The Fantasy Impact of NFL Coaching Changes (Fantasy Footballers Podcast Recap)
As the NFL coaching carousel spins, it can quickly change the landscape in fantasy football. Certain systems benefit certain positions, plain and simple. Looking over how a new coach might utilize a player could help you find diamonds in the rough and avoid some potential busts. On the most recent episode of The Fantasy Footballers Podcast, the hosts broke down the new head coaches and offensive coordinators in the NFL for 2020 and what it might mean for your fantasy team. It is mentioned early on in the show that of the 16 offensive coordinator changes that happened in 2019, seven of those teams actually got worse in regards to points scored per game. Just because a change occurred doesn’t mean a team is actually going to get better
New Head Coach – Matt Rhule and New Offensive Coordinator – Joe Brady
Both of these coaches are young and were not in the NFL last year. Matt Rhule (Ja Rule if you’re hip) was the head coach at Baylor University and Brady was the offensive coordinator at LSU. Rhule was one of the most sought after coaches in 2020 but his success seems tied to what iteration of Cam Newton will we see in 2020? Will Cam even be the QB? Poor QB play led to a disappointing season for Curtis Samuel last year so expectations are that he could rebound in a new system with a competent QB. Another concern will be for Christian McCaffrey owners. Will there be a dip in utilization with Norv Turner and his one-back system leaving town? Rhule’s college offense should be exciting and there is little chance that CMC is phased out but it seems unlikely that he can continue to see the number of touches he has been. Obviously, the NFL is a different monster than the NCAA, but it should be noted that Rhule’s teams have struggled in his 1st year on the job.
New Head Coach – Kevin Stefanski and New Offensive Coordinator – Alex Van Pelt
Stefanski comes over from Minnesota, where he was the offensive coordinator in 2019, and brings in Alex Van Pelt who was with the Bengals as a QB coach. A concern for Jason was that the Browns have tried to fix their mistake of last year, where they hired a new coach with only one year of OC experience…by doing the exact same thing again. Stefanski was a QB coach for the Vikings for most of 2009-2018 and was given the OC job after the Vikings fired John DeFilippo. The hope is that with both of these new coaches is that they will use their QB coach experience to help develop Baker Mayfield and will lean on their star, Nick Chubb, while they do so. A run-first offense could spell disaster for Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry in fantasy football. Landry specifically tends to need volume to be relevant and that may be a big issue in this offense.
New Head Coach – Mike McCarthy
McCarthy returns the job after taking a year off, claiming to be a changed man and seeing the light around analytics, but the guys are skeptical. Even if we do end up with the same old Mike McCarthy, the fact that the Cowboys retained Kellen Moore as OC means there isn’t much to be worried about. Dallas’s offense was good for fantasy in 2019 and we should see more the same in 2020. McCarthy usually gave us good offenses while he was in Green Bay so the hope is that the Cowboys can retain Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper to go along with Ezekiel Elliott and we get another solid year in 2020.
New York Giants
New Head Coach – Joe Judge and New Offensive Coordinator – Jason Garrett
There is a new judge in town to challenge the honorable Judge Giamatti. Joe Judge comes over from New England, where he was the WR and Special Teams coach in 2018. The hope is that he can bring some of that Bill Belichick swagger with him but history is not on his side. While we don’t know enough about Judge to judge (sorry) what his offense might look like, we know plenty about his OC. Jason Garrett has had some statistical success in the NFL and his offenses have given us great fantasy assets. Looking at what we got from Zeke during the Garrett years, there is no concern for Saquon Barkley. Tony Romo and Dak Prescott really emerged under Garrett so hopefully, we can see some solid growth with Daniel Jones, too.
New Head Coach – Ron Rivera and New Offensive Coordinator – Scott Turner
There is some debate between the hosts on whether or not this is a good hire. Rivera is a defensive coach and would prefer to run a pretty vanilla offense. Turner was with Rivera in Carolina last year, so that is a good indication of what offense we should see. The guys don’t talk much about the Redskins offense other than noting that their success will likely come down to the play they get from Dwayne Haskins.
New Offensive Coordinator – Bill Lazor
The Bears feel like a team on the verge of imploding. During his time in Cincinnatti, Lazor never once finished in the top-10 of any statistical category. Matt Nagy is an offensive-minded head coach, so Lazor will have limited control but confidence is not high for a Chicago rebound. Unless we see major growth from Mitch Trubisky or a new QB, it is unlikely we see great fantasy value in Chicago.
New Offensive Coordinator – Pat Shurmur
Shurmur might not have gotten a fair shake in New York, but who are we to Judge (sorry, again)? Shurmur has been a better OC than head coach so this hire feels like a great step for the young offense in Denver.
New Offensive Coordinator – Jay Gruden
Gruden’s time in Washington was very rocky at the QB position. Jacksonville will have a QB battle this preseason so hopefully, either Gardner Minshew or Nick Foles can step up for this offense. Gruden will likely throw less than the Jaguars did last year but overall, not much change is expected here.
Los Angeles Chargers
New Offensive Coordinator – Shane Steichen
Every aspect of this offense improved after Steichen took over in Week 8. While he feels like an upgrade, the looming question of “Who will play QB?” hangs over this offense as a whole. With Phillip Rivers gone, any fantasy impact will be tied to who replaces him.
Los Angeles Rams
New Offensive Coordinator – Kevin O’Connell
O’Connell comes over from Washington but it seems unlikely that Sean McVay hands over play-calling duties. No changes expected.
New Offensive Coordinator – Chan Gailey
Chan Gailey had been out of the league since 2016 but is an interesting hire for Miami. Gailey has a very solid track record with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. For two different teams, Buffalo and New York Jets, Gailey and Fitzpatrick have had fantasy success together. It is expected that Miami adds a rookie QB but to start the year, we should expect to get more fantasy Fitz-Magic. The last time we saw Gailey in the league, he loved 4-WR sets but a lot of that was out of necessity based on personnel, so hopes are still high for Mike Gesicki at TE, along with the Dolphins’ WRs.
New Offensive Coordinator – Gary Kubiak
Kubiak was heavily involved in this offense last year so no major changes expected from 2019. Kubiak teams always run the ball very, very well, so things are looking great for Dalvin Cook.
No Offensive Coordinator
Head coach Doug Pederson will be calling the plays. This doesn’t change much in regards to fantasy expectations but it does feel like a make or break year for Pederson. This team needs to get and stay healthy before we can see what they are capable of.