Fantasy Football: Ten Insights to the 2023 NFL Schedule Release

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Every year the NFL schedule is a puzzle and now we have the last piece of information we needed to start officially projecting: the order. We knew the who but now the when allows just to tighten some of our preconceived notions of how we draft for fantasy.

We analyzed the schedule recently on a Fantasy Footballers DFS & Betting Podcast episode as well as initial takes with  Win Totals & Schedule-Adjusted Forecasting for 2023.

Last year’s 10 Insights article nailed some early streaming options and beneficial schedules to pounce on in your fantasy drafts. There is still so much we don’t know regarding depth charts and situations as I explained earlier last week: Slow Down Buddy: Navigating Winners & Losers After the NFL Draft.

I’ll count down ten insights starting with a fun one to get you pumped about the season.

1. The NFL Social Media Super Bowl*

The NFL is incredible at milking every single opportunity for publicity and pomp. No other sport has its schedule released as a sort of holiday. I love baseball but 162 games just don’t have the same flair as 17 games we already knew existed. But the order! The order is everything, Kyle!

Social media teams for the NFL are geared up. This is kinda like their Super Bowl unveiling to their respective fan bases the order of the upcoming season. Here are a few of my favorite schedule release videos:

The Chargers’ social media team always kills it.

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I’m a fan of Spice Adams so this one hit me pretty well.

This Jaguars one is long but well worth your time.

But the Titans coming in hot with the most popular schedule release video of 2023. The premise is simple but the execution is so spot on. This was made for TikTok.

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2. Week 1… FIGHT!

Week 1 is always a treat and starts out with the Lions in Week 1 versus the defending Super Bowl Champion Chiefs. It’s honestly a lot for Detroit fans to handle.

Here’s a look at the early Vegas lines by DraftKings Sportsbook. Betz and I will briefly tease this on The Fantasy Footballers DFS & Betting Podcast this next week if you want some initial gut reactions. It’s way too early but consider this the “syllabus”. Don’t throw it away but put it in a place you can refer to again later as we draw nearer.

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Slate Away Home O/U
Thurs Night DET @ KC (-6.5) 53.5
Sun Early CAR @ ATL (-2.5) 44
Sun Early TEN @ NO (-3.5) 42
Sun Early TB @ MIN (-7) 46.5
Sun Early CIN (-2.5) @ CLE 47
Sun Early PHI (-4.5) @ NE 46
Sun Early JAX (-3.5) @ IND 43.5
Sun Early SF (-3) @ PIT 42
Sun Early ARI @ WAS (-5.5) 40.5
Sun Early HOU @ BAL (-9) 45.5
Sun Late GB @ CHI (-2.5) 44
Sun Late MIA @ LAC (-2.5) 49.5
Sun Late LV @ DEN (-3.5) 45
Sun Late LAR @ SEA (-5.5) 46.5
Sun Night DAL (-2.5) @ NYG 47
Mon Night BUF (-1.5) @ NYJ 48

3. REVENGE!

We all love a good revenge game narrative

  • Week 1- GB @ CHI: Robert Tonyan is just foaming at the mouth ready to annihilate his former Packers mates. Actually, he’s probably wondering why Aaron Rodgers never gave him a phone call to go to New York.
  • Week 2- MIA @ NE: Mike Gesicki is still wondering why the Dolphins franchised him only to forget he was basically on the team last year.
  • Week 4- BAL @ CLE: OBJ and his Ravens flock visits Cleveland, but don’t worry… Baker won’t be present.
  • Week 4- ATL @ JAX (London): Calvin Ridley faces his old mates across the pond.
  • Week 8- LAR @ DAL: Brandin Cooks always has multiple revenge games
  • Week 9- BUF @ CIN: We get to run it back from Damar Hamlin & Week 17’s no-game and the playoff divisional round. This is shaping up to be one of the best AFC rivalries.
  • Week 10- CAR @ CHI: DJ Moore is ready to run it back against the Panthers.
  • Week 11- ARI @ HOU: DeAndre Hopkins (if he’s still on the team) is still laughing about the Texans trading him away for… David Johnson.
  • Week 11- PHI @ KC: A Super Bowl rematch in the middle of the season that feels like can’t miss TV.
  • Week 13- ARI @ PIT: James Conner probably isn’t too peeved about returning to Pittsburgh. This isn’t revenge. I bet he will be welcomed openly.

I probably missed a few big ones but staring at a schedule too long will give you a headache.

4. Prime Favorites

It’s clear the NFL plays favorites. Some teams can’t even sniff Sunday or Monday night. At least their families will know exactly where to find them.

5. Rest Up

With so many international games as well as Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games, one of the biggest areas of concern for a team (especially on the road) is their rest differential. This is computed by simply taking the number of days in between games for each team and comparing them for each matchup.

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6. Bye Week Business

For redraft leagues, you get to pivot and plan for these. In BestBall, you have to know your bye weeks or you take a zero. Also good luck fantasy managers in Week 7! That one looks like a doozy.

  • Week 5- CLE, LAC, SEA, TB
  • Week 6- GB, PIT
  • Week 7- CAR, CIN, DAL, HOU, NYJ, TEN
  • Week 9- DEN, DET, JAX, SF
  • Week 10- KC, LAR, MIA, PHI
  • Week 11- ATL, IND, NE, NO
  • Week 13- BAL, BUF, CHI, LV, MIN, NYG
  • Week 14- ARI, WAS

Beyond just when teams have their bye, who you are playing coming off a bye matter.

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7. Fantasy Playoffs

For teams thinking forward about fantasy playoffs, here are some of the teams with juicy schedules from Weeks 15-17 and a couple of quick takeaways:

  • Atlanta Falcons– (at CAR, IND, @ CHI) RB Bijan Robinson has three winnable games to end the season where he could establish himself as the RB1 in fantasy.
  • Chicago Bears– (@ CLE, ARI, ATL) These could be terrible weather games in late December but it doesn’t mean Justin Fields can run for 100+ against these porous rush defenses.
  • Indianapolis Colts– (PIT, @ ATL, LV) Rookie QB Anthony Richardson is set up to smash with three dome games in a row.
  • New England Patriots– (KC, @ DEN, @ BUF) Good luck trusting Patriots pass catchers in this stretch. This is brutal

8. The Yeti Arises…

You probably know all about Derrick Henry‘s winter ways. The Yeti becomes a different fantasy phenomenon in the cold averaging over 101 rushing yards in his career from December 1st on. This year, he has a juicy final stretch for the playoffs when you look at how bad the rush defenses were last year:

  • Week 15- Houston Texans (31st in Rush Yards allowed, 31st in Rush TDs allowed)
  • Week 16- Seattle Seahawks (30th in Rush Yards allowed, 27th in Rush TDs allowed)
  • Week 17- Houston Texans… In 12 career games versus the Texans, he’s averaged 115 rushing yards and a score. Oh, baby!

9. Streaming QBs

The beginning of the season is one of the most beneficial in aligning with your late-round QB philosophy for fantasy football. We’re looking for QBs that can be drafted late or picked up off the waiver wire early in the season:

10. ChristmasFootball.com

If you’re feeling in the holiday spirit, head on over to that lovely website above.

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