QB Rankings by Strength of Schedule

Heading into your draft it is important that you have a feel for the schedule that the player your drafting has this season.  In fact, I think an understanding of the schedule and playoff matchups is one of the most important qualities to know about your pick.  Right up there with ADP, projected points and competition at the position.  I have taken a look at where every defense finished last year with respect to points allowed, rushing TDs and passing TD’s allowed, then accounted for impactful additions and subtractions to the unit and have a ranking of the best to worst defenses for 2020.  With that information I have looked over every player’s opponent for 2020 and have ranked the Quarterbacks based on their strength of schedule.  This is ONLY based on SOS and nothing else.  Use this when deciding between 2 QB’s or selecting your backup. 

Let me explain the point system for my SOS: Each QB gets 2 points for a great matchup 1 for good, 0 points for neutral – those are used to break ties, -1 for a bad matchup and -2 for awful.  A Great matchup is one against a bottom 3 defense 32-30, a good matchup is against a D ranked 29-21, neutral is 11-20, bad is against a D ranked 6-10 and awful is a D ranked 1-5.  These ranges are to account for some error in the equation; maybe an injury or players that upgrade or downgrade year over year at a great rate than projected.  The Neutral game count is used as a tie-breaker with the player that has more neutral matchups getting the edge.  Now, without further ado, here are the best QB schedules for 2020:

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Key: Rank) Player Name | SOS Score in bold | (number of neutral matchups – tie breaker) | Notes.

32) DeShaun Watson -8 (7) Four bad matchups to start but a potentially great finals matchup, if you manage to get there with him.

31) Ryan Tannehill -5 (7) Very rough start, 3 bad matchups in a row wk 3,4,5

29T) Ryan Fitzpatrick/Miami QB -4 (4) No great matchups and a bad start, 4 out of 7 first games will set him and you back.

29T) Josh Allen -4 (4) No great matchups but a good start to year but bad playoffs vs PIT, @Den and @NE

27T) Drew Lock -3 (3) 4 of his 7 bad matchups come late.  You might start well with him, but he won't carry you the distance.

27T) Cam Newton -3 (3) First 2 weeks are good, no great matchups and an awful potential finals matchup vs BUF

26) Sam Darnold -3 (4) Too many bad matchups to start.  First 9 weeks he'll have 6 of them.

25) Gardner Minshew -2 (5) Nice first half of year but bad second half.  1 bad matchup between week 1-10 and then 3 awful matchups and 1 bad in the remaining 6 weeks plus a rough playoff road vs BAL and CHI.

24) Russell Wilson -1 (3) 7 good matchups and a good looking playoff schedule.  Would have been nice to have one or 2 great matchups to offset the 3 awful matchups vs NE, MIN, BUF.

23) Baker Mayfield -1 (5) No great matchups but 6 that are good. Including the last 2 weeks of the playoffs.

22) Philip Rivers -1 (6) Don't hate his schedule, don't love it either.  A bad finals matchup swings the balance

20T) Joe Burrow 0 (4) Good back half of reg season schedule after Pit but it gets rough week 14 and 15, Finals matchup looks good if you get there.

20T) Lamar Jackson 0 (4) 4 of first 5 are great and playoffs look good but weeks 7-13 could be rough.

19) Ben Roethlisberger 0 (5) Great first 6 weeks - won't see a bad matchup.  Weeks 7-14 is what could be his undoing – Bal 2x, Dal, Buf

18) Aaron Rodgers 0 (7) A very even keel schedule and an ok playoff outlook

17) Jared Goff 1 (1) It's either good or bad, nothing in between.  Nice week 15 and 16 matchups if you get past week 14 vs NE

14T) Derek Carr 1 (3) A very even schedule but the bad games come at bad times, at the start (weeks 3-5 which could put you in the hole) and in the finals which could burry your title hopes.

14T) Carson Wentz 1 (3) Up & Down start, 3 good then 3 bad & a bad finals matchup vs DAL

14T) Kyler Murray 1 (3) Potentially bad finals matchup vs SF

13) Patrick Mahomes 1 (5) 4 of first 6 games will be his hardest stretch – narrative of Mahomes dropping off could happen but from week 7 on its green pastures and the playoffs look great.

12) Matt Ryan 1 (6) Good schedule, a nice run is possible from weeks 7-13 but week 14 could be a trap at LAC. 

11) Tom Brady 1 (7) Mostly a neutral season but really bad week 14/first round playoff/final reg season matchup vs MIN

8T) Dwayne Haskins 2 (3) Has a chance to start well, first ugly matchup isn't until week 4 and if he can get you there, the playoff matchups are ok after SF.

8T) Daniel Jones 2 (3) Great run from week 6 until the finals, all good to great matchups with just neutral matchups games vs Eagles.  Trouble is finals vs Ravens

8T) Dak Prescott 2 (3) A lot of favorable matchups, especially early.  Tough semi-final playoff matchup vs SF looms

6T) Jimmy Garoppolo 2 (5) 4 out of first 5 weeks are good, 2 out of 3 playoff weeks are good, only 3 bad weeks all year

6T) Drew Brees 2 (5) 3 great matchups so a nice regular season is teed up, but potentially awful Finals matchups vs MIN

5) Teddy Bridgewater 3 (5) Only 1 awful matchup and a nice finals opportunity.

4) Tyrod Taylor/LAC QB 3 (6) 5 of his 6 positive matchups are in the first 7 weeks so a chance to look good but it gets rough the second half.

3) Trubisky/Foles/Bears QB 3 (8) 8 neutral matchups for Bears QBs so it could go either way.  In their favor is 5 positive matchups to 2 negative matchups.

2) Matthew Stafford 4 (6) Only 3 bad matchups and a great H2H vs TB for the finals

1) Kirk Cousins 4 (7) Doesn't have a bad matchup until week 10.  Only 3 bad matchups all year long - no awful matchups.

In the end, what this tells you is that late selections of Stafford, whoever starts for the Bears and Tyrod Taylor could be great QB 2 options or backup QBs.  This allows you to focus on the other skill positions before taking your second QB.

This also tells me that Kirk Cousins could come busting out of the gates and so could Teddy Bridgewater, both good QB1 options that have favorable schedules.  Then on the other side of the coin, it looks bad for Watson and Tannehill, so you could see a down year for Watson and a year that appears to be a regression to the norm for Tannehill.  This killed any chances of me drafting my boy, Josh Allen, which sucks but I’m not winning a fantasy title with him as my QB.

Good luck this season!  Find me on Twitter @JimRileyLive for more sports talk throughout the day.

Feature Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

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