Coaching directly impacts NFL box scores more than any other sport. We see it every year as certain schemes favor certain kinds of players and certain coordinators know how to squeeze the most out of a certain position.
Last year, Jordan Cameron was bound to take a statistical hit without tight end guru Rob Chudzinski. The same was said about Pierre Garcon/Alfred Morris without the Shanahan scheme. The Bengals running game was a lock to improve and see more volume under Hue Jackson, and Matt Forte was a great bet to set a career-high in catches thanks to Marc Trestman.
Understanding the tendencies of new coaches can go a long way toward fantasy success. This year, seven teams have new coaches and 13 have new offensive coordinators. A look at who benefits follows below:
HEAD COACHING CHANGES
Atlanta: Dan Quinn replaces Mike Smith
Buffalo: Rex Ryan replaces Doug Marrone
Chicago: John Fox replaces Marc Trestman
Denver: Gary Kubiak replaces John Fox
New York Jets: Todd Bowles replaces Rex Ryan
Oakland: Jack Del Rio replaces Dennis Allen/Tony Sparano
San Francisco: Jim Tomsula replaces Jim Harbaugh
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CHANGES
Atlanta: Kyle Shanahan replaces Dirk Koetter
Baltimore: Marc Trestman replaces Gary Kubiak
Buffalo: Greg Roman replaces Nathaniel Hackett
Chicago: Adam Gase replaces Aaron Kromer
Cleveland: John DeFilippo replaces Kyle Shanahan
Dallas: Scott Linehan replaces Bill Callahan
Denver: Rick Dennison replaces Adam Gase
Jacksonville: Greg Olson replaces Jedd Fisch
New York Jets: Chan Gailey replaces Marty Mornhinweg
Oakland: Bill Musgrave replaces Greg Olson
San Francisco: Geep Chryst replaces Greg Roman
St. Louis: Frank Cignetti replaces Brian Schottenheimer
Tampa Bay: Dirk Koetter replaces Jeff Tedford and Marcus Arroyo
Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders
The previous Raiders regime wasted Latavius Murray for the first three months of the 2014 season, criminally giving carries to Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew. New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has no plans to commit the same crime.
Upon arriving in Oakland, Musgrave said he’s going to “tailor” the run game so it’s “right up [Murray’s] alley.” This is a play-caller that was part of voluminous years from Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, Clinton Portis and Fred Taylor in previous stops. Murray will be up to the task, as he’s a 6’3/225 freak with 4.38 wheels. We saw what he’s capable of late last year, rushing 76 times for 413 yards (5.43 YPC) with two touchdowns over the last six games. Murray added 14-124-0 through the air during that span. With the backing of his run-centric offensive coordinator and a defensive-minded/ball control head coach in Jack Del Rio, Latavius’ arrow is pointing straight up.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers
Colin Kaepernick wins with his legs. Former coach Jim Harbaugh asked Kaep to win with his arm last season, as evidenced by just 45 designed runs in 16 games last season. The results were an ugly 60.5 completion percentage, 3,369 passing yards and QB17 fantasy finish. The new regime, consisting of in-house promotions Jim Tomsula and Geep Chryst, has wasted no time in changing that around – at the request of CEO Jed York. “How many quarterbacks in the league can run 90 yards for a touchdown? … You’ve got to put Kaep in a position where he can make those plays,” York said.
This version of the 49ers promises to be more like Seattle’s, using read-option as a true dual threat instead of handing it to the back 78 percent of the time (like they did last year). An emphasis on getting Kaepernick more designed runs means far more fantasy upside. It also means good things for Carlos Hyde, as running quarterbacks consistently open up extra lanes.
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