Once again, we had plenty of changes at head coach in the NFL this offseason. We have eight new coaches in the league, making it six straight seasons with at least six new coaches in the NFL. This isn't a huge surprise, though, as teams are in a win-now mode more than ever. There is little margin for error these days, especially if you consider how quickly teams seem to be able to turn it around.
The big question is how do these coaching hires impact fantasy teams? Well, that is what we are here to tell you. We'll give you the lowdown on all the coaching moves and how they could impact fantasy players on those teams moving forward.
The Cardinals hope to have found their Sean McVay, hiring Kliff Kingsbury as their next head coach. Kingsbury is considered a top, young offensive mind. He didn’t exactly have a ton of success as a college coach, though, which is a concern. But from a fantasy perspective, this is a good hire for all Cardinal offensive players. Kingsbury will employ an offense that will be quick hitting and hopefully explosive. He produced some big numbers offensively in college as a coordinator and head coach. This really is a home run hire for fantasy teams, especially rookie quarterback Kyler Murray.
Longtime head coach Marvin Lewis was not retained this offseason by the Bengals. Cincinnati went offensive with their hire, getting Zac Taylor to be the head coach. He is the former Rams quarterback coach and comes highly recommended by current Rams head coach Sean McVay. Taylor is another young, offensive-minded coach. He should breathe life into a Bengals offense that was erratic last year. Taylor will be a plus for the fantasy value of A.J. Green, Joe Mixon and even Andy Dalton. Things are looking up for this team on the offensive side of the ball.
The Browns stayed in house with their new coaching hire, picking offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens as head coach. Kitchens has a good relationship with the players and did a great job with the offense last year. Baker Mayfield really grew under his tutelage. Mayfield should be thrilled with this hire. The entire offense gets a bit of a fantasy value boost with Kitchens in charge now. This team could really have an explosive offense with the additions made and Kitchens running the show.
Denver hired Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to be their new head coach. He has a defensive background and did a good job of getting that unit to play at a high level in Chicago, especially when it comes to causing turnovers. Fangio hired 49ers quarterback coach Rich Scangarello to be his offensive coordinator. He should bring a zone blocking scheme to the Broncos, which could be a positive for the running game. Scangarello also will use a lot of play action and rollouts, something Joe Flacco has done pretty well with past seasons.
The Packers got rid of long-time coach Mike McCarthy and hired Matt LaFleur to become the next head coach. He was the offensive coordinator for the Titans and had mixed success in that role. He is well thought of in NFL circles, though, and should be a positive for a Packers offense that became a little predictable in recent seasons. LaFleur will be a good influence on quarterback Aaron Rodgers, playing to his strengths. Plus, LaFleur produced some pretty good rushing numbers with the Titans, which is encouraging for Aaron Jones. This hire should be a good one for most all Packer fantasy players.
The Dolphins went a different way with their coaching hire after having an offensive-minded coach at the helm. Miami hired Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores to be their next head coach. Flores hired Chad O’Shea to serve as the offensive coordinator. This is a solid hire as O’Shea has a lot of experience as an NFL coach. He has not been an offensive coordinator but learned from a lot of talented coaches. It isn’t certain as to how he will call things but past offenses he has worked with (New England, Minnesota and Kansas City) have produced big numbers in both the passing and running game. Flores has little coaching experience but done well in surrounding himself with some experienced coaches.
The Jets wanted to get an offensive guru to take over as head coach to help mentor franchise quarterback Sam Darnold. New York decided on former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. This is a solid hire for the Jets. Gase did not have a lot of success in Miami but had some injury and personnel issues. He is a talented coach with a strong track record of success offensively. Gase should be a positive for the entire offensive from a fantasy perspective, especially Darnold. New York is a fantasy offense on the rise, and Gase should help their players reach new heights in fantasy.
Tampa made a big coaching move, getting Bruce Arians to take over as head coach. Arians has a lot of successful coaching experience and should be a positive mentor for Jameis Winston. This hire is a good one for the entire offense, though. Expect a pass-heavy offense that posts some big weekly numbers because of the talent at receiver for the Bucs. This is a strong fantasy hire, getting a top offensive coach to run the show in Tampa.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at [email protected] Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.