Fantasy Impact of New Coaching Staffs

Fantasy Impact of New Coaching Staffs

Nothing renews hope in a formerly bad offense like a new head coach or offensive coordinator. Fantasy Football Expert Stephen Englert looks at some of the new hires for 2014 and the Fantasy options they promise to boost.

WAS HC Jay Gruden

Last year, when Gruden was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, the Bengals had more deep passes -- passes that traveled at least 20 yards downfield -- than any other team in the NFL. They also ran far less effectively than most other NFL teams, averaging just 3.6 yards per attempt, 27th in the league.

The Redskins had the league's fifth-best rushing attack last season, and Gruden has promised he won't change their power running scheme. What does stand to change substantially in Washington is the passing game. With new WR DeSean Jackson joining the team, Gruden has the deep threat he needs for an aggressive aerial attack. Look for QB Robert Griffin III to be tossing it downfield plenty this season.

TB HC Lovie Smith & OC Jeff Tedford

The Bears' offense struggled under Smith's direction. Since his first stint with the Bucs as a linebackers coach under Tony Dungy, Smith has always been more of a defensively- oriented coach. During his tenure in Chicago, the Bears consistently ranked as one of the worst offenses in the league.

But Smith has brought a new offensive coordinator with him to Tampa, Jeff Tedford, who has a reputation as a "quarterback whisperer." In his former job as the head coach at the University of California, Tedford helped develop Aaron Rodgers.

Tedford also has a history of using tandem backfields in his college days. So, Bobby Rainey and Mike James are likely to eat into RB Doug Martin's carries. Rookie Charles Sims won't be a part of this backfield for a long while after undergoing ankle surgery Saturday. He is expected to miss at least three months.

Given Smith's dismal offensive history and Tedford's eagerness to spread out the touches, don't expect a fantasy revival in Tampa Bay this season.

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HOU HC Bill O'Brien

O'Brien is a former Bill Belichick protégé with a reputation for offensive genius. The first-year Texans coach helped Tom Brady achieve a 36-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2010 and coached Brady to a 5,000-yard season the following year.

This doesn't mean that you should grab QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in your draft. But the fact that O'Brien is an offense-first head coach does provide a glimmer of hope for a Texans unit that finished 20th in rushing and 15th in passing last year despite having elite-caliber offensive weapons. Perhaps O'Brien's scheme will help RB Arian Foster and WR Andre Johnson regain solid fantasy footing this season.

BAL OC Gary Kubiak

The former Texans head coach headed to Baltimore this offseason after losing his job in Houston. Kubiak is known as a run-first offensive mind and should help the Ravens recover from a miserable 2013 effort in which finished 30th in rushing yards and averaged a pathetic 3.1 yards per carry, the worst of any team.

Kubiak will use RBs Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice to turn things around in Baltimore. The Texans were often regarded as one of the best rushing teams in the NFL under Kubiak, so there may be a rushing renaissance in store for Pierce and Rice with his tutelage.

CIN OC Hue Jackson

Viewers of HBO's "Hard Knocks" series got an up-close look at Jackson last year while he served as the Bengals' running backs coach. Jackson has now been promoted to fill the role of offensive coordinator, which was vacated by Jay Gruden.

Given Jackson's familiarity with the Bengals' running game, expect him to give RBs Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill plenty of work. "You have to be able to run the ball, and that's going to be a starting point for us," Jackson said after being promoted. Cincinnati rushed the ball 481 times last year, eighth-most in the NFL. Expect that to continue in 2014.



Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard

MIA OC Bill Lazor

Lazor oversaw QB Nick Foles' breakout year in 2013 as the Eagles' quarterbacks coach. After Foles posted 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions, the Dolphins decided to give Lazor a shot to work the same magic with QB Ryan Tannehill.

As a protégé of Chip Kelly, Lazor got to see first-hand how effective a high-tempo offense can be in the NFL. Philadelphia ranked fourth in rushing attempts in 2013, ninth in passing yards and ran 65 plays per game despite a midseason quarterback change. It's likely Lazor will try to bring that high-tempo style to a Miami offense that finished 24th in plays per game last season.

Lazor has talked about making RB Lamar Miller the LeSean McCoy of the Dolphins' offense. McCoy saw 366 touches last season. While Miller isn't in McCoy's league in terms of talent, that kind of usage could make him a sleeper in Lazor's scheme.

NYG OC Ben McAdoo

There's been much ado about the Giants' transition to McAdoo's West Coast offense in New York. QB Eli Manning remarked that the team still has a lot of work to do to get the scheme regular season-ready. But once the offense is installed and the players are comfortable with it, the style should suit New York's talent well.

During McAdoo's time in Green Bay, the Packers' offense was characterized by a mix of power running and downfield passing, and that mix should work well with the Giants' personnel. RB Rashad Jennings has the chops to carry the load while Victor Cruz can stretch defenses deep. And unsung WR Rueben Randle has the size to become a fierce possession receiver and red zone target.

It's the first time Manning has changed schemes in his NFL career, and there may be some unpolished play from the Giants early this season. But after finishing near the bottom of the NFL in total offense last year, there's nowhere for the Giants to go but up, and McAdoo's offensive mind should take them there. Look for a resurgence from this unit in 2014.

MIN OC Norv Turner

Saved the best for last. The Vikings also have a new head coach in Mike Zimmer this year, but Turner is the addition that everyone should be most excited about. During his time in San Diego, Turner earned a reputation as an offensive genius. His aggressive, deep-throwing offenses have delighted fantasy owners of  WRs Vincent Jackson and Josh Gordon in the past few seasons.

That's part of the reason why we're so excited to see what Turner can do with Vikings second-year WR Cordarrelle Patterson. The emerging receiver has enormous potential, but he's raw. With Turner's history of guiding big-play offensive weapons, Patterson is a breakout candidate this year. If Turner can develop a passing attack to complement Minnesota's Adrian Peterson-led running game, the Vikings could be one of the big turnaround stories in the NFL this season and produce a couple of fantasy studs in the process.

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