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Black Monday: Fantasy Impact Reaction

Black Monday comes every year in the NFL. Coaching changes bring changes in offensive schemes which may or may not fit the current personnel on the team.  The impact of coaching changes on fantasy production can be pretty drastic. Jordan Howard went from RB11 in 2017 to RB26 in 2018 after the Bears changed from power running John Fox to more pass-oriented Matt Nagy. Let’s take a look at the teams that are changing coaches on this black Monday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dirk Koetter – Offensive coordinator Todd Monken has become a hot name based on pulling great games out of Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB27) and Jameis Winston (QB26). The Bucs fired Lovie Smith and promoted Koetter, who was a hot OC at the time, to keep him from taking another job. The new coach for Tampa Bay will have a stable of receiving weapons in Mike Evans (WR10), Chris Godwin (WR36), OJ Howard (TE13) and Cam Brate (TE19). I expect Evans to maintain his WR1 status while Godwin climbs comfortably into the WR2 tier. Howard should move in the mid TE1 area with a full, healthy season. Desean Jackson (WR42) wants out and Adam Humphries (WR26) is a free agent. The team has already said that Jameis will be back as the starter next year. The new head coach will need to determine of second round pick Ronald Jones (RB96) is as bad as he looked in 2018, Peyton Barber (RB30) is just a replacement level guy and is a restricted free agent so I would expect the Buccaneers to be active in the draft and free agency. The Bucs could stand to improve their offensive line some to improve the run game, the team currently ranks 25th in money spent on the offensive line. Expect the deep passing game to continue to thrive and the new head coach to try to bolster the run game and defense.

New York Jets – Todd Bowles – The development of second year quarterback to be Sam Darnold (QB28) that will be at the top of the priority list for the new head coach. The Jets have resigned Quincy Enunwa (WR85) to an extension and have restricted free agent and playmaker Robby Anderson (WR33) looking for a new deal. Rookie Chris Herndon (TE15) was productive after he took over at tight end and I expect him to continue to progress. The running game had a couple of moments in 2018 but Isaiah Crowell (RB32) proved he is still very inconsistent and Elijah McGuire (RB59) seemed to still be getting his bearings after coming off of injured reserve. Trenton Cannon (RB75) provided some third down depth. Putting some weapons around Darnold and rebuilding the 29th ranked defense will be top priority for the new coach. I would expect the Jets to be playing catch up in 2019 so there should be value in the passing game for fantasy purposes.

Arizona Cardinals – Steve Wilks – I think Wilks got a raw deal. Yes, the Cardinals were terrible in his first year, in large part due to a terrible offensive coordinator and an offensive line decimated by injuries. Fragile Sam Bradford was never going to be the answer at quarterback, but neither was getting Josh Rosen (QB33) beat up behind that offensive line. 2019 will be very revealing as to Rosen’s resiliency and character. After Byron Leftwich, also fired today, took over as OC there did seem to be a spark in the offense, but ultimately the offense was done in injuries to the line. David Johnson spent the first half of the season running up the middle against stacked boxes and not going out on pass patterns but still managed to finish as RB9. Larry Fitzgerald (WR27) was thought to be headed for retirement but is now not as sure and rookie Christian Kirk (WR55) showed promise as an outside receiver. The incoming coach will need to take a look at the tapes from 2016 and make sure out how to get DJ the ball and rebuild the offensive line.

Miami Dolphins – Adam Gase – Offensive coordinator Adam Gase rode Peyton Manning’s production to a head coaching job in Miami only to make puzzling choices in personnel. Gase drove Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry out of town, refused to use the dynamic Kenyan Drake (RB14) in favor of grandpa Frank Gore (RB46) and could not seem to get any consistency out of Kenny Stills (WR54), Albert Wilson (WR72) and Devante Parker (WR100). Ryan Tannehill (QB31) and Brock Osweiler (QB37) combined for QB19 production in Gase’s offense. In 2019 second year pros Mike Gesicki (TE51) will look to take a leap in production, while leading Miami tight ends in fantasy production he was outscored by four Baltimore tight ends. Kalen Ballage (RB87) will add to the mix after playing some in 2018. All of the weapons will be at the new coach’s disposal but there will need to be significant schematic improvements to develop fantasy consistency.

Denver Broncos – Vance Joseph – I don’t know if Joseph was the answer in Denver, but I believe that when you are given Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler and Case Keenum (QB19) as your quarterbacks you earn some more time, but that’s just my two cents. Surprise rookie Phillip Lindsay (RB12) ran away with the job many thought would go to Royce Freeman (RB55) in 2018. Lindsay was a dynamic player until breaking his wrist in week 16 but should be ready to go for next year. The trade of veteran Demaryius Thomas (WR33) opened the door for Courtland Sutton (WR49) while the ruptured achilles of Emmanuel Sanders (WR20) created an opening for DaeSean Hamilton (WR109) to become a starter. Tim Patrick (WR112) also stepped into the third wide receiver role and showed some promise. I am not sure there is a more snake bitten group in the NFL than the Denver tight ends who lost Jake Butt (TE73), Jeff Heuerman (TE28) and Troy Fumagali (IR) to injuries leaving Matt LaCosse (TE38) and Brian Parker (TE93) to finish the year. There are a lot of good young skill players in Denver for whomever becomes the new head coach, but the Broncos need to solve the quarterback position to bring Sutton and Hamilton along.

Cincinnati Bengals – Marvin Lewis – It is as cold as it has ever been in hell today as the Bengals and Marvin Lewis parted ways. Many were under the impression that Lewis would stay in Cincinnati and become the Coach Emeritus, but what has been characterized as a mutual separation leaves an opening. The Bengals have a couple of young stars – Joe Mixon (RB10), Tyler Boyd (WR15), CJ Uzomah (TE18) – and a couple of veterans – AJ Green (WR38), Andy Dalton (QB23), Gio Bernard (RB51). After losing three of five starting offensive linemen after the 2017 season the Bengals put some capital into the line in 2018. The investment didn’t translate to wins and injuries to AJ Green and Andy Dalton dropped the Bengals to the bottom of the AFC North. The cupboard is not bare for the incoming coach tough, Mixon is an extremely talented back and Boyd took a big step forward this year. The wild card in the mix might be speedster John Ross (WR83) on the outside. 2019 will be year three for Ross and he should be ready to make a new start with a new staff. It will be time to start looking to the future for a quarterback as Dalton seems to have reached his potential and turns 32 during the next season.

Once the coaching vacancies are filled we will take a look at how the new schemes will impact fantasy production.

Rankings are based on ppr scoring through week 16.

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