Fantasy Impact of New Coaching Hires

DOMINICK PETRILLO @ENVISIONFF


Fantasy Impact of New Coaching Hires

The Super Bowl is over, and the Kansas City Chiefs are the new champions. Congratulations to both teams on a great season. At least we know of two coaches who are not worried about their jobs. Now on to new business.

Fantasy football has become a year-round sport. Whether it be dynasty leagues, keeper leagues, or even redraft leagues, it is essential to stay on top of the news surrounding the league all year long.

With this in mind, it is time to take a look at the new head coaches who have been hired and whether or not it is a good thing for fantasy prospects. Sure, owners want to hire the best coach for their on-field product, but we need the critical questions answered. Will Baker Mayfield shut up and play better? Will Daniel Jones succeed under his new coach? And the toughest of all, is Christian McCaffrey good or was he a system running back? Ok, we know the answer to the last one, but for the rest – let us take a look.

 

Joe Judge (NYG)

No one knows what to expect from Joe Judge.

It was a shock to most when he got the job, and this led to a lot of scrambling to figure out just who he is.

Well, to start, he was supposed to be the new head coach at Mississippi State and not the New York Giants. Whether this is a good or bad thing for him and the Giants, one this is for sure. After ending up with Mike Leach, it is a bad thing for the Bulldogs program. But I digress.

A special team’s coach who has a lineage of working under Nick Saban and Bill Belichick, Judge has the mentors to be successful for sure.

Although the offense was dreadful in 2019 and cannot get worse, we will wait and see just how much better it gets. One good thing for Judge and the Giants is the hiring of Jason Garrett as offensive coordinator. Is he a good head coach? No. But he is an excellent coordinator and will also bring his experience as a head coach to the table to help Judge adjust to the big chair.

It is funny to think as Dallas was the number one offense in 2019. Still, if Daniel Jones makes a year two leap, the Giants offensive skill players might be better than those in Dallas, especially if Amari Cooper is not retained by the Cowboys this offseason.

With the core of Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and a slew of talented receivers, New York should be a boon for fantasy goodness is 2020 under Judge and Garrett. Barkley should return to his rookie form, and if Daniel Jones can control his fumbling issues, a top 12 sophomore season is well within reach. The biggest key will be if Engram can finally stay healthy and show why the fantasy community loves him. Otherwise, he may end up another Corey Davis. You know the player everyone continues to make excuses for, even though he has proven just not to be as good as he was thought to be.

 

Matt Rhule (CAR)

I hope this hire works out. Not because it is Carolina, but because of the coach himself.

Not only has he taken two middling college programs from obscurity to relevance, but he has turned the NFL upside down this offseason with his level of contract despite being a first-time coach in the league. Plus, he genuinely seems to be a great guy – whom you want to root for. There are some pieces to work within Carolina also. Players who could make the transition from college to the pros more seamless.

Not knowing the destiny of Cam Newton is a difficult predicament for sure. This blow is softened by the presence of Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore.

McCaffrey is clearly the top at his position in the NFL and another in Moore, who is becoming a go-to guy at the wide receiver position. Both players, young and hungry, will make this offense hum for whoever is the quarterback, whether it be Newton or an incoming rookie drafted at number seven in the upcoming draft.

Much like the Giants, the Panthers added a great offensive mind to go along with their new head coach in Joe Brady. He is indeed only two years removed from being a lowly offensive assistant with the Saints, but in the 2019 college season, he showed what he is capable of. Of course, the NFL game is much different than the college game. You cannot cherry-pick any player you want and sign them, but he is still a talented coach. Making it a bold but good hire. If anything can be said for David Tepper, he is going big and bold. So, this hire works.

For fantasy purposes, this team is not going to be great, though. As much as the hires should do great for the real-life game, it is still a two-man show for fantasy. McCaffrey and Moore are going to be studs but anyone else on the team? An iffy proposition at best.

 

Ron Rivera (WASH)

Nothing can help the fantasy prospects of the Washington team. Not Ron Rivera, not even Vince Lombardi.

Terry McLaurin had an excellent rookie season at wide receiver. But this is where it ends. Jordan Reed is finally a thing of the past. Adrian Peterson is a Hall of Famer five years after he retires, but those five years should have started two seasons ago. And really, what else is there. Darrius Guice seems to be a guy who just cannot stay on the field. Whether it be a torn ACL before his rookie season or his MCL this past season, once the leg issues start to pile up, it is time to fade.

Daniel Snyder is in love with Dwayne Haskins. This alone should tell you enough, but if it doesn’t, just look at the fact Case Keenum severely outplayed him during the season. Whereas Keenum was spreading the ball out and getting players involved, Haskins could barely get out of his own way. If rumors are to be believed, this could be due to the fact he felt entitled and like he didn’t have to put in the work. But even if these aren’t true, the results still show the level at which he was working. And that level was high school.

Ron Rivera may be a great coach for locker room morale and discipline. But even he can not make chicken salad out of the chicken poop they have in Washington. This goes for real football as well as fantasy. So, there may be a point in drafts where you want to grab someone from this team. If you do so, just remember this warning. Buyer Beware.

 

Kevin Stefanski (CLE)

The Browns came into the 2019 season all the rage. Everyone was enthralled by the prospect of what could be for the team. Then Freddy Kitchens happened.

This season starts again with a new head coach in Kevin Stefanski and a new offensive coordinator after the departure of Todd Monkin to Georgia. But will this lead to better results? I guess it all depends on who you are talking about.

Odell Beckham Jr. had a lousy season plain and simple. Much of this was due to the terrible season from Baker Mayfield. But a lot of it also had to do with his playing through injury all season as well. If he is healthy this season, both he and Mayfield can take a step in the right direction.

On the other hand, we have Nick Chubb. He had a great season, finishing second in rushing yards in the NFL. He could have done even better had Kareem Hunt did not limit his workload over the final half of the season. With the future of Hunt in Cleveland not being certain, it is conceivable Chubb does lead the league in rushing in 2020. Kevin Stefanski got the offensive coordinator job in Minnesota for one reason and one reason only. He loves to run the ball.

Even with receivers like Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen or, in this case, Beckham and Jarvis Landry, this is the case. Don’t expect Stefanski to change. Especially with a back as talented as Chubb behind the quarterback. Although Chubb does not have the receiving chops of Dalvin Cook, he is a workhorse none the less, and if the Browns pass catchers can do their part, the limitations of Chubb will not affect his work going forward.

Whether or not Stefanski brings the team to the levels of offense we expected last season is yet to be determined. But one this is certain. He will bring them to higher levels than they were able to achieve under Kitchens in 2019. Not only because of the offense he will bring in, but also due to the fact he will bring in something which could prove even more vital: discipline and accountability. Mayfield has already come out saying he did far too much talking last season and not enough playing.

Recognition is the first step to fixing an issue. This was, for sure, an issue within the team last season — not just the chirping from Mayfield, but from others as well. Beckham and Landry also need to play better and talk less. Something which won’t be an issue this season. If it is, then the team has already failed in year one of the new regimes. But if Kevin Stefanski can control the dawg pound in the locker room and institute his offensive scheme? This could finally be the season Cleveland breaks out of the dregs of the NFL. But then again, it is the Browns. So, yeah.




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