July 14, 2020

Schedule Breakdown: AFC East

This is the first in a series of articles breaking down the opening and closing of the team schedules for the AFC East. Yes, whether teams have fans in the stands will definitely have an impact on home-field advantage that will only be realized after we’ve seen a few games. But at this point, there are some definite takeaways that could sway toward picking or staying away from certain players.  

Ryan Fitzpatrick brought his Fitz Magic to the Dolphins during the second half of 2019. Will he cede the starting QB job to Tua Tagovailoa?

We took the opening 5 weeks of the seasons to grade how every respective team’s schedule measures up to help teams get off to hot starts. And even though the temperature is plenty warm across the country, it’s never too early to take a peek ahead to the cold-weather days of fantasy playoff weeks 14-16 when snow or frigid temps could have an impact on offenses. The rankings next to each team show where each team ranked in total points allowed (with number of points allowed in parenthesis), passing yardage allowed and rushing yardage allowed.

1. NYJ #16 points (359) #17 pass #2 run
2. @MIA #32 points (494) #26 pass #27 run
3. LAR #17 points (364) #12 pass #19 run
4. @LV #24 points (419) #25 pass #8 run
5. @TEN #12 points (331) #24 pass #12 run

14. PIT #5 points (303) #13 pass #3 run
15. @DEN #10 points (316) #11 pass #16 run
16. @NE #1 points (225) #2 pass #6 run

Breakdown: Josh Allen opens with a relatively soft schedule for passing, as none of the first 5 opponents was in the top 10 in lowest points allowed nor passing yardage allowed. Expect the Jets week 1 to be less formidable defensively after trading away Jamal Adams. This should bode well for Stefon Diggs and John Brown to start hot, especially week 2 down at Miami if the Dolphin pass D doesn’t improve dramatically. Jalen Ramsey looms in week 3, but otherwise, Allen will feast certain weeks. Even though the Bills are on the road at Las Vegas and Tennessee weeks 4 and 5, respectively, both pass defenses gave up plenty of yardage last year.

The running game of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss will have tough sledding against the Jets, Raiders and Titans early on. Don’t be surprised if they struggle in all the games other than against the Dolphins.

The playoff schedule looks somewhat scary with top defensive squads in the Steelers and Patriots looming in weeks 14 and 16. The Broncos were improving defensively under HC Vic Fangio, who made his chops on that side of the ball. Be ready to either trade or fade some Bills before playoff weeks. 


1. @NE #1 points (225) #2 pass #6 run
2. BUF #2 points (259) #4 pass #10 run
3. @JAX #21 points (397) #16 pass #28 run
4. SEA #22 points (398) #27 pass #22 run
5. @SF #8 points (310) #1 pass #17 run

14. KC #7 points (308) #7 pass #26 run
15. NE #1 points (225) #2 pass #6 run
16. @LV #24 points (419) #25 pass #8 run

Breakdown: The Dolphins have a Murderer’s Row the first couple weeks traveling to the Patriots before hosting the Bills, as both should be stellar against the pass and the run. The Jordan Howard/Matt Breida run game will have a tough time getting rolling. The Jaguar game has shootout potential, which is good news for Ryan Fitzpatrick and co. By week 4, Seattle’s defense will know the impact of the Adams addition. Traveling to the 49ers in week 5 will be a lot to ask.

Even though they’re in the East, weather should not be an issue for the fair-weather Dolphins because they host the Chiefs and Patriots before going to play the Raiders in their dome. By that point there could be a changing of the guard for Tua Tagovailoa, which could drop down DeVante Parker’s production late. Parker and Mike Gesicki could be the only players from this offense who are start worthy during these crucial weeks.

1. @BUF #2 points (259) #4 pass #10 run
2. SF #8 points (310) #1 pass #17 run
3. @IND #18 points (373) #23 pass #7 run
4. DEN #10 points (316) #11 pass #16 run
5. AZ #28 points (442) #31 pass #24 run

14. @SEA #22 points (398) #27 pass #22 run
15. @LAR #17 points (364) #12 pass #19 run
16. CLE #20 points (393) #7 pass #30 run

Breakdown: Anyone hoping for Sam Darnold to break out and LeVeon Bell to bounce back, may have to wait through the first couple weeks, because the Bills and 49ers figure to be among the most formidable. Visiting the Colts in week 3 could be a mixed bag, as they’re good against the run, but not so much versus the pass. Hosting Denver, and all those young WRs may make Darnold jealous. Then the Cardinals come to town, and they’re hopeful Isaiah Simmons makes them better on defense to go with the upgrades on offense.

The first couple playoff weeks will be spent on the West Coast, as the Jets will more than likely stay local rather than travel back and forth across the country from Seattle and Los Angeles. Both teams will have good offenses, so Darnold may have to pass to keep up. If you’re alive in championship week, Bell going against a porous Cleveland run defense could be a late bonus. 

1. MIA #32 points (494) #26 pass #27 run
2. @SEA #22 points (398) #27 pass #22 run
3. LV #24 points (419) #25 pass #8 run
4. @KC #7 points (308) #7 pass #26 run
5. DEN #10 points (316) #11 pass #16 run

14. @LAR #17 points (364) #12 pass #19 run
15. @MIA #32 points (494) #26 pass #27 run
16. BUF #2 points (259) #4 pass #10 run

Breakdown: Yes, the memories of that 27-24 loss in week 17 last year to drop the Patriots out of the top seed of the AFC playoffs will be brought up many times during this week. Still, this looks like a soft opening the first 3 weeks of the season. If the Patriots and Sony Michel can get their running game going, that matchup with the Chiefs in week 4 is enticing. So it looks like Cam Newton (if he wins the job) and company will have plenty of opportunities to air it out early. 

The playoff schedule starts easy from the weather standpoint, as trips to play the Rams and Dolphins bring with them confrontations with potentially ascending defensive units. And week 16 brings with it hosting the Bills in what will surely be a defensive struggle, which isn’t a formula for fantasy success in championship week.

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