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The Coaching Changes That Matter


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Every year there are many changes in the coaching ranks in the NFL. Some get fired, some get hired and some get promotions. In all, more than 1/3 of the most important coaching positions have changed. In many of those situations there is very little change with regards to fantasy football. But there are some that require some research to see how it will impact certain players. Below are some of the key coaching changes in the NFL and what it will mean to players on those teams.

ARIZONA

The Cardinals had a change in their top three coaches. It may go without saying, but that is probably a good thing. Bruce Arians takes over as head coach and he is known for using his talent in spread formations. With the addition of Carson Palmer as the new quarterback and the late-season emergence of Michael Floyd, this has the promise of an exciting offense. The biggest winner in all this is Larry Fitzgerald. He is an All-World talent that really suffered with the poor play of the quarterback last season. Fitzgerald was a top-3 wide receiver for years in fantasy, yet saw his stock fall like a rock last year. Expect much better things out of Fitzgerald. Carson Palmer and Michael Floyd are very nice sleeper picks this year as well. With that being said, do not count on any running backs to do much this year.

CHICAGO

It is a shock that Chicago finished 10-6 and all three of the top coaching spots were replaced. The biggest of these was Marc Trestman as head coach. Trestman is widely considered as a great asset to quarterbacks. He has done wonders in San Francisco, Minnesota and the Canadian Football League. The obvious winner here is Jay Cutler. The numbers he had in Denver are being dreamt about in Chicago. With the additions the Bears made to the offensive line this year, Cutler may have a career year.  Matt Forte's pass catching abilities out of the backfield should have him squarely back in RB1 status. If you play in points-per-reception leagues, don’t think twice about drafting him in the first round.

CLEVELAND

Even though the Browns were much improved last year, they changed all three main coaches. Rob Chudzinski replaces Pat Shurmur as head coach and Norv Turner replaces Brad Childress as offensive coordinator. The Browns have added a lot of high draft picks the past few years and all should take a step up this year. The obvious choice here is for Trent Richardson to have a huge year. Turner has had a history of working with great backs and he will find the same in Richardson. With the great offensive line they have in Cleveland and the improving defense, the Browns should be able to run more often. That will be music to Richardson owners this year. The passing game should also improve this year, which should yield more short-yardage touchdowns for the second-year running back from Alabama. He is most definitely a first-round pick this year.

KANSAS CITY

When you finish with the worst record in the league, you expect changes. The Chiefs wiped the slate clean and decided to start fresh this year. Andy Reid steps in as new head coach while Doug Pederson is the new Offensive Coordinator. Does anybody remember what Reid did with Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy? Hello, Jamaal Charles! Charles is a very talented back who has suffered under bad coaches and he should now blossom under Reid. He is a top-5 pick (especially in points-per-reception leagues) this year. He will catch many passes this season (ala Westbrook and McCoy in Philadelphia). While Pederson may not be as known, he has a tendency to “control” his quarterback. What that means is that they are not given a chance to make mistakes. In addition, former head coach and offensive coordinator Brad Childress is onboard. Childress does have some knowledge of working with great backs ( Adrian Peterson).

PHILADELPHIA

Hello, spread offense! The Eagles suffered a tremendous nightmare last year and said goodbye to all the top coaches. They brought in the creative offensive mind of Chip Kelly from the University of Oregon. Kelly had great success running a spread offense for the Ducks. They run a lot of plays at a very high pace, causing confusion amongst the defense. This is the perfect team for him to be with. With the speed of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on the outside and LeSean McCoy and up-and-comer Bryce Brown at running back, all systems should be go. If Michael Vick holds on to the quarterback position, you have speed everywhere. The tendency in this attack is to spread the offense out wide and use the speed to create mismatches and opportunities. Most of the time, the running back is the big winner: having wider running lanes to go through. They will also find ways in the passing game to create chances for the speed guys. If they stay healthy – watch out for Philadelphia. I like this offense 

All coaching changes can cause changes in fantasy football. How you manage them is up to you, I have given you the help you need here.