cindric15 hours ago

Has A Solid Day
Lamar Jackson15 hours ago

Requests Trade
Jonas Johansson15 hours ago

Tends Twine Monday In Anaheim
Sergei Bobrovsky15 hours ago

In Goal Monday Against Ottawa
Ilya Sorokin16 hours ago

Starting Monday
John Gibson16 hours ago

Minds The Crease For Ducks Monday
Marc-Andre Fleury16 hours ago

Protects The Crease Versus Seattle
Buddy Hield16 hours ago

Listed As Out For Monday
Jake Allen16 hours ago

Between The Pipes Against Buffalo
Luka Doncic16 hours ago

Available On Monday
Giannis Antetokounmpo16 hours ago

To Sit Out On Monday
De'Aaron Fox16 hours ago

Available On Monday
Joel Embiid16 hours ago

Won't Suit Up Versus Nuggets
James Harden17 hours ago

On Track To Play Monday
Marlon Vera19 hours ago

Has Four-Fight Winning Streak Snapped
Cory Sandhagen19 hours ago

Dominates Striking Department
Yana Santos19 hours ago

Dominated In Decision Loss
Holly Holm19 hours ago

Dominates In Co-Main Event
Austin Lingo19 hours ago

Suffers Submission Loss
Nate Landwehr19 hours ago

Shines With Second-Round Submission Win
Andrea Lee19 hours ago

Suffers Defeat In Close Matchup Saturday
Maycee Barber19 hours ago

Takes Close Matchup On Saturday
Chidi Njokuani20 hours ago

Takes Close Loss In Split-Decision Showing
Albert Duraev20 hours ago

Holds Off Opponent In Tight Split Decision
Mikal Bridges22 hours ago

Goes Off For 44 Points Sunday
Viktor Arvidsson23 hours ago

Continues Scoring Surge Versus Blues
Tyson Barrie23 hours ago

Stays Hot With Two Points
William Byron23 hours ago

Rounds Out Top Five At COTA
John Tavares23 hours ago

Has A Three-Point Night Versus Nashville
Ross Chastain23 hours ago

Caught Up To Fourth At COTA On Sunday
Clayton Keller23 hours ago

Stretches Point Streak To 12 Games
Alex Bowman23 hours ago

Brings Home Third Place Finish At COTA
Kyle Busch23 hours ago

Scrambles Up To Second At Austin
Mikko Rantanen23 hours ago

Adds Two Points To His Tally
Tyler Reddick23 hours ago

Dominates And Wins At COTA
Jordan Taylor3 days ago

Making NASCAR Debut At COTA, Will Start 4th
Austin Cindric3 days ago

Excited To Showcase Speed At COTA This Weekend
Austin Dillon3 days ago

Starts 28th At COTA For Sunday
Ricky Stenhouse Jr3 days ago

. In Middle Of Pack For COTA
Denny Hamlin3 days ago

Rough Patch In Qualifying On Saturday
Kyle Busch3 days ago

Starts Ninth For COTA Race On Sunday
Kyle Larson3 days ago

Could Be A Wildcard On Sunday
Noah Gragson3 days ago

Finds Way To Qualify 10th At COTA
Brad Keselowski3 days ago

A Few Seconds Off the COTA Pace
Ryan Blaney3 days ago

Begins 38th For Sunday's Race At COTA
Chase Briscoe3 days ago

Just A Little Off At COTA On Saturday
Cory Sandhagen4 days ago

Can Earn Back-To-Back Victories
Marlon Vera4 days ago

Finds Himself In Main-Event Spotlight Saturday
Yana Santos4 days ago

Looking For Biggest UFC Win Of Her Career
Holly Holm4 days ago

Seeking First Victory Since 2020
Austin Lingo4 days ago

On Verge Of Three-Fight Winning Streak
Nate Landwehr4 days ago

Hoping For Third Straight Strong Performance
Maycee Barber5 days ago

Can Continue Her Flyweight Ascent
Andrea Lee5 days ago

In Need Of Victory To Keep Momentum Going
MMA5 days ago

Manel Kape On The Hunt For Fourth Straight Victory Saturday
Alex Perez5 days ago

Seeking First Victory Since 2020
Albert Duraev5 days ago

Can Rebound With A Victory