NFL Schedule Release: Fantasy Football Losers

NFL Schedule Release: Fantasy Football Losers

by May 16, 2021 0 comments

This past week, the NFL rolled out its full 18-week calendar for the 2021 regular season. Now that we know the exact sequence of games, let’s take a look at 10 players whose stocks will take the biggest hit from Wednesday’s schedule drop.

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Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Mixon continuously polarizes the fantasy football community, with some folks committed to his hype train and others no longer willing to be patient. Unfortunately for his truthers, Mixon will hit a really tough schedule to open the 2021 season. From Weeks 1 to 3, the Bengals’ back will face the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh. The middle of his season isn’t awful, but come Week 14, he’ll be up against another trio of stingy teams in the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and Baltimore Ravens.

Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Starting in Week 14, Jefferson (or Adam Thielen) will kick off a very tricky four-game stretch against some of the game’s top corners. Jefferson has proven that he is one of the league’s top receivers and can overcome hard matchups, but these will still hurt his stock. He goes toe-to-toe with the Steelers and Bears, which are moderately challenging games, then gets hit with clashes against Jalen Ramsey‘s Los Angeles Rams and Jaire Alexander‘s Green Bay Packers.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

What’s worse than running behind a porous offensive line? Running through a porous offensive line when there’s a brick wall on the other side. Jacobs opens the season against the Ravens, Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, Bears, and Broncos. The third-year-back is a talented runner who won’t waver at stingy matchups, but his value is sure to take a hit throughout the first six weeks of the season. His fantasy playoffs aren’t super enticing, either, as he faces the Cleveland Browns, Broncos, and Indianapolis Colts from Weeks 15 to 17.

Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos

Fant is one of fantasy football’s most exciting young players, with many in the community patiently awaiting his breakout once Denver figures out its quarterback situation. However, these truthers may want to avert their eyes for the first five weeks of the season. Fant goes up against tricky safety matchups in the New York Giants, New York Jets, and Steelers. In Week 4, he’ll face the Ravens, whose intelligent defensive unit could be a headache for the entire Broncos offense, not just Fant. At least he gets a Week 2 bout with the Jaguars sprinkled in.

Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets

It remains to be seen what rookie Michael Carter‘s workload will look like, but he appears to be the current frontrunner for the lead role. The North Carolina product’s first three regular-season games come against tricky defensive line matchups in the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, and Denver Broncos. The road gets fairly easier in the middle of the season, though he does have six total games against the Patriots, Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills. Finally, Carter will run against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ ferocious front in the Week 17 fantasy championship.

Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees retired and Thomas himself is battling an injury. That should be all that is needed to hurt his stock, right? Wrong. Let’s sprinkle in a painful schedule, too. Thomas opens the year against the Packers and Alexander, then goes head-to-head with the stingy Carolina, New England, New York (NFC), and Washington secondaries before a bye week. Meanwhile, in the fantasy playoffs, he’ll oppose Xavien Howard and the Dolphins in Week 16, then go up against rookie Jaycee Horn and his Panthers in Week 17.

Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brady has a tricky schedule this season. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t draft him, of course. After all, he’s Tom Brady. Still, it’s worth noting that Brady is looking at a really tricky stretch of games from Weeks 3 to 7. For the first four weeks of this nasty stretch, he’ll be throwing into tricky cornerback units belonging to the Rams, Patriots, Dolphins, and Philadelphia Eagles. Don’t forget the pass-rush ability of Aaron Donald in Week 4, either. Then, in Week 7, the Bears come to town. Their defense isn’t as scary as it was last season because they parted with Kyle Fuller and are allowing Akiem Hicks to seek a trade. Still, Hicks is on the roster and Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, and others in the defense represent major threats.

Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

The Bills still can’t seem to figure out their backfield, but when they do, Singletary will likely be atop the depth chart. Things aren’t going to come easy for him, though, thanks to a couple of tough schedule breaks. For starters, he opens the season against three relentless defenses in the Rams, Dolphins, and Washington Football Team. Then, from Weeks 11 to 16, he has to run against the Colts, Saints, Patriots, Buccaneers, Panthers, and Patriots again. The passing game’s brilliance does allow the running game to have more success, but the chips still didn’t fall Buffalo’s way when the NFL constructed its schedule.

Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Chase has a couple of patches of tough scheduling spaced out throughout the season, meaning he likely will struggle to get into a groove. This starts with the Packers in Week 5 and Ravens in Week 7. Fast forward to the back half of the season, where he sees the Steelers in Week 12, then the Broncos and Ravens in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively. The LSU product is going to have a huge season, but there will certainly be some obstacles in his way.

Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

Don’t let Chubb’s tough schedule scare you too much, but it should be noted that he has to run against the Ravens’ and Steelers’ defensive lines twice each this season. One scheduling quirk that warrants consideration occurs in the back half of the season. In Week 12, Chubb will oppose the Ravens. Next, in Week 13, he’ll be on a bye. In Week 14, he gets the Ravens again. For three weeks in a row, owners will have to prepare for limited or, in Week 13, no production out of the bruising back. To make matters worse, Cleveland faces off against the Steelers when fantasy championships are happening in Week 17.


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Andersen is a teenage sportswriter and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Prime Time Sports Talk, Sports Illustrated Kids, FantasyPros, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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