2023 IDP Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule for Defensive Backs
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Today I will provide my strength of schedule ratings for defensive backs. Like what FantasyPros and other websites do for offensive players, I did for the defensive side of the ball here. This shows how easy it will be for defensive backs to make interceptions in any given game, but the CB or S still needs to have good hands.
The Titans might have the most favorable strength of schedule for defensive players pursuing interceptions (good for Kevin Byard), but Packers CB Jaire Alexander still has a better chance of making an interception in any given game than does Titans S Andrew Adams. My model considers the difficulty of intercepting passes from the quarterbacks on each team’s schedule, how many pass attempts the opposing quarterbacks throw, and the pass attempts projected given each matchup.
Teams with Most Favorable Schedules for DBs
The first column shows the average amount of interceptions per game the average defense would be expected to make if it went up against the same schedule. For reference, the average number of interceptions per team per game in each season from 2016 through 2022 has been 0.8. Interceptions have been declining almost continuously since basically the inception of football.
The Titans get a boost by facing a lot of rookie quarterbacks. In their own division, they face the Colts’ Anthony Richardson and the Texans’ C.J. Stroud twice. Richardson threw interceptions on 3.8% of his passing attempts in college. The AFC South also faces the NFC South, which includes rookie Panthers QB Bryce Young, second-year Falcons QB Desmond Ridder, and erratic Bucs journeyman Baker Mayfield.
DBs to Target
Titans CB Roger McCreary
McCreary made six interceptions in his final three years at Auburn, but he only made one pick as a rookie. He should be due for regression, especially against a slate of passers who will let loose some errant passes.
Jaguars S Rayshawn Jenkins
Jenkins has the privilege of welcoming Richardson into the NFL in Week 1 and then faces the inaccurate young guy again in Week 6. Richardson is expected to start Week 1.
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Boost But Exercise Caution
Steelers CBs Patrick Peterson and Joey Porter Jr
Facing a schedule that includes Anthony Richardson (IND) and C.J. Stroud (HOU) as well as two games against a Deshaun Watson (CLE) who could be washed is good for Pittsburgh’s two corners, but both have reasons to be weary. Peterson had his best season since 2012 last year, making five interceptions and 15 pass defenses. But he hadn’t made more than three interceptions in a year for each of the nine preceding seasons. Porter was an early-second round draft pick, but he only made one interception in college. If he is valuable in IDP, it will be for his tackling ability.
Teams with Moderately Favorable Schedules for DBs
The Bengals face a mixed bag of quarterbacks, and their DBs’ luck could get better or worse depending on how a couple of questionable quarterbacks play. In their own division, they face Deshaun Watson and the Browns twice. If Watson is anywhere near as bad as he was last year, their cornerbacks could have even better seasons than expected. (Watson is expected to have an average INT percentage of 2.3% in these projections.) They also face the Rams in Week 3. Matt Stafford was out of sync with his receivers from Week 1 of last season.
Teams with Poor Schedules for DBs
Except for the New York Giants, every team in the NFC East faces tough quarterbacks who are careful with the football. The division faces the AFC East in interconference play, and new Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers consistently has one of the lowest interception rates of all passers. (He had the single lowest interception rate in the league every year from 2018 through 2021.) Pats QB Mac Jones and Bills QB Josh Allen might have INT rates that are slightly below average, but the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa is also below average.
My guy, Commanders CB Emmanuel Forbes, is, unfortunately, facing the third-toughest schedule for DBs to make interceptions, but he’s so talented I would still bet on him to overcome the disadvantage.
Don’t count on Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs to get back to double-digit interceptions, however. In his 11-pick year, he did feast on poor-quality quarterbacks. He intercepted Giants QB Mike Glennon twice, WFT QB Taylor Heinicke once, a rookie Mac Jones once, the Panthers’ Sam Darnold twice, and an aging Matt Ryan once on a sequence in which Ryan threw two interceptions in a row.
You can’t get IDP projections like this anywhere else
Best DB Strengths of Schedule for the Fantasy Playoffs
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose safety Antoine Winfield finished as a DB3 last season, have the easiest strength of schedule for DBs seeking INTs in the playoffs. Premium subscribers have access to full playoff SOS rankings, interception projections for quarterbacks, and online spreadsheets of all the data!
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