Every year we have turnover with coaches in the NFL and those moves influence us and our hobby. For this article, I’m going to take a look at the fantasy impact of coaching changes that have taken place up until this point. All but one team (Houston) has filled their coaching vacancies, so let’s dive in to see what we should be expecting from the new crop of coaches.
Philadelphia Eagles: Head Coach Nick Sirianni
I am not a pessimistic Eagles fan speaking but rather an optimistic Carson Wentz fan after this hire. Wentz’s contract makes it tough for a trade to be seen with another team – we know that and have known that – but the favorite suitor has always been the Colts because of the Frank Reich connection and Indy’s cap situation. This move is the equivalent of getting Great Value Frank Reich. This isn’t a bad thing, because it is still a step up from Josh McDaniels, Duce Staley, and former coach Doug Pederson. Sirianni is creative, efficient, and gets the best out of his quarterbacks with minimal help around as he showed in Indianapolis.
The tweet below from The Draft Network’s Benjamin Solak shows where Sirianni really separates himself from the pack and why I’m excited.
Three different starting QBs over three seasons in Indianapolis under Sirianni. Interesting to see how things changed from Luck (banged up) to Brissett to Rivers.
Worth noting: Luck and Brissett had career-low sack rates under Sirianni. (Rivers' was second-lowest of his career.) pic.twitter.com/n8adszurZr
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) January 21, 2021
Carson Wentz has been battered and abused inside that pocket, especially in 20201. We saw Pederson do what he should’ve done with Wentz when he put Hurts in, but Wentz still needs the mental rehab. Sirianni will protect his quarterback as the graphic above shows: he’ll scheme the easy throws, decrease Wentz’s sack numbers, and the running backs and tight ends will be used as well.
This is hands down my favorite hire for this team because of the upside it brings and the way this roster is currently constructed it fits Sirianni’s strengths perfectly.
New York Jets: Head Coach Robert Saleh, Offensive Coordinator Mike LaFleur
This is a 1B for the best hiring in terms of a fantasy impact. Robert Saleh will be a perfect fit for the Jets brand and team as a whole. When it was announced he was bringing Mike LaFleur (49ers passing game coordinator) with him, it immediately got an “oh wow” reaction all over social media and deservedly so. Saleh has the NFL connections to build a proper staff and will be seen as a general similar to how Brian Flores is in Miami.
LaFleur had even talked about getting his own coaching chance towards the end of the season because of the coaching ties to his brother, Matt, and because he led a passing game in San Francisco that never missed a beat despite so many injuries. Expectations are high for many in New York, even more so for Sam Darnold who it seems will be kept around for one more year to see if head coach Kyle Shanahan has rubbed off any of his quarterback grooming skills onto LaFleur. LaFleur has shown he can get production out of subpar quarterbacks as I mentioned but it also may be a reason to be excited about Chris Herndon again. I’m not saying Herndon is anywhere close to George Kittle as an NFL talent, but we saw the 49ers offense feed Kittle. Maybe we see Herndon see a bump in targets in 2021.
Related | 2021 Rookie Mock Draft 1.0
Detroit Lions: Head Coach Dan Campbell
The Lions made my personal favorite hire of the season when they decided to bring Dan Campbell up from the Bayou to the Motor City. If you haven’t seen Campbell’s first presser as HC, stop reading and go watch it right now. Let’s just say with Campbell’s impressive muscular build, all that’s missing is the baby oil and he could be Macho Man Randy Savage. His no-nonsense, “kick you in the teeth” mentality is expected to transition over to the offense as well. The team has tried to establish the run by searching for a lead back in the draft almost as long as Cleveland has with quarterbacks. Detroit has seemed to have finally found their guy by landing D’Andre Swift last year.
Swift will be coming into a favorable situation next year with Campbell but we just saw a glimpse of what the future may look like for Stafford today when Campbell was asked about him:
New #Lions HC Dan Campbell on Matthew Stafford: “I’m gonna have to sit down with Brad Holmes, but here’s what I’ll say: Matthew is a stud. He’s one of the toughest QBs you’ll ever see. He’s extremely talented, a team guy, and I know he wants to win. So I’ll leave it at that.”
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) January 21, 2021
Who they hire as the offensive coordinator will be very interesting. If this team decides to move on from Stafford and they aren’t able to re-sign Marvin Jones or Kenny Golladay, this offense as a whole will be grimacing to watch. For now, though, be optimistic with Swift if you have shares and if not get some while you still can.
Atlanta Falcons: Head Coach Arthur Smith, OC Dave Ragone
This is the ultimate yay and nay hire for a team with so much fantasy potential that may now be wasted again. Arthur Smith helped turn Ryan Tannehill’s career around once he arrived from Miami two years ago and then helped Derrick Henry become the production monster he is now. The Falcons have Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Hayden Hurst who all can be top ten fantasy players at their positions but the hiring of Ragone has me worried.
Obviously, Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles are nowhere near the talent of Matt Ryan but still, it has me spooked. The one hope that comes out of the fact Arthur Smith said he will be calling his own plays offensively. I would also expect the team to draft a running back sooner rather than later. Smith believes in establishing the run so if they draft a rookie on day two I think their fantasy stock would skyrocket in this offense.
Los Angeles Chargers: Head Coach Brandon Staley
I had heard very early on in the offseason that Brian Daboll was a shoo-in for this job and I was ecstatic at the thought of him being paired with Justin Herbert. The rumors grew and grew, media outlets picked up on it, and honestly, it was what everyone expected. Then out of the blue as the NFC Championship ended it was announced by Ian Rapoport that the team decided to roll with Rams’ defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.
The reason I am so low on this hire is only that we now have no idea who the offensive coordinator. Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell was rumored to be a favorite but the Rams blocked the interview request by the Chargers. O’Connell would have been a dream hire for them with this offense but with no clear-cut front runner, we are left with the hope they make a hire that will continue the development of Herbert.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Head Coach Urban Meyer, OC Darrell Bevell
Darrell Bevell was able to gain some traction with D’Andre Swift down the stretch of the season but his passing game is where things will be interesting. Obviously, Trevor Lawrence will be coming to Jacksonville soon but they need to build on their receiving weapons. D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault are fine starting points, but I expect Bevell to put a focus on the tight end as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team go after a playmaker like Florida’s Kyle Pitts with pick 18 in the draft because of Bevell’s usage of T.J. Hockenson in Detroit and the Florida ties Urban has to get a complete report on Pitts. On that note, Lawrence and Pitts would be one hell of a lethal rookie combo to have on your fantasy squads.
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