NFL 2022 schedule analysis: The hardest, easiest fantasy football opponents and many more

Tonight's release of the NFL schedule means that we are one step closer to the 2022 season.

This article will examine the slate from the bottom up, including the nuts and bolts of both an NFL and a MLB perspective. fantasy football standpoint. How does this schedule affect the fantasy landscape Which players are having the most difficulty? Which 14 teams will reach the NFL playoffs and which 13 won't? Let's take a look at the draft order for 2023.

Before we get into the details, some housekeeping. Since removing Week 18 would only have a small impact on the findings of the results, it is included in the fantasy category. Second, and perhaps most important, strength of schedule evaluation isn't based on 2021 final records. That is often what you'll find in this type column. The offseason saw a lot more roster movement, and many of the injured players will be back in action. All of this is taken into account when each team calculates their 2022 prospects. It is my evaluation of each roster, not last year's performance that I use to create the hardest and most challenging schedules.

Below is the next step to prepare for the 2022 NFL season and fantasy football seasons.

Easiest opposing defenses for fantasy

1. Washington Commanders:Last season, Washington's offense was disappointing (losing the starting QB). Ryan FitzpatrickThe team's performance in Week 1 was not good, but the 2022 schedule may be more appealing. Washington's most difficult games are against Green Bay at home and trips to San Francisco, Indianapolis and San Francisco. There are many interesting matchups available, including the Lions Bears Falcons Falcons Texans and Jaguars. Six games against the NFC East are also not too daunting, since the Giants' defense has taken a step back in the offseason, and the Cowboys will be experiencing serious turnover regression to their mean. You can see the likes of Carson Wentz, Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Logan ThomasThe rookie Jahan DotsonYou will reap the benefits

2. Green Bay Packers:Green Bay greatly benefits from six games against NFC North. The defenses of both the Bears and Lions are not in the best shape. While the Vikings have made some improvements, there are still many holes. There aren't many intimidating matchups for the Packers, with Buffalo being the most frightening. While the Patriots, Rams, Cowboys and Patriots might have been difficult last season, none are as good as they appear this season. The likes of Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Allen Lazard, Christian Watson Robert Tonyan.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars:Jacksonville overhauled large portions of its offense in the offseason. The new-look unit now has a 2022 slate. Three of the games are against Houston and Detroit x2, two of the league's weakest defenses. The Jaguars also face the rebuilding Jets. A Giants defense took a step back in the offseason. The Colts (x2) are their most difficult matchup. There are no elite defenses on this schedule. The second-year quarterback is worth mentioning (more later). Trevor Lawrence11 games against defenses that allowed fantasy points to QBs last year will be played.

For fantasy, the most difficult defenses

1. Atlanta Falcons:Atlanta's offense is one of the worst in the league. A tough schedule will only make it worse for what could be a difficult 2022. Although the Falcons are able to match up with Seattle (x2) and Chicago (x2), those are not the only positives. The Saints (x2), division rivals, remain an elite defense and the Buccaneers (2×2) are expected to be solid again. The schedule also includes the 49ers, Rams and Bengals. Of Atlanta's 17 scheduled games, 13 are against defenses expected to be average or higher. While we're already avoiding the majority of this offense in fantasy, this isn't good news for young prospects. Drake London Kyle Pitts.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers:Last season, Pittsburgh was 25th in offensive touchdowns. However, it had to deal with a difficult schedule. Things are not looking good for 2022. Matchups against the Falcons, Panthers, and Jets are the Steelers' most difficult games. However, two of those matchups are on the road. The Saints, Bills and Bengals (x2), Buccaneers, Colts, are their toughest opponents. It will be difficult for Cleveland (x2), Baltimore (x2) and Cleveland defenses to improve their health. Similar to Atlanta, Pittsburgh's quarterback is a question mark. This, combined with a difficult schedule and weak offensive lines, could mean that the Steelers' skill position players will continue to struggle with efficiency. When evaluating the likes Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool Pat Freiermuth.

3. Carolina Panthers:The Panthers will be facing the Falcons twice as much as the Falcons. They'll also have to face the Saints and Buccaneers twice as well as the 49ers and Rams. Carolina's schedule looks slightly more straightforward because they play the Broncos, Giants, and Lions. Atlanta has a tough trio of games (Commanders Chargers Bears), but Carolina's is a bit easier. The Panthers have again encountered QB problems this season.Sam DarnoldYet, he is still the expected starter), so concerns about the offense's effectiveness are magnified by the difficult schedule. You can see the likes of Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore Robby AndersonDo not suffer.

Upgrading and downgrading positional status

While we don’t want to get too involved in strength of the schedule based 2021 results I noticed that fantasy point allowed by position seems to correlate with projected fantasy strengthof schedule based 2022 rosters. The following chart shows each offense's schedule strength based on the performance of their opponents last season. Based on the 2021 results, it is clear that the Panthers will face the fourth-easiest schedule of wide receivers but the 24th most difficult (aka the ninth hardest) schedule for quarterbacks. Green = easy. Red = hard.

Below are some upgrades or downgrades solely based on this chart. However, you'll see some correlation with previous analysis.


QB: Daniel Jones(NYG), Trevor Lawrence(JAC). Russell Wilson (DEN)

RB: David Montgomery (CHI), Jonathan Taylor (IND), Javonte Williams (DEN)

WR: A.J. Brown DeVonta Smith (PHI); Kenny Golladay Kadarius Toney (NYG); CeeDee Lamb Michael Gallup (DAL)

TE: Evan Engram (JAC), Austin Hooper (TEN), Albert Okwuegbunam (DEN)


QB: Lamar Jackson (BAL), Zach Wilson (NYJ), Trey Lance (SF)

RB: Leonard Fournette (TB), Joe Mixon (CIN), Cam Akers (LAR), Miles Sanders (PHI)

WR: Rashod Bateman (BAL); Garrett Wilson Elijah Moore(NYJ); Chase Claypool (PIT); Diontae Johnson (NYJ);

TE: C.J. Uzomah (NYJ), Mark Andrews (BAL), Noah Fant (SEA), Darren Waller (LV)

The easiest overall NFL schedule

1-3. The NFC East:The Commanders (first), Eagles (2nd), Giants (3rd) and Cowboys (6th) all rank at the top or very close to the top. This is not surprising considering that they share most of their foes. Common foes are the NFC North and AFC South divisions. The league's worst teams are the Texans, Jaguars Bears, Bears, Lions, and Lions. But the Vikings Colts, Titans, and Colts aren’t too intimidating either. It is easy to say that these two divisions are among the league's weakest. Washington, with its “unique” games being the 49ers and Falcons, as well as the Browns, is a great roster. The league's most straightforward schedule should put the Commanders in contention for a playoff slot.

4. Detroit Lions:Detroit's slate is the most straightforward in the NFC, despite being the Eastern division. It's a major shift since the Lions came into 2021 with one among the most challenging slates in the NFC. They will be playing two games against Chicago as well as showsdowns with the Seahawks and Panthers, Jaguars (x2), Giants, Giants, Giants, Jets, and Giants (x2). Their toughest matches include the Cowboys, Bills and, of all things, the Packers (x2). Although Detroit's defense still has some work to do, the offense is doing well. The Lions are a wild-card contender in the NFC thanks to their friendly schedule.

5. Indianapolis Colts:The Colts are the AFC's easiest team. The Colts will face the Jaguars and Texans two times, which is a major reason. However, matchups with Giants and a Steelers team that has serious QB issues are also reasons. Indianapolis' schedule isn't full of intimidating games. The Chargers' and Chiefs' toughest matchups are both at their home. The Colts have one of the most talented rosters in the AFC South. An appealing schedule will allow them to push for a return trip to the playoffs.

The toughest NFL schedule

1. Kansas City Chiefs:This season, the Chiefs face the Texans and Jaguars as well as Seahawks. Because it was the end of their schedule, I made sure to get that out of my way as soon as possible. Yes, it's That tough. It all starts in the league's most popular division. Six games against Chargers (added) is where the pain begins. J.C. Jackson Khalil Mack), Broncos (Russell Wilson) Raiders (Davante Adams and Chandler Jones) will be harder than ever. The Chiefs will face the following opponents: Bengals 49ers, Cardinals Bills Bills Titans Colts Colts Rams and Buccaneers. Yikes. Everything except the Colts, who added Matt Ryan) made the playoffs last season, and all eight teams can safely be considered anywhere from “solid” to “great” on paper. The Tyreek HillIn 2022, the hands of the Chiefs-less will be full.

2. Pittsburgh SteelersFor the second consecutive season, the Steelers are ranked second on this list. The AFC North will be facing the AFC East, NFC South divisions. This will mean tough games against Bills and Buccaneers but also some easier ones against the Falcons, Panthers and Jets. Pittsburgh's greatest problem is that the AFC North division is probably the league’s second-best. The AFC champion Bengals look better than they did in 2021. The Ravens will probably rebound after their worst season ever and a strong Browns roster. Deshaun Watson. Mike Tomlin is a winning coach who has never lost a season. However, with the team's questionable QB situation, 2022 will be challenging.

3. Los Angeles Rams:The defending Super Bowl champions are not by accident — they have the most difficult schedule in the NFC. Los Angeles has some relatively easy games (Falcons and Panthers, Seahawks, x2) but every other match is against a legitimate playoff contender, or an elite team. The 49ers (x2) are included. Also, the Cardinals (x2) are included. The NFC West sent three teams last season to the playoffs. While it is possible they will again (see below), it will be a tough challenge.

AFC seed projections

1. Bills (bye); 2. Bengals; 3. Chargers; 4. Colts; 5. Chiefs; 6. Ravens; 7. Broncos

The AFC is stacked. Many good teams will not make the playoffs. Buffalo was a Super Bowl contender last year and actually strengthened/solidified its roster in the offseason. The Bills are undoubtedly the league's most formidable team. The AFC champion Bengals, who have a proven track record of fixing their obvious weakness (offensive lines), has been crowned a conference favorite. While the AFC West is a strong wager to send three teams to playoffs, one team (the Raiders) must not be there. The Colts have an appealing schedule and made offseason improvements that give them an advantage over Tennessee for AFC South. Baltimore is now in full health after suffering a string of injuries last year, and is ready for the postseason.

NFC Seeds Projected

1. Packers (bye); Buccaneers; 3. Cowboys; 4. Rams; 5. Saints; 6. Cardinals; 7. 49ers

The AFC is loaded but the NFC seems weak. This makes it easy to expect some pedestrian teams in this tournament, especially considering the strength of the schedule. This does not include the Cowboys, Cowboys, Rams, and Packers, which are four of the best conference teams and great bets to win again as division champions. This does not include the Saints team that has a solid defense but some questions on the offense, nor the Washington club with an easy schedule. Although I do have three NFC West teams, it's essentially a toss up for the final wild-card spots. Trey Lance, an inexperienced player for the 49ers, is expected to be replaced by them. Jimmy Garoppolo under center. Here, Washington, Minnesota, Philadelphia and others missed the cut.

Projection 2023 NFL Draft Top 5

1. Texans; 2. Falcons; 3. Seahawks; 4. Panthers; 5. Bears

The top six picks in April's draft came from the five teams expected to pick among the top five picks last season. Carolina and Houston are both good options to be contenders for the first pick. Both have very shaky rosters that include some of the league’s weakest QB positions. Atlanta also fits the bill, especially with Marcus MariotaThird-round rookie Desmond Ridder under center. After Russell Wilson's departure to Denver, Seattle has been in rebuilding mode. Although the Bears are also in rebuilding mode, it is a huge leap from their previous years. Justin FieldsCould propel them up the rankings a bit.

Leave a Comment