Using Strength of Schedule to Find Ideal D/ST Pairings

Using Strength of Schedule to Find Ideal D/ST Pairings

If you play in a best-ball league or a deep league with large rosters, it can be extremely beneficial to know which fantasy D/STs you can pair together to ensure you have a favorable matchup every week.

The matrix below shows how well the schedule of each D/ST pairs with every other D/ST's schedule to provide at least one strong fantasy matchup every week. A grade of A is excellent, B is good, C is average, and you might as well avoid the D and F graded combos, which are below-average and poor, respectively.

More 2018 Positional Draft Strategies: IDP

For instance, pairing Arizona and New England forms an A-minus schedule, which means one or the other should have a relatively exploitable matchup nearly every week, while a committee of Kansas City and Atlanta will form a D+ combo, which means both D/STs will have difficult matchups simultaneously in many weeks.

Using this information, you can find the best D/ST pairings, like a great beer and burger combo, and ensure you'll always have the potential for a high-upside week.

D/ST By Committee Matrix


Below are five D/STs you can get in the later rounds that have schedules which are easy to pair up with many other D/STs. Some of the best matchups are listed in parenthesis.

Arizona Cardinals (WAS, CHI, DEN)

The Cardinals are a good D/ST1 target as there are at least eight D/ST combinations that provide a B grade or higher when pairing them with Arizona. Buffalo ranked 17th in sacks last season and now move from a base 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, which should help their pass-rush continue to post good numbers. On the defensive line, Chandler Jones will move to the edge with his hand in the dirt and Markus Golden will join him. Arizona's defense averaged just over seven fantasy points per game last season.

Arizona's D/ST has a favorable ADP of 171 overall. You won't need to a spend too high of a draft pick on them—right around the 14th or 15th round. They are a perfect late-round target and are comparable to Jacksonville heading into the season.

New England Patriots (MIAx2, IND, @CHI, BUFx2, NYJx2)

Any defense that has the QB schedule New England has will warrant consideration and get my attention. The Patriots are lucky to face the Jets twice and the Bills twice, who are more than likely starting rookie QBs. The Dolphins lost one of their key offensive weapons in Jarvis Landry to the Browns. Pairing New England's defense with practically any other defense will give you an A grade.

The Patriots added pass-rush specialist Adrian Clayborn in free agency. Clayborn generated a 12.1 percent pressure rate and recorded 9.5 sacks—although six of those sacks came in one game. They also added Jason McCourty and have Stephon Gilmore at corner. Last season, the Patriots' defense produced eight fantasy points per game and they are currently being drafted as one of the final defenses. In the words of Cosmo Kramer, "Giddy up!!!!"

Miami Dolphins (NYJx2, BUFx2, CHI, DET, @CIN)

Continue reading to see why the Dolphins are a great streaming defense in 2018, as well as which other defenses Mike believes are ideal streamers and two Week 1 defenses with fantastic matchups you should target.

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