2019 NFL Coaching Changes | Fantasy Football Impact

by Nick Ercolano January 29, 2019

2019 NFL Coaching Changes | Fantasy Football Impact

TONS of head coaching opportunities this year in the NFL. Eight teams looking for head coaches this year, it's gonna be an interesting turnaround. Some great jobs (CLV, GB), some not so great (ARZ, MIA). Regardless, they need to be filled.

Atlanta Falcons

Previous Regime: Steve Sarkisian (OC)

It was time for things to change in Atlanta. Dan Quinn, the former Seahawks defensive-minded HC for the Falcons cleaned house and cut ties with their OC Steve Sarkisian along with their defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator. Quinn will take byke over DC duties in 2019, but the offense will be commanded by Dirk Koetter (FUCK), not Todd Monken.

Before serving as the HC for TB the last three years, he was their OC for a season, but was also the OC for the Falcons back from 2012-2014.

dirk koetter atlanta falcons

During Koetter's time in Atlanta, his pass ratio was extremely high, 67, 70 and 74%. Over the last three seasons, the Packers lead the NFL with a pass ratio of 64%, over that 3 season span.

Unsurprisingly, both Matt Ryan & Julio were awesome in fantasy during that span, Ryan finishing top-10 in all three seasons, throwing for more than 4,500 in all three, averaging nearly 29 TD passes. Julio also balled and has his career-high 10 TD receptions in 2012. The running back situation makes me nervous, not just from a Koetter outlook, but overall for Atlanta. Freeman coming back not off of consecutive injury-plagued years, it's worth wondering if his time as a solid fantasy option is over. No running back under Koetter in Atlanta had more than 190 carries in a year, even with the stallion duo of Michael Turner and Steven Jackson leading the charge. Freeman is someone best leaving undrafted until round 4 in redrafts, earliest. 

Arizona Cardinals

Previous Regime: Steve Wilks (HC), Mike McCoy/Byron Leftwich (OC)

For anyone saying Wilks didn't get a fair shot... stfu tbqh jfc.

Kliff Kingsbury has officially signed up for the Josh Rosen show in Arizona. Kingsbury was fired mid-way through the Texas Tech Raider season this year, eventually signing on to be USC's offensive coordinator about a month ago, before ultimately taking the job for the Cardinals. Amazing. This is what being good looking gets you in 2019 my friends. Keep ya Instagram's account up-to-date. Fired from Texas Tech to NFL Head Coach. Lawdamercy. His girlfriend is also smoking hot. But anyways.

Kingsbury's time in college was spent at Houston, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, none of which are powerhouses, but he's coached a handful of NFL QBs most prominently Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes, but also Davis Webb, and looking back at the rosters, a ton of NFL talent.kliff kingsbury arizona cardinals

His offenses have always been very high-powered. He was the HC at Texas Tech from 2013 through 2018, and his offenses ranked inside the top-23 in the NCAA in 5-of-6 seasons, including two top-5 offenses, unsurprisingly the years Mahomes was his QB.

Kliff runs an air-raid style of offense, as you saw, heavy passing numbers for the most part. At the very basic level, the FFStatistics did a job summarizing this ni their Kliff Kingsbury article, "the air raid offense is known for its heavy emphasis on passing.  Typically, four wide receivers are used.  Two line up in the slot and two line up wide.  Passing plays usually number around 65-75% out of all the plays run per game.  The air raid also usually involves the no huddle or hurry up, working to tire out the defense." Looking at those last couples, that % number isn't a fact, but I'm assuming it will be if he has a QB he's comfortable with.

Something I noticed when looking back at those college teams were his slot WRs.christian kirk 2019 fantasy football

Fitzgerald is coming back to Arizona on a 1-year, $11-million deal in 2019. Hard to say what will happen here, but it would be cool to see both Christian Kirk and Fitz in the slot this year. Kirk was quietly having a breakout rookie year before ending up on the I.R. after starting just 7 games. Both could manage to be serviceable WR3/flex now that they're not in the conservative Michael Mygawd McCoy's offense.

As for David Johnson, hard to say. But I'd imagine anything is an upgrade to what last year was. I think the play of Josh Rosen and their offensive line will dictate about how high his ceiling is in 2019. Kingsbury did say, “can’t wait for our offensive coaches to get their hands on him and use him in as many ways possible”. O-Line upgrade is going to be a big piece in my opinion to how well DJ is used.

It's a long shot. Kingsbury is unproven at the NFL level, obviously. The problem may have been Steve Wilks, but it also may have been Rosen. For the most part, you want to give rookie QBs the benefit of the doubt, but Rosen was awful on many levels. 

Cincinnati Bengals

Previous Regime: Marvin Lewis (HC), Bill Lazor (OC)

Shocking, the Bengals didn't want another underperforming extra mediocre season. They cut ties with Lewis, who has a career regular season record of 131-122-3 since coming onboard in 2003. Sheesh, didn't realize it had been that long. More importantly, or unfortunately if you're a Cincy fan, Lewis' playoff record is an impressive 0-7. 

Since the Rams are still in the playoffs, the Bengals can't hire their soon-to-be HC Zac Taylor, aka the Rams QB coach, a year after being the assistant WRs coach. He's 35 and I'm not going to make the played out joke of him having some kind of relationship with Sean McVay. Shit makes no sense to me tbh, but ok.

They also brought on Raiders QB Coach Brian Callahan as OC. So their offense is run by two guys who have never coordinated or been a head coach. This could be a huge backfire on their part. Only time will tell.

I think their personnel will likely be more important, who is under center, what their offensive line looks like, for fantasy football in 2019.

Cleveland Browns

Previous Regime: Hue Jackson/Gregg Williams (HC), Todd Haley

Oh mane. Do I like what they are cooking up in Cleveland. They let go of Gregg Williams, which I certainly think was the right move. The next man up, and new HC is Freddie Kitchens. Kitchens started as the RBs coach, Hue Jax/Todd Haley get fired mid-season, moving Kitchens up to OC, although he's never called plays before. Ever. He started in the league as a TEs coach, was a QB coach under Arians in Arizona for a while before becoming the RBs coach there and then to Cleveland, and then this year happened.

Clearly, he had a great connection with Baker Mayfield. They didn't want to let that go.

We look at the splits with and without Kitchens as the play caller:

  • Without: 58% comp, 6.6 YPA, 2.6% TD Rate, 14 FPPG
  • With: 68%, 8.6 YPA, 7.2% TD Rate, 19 FPPG - QB10 during that span.

The biggest hire, imo for this staff was Todd Monken as OC. The Falcons grabbed the wrong TB coach as their OC. Interestingly enough, Kitchens will continue to call plays.

This looks like it's going to be one of the more aggressive offenses in the NFL, led by a QB who's going to be a stud over the next few years in Baker. Monken will likely be gone next year or the year after. This team will have success and Monken will get plucked to become HC elsewhere.

Here's a great article on DraftAce.com highlighting Monken's play-calling prowess: http://bit.ly/2CEtuNd.

Denver Broncos

Previous Regime: Vance Joseph (HC)

Vic Fangio - hired as the head coach after being a long-time defensive minded NFL coach, formerly of the NFL's top defense, Chicago Bears. X

Rich Scangarello OC: Former 49ers QBs coach. Was with Shanahan in Atlanta and in SF. I like this. He'll likely get the opportunity to take full control of the offensive scheme, plus they added Mike Munchak as their OL coach, his offense is outdated, but it's definitely nice for Scangy to have another experienced helping hand here.

Detroit Lions

Previous Regime: Jim Bob Cotter (OC)

Hired Darrell Bevell as OC. He's the ex-Seahawks OC.

The Lions offense was miserable in 2018. Some injuries, sure, but just bad, non-aggressive play-calling, using LeGarrette Blount over KJ for the 1H of the season.

So, Darrell Bevell takes over, and everyone hates this. He is ground and pound at its finest. He was the OC during all those Beast Mode years in Seattledarrell bevell detroit lions

Let's not forget the storyline for the Lions heading into the 2018 season. Everyone was excited that their offensive line was going to be really good. They drafted Kerryon, and it was going to be a ground-and-pound team. But now that these other offenses are throwing all over the place, everyone wants to jump ship. Regardless, this should be a great hire for Kerryon Johnson's fantasy outlook.darrell bevell detroit lions

Nine straight seasons we saw Bevell produce a top-12 fantasy RB as an OC from Minnesota and Seattle, from 2006-2014. The RB1 was a top-4 fantasy RB in 7-of-9 seasons. Things flipped from 2015-2017, as we saw BeastMode leave, the Seattle RBs take turns hitting the I.R., and Russell Wilson taking control of the offense.

But Detroit is clearly a team that wants to run the ball. And Bevell is a guy that knows how to do that. It's probably not a great thing for Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, as the average WR1 finish over those 12 years was WR33, with one finish at WR17 or better. The WR2, forget about it. Baldwin had the three big years in the F3 of Bevell's tenure in Seattle but I think that was more Russell Wilson then Bevell.

Green Bay Packers

Previous Regime: Mike McCarthy (HC)

Matt LaFleur (HC) - QB Coach for WAS 10-13 during RGIII's monster 2012 rookie season. Is the QB coach for Atlanta 15-16 during Matt Ryan's MVP season, becomes OC of Rams during 2017 (highest scoring offense in NFL - but it was McVay's offense, LaFleur didn't call plays), moves over to the TEN job as OC to call plays in 2018, before signing with the Packers.

Hard to gauge what HE personally did with these offenses, but we'll get a lot of modern concepts. He was under Shanahan in ATL, McVay in LA, and you look at the TEN team this year, they used a lot of play action, etc. LaFleur did pretty well considering how much Mariota wasn't healthy. He was able to win games with Blaine Gabbert, I mean...

I think they just didn't want a head coach that Aaron Rodgers hates, and to clash heads with. Rodgers is basically the NFL's Lebron James. Just give him a coach that will actually let him coach. 

Nathanial Hackett, the former Jags OC was hired as the Packers OC. He has a lot play-calling experience. He produced some good years out of Blake Bortles statistically, at least. He got fired this year, but definitely wasn't his fault. Jacksonville was just a shitshow overall.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Previous Regime: Nathaniel Hackett (OC)

The Jags are insistent on staying with Doug Marrone, a year removed from dynamite top-5 scoring offensive campaign (26.1 PPG). There's one solution to the Jaguars offense, well one problem, and it starts with Bl, and ends with ake Bortles being their QB. Outside of a major move at who is throwing under center, this offense has very little hope. BBelichickchik, Bill Parcells, doesn't matter.

Hired John DeFilippo as OC. He rejoins Tom Coughlin after working with him in NY. DeFilippo had gotten a lot of praise prior to how this year ended in Minnesota. This will be his 3rd NFL team coordinating the offense for, was CLV's OC in 2015 and was the QBs coach in Philly last year and was said to be a big part of Wentz/Foles' success. Not sure how much I buy into that, but ok. He'll get another run in Jacksonville, Rotoworld thinks everything is lining up for a Foles move to Jacksonville this offseason, which would make sense reuniting the two. He'll have to convince Coughlin to move away from that run-heavy approach. They have weapons on the outside between Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, Marqise Lee returning, D.J. Chark maybe deciding to fuck around and make an impact. A real NFL QB like Foles could easily put the Jags in place to be the come byke team of the year in 2019. Vegas odds:

I like those odds for Jax.

Miami Dolphins

Previous Regime: Adam Gase (HC)

Patriots LBs coach Brian Flores is expected to become the head coach of the Dolphins. Miami will wait until the end of New England's season before finalizing a deal with Flores, per Schefter.

Flores, "has a reputation for being an energetic, demanding and hard-nosed coach." The Dolphins wanted to go defensive-minded no matter what, looking at the other names they interviewed, they were all defensive coaches.

This is just a bad situation overall. Miserable personnel. The only possible thing to be remotely excited about is having Gase gone means Kenyan Drake might actually get a shot at a real starter's workload, but that's far from a guarantee.

Minnesota Vikings

Previous Regime: John DeFilippo (OC)

Kevin Stefanski took over as the interim OC following John DeFilippo's firing in Week 15, and Minnesota went 2-1 over its final three games. They removed the interim tag and have made him the official OC moving into 2019.

Over those last three games, the Vikings ran the ball on 48% of their plays, 8th highest rate in the NFL, compared to just 35.5% of the time over the course of the entire season, 4th lowest rate in the NFL. Only GB, PIT and ATL ran the ball at a lower rate.

They also hired Gary Kubiak as the offensive advisor. It's a confusing situation, but I think this is going to be a defense-first, run-first team under Mike Zimmer. If Dalvin Cook can stay healthy, he's going to shine.

New York Jets

Previous Regime: Todd Bowles (HC)

Adam Gase as HC. Inside the locker room, people did NOT like him. He should be an OC, not a HC. Lots of problems, OFF the field. Now he's moving to NY? They are not forgiving. If a player is performing, they will side with the player.

Tho, Miami's team was really bad. They might have the worst situation for any HC to go to. Very little talent, a bad QB situation, etc.

2018
  • FO's DVOA - 26th
  • Yards Per Drive - 29th
  • Points Per Drive - 28th
  • Plays Per Drive - 31st
  • T.O.P. Per Drive - 29th
  • Drive Success Rate - 29th

2017

  • FO's DVOA - 27th
  • Yards Per Drive - 27th
  • Points Per Drive - 28th
  • Plays Per Drive - 24th
  • T.O.P. Per Drive - 25th
  • Drive Success Rate - 27th

2016

  • FO's DVOA - 14th
  • Yards Per Drive - 28th
  • Points Per Drive - 21st
  • Plays Per Drive - 32nd
  • T.O.P. Per Drive - 29th
  • Drive Success Rate - 28th

Gase brought over Dowell Loggains from Miami. Sheesh. Gase will call the plays, so nothing major here.

Pittsburgh Steelers

There obviously going to be some big changes on the offense in Pittsburgh this summer, but one minor one to rememberjaylen samuels fantasy football

With Brown gone, Samuels could be a big-time sleeper in yellow next year, even if he's in a committee, used on many parts of the field as a weapon.

Tampa Bay Bucs

Previous Regime: Dirk Koetter (HC), Todd Monken (OC)

Bucs acquired coach Bruce Arians and a 2019 seventh-round pick from the Cardinals in exchange for a 2019 sixth-round pick.

This should be a fun one. Bruce Arians, former Cardinals HC and Carson Palmer savior, signs on to resurrect another QB in desperate need of being saved. I honestly don't know if I could name a worse HC in the NFL than Dirk Koetter. If I'm a Bucs fan, I literally couldn't be more excited for him to be out and Arians to take over.

The Bucs roster is one that, on paper, should score points at will. Led by Jameis Winston, Tampa has ranked 9th and 3rd in offensive yards/game over the last two seasons, respectively. Obviously, Arians was not coming out of retirement unless he really, truly believed he had something at QB. He sees a lot of potential in Winston, obviously. He's not coming back to help rebuild this team. He's here to have them reach their potential based on their on-paper personnel. Winston is literally just turned 25 this month, after two 4,000+ yard seasons to begin his career, he hasn't been able to stay on the field in the two years following, but his passing yards per game as has his completion percentage have gone up in all four of his regular seasons.

Aggressive, vertical offense. He was the HC for Arizona from 2013-2017, during those five seasons here is the passing rate of his offenses (and their NFL rank):

  • 2013 - 59.3% (15)
  • 2014 - 60.4% (14)
  • 2015 - 58% (22) **team went 13-3 w/ an average point differential of 17 points in wins**
  • 2016 - 63.3% (t-5)
  • 2017 - 61.3% (t-7)

I'm not sure who is going to call plays here, unfortunately. He originally said he was, then he wasn't. I hope he does, and it's not Leftwich. I really did not like what I saw from Leftwich in terms of play calling in his short time of doing so in Arizona last year when Mike McCoy was let go.

He'll bring on Todd Bowles as DC and Byron Leftwich as OC, possible the heir to the throne in a few years. Love those moves.

Other Notes

- Cowboys OC Scott Linehan was fired last week, this will open up more play-calling for Jason Garrett to the delight of Giants, Eagles and Redskins fans around the world. They haven't hired a new OC yet, but they may promote TEs coach Doug Nussmeier. Which is the same thing the Titans did, once Matt LaFleur bounced, Tennessee promoted from within, their TEs coach Arthur Smith to OC. I wonder why TE coaches are such a popular pick to become OCs.

- The Bengals, Cardinals and Jets still need to fill their OC vacancy.



Nick Ercolano
Nick Ercolano

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