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QB and RB with Favorable Early Schedules

We all know it is not how you start but how you finish.  However, starting hot is never a bad thing...

We've previously looked at how to draft with strength of schedule in mind by focusing on teams that could start strong as well as starting with the end in mind by looking at end-of-year schedules for fantasy playoffs. Let's get a little deeper today.

Here are players at the QB and RB positions poised to start strong due to soft early schedules.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:



Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans


2020 Avg. Passing TD/Game allowed

2020 Avg. Completions per game allowed

2020 Avg. Passing yards/game allowed

v Arizona Cardinals

14th (1.6)

16th (22.8)

10th (226.4)

@Seattle Seahawks

8th (1.4)

32nd (27.2)

30th (278.2)

v Indianapolis Colts

12th (1.5)

19th (23.2)

20th (245.1)

@New York Jets

28th (2.1)

29th (26.1)

29th (275.6)

v Buffalo Bills

10th (1.5)

22nd (23.4)

18th (239.5)

v Kansas City Chiefs

22nd (1.8)

12th (22.2)

12th (231.8)

@Indianapolis Colts

12th (1.5)

19th (23.2)

20th (245.1)


Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals


2020 Avg. passing TD allowed/game

2020 Avg. completions allowed/game

2020 Avg. passing yards allowed/game

@Tennessee Titans

27th 2.1

28th 25.9

28th 270.8

v Minnesota Vikings

24th 1.9

14th 22.4

24th 258.8

@Jacksonville Jaguars

29th 2.1

18th 23.1

26th 264.4

@Los Angeles Rams

1st 1.2

6th 21.2

1st 193.8

v San Francisco Niners

13th 1.6

9th 21.3

4th 207.9

@Cleveland Browns

26th 2.0

26th 24.7

27th 265.4

v Houston Texans

23rd 1.9

23rd 23.6

23rd 256.5


Andy Dalton/Justin Fields, Chicago Bears


2020 Avg. Passing TD Allowed/game

2020 Avg. Completions Allowed/game

2020 Avg. Passing Yards Allowed/game

@Los Angeles Rams 1st ranked 1.2 6th ranked 21.2 1st ranked 193.8
v Cincinnati Bengals 25th 2.0 7th 21.2 19th 241.2
@Cleveland Browns 26th 2.0 26th 24.7 27th 265.4
v Detroit Lions 32nd 2.4 24th 23.9 31st 284.9
v Green Bay Packers 11th 1.5 11th 21.5 7th 220.1
@Tampa Bay Buccaneers 18th 1.8 30th 26.6 21st 249.1
v San Francisco Niners 13th 1.6 9th 21.3 4th 207.9


Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

@Las Vegas Raiders 17th ranked 1.8 17th ranked 23.1 25th ranked 263.2
v Kansas City Chiefs 22nd 1.8 12th 22.2 12th 231.8
@Detroit Lions 32nd 2.4 24th 23.9 31st 284.9
@Denver Broncos 3rd 1.3 20th 23.4 15th 237.9
v Indianapolis Colts 12th 1.5 19th 23.2 20th 245.1
v Los Angeles Chargers 21st 1.8 8th 21.2 9th 223.6
v Cincinnati Bengals 25th 2.0 7th 21.2 19th 241.2


Quarterback Notes

Remember how fast Russell Wilson started last season? His first three games will be against the Colts, Titans, and Vikings until he runs into the Niners, Rams, and Steelers defense.

While Chicago Bears’ first game will be against the number one defense in most statistical categories, their next three are against defenses in the bottom seven.  The three after that are against defenses that are mid-range against the pass.

The big question is, when will Fields start?  Cleveland’s defense upgraded with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney, Anthony Walker Jr., rookie Greg Newsome and others, so their stats from last season are slightly misleading.


Running Backs

Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

Team 2020 Avg. Rushing TD Allowed/game 2020 Avg. Rushing Attempts Allowed/game 2020 Avg. Rushing Yards Allowed/game
@Buffalo Bills 7th ranked 1.3 13th ranked 26.4 20th ranked 123.2
v Las Vegas Raiders 30th 1.5 22nd 27.4 23rd 125.8
v Cincinnati Bengals 7th 0.8 25th 28.9 29th 148.0
@Green Bay Packers 15th 1.0 5th 24.4 10th 109.8
v Denver Broncos 28th 1.4 19th 27.1 25th 130.0
v Seattle Seahawks 22nd 1.1 10th 25.6 5th 99.6
@Cleveland Browns 17th 1.0 8th 25.1 9th 108.2


Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

Team 2020 Avg. Rushing TD Allowed/game 2020 Avg. Rushing Attempts Allowed/game 2020 Avg. Rushing Yards Allowed/game
@Kansas City Chiefs 9th  ranked  0.8 14th ranked  26.6 19th ranked 123.2
v Houston Texans 31st 1.5 30th 30.8 32nd 160.2
v Chicago Bears 4th 0.7 24th 27.8 14th 113.9
@Minnesota Vikings 24th 1.2 27th 29.5 27th 134.4
@Los Angeles Chargers 18th 1.1 15th 26.7 17th 119.8
v Arizona Cardinals 8th 0.8 21st 27.2 21st 125.5
v Denver Broncos 28th 1.4 19th 27.1 25th 130.0


Melvin Gordon / Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos

Team Avg. Rushing TD Allowed/game Avg. Rushing Attempts Allowed/g Avg. Rushing Yards Allowed/g
@New York Giants 10th ranked 0.9 18th ranked 27.0 11th ranked 111.4
@Jacksonville Jaguars 29th 1.4 32nd 32.3 30th 153.2
v New York Jets 16th 1.0 23rd 27.8 12th 112.0
v Baltimore Ravens 2nd 0.7 2nd 23.3 6th 101.3
@Pittsburgh Steelers 12th 0.9 12th 26.2 13th 112.4
@Cleveland Browns 17th 1.0 8th 25.1 9th 108.2
v WFT 11th 0.9 17th 26.9 15th 114.5


Running Back Notes

Last season the Baltimore Ravens ran the ball the most in the NFL, running at 55.04% of their offensive plays.

Pittsburgh ran the ball only 34.52% of the time.  The acquisition of Harris suggests they may run more, but Harris can also be utilized catching passes out of the backfield.

Cleveland ran the ball on 47.78% of their offensive plays (fourth in the league), while Denver was 12th, running the ball on 42.91% of their offensive plays.

Per Footballdatabase.com

Bottom-Eight Teams versus TEs: Targets, Receptions, Yards, and Touchdowns Allowed 2020

Atlanta Falcons 122 targets 91 receptions 956 yards 10 touchdowns
New York Jets 135 targets 91 receptions 1105 yards 14 touchdowns
Chicago Bears 129 targets 90 receptions 962 yards 13 touchdowns
Philadelphia Eagles 107 targets 80 receptions 835 yards 9 touchdowns
Jacksonville Jaguars 97 targets 66 receptions 833 yards 13 touchdowns
Cleveland Browns 127 targets 90 receptions 907 yards 10 touchdowns
Kansas City Chiefs 121 targets 84 receptions 954 yards 9 touchdowns
Carolina Panthers 129 targets 91 receptions 905 yards 8 touchdowns

Unless you drafted Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Mark Andrews, or Kyle Pitts, you will be streaming your tight ends this season.

Good luck! Come talk at me on Twitter @gladysLtyler.

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