Quarterback Draft Strategy: First half strength of schedule

Ben Roethlisberger in a black Steelers jersey launching a deep pass

Last week we took a look at the running back strength of schedule heading into 2017, and today we turn our attention to the quarterbacks! The original methodology is straightforward, as we look at last year’s passing defense numbers, and assign the defenses a rank from 1-32 based on how many passing yards they allowed (1 being the best defense, the Denver Broncos, and 32 being the worst, the New Orleans Saints).

I mentioned it last week, but it bears repeating that the numbers from year to year are not perfectly correlated. In fact, going back to 2010 reddit user matt13jones found that the r-squared statistic comes in at about 0.12. It was also suggested that lumping the defenses into tiers, instead of a straight 1-32 ranking would produce more meaningful results, so I have added that chart as well.

Quarterback strength of schedule 2017 (Using 1-32 rankings)

On this chart, 1 is the worst schedule, 32 is best. So the Steelers have the toughest S.O.S for QB’s, MIA has the best.

TEAM 1stHalfPassing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 PIT 11.63 CLE MIN CHI BAL JAX KC CIN DET
2 TB 12.38 MIA CHI MIN NYG NE ARI BUF CAR
3 BAL 12.75 CIN CLE JAX PIT OAK CHI MIN MIA
4 TEN 12.75 OAK JAX SEA HOU MIA IND CLE BYE
5 IND 12.88 LAR ARI CLE SEA SF TEN JAX CIN
6 HOU 13.13 JAX CIN NE TEN KC CLE BYE SEA
7 ATL 13.38 CHI GB DET BUF BYE MIA NE NYJ
8 LAC 13.38 DEN MIA KC PHI NYG OAK DEN NE
9 DAL 13.50 NYG DEN ARI LAR GB BYE SF WSH
10 LAR 13.63 IND WSH SF DAL SEA JAX ARI BYE
11 NYG 13.63 DAL DET PHI TB LAC DEN SEA BYE
12 JAX 13.88 HOU TEN BAL NYJ PIT LAR IND BYE
13 CIN 14.00 BAL HOU GB CLE BUF BYE PIT IND
14 KC 14.13 NE PHI LAC WSH HOU PIT OAK DEN
15 CLE 14.38 PIT BAL IND CIN NYJ HOU TEN MIN
16 GB 14.38 SEA ATL CIN CHI DAL MIN NO BYE
17 NO 14.50 MIN NE CAR MIA BYE DET GB CHI
18 WSH 14.75 PHI LAR OAK KC BYE SF PHI DAL
19 CAR 15.63 SF BUF NO NE DET PHI CHI TB
20 OAK 15.75 TEN NYJ WSH DEN BAL LAC KC BUF
21 NYJ 15.75 BUF OAK MIA JAX CLE NE MIA ATL
22 ARI 16.38 DET IND DAL SF PHI TB LAR BYE
23 BUF 16.50 NYJ CAR DEN ATL CIN BYE TB OAK
24 DET 16.88 ARI NYG ATL MIN CAR NO BYE PIT
25 SEA 17.13 GB SF TEN IND LAR BYE NYG HOU
26 DEN 17.13 LAC DAL BUF OAK BYE NYG LAC KC
27 SF 17.75 CAR SEA LAR ARI IND WSH DAL PHI
28 MIN 19.63 NO PIT TB DET CHI GB BAL CLE
29 PHI 19.75 WSH KC NYG LAC ARI CAR WSH SF
30 NE 21.00 KC NO HOU CAR TB NYJ ATL LAC
31 CHI 21.25 ATL TB PIT GB MIN BAL CAR NO
32 MIA 21.88 TB LAC NYJ NO TEN ATL NYJ BAL

Quarterback strength of schedule 2017 (Using tiered approach)

TEAM 1stHalfPassing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 LAC 2.00 DEN MIA KC PHI NYG OAK DEN NE
2 DAL 2.00 NYG DEN ARI LAR GB BYE SF WSH
3 PIT 2.13 CLE MIN CHI BAL JAX KC CIN DET
4 TEN 2.13 OAK JAX SEA HOU MIA IND CLE BYE
5 HOU 2.13 JAX CIN NE TEN KC CLE BYE SEA
6 NYG 2.13 DAL DET PHI TB LAC DEN SEA BYE
7 KC 2.13 NE PHI LAC WSH HOU PIT OAK DEN
8 TB 2.25 MIA CHI MIN NYG NE ARI BUF CAR
9 BAL 2.25 CIN CLE JAX PIT OAK CHI MIN MIA
10 IND 2.25 LAR ARI CLE SEA SF TEN JAX CIN
11 LAR 2.25 IND WSH SF DAL SEA JAX ARI BYE
12 ATL 2.38 CHI GB DET BUF BYE MIA NE NYJ
13 JAX 2.38 HOU TEN BAL NYJ PIT LAR IND BYE
14 CIN 2.38 BAL HOU GB CLE BUF BYE PIT IND
15 GB 2.38 SEA ATL CIN CHI DAL MIN NO BYE
16 NO 2.38 MIN NE CAR MIA BYE DET GB CHI
17 WSH 2.38 PHI LAR OAK KC BYE SF PHI DAL
18 BUF 2.38 NYJ CAR DEN ATL CIN BYE TB OAK
19 CLE 2.50 PIT BAL IND CIN NYJ HOU TEN MIN
20 OAK 2.50 TEN NYJ WSH DEN BAL LAC KC BUF
21 DET 2.50 ARI NYG ATL MIN CAR NO BYE PIT
22 CAR 2.63 SF BUF NO NE DET PHI CHI TB
23 NYJ 2.63 BUF OAK MIA JAX CLE NE MIA ATL
24 ARI 2.63 DET IND DAL SF PHI TB LAR BYE
25 SEA 2.63 GB SF TEN IND LAR BYE NYG HOU
26 DEN 2.63 LAC DAL BUF OAK BYE NYG LAC KC
27 SF 2.75 CAR SEA LAR ARI IND WSH DAL PHI
28 PHI 2.88 WSH KC NYG LAC ARI CAR WSH SF
29 MIN 3.00 NO PIT TB DET CHI GB BAL CLE
30 NE 3.13 KC NO HOU CAR TB NYJ ATL LAC
31 CHI 3.13 ATL TB PIT GB MIN BAL CAR NO
32 MIA 3.25 TB LAC NYJ NO TEN ATL NYJ BAL

Conclusions:

  • Miami (Ryan Tannehill) clearly has the easiest projected strength of schedule based on both charts.  Tannehill could make for an interesting sleeper pick in the final rounds come draft day.
  • Pittsburgh (Ben Roethlisberger) has either the toughest 1st half S.O.S or the 3rd toughest depending on which chart you use. At his age, it is fair to wonder if Big Ben will be able to consistently overcome the matchup to put up viable QB1 numbers in the first half.
  • New England (Tom Brady) has the 3rd easiest strength of schedule on both charts, which should help cement Tom Terrific’s draft position in the top 3 QB’s this season.

Check out the 2nd half quarterback strength of schedule!

Here are the tiers and the value assigned to each defense:

PassYds PYds/G Tier
DEN 2972 185.8 0
HOU 3226 201.6 1
MIN 3327 207.9 1
ARI 3365 210.3 1
JAX 3444 215.2 1
BUF 3582 223.9 2
CHI 3598 224.9 2
SEA 3612 225.8 2
BAL 3724 232.8 2
LAR 3732 233.2 2
CIN 3800 237.5 2
NE 3806 237.9 2
PHI 3832 239.5 2
SF 3848 240.5 3
MIA 3875 242.2 3
PIT 3882 242.6 3
NYJ 3898 243.6 3
KC 3958 247.4 3
DET 3975 248.4 3
LAC 3987 249.2 3
CLE 3996 249.8 3
TB 4012 250.8 3
NYG 4018 251.1 3
OAK 4120 257.5 3
WSH 4130 258.1 3
DAL 4167 260.4 4
IND 4200 262.5 4
ATL 4267 266.7 4
CAR 4291 268.2 4
TEN 4307 269.2 4
GB 4308 269.2 4
NO 4380 273.8 4
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